I have always loved giving my students little themed gifts throughout the year.  And now that I'm the mom of a preschooler, I'm also having fun sending in treats for my daughter's classmates!

For Christmas this year, I thought it would be fun to create Play-Doh Christmas tree kits!  Instead of just a little toy or trinket, these kits will allow kids to use their imaginations and create something.  All you need are a few crafty supplies... and I bet you already have some of them in your teacher closet!

This post contains affiliate links.

You will need:
star beads or cutouts
FREE bag topper (linked below)

Stuff each sandwich size Ziploc with one can of green Play-Doh.  I found enough individual cans at my local craft store, but you can actually buy a case online.  Next, add your embellishments! I used red and silver tinsel pipe cleaners for the garland.  Cut two pipe cleaners in half, for a total of 4 pieces per bag.  Pony beads make the perfect ornaments-- grab a handful and add it to your kit.  Sequins or rhinestones are other fun options.  Last, add in a few stars!  I found star beads at the craft store.  You could also use a star punch to create stars from card stock.

Once your bags are stuffed, seal them up (push out as much air as you can so it will be easier to add the label).  Cut out the bag toppers (I recommend printing on card stock), fold them in half, place over the top of the bag, and staple on both sides.

I included two versions of the tag in this free file: one has a little heart with space to write your name, and the other does not.  Click HERE to download your copy!

Kids will love this creative gift!  And how cute are the decorated trees?!

Feel free to pin the image below to save this post for later or share it with your teacher friends! :)

Communication with parents is KEY when you're a teacher.  Unfortunately, getting in touch with parents isn't always easy.  Notes get crumpled in backpacks, phone calls home go unanswered, and scheduling conflicts can get in the way of face-to-face meetings.  

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

Luckily... there's an app for that!  I was recently introduced to ClassTag, a FREE classroom communication app (and website).  I've used other apps in the past, but this one takes the cake.  It has everything you could possibly need in one handy application!  It is available as an app for iOS and Android phones and tablets, as well as a complete website.

Through ClassTag, teachers can directly message parents or choose to send a note to the whole class at once.  The private message is great for addressing a behavior issue or discussing a grade.  The class-wide announcement is a quick and easy way to remind everyone about Picture Day, for example.  The app will convert the message to text or email (based on parent preference) and it will *automatically* translate it into 50+ languages.  What?!  It's also worthy of noting that the messages are sent from private numbers, so your information is kept safe.

ClassTag makes asking for volunteers (chaperones for the zoo field trip) and donations (apple juice for the class party) EASIER than ever!  With just a few clicks, teachers can create a "Volunteer Request" or "To Do Item" and parents can sign up right from their account.  Too many volunteers (as if that's possible?) and cupcakes in excess (again, as if that's possible?) are not an issue because limits can be set right in the request.

It's also super easy to organize parent-teacher conferences with ClassTag.  I know firsthand how difficult it can be to coordinate meetings with 20+ families and their busy schedules.  ClassTag allows teachers to organize conferences 1, 2, 3 by creating time slots on certain days.  Parents can sign up for a time that works for them, and there won't be any double booking!  The app will also send out reminders so parents won't forget their meeting time, which is great!

Another awesome feature of ClassTag is the ability to share fun classroom moments with families.  Teachers can upload photos of craft projects, videos of the holiday concert, or simply information on exciting classroom happenings!  Parents can then see these notes right on the class page and stay up-to-date with what's going on at school... because every kid says, "nothing," when asked.

Other noteworthy elements include weekly newsletters and a stats page.   ClassTag will automatically send out newsletters with events, due dates and announcements from the week.  ClassTag also keeps an activity record on the "Family Activity" page that shows who is viewing and responding to messages and who isn't.  That means teachers can even check on parent engagement! Can we send them report cards, too?! ;)

Last but not least, ClassTag offers a fun feature called The Marketplace, where teachers can cash in virtual coins, or "ClassTag Coins," for classroom supplies.  Earning coins is easy-- simply use the app to communicate!!  ClassTag Coins are added when teachers send messages, when parents sign up for events, and more.  Rewards in The Marketplace range from googly eyes to books to gift cards!

ClassTag has everything teachers could possibly need rolled into one, easy-to-use app (plus full access on the web)!  It is the perfect tool for parent-teacher communication... it helps turn parents into partners!

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