Depending on where you are located, teacher appreciation week was either this past week or the week before last. Throughout both weeks, my twitter feed was filled with pictures of gift after gift that other teachers had received. There were pictures of awesome looking food spreads provided by PTOs or other organizations. If this were a few years ago, I would have started feeling sorry for myself.
I did this a couple of years ago. I let these pictures get me in a dark, depressed mood. Eventually, I got out of that mood when I decided to do something about the fact that my school did nothing to celebrate the teachers during teacher appreciation week. So, this year, as soon as I started seeing the pictures, I started to immediately think about what I could do instead of what I wish others would do for me. The mindset switch has been a huge thing for me. I can complain or I can do something about it. I’m choosing to do something about it.
Last year, I created a “You Are Appreciated” form for my students to fill out and deliver to a teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week.
This worked really well, but I had done a similar project with my students at Thanksgiving. This year, I decided that I would have my students collaborate together to make a book for each teacher in the building. I created four page “templates” for students to complete. These pages were cut apart with the paper chopper, sorted by teacher, and assembled to create a book of appreciation for each teacher.
Here are the four prompts I chose for this year’s pages:
- 1. You brighten my day every time you…
- 2. I’ll never forget that time…
- 3. My favorite thing you taught me this year was…
- 4. Thank you for always…
Each note was signed Most Appreciatively, Student’s Name. Some of my students got confused and wrote the recipient’s name after “Most Appreciatively.” I actually had them write the recipient’s name on the back of each note so that they could be easily sorted after being cut on the paper chopper.
After having each of my students write one page of notes (four notes total), we tallied up how many each teacher had received. Since I teach almost all freshmen, most of my students ended up writing to the same few teachers. This meant that there were quite a few teachers with only a couple of notes. Many of my students do know these teachers, so I had them choose a teacher off the list they knew and write an additional note or two.
Next, we took construction paper and cut it in half lengthwise to form a book cover. Throughout one day as various students finished their assignment, I had them choose a teacher’s book cover to decorate with colored markers and stickers.
Then, I had the pleasure to teach a class of freshmen to use curling ribbon to tie up each book. I’d originally planned to staple the pages in each book, but I made the mistake of letting my students use the paper chopper to cut the pages apart. They did manage to cut the pages apart, but they ended up all different sizes which wasn’t exactly conducive to assembling in a book. Just sticking the pages in a construction paper cover and typing it up with ribbon helped to hide the imperfections. 🙂
Here are some pictures of our projects in construction:
My kids were SUPER-eager to deliver the “packages” once we had them all tied up with curling ribbon. I had to force them to be patient so I could take a picture of all of the books at once. They didn’t really want to wait, but they did. 😉
Here’s the finished product:
I absolutely love how they turned out. Here’s mine! 😀
So, for the second year in a row, I’ve learned that doing something to brighten someone else’s day is the very best thing you can do to brighten your own day.