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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teacher Appreciation: Planning Resources for Parents

In preparation for National Teacher Appreciation Month in May, Edutopia has collected tips and ideas for parents looking for the right way to tell educators, “Thank you.”
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Teachers, principals, coaches, librarians, and other school staff put themselves on the line everyday for our kids. And, they don’t often get recognized for this challenging work -- a little bit of thanks can go a long way! Looking for ways to express your gratitude? Start with Edutopia's How to Thank a Teacher Guide (also available in Spanish.) Then, check out the resources below for gift ideas, thank-you note tips, ways to celebrate on social media, and more.

Before you dig in, watch “Thank a Teacher,” courtesy of Mudpies & Butterflies, for an inspiring reminder about the significance of great teachers.

Thank-You Notes

A heartfelt note is something every teacher is sure to appreciate. Whether via handwritten notes or digital formats, express your thanks and encourage your child to do the same. Below are some tips and examples that you can use as guides.

Teacher Appreciation (Edmodo blog, 2014)
Thinking of reaching out to a teacher from the past? These teacher stories, published last year on the Edmodo blog, detail personal experiences with impactful educators and can serve as writing inspiration for anyone who is having trouble getting started.

Think Back on What Your Own Teachers Gave You (Edutopia, 2014)
Heather Wolpert-Gawron thanks the teachers who taught her about writing.

Dear Teachers: Thank You for Sharing Our “Autism Life” (SmartBlog on Education, 2014)
Amy Price Azano, a professor of adolescent literacy at Virginia Tech, shares a moving “thank you” with her child’s teachers.

In every day in May 2012, Edutopia featured a different way to appreciate educators. Browse all our tips related to expressing your appreciation, collected below.

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Creative Gift Ideas

Heroic Gifts for Teacher Heroes (Edutopia, 2014)
Todd Finley celebrates Teacher Appreciation Day with a catalogue of must-have gifts for heroic teachers, a custom selection ranging from the practical to the exotic and from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Collaborative Ideas to Bring Joy to Your Teachers (Edutopia, 2014)
Carol Lloyd, Executive Director at GreatSchools, shares five great gift suggestions for parents who want to join forces in giving their children's teachers something truly unforgettable.

2014 Nerdy Teacher Holiday Shopping Guide (Edutopia, 2014)
Though compiled with the holidays in mind, this list of nerdy gift suggestions is useful any time of year. Mine the other posts in Edutopia’s "Holiday Gift Guide" series for even more ideas.

Parent Voice: The Gifts Teachers Really Appreciate (Edutopia, 2013)
Joyce Slaton Lollar, a parent who cares, shares the results of her informal survey about the gifts teachers really want to receive for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Teacher Appreciation Week 2012 (Edutopia, 2012)
Browse this brief guide to gift ideas, assembled with suggestions provided by Edutopia's online community. For even more ideas from educators and parents about the types of gifts teachers really appreciate, dive into Edutopia's community discussion on teacher gifts for the holidays.

Browse a few of the gift ideas from Edutopia's 2012 teacher appreciation project, collected below.

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Celebrate on Social Media

Follow and favorite teachers on social media, and check for updates throughout the school year. Use the hashtag #TeachersMatter on Twitter to celebrate teachers, and hop on Pinterest to check out Edutopia’s Appreciate Teachers and Teacher Gift Ideas pinboards.

Celebrate National Teacher Day on Social Media (National Education Association, 2014)
Last year, the National Education Association encouraged people to make a six-second video on Vine to #ThankATeacher. Consider making a video or sharing a photo to celebrate this year.

Here are some additional ways to celebrate teachers on social media, collected from Edutopia’s 2012 teacher appreciation project.

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Other Ways to Say Thanks

Kid President Throws a Surprise Party for a Retiring Teacher (SoulPancake, 2014)
Help students organize an event to celebrate their teacher. After 41 years, Kid President helped throw a surprise party for Mrs. Flexer with all of her old students. Warning: bring tissues! For more examples, check out a few surprise videos from Teacher Appreciation Week, courtesy of Teach for America.

My Teacher, My Hero (Teach.com)
My Teacher, My Hero provides opportunities to highlight and celebrate teachers across America. Go to Share Your Story to share a video about a teacher who has influenced your life, and browse videos to watch other inspirational stories.

Here is a sampling of other creative ways to support and celebrate teachers from Edutopia’s 2012 teacher appreciation project.

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Additional Resources From Edutopia

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Do you know of other useful resources or have ideas to share? Please contribute to this page in the comments.

Teacher Appreciation Day

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