I am so glad you found us! It is my mission to make teacher and staff appreciation as easy as possible.
This post contains everything you ever wanted to know about planning a Who-tastic Dr. Seuss inspired Staff Appreciation Week at your school. If you are in the "What did I get myself in to?! I AM FREAKING OUT!" stage and are looking for step-by-step instructions, I've got you covered. Our post, "How To Prepare for Appreciation Week," will walk you through the entire process. Be sure to download the free planning guide too!
The main "slogan" if you will, was "Hats Off To Our Teachers!" Like the Cat in the Hat. Get it? When I decided on this theme, I thought decorations would be easy to come by. I was very much mistaken. Nowadays, it is much easier to find Dr. Seuss themed items on Amazon, or even Michaels and Target, but not six years ago.
A few weeks before the event, I asked my photographer friend and fellow parent to take Dr. Seuss Photo Booth style pictures of all the teachers and staff. It was a huge hit at the baby shower I planned the previous year, and I still had all the props. Score! If you are going to have pictures taken, do it at least one month in advance. The photographer will need time to edit the photos and get them to you. We cut it way too close.
TIP: 8x10 pictures are an affordable and easy way to decorate your school and classroom doors (if you know a talented, kind photographer who will donate their skills and time).
The Friday before Staff Appreciation Week, the 8×10 pictures were put on all the teachers' doors and staff photos were put up in the staff lounge.
The Time Line
You will want to print in phases unless you are REALLY on the ball and get it all done in one swoop. I don't think I have ever had everything ready two weeks ahead of time.
Phase One - Two weeks before Appreciation Week, print your invitations, promotional posters, coloring sheets, and anything else you have ready to go.
Phase Two - One week before Appreciation Week, print your customized daily event signs and food labels, along with any other posters, decorations, and printables (cupcake toppers, thank you tags, candy bar wrappers, etc.).
TIP: Ask your school office manager or secretary if you have access to the school district print shop. It depends on your district, but as long as you are printing something related to a school activity, it should be fine. Our school district print shop is fast, the prints look fantastic, and they are unbelievably affordable.
The Monday before Appreciation Week, all of the teachers and staff received this invitation in their mailbox. Included with their invitations were:
- An invitation to the Pink Yink Ink Breakfast with a Drink Order Request
- Lunch Preferences Questionnaire
I asked that order forms and questionnaires be returned to me via the PTSA box no later than the Thursday before Staff Appreciation Week. (More on the drink order and lunch preferences in a moment.)
Before we jump in, let me point you to another resource: "Student Coloring Sheets for Appreciation Week." This topic deserves a post of its' own. Coordinating coloring sheets is not hard work, but it can be time-consuming. Be sure to read the post and download the free planning guide and checklists. I have learned from my mistakes and fine-tuned the process over the years.
Here is the short version of coloring sheet preparation:
- Bring the school secretary some coffee or a treat (very important) and ask for an updated student headcount for each class. Do not use the school directory. Students come and go throughout the year, and the numbers most likely will not be accurate.
- Get a manilla envelope for every class, and place a coloring sheet for each student inside. These Rubber Finger Tips are the best thing ever for sorting giant stacks of paper. They will save you hours of sorting. I'm not kidding.
- Coordinate with the room parents regarding pick up of the manilla envelope, distribution of the coloring sheets, parent communication, etc. (All of this is covered in-depth in the post I linked to up above.)
The Thursday before Appreciation Week, a "Hats Off To My Teacher!" coloring sheet was sent home with every student. It included instructions asking them to please color the hat, write a note to their teacher, and return it to school on Monday.
The hats were hung up on classroom doors by room parents on Monday.
For students that wished to color hats for additional teachers and staff, extra hats were available in the office all week long. I created a poster that was hung in the main stairwell, letting students know where they could find extra hats. (To give you some idea of scale, the Cat in the Hat was 5 feet tall. The poster looks small in the picture, but it is almost 3 feet wide!)
Update #1: Due to customer requests, I modified my poster design and decreased it to 12x18. That size is more affordable to print and makes it easy to place posters all around the school for greater visibility.
Update #2: In later years, instead of printing additional coloring sheet copies, we provided a download link on the school website. It saved on printing costs and made it easy for students to print unlimited coloring sheets at home. ALL the staff members need love, right?!
As with the coloring sheets, coordinating your incredible army of volunteers is worthy of a blog post of its' very own. Be sure to read "How To Prepare for Appreciation Week," for step-by-step instructions on coordinating committee and room parent volunteers.
Here is the short version of volunteer coordination:
- As soon as you know the dates for Appreciation Week let your committee and room parents know. Coordinate with the school secretary and/or office manager at the beginning of the school year to confirm the Appreciation Week dates. Sometimes the "official" week conflicts with state testing. In which case, your school may want to adjust the dates slightly.
- Two months before Appreciation Week, send a reminder email to your volunteers. Most of them probably forgot.
- Create separate sign ups (using SignUp Genius) for each of your five events + decorations + coloring sheets + coffee cart.
- Email your committee one month before Appreciation Week with links to all of your sign ups.
- Two weeks before appreciation week, reach out to volunteers that have not signed up yet. Include room parents in the email. They are on the ball and always willing to help.
It goes on. Like I said, read the other blog post and download the free worksheets and checklists. It really isn't that difficult, but you will have a lot of balls in the air. Checklists are your friend.
The Daily Events
Instead of one ridiculously long post, I am going to break it down by day for you by day. During our WHO-TASTIC Appreciation Week, we had the following events. Click the links below to read about the prep, decorations, Seuss-y food names, and more.
I laid the groundwork and purchased supplies for each of the events ahead of time to make the daily set-up quick and easy.
TIP: Our local party supply store will donate a percentage of sales to our school. Yours might too! I give them the school name at checkout, and voila, instant fundraising. Every little bit helps, right?
I created a color scheme for the week, which you can see in the pictures: aqua, bright green, light pink, and purple. I purchased table cloths, paper plates, paper cups, utensils, and napkins in those colors and used them throughout the week. Any leftovers from one day were carried over to the next.
TIP: Wrapping paper is an affordable way to dress up your tables. I cut wrapping paper in half horizontally and created table runners. The polka dots added a touch of whimsy and color contrast quickly and easily. The runners made the inexpensive table cloths look so much nicer.
I stashed all of the daily supplies in the staff lounge, under the table where we would be setting up each day. They were hidden and easily accessible. Win-win!
More Appreciation Goodness!
Dr. Seuss is just one of the Appreciation Week themes I have planned over the years. You can use one of these themes for next year!
Superhero Appreciation Week
"Out of this World" Space Appreciation Week
LEGO Inspired Appreciation Week
"Best in the West" Western Appreciation Week