Most people feel they are not appreciated, and plenty of students need help remembering to thank those who are putting in the extra time and effort to help them succeed. Setting up an appreciation station at your school is the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. We’re also using it as part of our PBIS program since citizenship is one of our main tenants.
I’ve broken it up by each essential part to maximize success. This is no easy task since you are relying heavily on students voluntarily participating in something that focuses on intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards.
High Traffic Table
Set up a table in an area with high traffic. Pick a time where students have a few extra minutes and aren’t rushing to class: during lunch or before school starts is optimal. The table should have an easy-to-read sign and be easily accessible. Personally, I “hired” a few actors (my go-to students) to get things started for me. Once a few students commit, the others will come. Similarly, an empty table tends to remain empty.
Assortment of Thank You Notes
Make it fun and interesting with different thank you notes to choose from. This also makes it feel more personal. I made this assortment (click the picture to get them from my TpT store) of 20 different thank you notes to fit different subjects and interests along with the standard thank-you graphics. Students enjoyed picking out just the right thank you to give to teachers and friends.
Students can’t resist the allure of colored gel pens. I admit, they get me every time, too. Gather yours up or invest in a set or two to put out with the thank you notes. Again, you’re relying on student involvement so you need every incentive you can get.
List of Faculty Members
Some students don’t even know all of their teachers’ names, much less how to spell them. Have a faculty roster or computer available to check the spelling of names for students. Thank you notes lose a bit of their magic if the receiver’s name is spelled wrong.
Okay, it doesn’t have to be Dum-Dums, but I like them because they are incredibly cheap but effective at drawing the attention of teenagers. If your school has a PBIS program, this would be a perfect event to give out points, bucks, whatever rewards system you have in place. Just a little something as a thank you to the students who are thanking their teachers and peers.
A Plan for the Notes
All that’s left now is to actually do something with the thank you notes. If you have enough, post them on a prominent bulletin board in the hallways as a reminder of how kind people can be towards one another. If you only get a handful, make sure you have a way to get them to whomever they are addressed to. We used homeroom drop offs (Good for you, Glen Coco! Three thank yous!) and faculty mailboxes to get them where they needed to go after they hung in the hallways for a week.