5.02.2013

Facilitating the Appreciation--Redux

I will be taking a blog hiatus for the next week while my daughters take a trip to Neverland (i.e., they are performing in "Peter Pan" and next week is "tech week" in the theater--a very busy time for a theater mom).

But next week is not just tech week, oh no, it's also Teacher Appreciation Week.  And in honor of that most important of weeks (so says this former teacher), I am recycling one of my more popular posts: "Facilitating the Appreciation" (a post about teacher appreciation week from the perspective of a room mom).  If you're looking for good TA gifts, check it out.  (And excuse the awful photography; it's nice to see that I've improved a bit over the past year ;)


Teacher Appreciation week is something I don't remember from my childhood. Heck, I don't even remember it from my teaching days.  Nowadays, though, it's a big deal.  If you log into Pinterest and type in "Teacher Appreciation Gifts," you'll get roughly a jillion hits.

I suspect my former math teachers would frown upon my liberal use of the number "jillion."

(And perhaps that frowniness is why I never gave them any teacher appreciation gifts...)

But moving on...

So, next week is Teacher Appreciation week and as a room mom I have to--how shall I say this?--facilitate the appreciating.  Yes, that's me: the facilitator of appreciation.

Usually it works a little something like this:  Room moms conduct a survey at the beginning of the school year to collect valuable nuggets of information from the teacher: "What's your favorite color?" "Where do you like to shop?" "What's your favorite restaurant?" etc.   We then use those answers to guide us during the holidays, the teacher's birthday, the end of the school year and, yes, Teacher Appreciation Week.

Typically during Teacher Appreciation Week we try and do a little something each day: Have your child wear blue on Monday!  Everyone brings in a piece of fruit (for a Stone-Soup style fruit basket) on Tuesday! etc., etc.  The problem is that some parents have three kids in three different grades.  This means that on any given day you might have one kid bringing in a banana, one kid wearing chartreuse and a third kid providing a daisy for a class bouquet.  That's fine for one day but five days gets a little old.  And confusing.

Not that I'm saying the teachers don't deserve the appreciation.  They totally do.  In fact I would prefer to give it to them in the form of a big fat raise but that's gonna have to wait until I'm queen of the world.  In the meantime, my co-room mom and I wanted to make the week simultaneously nice for the teacher and manageable for the parents.

This will involve some classroom funds (which thankfully we have), some shopping, some baking, and a touch of creativity.  The end result will be a week filled with small gifts, sweet gestures, a few lunches and one large(r) gift at the end.

I should note that many of our parents will be doing their own gifts, but those who don't want to-or can't-will be covered by us. Of the gifts that we're doing, there are two that I'm particularly proud of and wanted to share here today:

The first is the only thing we actually asked parents to do.  I have to give credit to my fellow room mom as this was entirely her idea, but I love it.  We asked that each child pick out a book from his or her personal collection to donate to the classroom library.  We provided them with homemade "book plates" to affix in the inside front cover.  On the book plate they explained why they liked the book they chose.

My daughter picked Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes.  Here's what she wrote in her book plate.  (The erasure on the word "purse" looks awful in this picture but not so bad in person):




(I blacked out her name which accounts for the box on the bottom.  And I know there are a million talented people out there who could do a waaayy cuter bookplate than that, but we kept it simple and I think her teacher will appreciate it despite its simplicity ;)

The other gift that I really enjoyed is Pinterest inspired.  (Except it kind of isn't.  Variations on this idea have been around forever.)  Apparently this teacher has a thing for chocolate chip cookies.  (I know because my handy survey tells me so.)  So I turned to one of my favorite cookie recipes.  (Found here.)  

Then I stacked the cookies in a cute spaghetti canister (which was my idea, though I wouldn't be surprised if others had done it before me):
  

Finally I attached this:
It says, "Thanks for making us into such smart cookies," except it doesn't show up too well in this picture.  


And here is the end result:


I'll be presenting her with these tomorrow to kick off the festivities.  

Do any of you have a great teacher appreciation gift to share?  (If it's on your blog leave me the URL and I'll pin it to my "Resources for Room Moms" board.)

Update:  If you would like information on where to buy the jar pictured above, click here.


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4 comments

  1. Those are some lucky teachers, Elena. You are so thoughtful. I loved when students gave me books for our classroom library as appreciation gifts or even when parents who worked or didn't have a lot of time volunteered once in a while. I would have never have functioned without parent volunteers and I loved the ones that gave their time at home if they couldn't make it in. One parent gave me a book of coupons that gave me opportunities to have her do somethings in and out of the classroom i.e. one hour of copying...lol stuff like that.

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  2. I love this post and those stacked cookies in the pasta canister. And I'll swear on it that the first time I saw that idea was on your blog!

    Good luck with tech week! And I only know what that is thanks to Smash.

    :) Linda

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  3. Oh, wow. This is a whole new world I'll be entering with teacher appreciation week. Thanks for explaining all of it and giving me some great suggestions. I guess I should think of something for Grace's preschool teacheres, huh?

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  4. Cute! (Actually, those little airplane bottles of liquor are great, too.)

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