Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up May 7-11, 2018. In my 7th year of being a room parent, this is one of the easiest events to plan. Teachers work hard inspiring my kids all year long, and I take pride in throwing a few surprises their way during this week each year. I also know from experience that keeping it simple is the key to wide participation.
Most years I plan a simple gesture or theme for each day of Teacher Appreciation Week. I send an email to the class a week ahead of time with a list of events so families can plan. Then I send a reminder the day before.
Here are seven of my favorite, keep-it-simple themes I’ve used for different days during Teacher Appreciation Week:
Portland is awash with colorful gardens this time of year. I supply the vase and ask each student to bring in a flower from their garden, and hand it to the teacher. The bouquets created are as varied as the kids in the room.
2. Coffee Runs
Some years I’ve filled two or three days with a coffee, easily managed with the help of SignUpGenius. I make sure to find out how the teacher takes their coffee, or their favorite barista drink, and put it right on the sign-up sheet.
Variation: Bring the coffee during morning recess, and monitor recess for your teacher while they enjoy their coffee.
This idea will always have a special place in my heart because it caused my daughter’s particularly stern, pre-K teacher to tear up. I drew a heart tattoo with a banner of the teacher’s last name, then had temporary tattoos made in the design, and distributed them to each of the students with instructions on which day to wear them to school. This idea was such a hit that I have done it at two other schools.
4. High Five Your Teacher
Last year I created a vessel with the outline of a hand on it that said “high five.” I asked each family to bring a $5 gift card to drop in it. The low cost of participation made it inclusive, and the teachers had a bunch of little treats all over the neighborhood to enjoy from coffee, to sandwiches, to gelato. This was a great way to do a little something without having to take up a collection.
5. Thank You Notes
A very easy and meaningful day during Teacher Appreciation Week is where each student brings a thank you note for the teacher. My mother was right that a handwritten note of gratitude goes a long way. I encourage my own kids to use a specific example of something meaningful the teacher has done. If the teacher has a homework “in” bin, I ask the kids to quietly turn in the thank you notes there so the teacher finds them intermixed with homework. Surprise!
Little Kid Variation: When my kids were in pre-K and Kindergarten, I sent home a questionnaire with each child (or emailed it to the class) instead of doing thank you notes, and each student brought them back on the designated day. Some sample questions could be:
- “If Mrs. X could travel anywhere, where do you think she would go?”
- “What is the most beautiful thing about Mrs. X?”
- “If Mrs. X had $20 to spend on anything, what do you think she would buy?”
6. Sports Day
We once had a teacher who is a huge Portland sports fan. That year, I had a day where all of the kids wore gear or colors from one of his favorite teams. Much like the coffee idea, it’s important to do recon, and send students a list of teams.
7. Sidewalk Chalk the Playground
I’ve done this a couple times on the Sunday night prior to Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s important to have a night when it’s not going to rain. The kids (and parents) write messages of love and appreciation on the sidewalk near the entrance of the school or on the playground. The key is for their teachers to spot their name and message of appreciation on their way into school Monday morning, letting them know it’s going to be a great week!