Gift Tags - Everyone has something to offer
To help children to recognize what they have to offer to each other and to the community.
by Jill Fuller
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To help the children recognize what they have to offer to each other and to the community.
Preparation and materials
Choose a number of children from different years (and perhaps a staff member) to take part. Ask other people (children and staff) who know them to prepare a few sentences to describe each person's particular gift. Make sure there is a range of offerings, which could include school subjects such as music, mathematics, sport, and gifts of character such as courage, friendliness, kindness, patience. For example:
- This is Sheena. She is particularly good at team games. She always encourages us and helps us to do well.
- This is Paul. He is especially good at listening. He is the kind of person everyone can talk to and share their worries with.
- This is David. He is great at painting and this is something he painted recently.
- This is Mary. She is fantastically quick at mental arithmetic.
- This is Mr Grant. He has a good sense of humour and can make us laugh when we feel downhearted.
Prepare a board with the heading 'Gifts we have to offer', or make a 'Gift Tag Tree' by planting a bare branch in a pot. Provide small pieces of paper ('gift tags') (and pencils) on which children can write either affirmations of others or offers of help. These will be pinned on the board or tied on to the tree.
- Talk about how the school is made up of many people of different ages, sizes and personalities. Discuss with the children how everyone has something which is their special gift or ability to offer to the community.
- Invite the children to take a moment to think quietly of someone in their class who is particularly good at something. Ask the children/teachers who have been prepared to introduce their nomination and describe that person's gift. Some nominees could perhaps show a painting, do some quick maths or play a short piece of music, as appropriate.
- Write (or ask the children to write) the brief descriptions on the 'gift tags' and either pin them to the board or tie them onto the tree.
- Introduce the idea of using your gifts to help others. Help the children to feel confident about offering to share their gifts (e.g. Sam is ready to teach football skills. Anne will help Year 1 with skipping). Take time to celebrate the range of gifts and the importance of every type of ability (e.g. being a peacemaker is as important as writing well). Point out to the children the importance of recognizing and encouraging each other's gifts and also recognizing and improving our own abilities. Discuss the importance of sharing our gifts with the community by teaching each other.
Show the 'Gifts we have to offer' board or gift tag tree and encourage the children to use the board to affirm each other or offer help to each other during the week.
Time for reflection
In a moment of quiet, invite the children to think of the gifts they have and how they can improve these and share them with others. Invite the children to be aware of the gifts of others and how they can encourage and celebrate each other's achievements.
'The wise may bring their learning' (Come and Praise, 64)
'The best gift' (Come and Praise, 59)
- Literacy: Read The Clown of God, by Tomie de Paola (Harcourt, ISBN 0156181924).
- PSHE: Use Circle Time for an affirmation exercise, e.g. 'Pat on the back': everyone thinks of something affirmative to say about the person next to them and then gives them a pat on the back. Help the children to develop skills in self-evaluation by discussing their gifts and which aspects they need to develop.
- Art and Music: Help the children to identify particular gifts or techniques of artists and musicians.
- Local History: Help the children to discover if people with particular gifts have lived in their town or area, e.g. inventors, politicians. Explore whether artists, potters or writers live locally today, and if possible arrange a visit to talk about their gifts.