It is my pleasure to present to you this year’s Teacher and Staff Appreciation theme….LEGO! This is my fourth year planning Staff Appreciation Week, and I love it just as much this year as I did the first. Each year I learn a few new tricks, and as a parent at a new school this year, I have learned things from their Hospitality Committee chairs that I am excited to share with you.

LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week by Simply Styled Home

Technology is a blessing and a curse. I would have made a terrible pioneer. I know this for a fact. If appointment reminders don’t pop up on my phone, I forget. If I can’t look up recipes online, we order take out. I would not be able to function without my phone and I only use it for making calls about 5% of the time. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Technology can be a hinderance as well. Take Spirit Week for example. It is Spirit Week at my daughter’s elementary school. Her school emails a wonderful newsletter every Sunday with the happenings for the upcoming week. It is amazing….if you read it. Last Sunday was no exception, and the newsletter contained all the details of Spirit Week. Unfortunately, when Monday rolled around (Pajama Day) only about 25% of the students wore their jammies. The disappointed little faces of students dressed in regular clothing when they saw their cozy friends just about broke my heart. I wanted to go to Target and buy pajamas for every one of them.

As with Spirit Week, few parents rarely have a clue about Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week until a few days before the event, and sometimes not even then. It is understandable. Unless they specifically volunteered for the Hospitality Committee, why would they know anything was happening? Emails are all well and good, but many people (myself included) glance at email subject lines on their phone, intend to read them later, then promptly forget.

To increase awareness in the school community and generate some excitement before the big event (and hopefully more volunteers), posters are the way to go. They are attention grabbers and serve as a visual reminder to parents who may have forgotten to read or respond to emails about Staff Appreciation Week.

LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week - Poster

Hang your posters up two weeks before Staff Appreciation Week. Hang them all around the school. Go wild! Put them at every entrance, next to the office, and anywhere parents and students congregate. The idea is not just to remind parents, but to also get the students excited. The little ones especially love to do something special for their beloved teachers.

NEW THIS YEAR! My oldest daughter moved up to middle school (hold me) and their Hospitality Committee is unlike anything I have ever seen. They are a well-oiled machine, my friends. When I previously chaired the elementary school Hospitality Committee, I did all the coordinating. That is how it had always been done when I stepped in to the role, that is how I continued to run the committee. I didn’t know any different. At the middle school, the appreciation theme and activities are decided by the entire committee, but individual committee members volunteer to coordinate one day of the five-day event. They each create a Sign Up Genius event, have the coordinator look over it, then send it out to the group. They are in charge of following up with volunteers, making sure there is enough food, etc. I was floored.

I love personally overseeing all aspects of Staff Appreciation Week and spoiling the teachers and staff rotten. However, the idea of implementing the week-long event as a group is appealing. In previous years I basically lived at the school during Staff Appreciation Week; coordinating volunteers, decorating, setting up each day, receiving the food, cleaning up, following up with room parents… I lived and breathed Teacher Appreciation. I love doing it, and in coming years may spend all week at school again, but let’s be real. It isn’t for the faint of heart. Not everyone is able to dedicate that amount of time to a school event. The idea of dividing and conquering is a good one! Just like The LEGO Movie song, “Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!”

That being said, you have to have a very reliable pool of volunteers on your team to pull something like this off. Had I not seen the middle school Hospitality Committee in action every month since September I would not have been comfortable enough to delegate. I appreciate all parents who volunteer their time, but delegation simply would not have worked at other schools my girls have attended. The necessary level of volunteer commitment simply wasn’t there. Delegation may or may not work for your committee. It all depends on your parent volunteers.

Anyway, back to event preparation…

Deliver invitations (shown above) to the staff mailboxes anywhere from a few days to one week beforehand. Unlike years past (hold on to your hats!) our LEGO inspired Staff Appreciation Week does not have pre-ordered coffee drinks for breakfast, or individual staff lunches prepared by parents. There is nothing for the staff to return so the invitations don’t need to be delivered any earlier. Cha-cha-changes!

LEGO Coloring Sheets - Teacher and Staff Appreciation

The Friday before SAW, send the students home with “I Think You Are Awesome because…” pictures to color for their teacher. (If you have never done this before, here are the step-by-step instructions from previous years.) In addition to the coloring pages being sent home, if your school sends out a weekly newsletter, include a blurb about Staff Appreciation Week and a link for parents to download and print additional copies. On Monday, the students will present their pictures and notes to their teachers, and a (pre-arranged) room parent will put them on the classroom doors.

Master Builder Name Tag - LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week

On Friday afternoon, put the “Master Builder” badges in the staff mailboxes and send out an email asking them to wear the badges during Staff Appreciation Week. (They come in two different versions: One with “Building a bright future, one student at a time,” and one plain.)

I love the “Master Builder” badges. After being at the same two schools for 5+ years and knowing everyone, it was very disconcerting to walk into a new school and not know a single soul. Even after six months, I can honestly say that I have no clue if the adults I am seeing are teachers, staff, or visiting parents. Not a clue. I’m sure this will improve over time but in the meantime, having easily identifiable RED badges is a plus in my book. (I used these name badge holders.)

Master Builder Posters - LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week

Finally, hang the various “Master Builder” posters around the school. I recommend hanging the “Welcome Master Builders” poster on the Staff Room door.

If you want to take your decorations up a notch, I created some additional “Everything is Awesome Because…” posters to put up around the school. For the front office we have an “Everything is Awesome because of our Secretaries” poster. For the principal’s door we have an “Everything is Awesome because of our Principal” poster. We even have an Everything is Awesome because of our Staff” which can be hung in the staff lounge or around the school.

Everything is Awesome Posters - LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week

TIP: The “Everything is Awesome because of our Teacher” posters can be hung up on Friday after school, or you can ask each classroom volunteer to hang it up along with the coloring sheets on Monday. If you do hang them on Friday, recruit some help. You would not believe how long it takes to hang up one poster per door by yourself. It’s not the quick ten minute job you think it is. (I speak from experience.)

One of my favorite elements of this year’s theme is the flexibility. Just like building with LEGO bricks, you can create and customize your Staff Appreciation Week anyway you want to using the individual pieces of the collection. I started out designing “Assembly Stations” for our event specifically, but the list grew. Every year I get requests to create custom event signage for other schools. For instance, “Can you make a sign that says SUPER Lunch instead of SOUPer Lunch?” I try to accommodate custom design requests, but it is simply not possible during Staff Appreciation season. This time around I planned ahead and created Assembly Stations for every Build-Your-Own food I could think of. Some you will see pictured in this post, others you can see in our shop.

The second reason I love this LEGO inspired theme is the ease of decorating. The four colors associated with LEGO are red, yellow, green, and blue. It is beyond easy to find napkins, plates, cups, and utensils in these primary colors. You can mix and match them all week long. Add some white serving dishes for consistency and you are all set! I purchased multiple white three-compartment serving dishes and reused them for every Assembly Station. They were so handy!

The third reason I love this LEGO inspired theme is that is makes everyone happy. The volunteers are happy because there is no meal prep. They simply need to buy the items you request for the assembly stations. The staff is happy because they can build their own meal exactly how they like it. Perhaps someone wants a taco salad instead of a taco? Done! Perhaps someone has a gluten sensitivity? Skip the muffins and have a yogurt parfait for breakfast instead!

The LEGO inspired Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week is completely flexible. You can duplicate my event exactly, or do something completely different. Regardless of the Assembly Stations you choose it will be AWESOME!

Snack Assembly Station - LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week

SNACK TIP: I always schedule snacks for the beginning of the week because the staff loves to snack on them for multiple days. At the end of each day I refill the containers that have extra (stashed underneath the table), and remove the containers that are empty.

Taco Assembly Station - LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Printables

TACO BAR TIP: Room temperature toppings are less than appealing. If the staff eats lunch in shifts use smaller serving dishes and replenish the toppings from the refrigerator after each wave.

Other lunch Assembly Station options include: Lunch, Sandwich, Salad, and Pizza of Resistance. There are also coordinating Drink Station printables and Water Bottle Labels not seen here.

Parfait Assembly Station - LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Printables
ALLERGY TIP: Not everyone eats dairy. Be sure to include coconut milk yogurt, or another dairy free alternative. I also recommend using a granola without added nuts. Better safe than sorry.

Other breakfast Assembly Station options include: Breakfast, Oatmeal, and Waffle. There are also coordinating Drink Station printables not seen here.

Potato Assembly Station - LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Printables
BAKED POTATO TIP: Keep baked potatoes warm by wrapping them in foil and keeping them in a slow cooker on warm! On the other side of the spectrum, keep your toppings nice and cold by storing extras in the refrigerator and replenish as needed.

MASHED POTATO TIP: Mashed Potato Bars are the fancy new twist on Baked Potato Bars. Who knew?! Keep them nice and warm as well in a slow cooker. You can serve one or both at your event. It’s up to you!

Other lunch Assembly Station options include: Lunch, Sandwich, Salad, and Pizza of Resistance. There are also coordinating Drink Station printables and Water Bottle Labels not seen here.

Dessert Table - LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Printables

WOW, right?! All of the schools my girls have attended have/had very health conscious teachers and staff, this year is no exception. This year I built a dessert table with delicious boutique (mostly) bite-sized treats from some of my favorite Etsy shops: Holiday Confections (Rice Krispy pops), Magnify Cookies – closed (LEGO cookies), and Candy Confections (Chocolate LEGO blocks – cupcake toppers and “Thank You!” treat bags). I also added regular sized and mini chocolate bars because…chocolate! I have a crush on the “Piece of Resistance” candy bar wrappers.

Even with bite-sized treats there are always leftovers. I used gable boxes (pictured at the top of the post) as adorable to-go containers (which doubled as a “Thank You” gift) but you could always use color coordinated gift bags as an easy alternative.

I included chocolate LEGO blocks with a “Thank you” tag, inside each gable boxes (placed inside ahead of time). You can pre-fill your gable boxes with something special, or place them in nice rows next to the Dessert Assembly Station. The teachers and staff can have a treat, then put any other goodies they would like in their gable boxes to share or enjoy another day.

Treat Bags - LEGO Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week

Thank you for reading! I hope this inspires and helps you plan an amazing Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week at your school! All of the LEGO inspired printables seen in this blog post (and many more) are available for purchase in our shop.

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