It’s the 98th American Education Week, so join our team at EZCare in giving a big THANK YOU to all of our public school teachers, administrators, education support professionals, substitute educators, and all those folks who help make public education a great experience for our students.
A little about American Education Week
First celebrated in 1921, American Education Week is a celebration of public education, established to raise awareness in local communities of the needs and achievements of public schools. This helps to secure support and cooperation from the community, and it provides an avenue to honor individuals who are making a difference in the lives of children.
During the week, each day has a special focus:
- OPEN HOUSE DAY/AEW KICK-OFF – MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18
- PARENTS DAY – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19
- EDUCATION SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS DAY – WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20
- EDUCATOR FOR A DAY – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21
- SUBSTITUTE EDUCATORS DAY – FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22
Okay, enough with the history lesson. This year, maybe time got away from you, and you didn’t make big plans to celebrate. Or maybe you have lots of activities planned, but you feel like your big week is missing a little something. Let’s look at some fun no-cost and low-cost ways to make American Education Week special at your school – with only a little planning and a shoestring budget.
Kicking off American Education Week
- What better way to kick off the week than with a game of kickball? In fact, hold a students vs. teachers game day, with volleyball, kickball, red rover, and more. You can schedule chess matches, trivia games, scavenger hunts – you name it. Keep track of the points earned from each game, and at the end of the day, announce the winner.
- Have staff and faculty bring in baby pictures or their own school age photos, and display them on a bulletin board in your lobby or lunchroom – without identifying who is who. Hold a contest to see who can match the most teachers to their photos. Kids will have a blast seeing what their teachers looked like when they were little!
- Hold a “What I Like Best About My School” contest for all students. Students in lower grades can draw pictures, then tell their classes what they drew. Older grades can write short essays. Post all of the essays and pictures, along with the names of the artists and authors, on a bulletin board, and then have the winners read their essays on Friday during announcements.
- Have you ever played “Two Truths and a Lie?” It’s a great get-to-know-you icebreaker that you can spin into a school-wide game. Have each teacher think of three statements, two of which are true, and one that isn’t. Next, have each teacher rotate from one classroom to the next, every 5 minutes, so share their three statements with each class. The students will vote on which statements they think are true and which ones are false, and for each correct answer, they get a point. The winning class with the most points from correct guesses wins a prize.
- Hold a faculty trivia contest. Invite staff members to share information about their lives outside of school that students might not know. Which student(s) guesses correctly the teacher associated with the most trivia statements?
- “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That’s a question that can inspire some real imagination as little ones share big dreams. Choose a day and hold a Career Day dress up, where students come dressed as what they see in their own futures.
- Show your true colors and your school pride by having your whole school – and even the local community – wear your school colors one day. This no-cost joint effort can also make for a great photo op!
- Use the week to teach children about giving back. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so collecting some canned and non-perishable goods to donate to a local food pantry or shelter is a great way to show students how great helping and giving can feel.
- Hold a pep rally to celebrate American Education Week. Share with students what each day celebrates and what activities you have planned, and generate some excitement.
- What will your school look like in the year… 2050? You can set whatever date you want, and it’s a guarantee that this picture or essay activity will produce some out-of-this-world results.
- An apple does more than keep the doctor away – it has also become a symbol of gratitude for the work teachers are teachers do. Back in the early 1700s in Denmark, poor families would send baskets of apples to school as payment for their childrens’ education. A shiny, juicy, delicious apple with a note of appreciation on each teacher’s desk is a nice way to say “thanks” to your staff.
- Organize an American Education Week bulletin board contest. Each class can work with their teacher to create a bulletin board for American Education Week’s theme, “Reach. Educate. Inspire.” The winning class can be announced at the end of the week, and they’ll be proud of what they were able to do together. Want to go the extra mile? Take a photo of each class’s bulletin board and post them on your school website or social media for parents to see, like, and share.
- Have students design and decorate bookmarks, then laminate them as keepsakes. You can challenge students to read at home, and they’ll love using their handmade custom bookmarks to keep track of where they are in their “big kid” books.
- Invite students to write essays with the topic “What I Would Do If I Were Principal.” You’ll love reading about all the new rules (or lack thereof), and students will enjoy imagining what they will do with all that authority. You may even get some eye-opening reviews of school cafeteria food!
- Help students get to know their Substitute Educators by featuring one or two each day in your morning announcements.
- Have your class write a poem about your Education Support Professionals, and provide each one with a copy, along with a thank you note for all they contribute to your school.
- Hold a staff potluck breakfast and encourage your teachers, administrators, Substitute Educators, and ESPs to bring a favorite dish (or a box of those addictive doughnut holes).
- Have students create thank you cards for bus drivers and have each child on their route sign. Hand deliver it with a small gift – a coffee mug personalized with some creative cricut vinyl filled with Hershey’s kisses, a gift card for coffee or gas, or a small bunch of flowers.
- Present your support staff and volunteers with Peppermint Patties and notes thanking them for their “involve-mint.”
- Send home pre-printed “apple” cutouts with places to fill in favorite subjects, favorite lunch, and favorite time of day, and include a section for parents to add few memories from their own school days. Post these in the hallway or on a bulletin board in the classroom.
Raise community awareness for American Education Week
You have all these great things planned for the week, so now it’s time to get snapping and posting to spread the news. Use the AEW hashtag – #AEW2019 – or create something using your school’s name. Encourage teachers, staff, and volunteers to snap photos and post their activities using the hashtag to start your week trending in the right direction.
Here are a few samples to get you started. Be sure to use your hashtags!
- Happy American Education Week! We’re so proud of our public schools for providing students with the tools, support, and time they need to learn.
- We love the educators who inspire us and support our mission to provide quality public education for all! Public schools rock!
- THANK YOU to everyone who works with our students. It truly takes a village to provide the best experience, from classroom teachers and front office admins to bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodial staff!
No matter what you do to celebrate, use American Education Week to bring your public education community together.