Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Using Personalized Greeting Cards in the Classroom (Treat by Shutterfly)

I love to give cards to people. Any time I am in a store that has cards I always have to read through a few. I am always on the lookout for special and unique cards I can give others, so when I recently learned about Treat by Shutterfly I got really excited. Treat is a brand new greeting card company that allows you to personalize cards for others. I fell in love with their cards instantly. I have already sent several to friends and family.

Treat's cards got me to thinking about my classroom and how I might use cards with my students. Since Valentine's Day was just around the corner, I decided to make valentine cards with my little ones for them to give to their families.

I chose a couple of designs from Treat's website. Then I had my students vote on which design they wanted to use.
I took Valentine pictures to use on the cards. I hung red bulletin board paper from a pocket chart stand and used a valentine cutout I purchased years ago from Party City. 
I went on Treat's website and quickly and easily uploaded the pictures and made the cards. 

When the cards arrived I have my students write a handwritten message and sign the inside of their cards. I love this picture. I looked over and this little one was stretching out the words he wanted to write with his hands just the way I taught him to do. 
I had my students write their messages with a pencil. Then I traced their letters with a sharpie. 
I could have had them dictate messages to me before placing the order. This would have allowed me to personalize each card when I ordered them online. Since this was my first order I didn't think about it until after the fact. I kind of like their writing and phonetic spelling though.  

Doing this activity with my students got me to thinking about all of the other ways I could upcycle Treat's cards in my classroom. Here are a few of the ideas I came up with :

1) After doing an author study take pictures of responses you made to the books you read. Write a class message to the author and include pictures of what you did. For example: After doing an author study on Mo Willems, send a card with a class message and student drawn pictures of the pigeon inserted into it. 

2) As thank you notes to parents (use class pictures or pictures of the event they helped with- be sure to make sure their child is in the picture)

3) At the end of the school year or for graduation (cap and gown pictures or end of the school year picnic or party pictures)

4) When learning about poetry and learning to writing poems, have students write a poem for the message in their card then scan or take a picture of an illustration they make to go with the poem

5) When learning to write letters (students can write messages using a letter format)

6) For special holidays such as Valentine's Day or Christmas (for family members)

7) For special recognition (create cards for students to recognize special achievements such as learning all of their word wall words to being able to count to 100) 

8) As incentives and motivators (write special messages for those students who are hard to reach or who need extra encouragement- mail them to their house so they get mail)

9) For your own personal use (for your sweetie, your kids, family members, and friends)

I feel like there are so many ways to use Treat's personalized cards in the classroom. Of course I thought about the cost of using the cards though. Here were a few ideas I came up with for how to off set some of the cost for using the cards. 

1) If you are doing something like writing letters or poems that is in your curriculum then see if your principal will fund the purchase. 

2) Donor's Choose

3) We have a foundation in our district that offers grants to teachers. Write a grant. 

4) Ask parents to send in donations or to cover the cost of their child's individual card. 

5) I used to have a film club where parents took turns chipping in to help with the cost of developing pictures. Create a similar type rotation and have parents help with the cost of the cards. 

6) Find a way to include it as a way to help out the class at school events such as meet the teacher, open house, family literacy night, etc. (a lot of us do things like a giving tree, helping hands, or a wish list at these events)

I had so much fun using the cards with my kids this week. I can't wait to get started on another project with them. You can check out Treat at, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. Get started making your own Valentine cards here


Stephanie Schuler said...

Love how the kids can personalize their own Valentines! Great stuff! I've already got my lesson plan outlined, but maybe I'll try this for next year.

Stephanie Brown said...

I absolutely LOVE this! Already trying to come up with a way to use this in the next month!! Thank you for sharing!!