For parents and PTOs, this year’s 2020 Teacher Appreciation Week will be unique. Many of us are socially distanced from teachers right now due to schools being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. While PTOs may have handed out flowers, had a teacher appreciation luncheons, and hosted other fun events in the past years, this year we have to be more creative.  So, how do we say thanks to teachers who are helping to keep our kids’ minds engaged at home?

As a PTO board member myself, it is a challenge for Room Parents, PTOs, and others to figure out how to celebrate our teachers this year. However, here are a few Teacher Appreciation Week ideas to consider. Some are easy because let’s face it: Parents are homeschooling, raising their kids, taking care of households, and in many cases, working, too. But there are some fun ideas for those who can take on more coordination and technical-savvy options.

Send an Email

The simplest thing to show teacher appreciation this year is to just encourage each family to send an email of thanks to the teacher. Taking a moment during that week just to say a simple “thank you” goes a long way. Think about how you feel when your child actually says, “Thank you for making dinner!” A simple phrase can mean a lot.


Set up a google form/survey where you ask simple questions like “What is your favorite memory of 3rd grade,” “What do you like most about Ms. T.,” or “What book do you think Ms. T. would love reading this summer?” Then each kiddo fills out the survey with answers and you pass along the responses. Maybe make a printed binder of them.

Photo or Video Collage

Ask each family to take a picture or a five-second video of their kiddo holding up a piece of paper with a saying, a thank you, an art drawing, a smiley face, or anything they would like. Everyone can do the same thing or vary it. For privacy, the child can wear sunglasses or wear a favorite costume if a parent is concerned. You could also have everyone take a picture or video wearing something fun! Have them send to you, then drop all the pictures into a Word doc or be fancy with Use your computer to make a video montage. Ask a fellow parent to do that if that is beyond your wheelhouse!

Art Book

Ask each family to send just an art drawing from each kid. Print out and make an art “book” for the teacher if you have their address.

Theme Challenge

Come up with a theme each day. Here is one themed week I did on my personal blog a couple of years ago. It is easy to repurpose into a more virtual format. Then, each morning, ask the families to email a quote, a drawing, or a message for that day’s theme.

School Year Photo Shares

Have each family send a picture from the school year to share with the teacher. Maybe they took a picture of their child with the teacher during an open house, at the kick-off event on the first day of school, or at the Halloween parade. Maybe they had never gotten around to sending it. Now is the time!

At the end of the day, the simplest thing is to just encourage each family to send a thank you email. Just one. To just take a moment to be thankful, to connect, and to share warm, kind, happy thoughts. We could all use some of that right now!

For more activities and resources for your family to do while staying safe at home, click here.