I have posts in mind that have real, substantive content….but I don’t know about you, but I don’t have much of a brain to read them OR write them at this time of year. Let’s face it–the last week(s) of school before winter break are all about survival…if it’s not school-related (as in right now, this minute what are we doing in class) and not holiday-related (as in, I have to get to choir practice and have 10 trillion more gifts to buy), it gets saved to hopefully remember it exists after the holidays. So, let’s get real and talk about what we want for gifts this holiday season.
Have you ever felt like people outside of education just don’t get what you do? Or that even some people in education don’t get what YOU do? Have you ever had an administrator look at you funny when you turn in your school supply list / order and it includes 25 clear plastic shoeboxes and $300 worth of Velcro? I once had a principal ask me if I was going to organize the closet based on the materials I brought into the school.
So, if you are looking for ideas for presents, looking for the best deals on Velcro, or just need to leave something open on your computer that might give you spouse or family ideas about what you really want for Christmas, this is the post for you.
Here is a list of my 7 Gift Ideas for Special Education Teachers
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links which means the price is the same for you but pays me a small commission. I’ve tried to tell you if you can get it cheaper elsewhere and link there, so I got your back. For more information check out my disclosure page. Just click on the pictures below to check them out.
I have a friend who always says you can’t do your job without the adequate tools. These scissors are critical enough tools that they travel with me whenever I think I will be needing to cut something. The ones on the left are spring-loaded…that means that they lessen the strain on your hands when you cut out all the pieces for a set of file folders. The ones on the right are nonstick–no really they are. These are the ones you want to use for Velcro because it DOES. NOT. STICK! I kid you not!
Velcro–can’t buy enough of it, can’t live without it! For me, Velcro dots are a MUST! They are a little more expensive but they save so much time. However, if you can’t afford them, one of our community suggested cutting the Velcro all at one time and storing it to make it easier to assemble the materials. Want to know the cheapest place to buy high quality Velcro? Feiner Supply. I am not kidding and this is not an affiliate link. I have priced Velcro in tons of places and this is the cheapest with the widest selection I’ve even found. And if you order more than $150, shipping is free–so think about what friends you can split an order with. I like the 3/4 inch coins for most things but I use the smaller coins for my interactive books.
Ah, my laminator warms my heart (see what I did there?). I have to preface this by saying I love heavy duty laminate (see #4) so I want to make sure I have a laminator that will handle it. I have a USI laminator that will take up to 15 ml laminate and is 12 inches wide. It’s drawback is it doesn’t have a reverse button so if something is stuck it may be hard to get it out. And it does require a carrier to put the laminate in. But I love it! Superteach56 just got a new laminator and I have to say I’m a little jealous. It’s the one in the picture and it doesn’t need a carrier. It also has a motor and can be reversed and the temperature is adjustable. And it’s cheaper than mine…um yea, I might need a new one. 🙂 Hers is a Tamerica SM 330 and you can find it on Amazon here with free shipping. If you are looking for something cheaper, check out the Scotch laminator–many special educators that I know LOVE this one and it’s cheap.
A laminator with no laminate makes little sense. Did you know that you can get laminate up to 15 ml. The laminate in your school laminator is usually 1 1/2 ml. If you can get 3 or even 5 ml for a pouch laminator, it is well worth it. I love 7 ml for anything the kids touch and I love 10 ml for boards like the back of my adapted books or communication boards–just round the edges on the thicker stuff or it gets sharp! Using my pouch laminator, I use 3 ml menu size to laminate file folders for file folder activities.
5. Coil Binding Machine
I recently bought this Rubicoil machine and I LOVE it! I’ve had lots of people ask me about it so I added it to the list. I really love using it on my interactive books and social narratives or pretty much anything I can think of. I do prefer it over comb binding machines because I find the combs don’t last with the types of kids I typically work with–but the coils last more.
If you give your friend / loved one a coil binding machine, he/she’s going to want coils. Well duh! For the Rubicoil and any 4:1 Pitch coil machine, the tru-coils work well and you can get them in colors. Through Amazon you can find them in standard colors like clear, navy and white. I use the 1/2 inch or 13 mm coils for my interactive books and that size has worked well. If you want to get really fancy, check out Lamination Depot for all different kind of colors–but you have order them in boxes of 100 so think about who you can split them with!
7. Clear Plastic Shoeboxes
While you can use these for storage, what we really need them for is for tasks for work systems and holding materials in instruction. Let’s face it…you can never have enough of them and still never put a pair of shoes in them. These Sterlite shoeboxes are a great size for workbaskets and the more containers you have, the more tasks you can make. However, if you want to get them cheapest, check out Walmart. Usually you can find them there between $1 and $1.50 per box, which is cheaper than the Amazon link above. Sometimes you can find them in the Dollar Store, but they often aren’t as strong or durable.
So if you are looking for a way to warm the heart of that special, special educator…think about some of these things. It’s frightening how excited we get about these 7 items! Yes, we might have issues!
I’ll be back this weekend and may or may not have something more substantive to say. In the meantime, I leave you with this poem I wrote a couple of years ago along with some free gift tags to add to your favorite things (click the image to get the gift tags).