Thanks to everyone who participated in our Say Thanks to Teachers contest! We received more than 100 entries, and we loved reading your submissions—they showed just how much all of you are dedicated to your schools and supporting your teachers.

While we found it very challenging to select winners from the dozens of contenders, we finally found five we think are truly winners. These ideas are creative, but don’t require Martha Stewart-like skills; nor will it cost you big bucks to try to implement them. Plus, these fun winning ideas encourage input from children, families, and volunteers, which is really what Teacher Appreciation is all about.

So congratulations to these winners!

Jennifer Gammel, Prairie Hills Elementary PTO, Thornton, Colo.
Pinwheel Garden: A pinwheel garden was planted to honor its teachers because they “blow us away,” reports this PTO. Students (approximately 500) wrote kind words about their teachers on small slips of paper. Parent volunteers made 500 paper pinwheels and the students’ notes were attached to them. The pinwheels were planted one morning before staff arrived, and teachers took strolls through the garden to read the handwritten notes.

 

Liz Crute, Brassfield Road Elementary PTA, Raleigh, N.C.
Applause, Applause: As part of a weeklong celebration that includes a breakfast, potluck lunch, and small gifts, this group gave teachers an “applause parade” at the start of the school day. The students lined the halls and teachers walked through to the sound of a roaring applause. This didn’t cost a penny and was a huge hit.

50+ teacher appreciation ideas, plus planning tools, flyers, and more

 

Christina Cistaro, Troy Hills School PTA, Parsippany N.J.
Let’s Go Shopping: This group collected donations of classroom supplies such as envelopes, baggies, dry-erase markers, glue sticks, and other basics. Volunteers set up the supplies on a table to resemble a store, which teachers “shopped’’ by selecting the items they needed. Parents loved donating items and the staff loved shopping for free goodies, this PTA says.

 

Kim Young, Sherwood (Ore.) Charter School PAC
Bountiful Bouquets: This group asked students to bring in a flower or clipping from their yards or gardens. Volunteers gathered in the cafeteria with dozens of flowers and created gorgeous flower arrangements in lovely vases for each teacher. Each vase represented a collection of student “gifts” and displayed a multitude of different flowers. As this group says, it was “much better than store-bought.”

 

Allison Schoonhen, Memorial School PTA, Paramus, N.J.
Chalk It Up: This group provided personal cards as an end-of-year gift for teachers. Each child wrote a thank-you on a chalkboard and then posed for a photo next to the chalkboard. The photo was glued to a card. Children decorated their cards and included notes of appreciation. The teachers loved this personal thanks. Plus, the cards showed teachers some of what each child had learned that year.

 

Check out these articles for more teacher appreciation resources:

What To Spend on Teacher Appreciation Luncheons

Creative Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Last-Minute Teacher Appreciation Ideas

Originally posted in 2013 and updated regularly.