Parent and Family Appreciation

Have you ever ordered over 200 donuts? What? Why not? Well, do you like to host a parent and family day to appreciate your students’ families? 

Last year I decided to show some love to the families that send me human beings to add to my growing list of favorite people. And what better day to do it than on National Donut Day?! 

If you’re hoping to host your own Family Appreciation Day, keep reading to find out how we celebrated!

PLAN AHEAD

  1. Talk to your students about it before inviting families.
  2. Send out invitations about a month in advance.
  3. Plan an activity or activities for your students to complete with their family.
  4. If you’re planning to have donuts (especially on National Donut Day), make sure you put in an order with your local donut shop!

INVITE FAMILIES

After I talk with my students about how important their families our to our class success, I tell them we will have a special celebration for them. I let them know what is planned and for when. I am sure to share this information with them before sending out an invitation to their families. Because it’s faster, I just make an invitation and post it on Class Dojo + send out information in the weekly class newsletter a few weeks in advance. If we had more time, I would love if students actually made the invites!

 

MAKE IT MEMORABLE

Of course, having a donut and coffee/juice is an activity in itself, but I wanted my students to really appreciate members of their family! Even a family that may not seem present in a school deserves to be thanked for things that may go unnoticed in a school! I also talked about what “family” can mean, and that we also have a school family! That re-definition allows students to think about who they’d like to invite if someone else might not be able to attend.

I used this great resources from EB Academic Camps and love that it includes a digital version! Even better, we started the year with “I Am” Poems, so this is a nice way to bring back something old with a new twist! Students could write as many poems as they wanted, but I asked them to choose at least two important people they would like to recognize. 

HAVE FUN!

I’m all about pictures and memories. I feel like half of my memories are photo memories, meaning that if I didn’t see a photo of myself doing something, I might not have known I did it! Since photos are so special to me, I had my students make a photo backdrop. Our donuts were WAY LESS COOL than the original idea I saw here in Mini Matisse’s art blog.  I left out some props I made a few years ago for a middle school dance and found some props on the Target Clearance end cap. The students loved making the backdrop and the families were lining up to take photos! The best part was that I didn’t have to worry about printing or sending them the photos–many were just taking selfies!

GENUINELY EXPRESS GRATITUDE

As a former middle school teacher, I’m not sure I could have accomplished the task of writing appreciation cards for all of my students’ families. Yet with just 31 fifth graders, I was able to accomplish the task. You can grab the printable cards from my TpT shop here.

Because I have built relationships not just with my students, but also their families, I took time to think about  ways I knew they were working with their child and ways they specifically supported me (and the class). In a few sentences, I thanked them for the success of the school year and for key attributes they instilled in their child.

Here are some sample letters of appreciation:

  • I am so lucky that (student name) was in my class this year! She/he was such a positive light in our classroom and always came in ready to learn. Thank you for the ways in which you supported (student name) by always encouraging her/him to do her/his personal best…especially by doing re-dos of math tests! Also, your supply contributions were ever so valuable and they truly contributed to our success in many ways! Thank you for a great year!
  • Thank you so much for your support this year! Every day you sent (student name) to school with a smile on his/her face and enthusiastic about their learning. He/She is such a hard worker and I love his/her creativity on all of our projects this year! I know you spent extra time encouraging this work at home and I’m so appreciative for all of the ways in which you build him/her up behind the scenes. Thank you for all you’ve done for both (student name) and me this year!
  • Your countless hours of time spent on fieldwork with us this year has not gone unnoticed! Thank you for always being so willing to drive and chaperone trips throughout the year. (Student name) is so lucky to have parents that are so involved in their education. I’ve enjoyed getting to know your family and can’t wait to hear about how your summer camping trip goes! It sounds like it will be so much fun! Thank you again for your involvement in our class this year!

How do you celebrate families in your class?

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