Whoo-hoo!  School is almost over!  For most kids here in Texas, this is either the last week or next-to-last week of school.   If you haven't already, it's time to really start thinking about how to thank your child's teacher. 

Wow. A teacher plays such an instrumental role in your child's life. A mere gift seems almost too simple and meaningless.  Nonetheless, it is the thought that counts and even the smallest gesture of appreciation is treasured by teachers.  For starters, a sincere handwritten thank you note can mean more to a teacher than any tangible gift.  You can even go a step further and pass along your words of praise for the teacher to a principal or administrator so they know how much their staff is valued.  It's a gift that costs nothing but the impact is priceless.

If you do want to give a tangible gift in addition to a thank you note, there are two basic directions you can take when it comes to teacher thank you gifts.  You can give a gift that can be used by the teacher in the classroom, or you can give a personal gift that the teacher can use to pamper her/himself after a year of hard work.

Giving a gift for the teacher's classroom is a great way to thank the teacher and help give back for the wonderful year your child spent in that classroom.  If you're down to the wire, here are some easy last minute ideas that are sure to be a hit:

A Lifetime Personal Table - The folding table is adjustable in height and small in size so it's perfect to store yet easy to pull out as an extra desk, art table, fish tank holder, podium, etc.   If parents go together as a class for a larger gift, an adjustable height Lifetime banquet table is a great option, too! 

 ~ Make a Teacher Mini Album.  Ask your child to collect a few photos, notes, and memorabilia from the year, and make a small album. This honors the teacher for a great year, and shows off the highlights in a way that he/she can show off again and again. And, it's a great way for the teacher to show parents and students in next year's class some of the activities they can look forward to. Try these instructions on Lifetime's website for an easy envelope album.  

~  Donate your child's favorite book to the classroom.  Be sure to write an inscription in the front cover from your child, and maybe even include a photo of your child.

~  A gift card to a teacher supply store - Often times, teachers spend their own money to buy supplies and equipment for their classrooms which can really add up quickly. 

Me?  I went the more personal route this year for my kids' preschool teachers and centered everything around a "hand"  and "growing" theme.  I made a card that said "Hands Down My Teacher Is The BEST" and added my kids' painted handprints.  Inside I attached a picture of my child from preschool and wrote a heartfelt message from my son that included the line, "Your caring hands and big heart have helped me grow in so many ways this year."  I bought a cute pair of gardening gloves and then my son picked out his favorite scents of hand lotion, hand soap, and hand sanitizer to fill the gloves.   Nothing over the top, but hopefully, it's appreciated and the meaning is taken to heart.

If you're looking for more clever and crafty inspirations for teacher thank you gifts, check out these websites I found with more fun ideas!
http://www.skiptomylou.org/2007/05/06/teacher-appreciation-week/

http://www.ehow.com/how_2321116_thrifty-endoftheyear-teacher-thank-gifts.html