This post contains everything you ever wanted to know about the "Fancy Pants Picnic Lunches" I created for Appreciation Week at my daughter's school.
A few years ago, I stopped including individual custom staff lunches in our Appreciation Week celebrations. If your school is on the smaller side and you are up to the challenge, our Space Capsule Lunch post will walk you through the process.
Coordinating 60+ lunches was more work than I wanted to deal with this year. Instead, we had two lunches, the Down Home Barbecue and Chili Cook-Off. They were a huge hit, and 100x easier to pull together.
All that said, I still wanted to make Appreciation Week extra special for my favorite teachers and staff members, and I am always on the hunt for ideas to make Appreciation Week easier on Room Parents.
Appreciation - Room Parent Style
Both of these items could easily be used on a school-wide scale, but not every budget can accomodate something like that. Many times, it is the Room Parents or crafty parents with students wanting to do something special for their teachers (past and present), separate from, or in addition to the larger school events. You are my people. I get you.
Before we move on, I want to point you towards one more resource. If you happen to be the one planning Appreciation Week for your child's teacher/class I have an entire post for you: A Room Parent's Guide to Teacher Appreciation. It will walk you through the entire week and includes a free planning guide and checklists.
FANCY PANTS PICNIC LUNCH
I love making special lunches for my daughter's favorite staff members (and mine). I ALWAYS signed up to make lunches for at least a handful of teachers and staff members every year. In the past, when I was coordinating lunches for the entire staff, the parent feedback I received was that they wanted to make a fun and creative lunch, but didn't have the time.
I offered these printables along with the "Best in the West" posters (more on that in a moment), to Room Parents. I created an "order form" using SignUp Genius and only charged the cost of printing. The parents loved the Fancy Pants Picnic idea. They were able to include lunch in their classroom appreciation activities, and the lunch looked cute with minimal effort on their part. It was a win-win!
TIP: I mention this a lot, but it is worth repeating. Ask your school secretary or front office manager if you have access to the school district print shop. Ours is phenomenal and so much less expensive than the popular print shops.
TIP: Be sure parents know when you have staff lunches planned beforehand! You don't want them making a lunch the same day lunch is being provided by the Appreciation Committee, Hospitality Committee, PTA... You get the idea.
BEST IN THE WEST POSTERS
Our main decorations (provided by the Hospitality Committee) this year were the "Wanted" signs. They were hung on the classroom doors, around the school, and in the staff lounge.
Some schools do not have anyone to take cowboy pictures of their staff, so I created customizable "Best in the West" posters as another Appreciation Week decoration option. Just like the "Wanted" signs, they can be hung around your school and/or classroom doors.
We used both for our Appreciation Week. Printing 60+ more customized posters was not in my budget, but it was very affordable for Room Parents to purchase one for their classroom doors. As with the Fancy Pants lunch printables, I offered Room Parents the option of purchasing “Our Teacher (name) is the Best in the West” posters (again, just for the cost of printing) and I customized it for them.
Our "Fancy Pants Picnic" printables are available for purchase here.
Our customizable "Best in the West" posters are available for purchase here.
The "High Falutin' Water Bottle labels" and Candy Bar Wrappers are also great additions to your lunch!
This is just one event from our Rootin' Tootin' western-themed Appreciation Week. You can read about the other days and activities below. YEE HAW!
How to Plan a "Best in the West!" Appreciation Week
How to Make a Wanted Poster
Downhome BBQ + Chili Cook Off
High Falutin' Coffee Cart + Breakfast Bonanza