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This year I volunteered to chair the Hospitality Committee at Zoë’s school. Honestly, I jumped at the opportunity. I have no desire whatsoever to be on the PTSA board, but I want to contribute in a meaningful way at her school. It was a win-win. The main event of the year for the Hospitality Committee is Staff Appreciation Week (support staff needs appreciation too!). I decided on a Dr. Seuss theme and away I went! Below you will find detailed instructions to re-create a Dr. Seuss themed Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week for your school!
The main “slogan” if you will, was “Hats Off To Our Teachers!” A few weeks before the event, I asked my photographer friend and fellow parent, John Wolfe, to take Dr. Seuss Photo Booth style pictures of all the teachers and staff. It was a huge hit at the baby shower I planned a few years ago and I still had all the props. Score! The Friday before Staff Appreciation Week, the 8×10 pictures were put on all the teachers’ doors and staff photos were put up in the staff lounge. (The hats were put on the doors by room parents on Monday. This is Zoë’s teacher and their classroom door.)
Next up, invitations. Each of the teachers and staff received this invitation in their mailbox which detailed the events of the upcoming Staff Appreciation Week. Included with their invitations were: An invitation to the Pink Yink Ink Breakfast with a Drink Order Request and Lunch Preferences Questionnaire. I asked that order forms and questionnaires be returned to me via the PTSA box no later than the Thursday before Staff Appreciation Week. (More on the drink order and lunch preferences in a moment.) The invitation is not actually neon. I’m not sure what’s going on there. I had them printed as photo cards at Costco. You can’t beat $14.99 for 50 flat cards with envelopes!
One week before, I sent home a “Hats Off To My Teachers” hat with each of the students and asked them to please color the hat, write a note to their teacher, and return it to school on Monday. If you are planning a similar event and have access to the school district’s printer definitely use them. They are ridiculously inexpensive. I did have to sort the proper number of hats per classroom, but that was no big deal.
For students that wished to color hats for additional teachers and staff, extra hats were available in the office all week long. I created a poster that was hung in the main stairwell letting students know where they could find extra hats. (To give you some idea of scale, the Cat in the Hat was 6 feet tall. The poster looks small in the picture, but it is almost 3 feet wide!)
Now that the groundwork was laid, I focused on the activities for the week, each one being Seuss themed, of course. I used SignUp Genius to coordinate sign ups with the Hospitality Committee and Room Parents for these activities. I made everything look pretty, but I couldn’t have pulled off an event like this without the wonderfully supportive parents at our school.
Monday: Gourmet “Hop On Popcorn” Bar
We had eight different varieties of gourmet popcorn for the staff to enjoy throughout the day. If you have never made gourmet popcorn, don’t be intimidated! I made Birthday Cake Batter Popcorn (that was delish!) and it literally took ten minutes to make. You can find all sorts of fabulous popcorn recipes on my Simply Pop! Pinterest board. If I had this to do again, I would have had 1/2 the varieties be sweet and the other 1/2 savory. The one savory flavor, cheese, was gone almost immediately. The Hop-On-Popcorn Menu and Circle Label printables are available for purchase here.
Tuesday: Biffer Baum Boxed Lunches
The parents made “boxed” lunches for every staff member at the school. I included a questionnaire with the invitations asking the following questions: What is your favorite sandwich? Favorite bread? What do you like on your sandwich? Favorite chips? Favorite salad? Favorite dessert? Favorite drink? Favorite dessert? Any allergies? I asked that the questionnaires be returned by the Thursday prior to Staff Appreciation Week. Once I received them, I forwarded the answers to the parents who signed up to make lunches.
Let me just say, I was completely floored when I walked into the staff lounge and saw the “boxed” lunches. Clearly, I use the term loosely. I thought I was doing well with “Cat in the Hat” reusable bags and tissue paper for my lunches. I need to step up my game next year. WOW.
TIP: The lunches at our school are staggered from 11:15-12:30 so we tried to organize the lunches by time. There were 50+ lunches, so those first few groups had quite a few lunches to look through before finding theirs, even with the sorting.
Wednesday: Pink Yink Ink Drink Breakfast
I included drink orders with the Pink Yink Ink Breakfast invitation, and asked that the teachers and staff return them the Thursday before Staff Appreciation Week. They had the choice of a Pink Yink Ink Drink (triple berry smoothie) or a drink from Starbucks. The drink orders were printed on 3×4 shipping labels.
I took 1/2 the orders to the Starbucks about a mile away, and 1/2 to the other Starbucks a mile the other way. (Remember, I live in Seattle. We’re surrounded.) I pre-paid for all of the drinks to make pick up easy for the 4 parents picking up the 40 lattes the next morning. The baristas loved the sticker labels. They quickly and easily made the pre-ordered drinks and attached the labels. The drinks and breakfast were waiting for the teachers/staff at 7:50am. I wanted them to have time to enjoy their breakfast before school started.
I pink-a-fied the staff lounge by tying tulle to the tops of all the chairs, and on the cupcake stands. The table cloths were pink as were the cups, plates, napkins and utensils. I also placed pink daisies on the less colorful platters (like bagels). I didn’t get any good pictures of the drinks lined up (dangit!) because I was busy making the triple berry smoothies. I bought the frozen smoothie packets from Costco. I simply added milk, blended, and voila… pink yink ink drink! What you see above is the remaining breakfast items after everyone had left. You can purchase the Pink Yink Ink Drink Breakfast Invitation, Drink Order Forms, and Pink Folding Party Labels here.
The most difficult part of this luncheon was coming up with Seuss-y names for the food. I had multiple parents tell me that they were not signing up to bring food because coming up with a Seuss-y name was too stressful. To save YOU the stress of coming up with a luncheon worth of names, here is the most comprehensive list of Dr. Seuss food names you will find on the web. Trust me, I searched for hours.
- Yot in a Pot
- Yan in a Pan
- Cluck Cluck Bowties
- Skipper Zipp’s Chips
- Whoo Hash
- Oodles of Noodles and Cock a Doodles
- Brown & Black’s Snacks
- Prairie of Prax
- Truffula Tree Crunch
- Roast Beast Sandwiches
- Truffula Fruits
- Schlott’s Knots
- Dr. Seuss-shi Rolls
- Gertrude McFuzzy’s Berry Salad
- Green Egg Pie
- Green Eggs and Ham
- Lentil Soup from the Hoop Soup Snoop Group
- Assorted Greens and Other Things
- Poodles with Noodles
- Biggle Balls
- Remarkable Foons Sizzling Hot Pebbles
- Three Cheese Trees
- Snop Gloop on a Floop
- Hob Knobblers and Bumplings
- Nuppers Nuggets
- Red and Black Snack
- River of Knobsy Cobksy Cornbread
- A Little of This, A Little of That
- Wild Bippo No Bungus
I used turquoise polka dot wrapping paper cut in half as table runners on the eating tables. I also used it as table runners on top of the green table clothes on the buffet tables. The green utensils were wrapped in turquoise napkins and tied with white curling ribbon. The Seuss-y food labels had a turquoise background. You can purchase the Whoo-Food Menu and Folding Party Labels here.
Friday: Whoo-Treat Dessert Bar
As with the feast, the hardest part of the dessert bar was coming up with the names. Here is the complete list of names the other parents and I came up with:
- Green Eggs and Ham (Recipe found here.)
- Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes
- 1 Fish, 2 Fish
- Yurtle the Turtles
- 10 Apples Up On Top
- Max’s Milk Bones
- Unicorn Patties
- Gingery Snappity Snaps
- ABC Cookies
- “The Big Brag” Cookies
- Clover Cake Pops
- Barbaloot Brownies
- Truffula Tree Cake Pops
- Caramel Hop-On-Popcorn
- Schlopp with a Cherry on Top
- Biggle Ball Cookies
- Sweet Yazz and Yumm
- Valley of the Vungs Chocolate Rock Blocks
- Zizzer Zoof Seeds
- Katroo Cake
- Bippolo Seeds
The color scheme of the day was lavender and pink. Like yesterday, I used pink polka dot wrapping paper cut in half as a table runner on the eating tables, and again on the lavender table clothes on the buffet tables. The Seuss-y dessert labels had a lavender background. I also used Dr. Seuss foam stickers (on clearance at Michaels) to Seuss up the dessert bar. I actually had Yertle the Turtle, Green Eggs and Ham, Thing 1 and Think 2, and 1 Fish, 2 Fish stickers! The backs already had adhesive so I simply stuck them to lollipop sticks. You can purchase the Whoo-Treat Menu and Lavender Folding Party Labels here.
Using this tutorial, I created truffula-esque pom poms to hang from the ceiling of the staff lounge, and another parent made awesome truffula trees to line the hallway leading to the staff lounge. I also found some assorted Dr. Seuss cardboard cutouts on Amazon (here and here), and a poster at Michael’s.
TIP: If you are purchasing items at Michael’s for a school event, ask if they will give you the 15% teacher discount. The checker ringing me up volunteered to give me the discount without even having to ask her. (I didn’t know they even did that! Michael’s just went up five cool points.)
We also hung Seuss-y photo of the support staff in the lounge. It was the focal point of the room. Every time I was in the staff lounge people were gathered around them, smiling.
At the end of the week the teachers and staff took their Seuss-y photos home. Some teachers decided to leave their photos and hats on the classroom doors indefinitely. The photos were also given to the yearbook staff. These are so much more fun than traditional boring school pictures!
“Hats Off To Our Principal” Album
The principal at Zoë’s school is amazing, and even though she doesn’t have a classroom, she touches the lives of every person in our school. I wanted to do something extra special for her. I truly believe that a principal sets the tone for the entire school. Our school rocks and she does too!
I asked John to please print 4×6 versions of the teacher/staff Seuss-y pictures along with the 8×10′s. I slid them into a 2-up album, and asked the teachers/staff to please write a note to Principal S. telling her how much they appreciate her. The notecards were then placed in the album next to their picture. At the end of the week I gathered up all the “hats” the students had made for her, and glued them into the album as well. The final step was the Seuss up the album a bit, so I added some ribbon and a “Cat in the Hat” sticker.
There you have it! Every single thing you need to know to have your very own Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week! You can purchase the complete printable collection here. Printables from each activity are also available a la carte.