I am so glad you found us! It is my mission to make teacher and staff appreciation as easy as possible for you.
This post contains everything you ever wanted to know about planning an epic Superhero-themed 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 Dr. Seuss pictures were such a hit last year that I wanted to do some sort of picture decoration again. It adds a more personal touch to the celebration, don't you think?
Superhero posters were our main decoration this year. Two weeks before Appreciation Week, a fellow parent (and local photographer) took pictures of the school staff decked out in a customized superhero cape and mask from Kid Kapers (now closed).
Originally I had planned on using the pictures as is, but then I got the brilliant idea (if I do say so myself) of turning them into comic book style posters with advice from each staff member to the students. The photographer transformed each photo into a comic book style poster which I used to decorate the hallways, and classroom doors.
TIP: Two weeks was cutting it really close on the pictures. It was completely my fault, of course. I was the one who decided at the last minute that we should make comic book style posters. If you plan on doing this, give yourself a month to take the pictures, edit, print, etc. The photographer worked his tail off to get the posters done and I received them in the nick of time.
TIP: It will take at least two hours to put posters up on all the classroom doors and around the school. I completely underestimated the amount of time it would take. Recruit help so you can divide and conquer quickly.
The posters were a HUGE hit with the students. In fact, when I was taking them down at the end of the week a little boy said to me, “Why are you taking the posters down? You aren’t a superhero! You are a villan!” For me that was the ultimate compliment. I am so happy everyone enjoyed the superhero theme as much as I did.
SCHOOL EMAIL BLASTS, WEBSITE and SOCIAL MEDIA
Cover all of your bases. Some parents diligently read weekly school newsletters. Others prefer consuming their information via school Facebook pages or Instagram. Posters are great for raising awareness with the parents that go to the school. However, you also need to reach parents who are at work all day, and the families of children who ride the bus or walk to school themselves.
Get in touch with your school's communications volunteer and find out when their submission deadlines are. They can include information about Appreciation Week in their newsletters, send email blast reminders about coloring sheets, and post on the social media accounts for you.
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. Printing two weeks in advance will give you time to sort everything.
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, I delivered the invitation + Super Charged Breakfast invitation + Instant Energy drink order form to the teacher/staff mailboxes. In the past I have passed out the invitation a week and a half in advance, and I have to say, everyone was much more prompt returning their drink labels with less notice!
This year, one of our daily events was "Hero" Sandwich Lunches. Parents signed up to provide lunch for their favorite staff member(s). Included with the invitation was a lunch questionnaire. I provided a copy of the completed questionnaire to the parents.
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. Also, parents can be squirrelly (myself included) and need constant reminders. 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 things 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, an "I Think You Are Super because...!" coloring sheet was sent home with every student. It included instructions asking them to please color the rocket, write a note to their teacher, and return it to school on Monday.
Update: In later years, I added a download link to the instruction side of the coloring sheet. The link was also included in our weekly school newsletter, on social media, and the school website. This provided a quick and easy way for students to print additional coloring sheets for their favorite staff members.
Put decorations up on Friday afternoon, before Staff Appreciation Week. This year, instead of one giant poster in the school foyer, I printed a half dozen 12×18 posters that were hung on exterior doors around the school to remind everyone about Staff Appreciation Week, and let them know where to find additional coloring pages. I also created some extra "Super" posters to decorate the school:
Our Principal is Super!
Our Staff is Super!
Our Nurse is Super!
Our Teacher is Super!
Our Teachers are Super!
In Our Eyes You Are a Superhero!
POW! ZAP! BOOM! posters + Photo Booth Signs
Sign Ups + Coordinating Volunteers
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 "official" week.
- Two months before Appreciation Week, send a reminder email to your volunteers. Mom-brain is real. I appreciate all the reminders I can get. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
- 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.
SignUp Genius is also your friend. If you have planned other appreciation lunches and events throughout the year, you can duplicate those events and just tweak the details. EASY!
Update: A few years after this event, SignUp Genius rolled out TABBED sign ups. You can now create one glorious Appreciation Week sign up with tabs for each event. It is organized and beautiful. There is an additional fee for this feature, so I upgraded my account for a few months leading up to Appreciation Week in order to have access. You can read more about how I created a tabbed Appreciation Week sign up here.
The Daily Events
Instead of one ridiculously long post, I am going to break it down by day for you by day. During our superhero Appreciation Week, we had the following events. Click the links below to read about the prep, decorations, 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: red, yellow, and blue. 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.
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!
Superhero is just one of the Appreciation Week themes I have planned over the years. You can use one of these themes for next year!