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Jen, Kristen, and Patience

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Posts in Great Day of Gratitude Category


Never Too Late To Say Thank You

Posted by Jen on May 6, 2010 at 7:00 AM in Great Day of Gratitude
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Still thinking about what you can do to let your teachers and staff know you care? It's not too late to express your thanks or let your teachers and staff know that their hard work and care means the world. We hope our Great Day of Gratitude inspired you to make your thanks this year extra special.

If you are feeling the crunch of your budget, your time or your energy, here are five easy ways to say you care that express great gratitude (and heart) each and every day between now and school's end.

Sing a song. There's not a teacher alive who would not melt at a singing telegram from you and your child. Any love song will do, just insert your teacher's name and sing out loud, sing out strong.
Say a prayer. No matter what your teacher's affiliations, a generic wish or blessing written on an index card, making plain what good things you'd like to see come his or her way will be a gift to be cherished for years to come.
Stay and serve. Madeleine has a friend who volunteers to stay in for recess from time to time and do little errands for his favorite teacher. Little shows of service, especially from our kids, let our teachers know it's all worth it.
Wear a badge. How about a badge that playfully says, "Mrs. Cai is our favorite! Don't tell the others!" or "Ms. Marvray is number one!" Who could resist a shameless display of affection?
Tell a knock-knock. I think I'll be a sucker for the knock-knock joke as long as I live. If "orange" (as in "aren't you?") or "jamaica" (as in "you make me...") answer the door, you can easily craft a response that would make your teacher smile.

Feel free to continue to share your expressions of Great Gratitude in the comments below.


PBS Supersisters Great Day of Gratitude Has Arrived

Posted by Kristen on May 5, 2010 at 6:32 AM in Great Day of Gratitude
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The Great Day of Gratitude is May 5, 2010

Welcome to the Supersisters Great Day of Gratitude! Today is the day we honor teachers everywhere for the sacrifices they make every day for our kids.

If you are still looking for ideas for things you can do to show the teachers how much you care, how about handwritten notes to the teacher or a professional letter of recommendation and appreciation?

Are you crafty? Vickie from Craft Apparent shows us how to make these adorable Teacher's Pots that are sure to bring a smile to any child's face as they make it and any teacher's face to receive such a lovely (and super easy to make) tiny pot.

Gina from Booklights has some great book ideas for sparking conversations with your kids about gratitude beyond this Great Day of Gratitude and our very own Patience has some of her own ideas for teaching your kids the importance of gratitude.

We made it really easy for you to tell us how your kids made their teachers feel special today.

If you have a blog:
Badge: just cut and paste the following into your Great Day of Gratitude blog post and then come back and share the link to your blog so we can check out what you did today! Be sure to share you link to your Great Day of Gratitude post (and not just your blog).

<a href=""><img  src="" border="0" alt="The Great Day of Gratitude is May 5, 2010" /></a>

If you didn't blog about your own Great Day of Gratitude:
You did do something fabulous to show our teachers how much you care or you don't have school age children but you have a favorite teacher you would like to honor. Please let us know in the comments. We can't wait to hear!

Thanks so much for being part of our Supersisters Great Day of Gratitude and we know this is going to be a fabulous one!


Teaching Gratitude To Kids

Posted by Patience on April 30, 2010 at 7:00 AM in Family ActivitiesGood HabitsGreat Day of GratitudePBS Values
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flower fairy.jpg

We are getting closer and closer to our Great Day of Gratitude on May 5th! Now that the gratitude train is going, what a great opportunity to explore being grateful with our kids in other areas of our lives. Here are a few things we are trying on at the moment to learn more at our house.

The Gratitude Growl and Howl What is the one thing you are going a little crazy for these days? It's easy to be thankful for the things that make us really happy or even just stuff we enjoy. Go around the circle and give a growl, a howl and then state what you are grateful for. Being silly as a parent sometimes unlocks the joy inside and invites kids to share (or laugh at you). We are grateful growling for wildflowers, berries, Pokemon cards, the computer and puppy dogs at our house.

The Manners Police Start young, before kids can even talk with please and thank you. Introducing the practice and gentle reminders send us back to the value we want to honor and instill. This helps us learn to be intentional in our thanks.

The Gratitude Tree Head out for a nature walk to search for a medium size branch with lots of tiny branches. Buy a simple clay or ceramic pot you can decorate or paint together. Use plaster of Paris or marbles/rocks to hold your "tree" in place. Every season decorate your tree with the things you are currently grateful for written on tiny paper leaves. In the winter, you can hang ornaments or colored balls with the words written on instead. Just like the seasons, life is cyclical, the leaves are bursting and other times the tree is bare. This is a good activity to mix creativity and revive the focus every now and then.

Quiet Thanks Doing acts that express gratitude anonymously can help kids discover that we can express our gratitude without the need for a return. Leaving flowers on doorsteps or writing a notes and hiding them for those we are thankful for to find can be really fun and kind of sneaky. Some children might prefer this way of being grateful.

Leaving Space for Need Usually when we have a hard time being grateful it is because we are in need of something ourselves. Kids (and parents) might need the space to express needs and invite help or empathy which in turn produces a new and different kind of gratitude.

What ways do you celebrate gratitude at your house? What has or hasn't worked for your family? Do share in the comments.


PBS Supersisters Great Day of Gratitude

Posted by Jen on April 28, 2010 at 9:33 AM in Great Day of Gratitude
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for you resized
I have gratitude anxiety as a parent of elementary school aged kids. Every single day of the school year, my children fly out the door, walk three doors down, one hops on the bus and the other walks into school. For the duration of their absence, I worry about a lot of things--like how I will finish this or that deadline or if this or that project will come together--but one thing I don't have to worry about is how my children are doing. Both of their schools are full of the kind of young (and seasoned) professionals who are there, not because of the money (what teacher is in it for the money?) but because they love kids, they are passionate about learning and they love their jobs.

My kids--even with all the normal ups and downs of school life--are in good shape as a result, and they're receiving something from these men and women that I could never give them on my own as I juggle my work and other grownup demands. How can my thank you really communicate that? How can I explain how incredibly glad I am that these people give and care for my kids day after day after day?

One year when my budget dictated there would be no Starbucks or Target cards, I decided to write letters instead. And not the kind of personal note you might expect from a mom to a kindergarten teacher. I wrote professional letters of recommendation and appreciation for each teacher's professional file and I sent copies all the way up the administrative food chain.

It was the most enthusiastically received gift I had ever given a teacher--something that could last forever--or as long as the teacher hoped for a raise or a promotion or any other kind of recognition for a job well done. And it was a powerful tool for those teachers in areas where budget cuts meant one less specialist would be needed in the year to come.

This kind of letter wasn't hard to write, though it took a little time out for reflection. Here are the basic elements:

A professional tone.
Pretend you're writing for a colleague looking to secure a new position or a peer entering a rigorous review process. No flowery words are necessary. Just the facts.

Concrete examples based on need. Be clear about what kind of specific help your child needed during this year and how the teacher provided that assistance. For example, if you have a child who struggles academically, you can note how the teacher consistently kept your child seated in the front of the class and kept you apprised of daily progress. This is a simple thing, but in a typewritten letter it communicates strongly.

Details that reflect dedication or commitment. These are the above and beyond items. Be a good detective of your teacher's unique contributions. Every teacher has their area of strength--that little way they go the extra mile out of their own dedication to excellence. Be sure to include this element in your letter. For example, one year one of my kids had a first year teacher who was inexperienced in the classroom, but she had a remarkable gift for tracking and encouraging individual academic growth. This is something the principal needed to know.

High praise and requests. A strong letter asks the teacher's superiors to do everything in their power to provide ongoing training and growth opportunities for the teacher's career and development. Every teacher appreciates someone advocating for their career growth, and every teacher can benefit from this kind of door opening.

You might be wondering if you can pull this off with some teachers and not with others. I decided to give it a go with all my kids teachers and was surprised to discover there was something really good to say about everyone.

Will you join us as we get ready to show our gratitude in a remarkable way? All the information is right here.


Supersisters Great Day of Gratitude: Creative Thank You Ideas

Posted by Patience on April 23, 2010 at 7:30 AM in Great Day of Gratitude
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great day of gratitude jack

The Supersisters Great Day of Gratitude planning is in full swing at our house. The kids and I wondered if it would be fun to make our expressions of gratitude and kindness for our teachers and caregivers delightfully sneaky.

great day of gratitude josiah

Here are a few ideas we came up with for May 5, 2010 to tell our teachers we see all they do and honor their contribution in our lives:

Pass a note. Write a note or draw a picture telling your teacher how much he or she means to you and then fold it into an awesome shape like a heart. Here are the instructions. Some time during class or before/after school, quietly drop it on his/her desk or leave it on top of your own when you leave school to be found. You can sign or name or make it anonymous, either way it will make your teacher smile.

Post-it Play! Grab a pad of post-its and a bunch of friends to do a group expression of big thanks! Have each student write a little note of thanks and post-it on their on individual worksheet. When you pass your papers to turn in, you instantly have 20, 24, or even 30 messages of love for your teacher to go through as he/she grades your papers.

Grab an accomplice. Ask another teacher to help you pull a kindness mission off. Make a plan with the teacher in the next door classroom to leave a potted plant (the perfect eco-craft is right here), a bouquet of flowers, chocolates, basket of goodies with a note for your teacher in his/her classroom after hours. Maybe you'll even get to meet a teacher you'll have in the future and make a new friendship.

Make a wish. Wishing is fun and can even be more fun when we extend or imagine our wishes for others. Make a small book, kind of like these. Fill them with your wishes for your teacher. Do you hope she has more flowers in her life, or a fruity drink on a beach vacation, more time with his/her family? This is really fun to ask kids and hear their wishes and blessings.

Widen the circle. After you cover your teachers, why not thank a few other folks who do their jobs to help you be able to learn? Janitors, the lunch lady/man, school secretary, the librarian could all use a note of thanks for all they do to help our schools and kids. Their jobs often go unseen yet they play an important role in our children's growth.

What creative ideas do you have for our collective Great Day of Gratitude? Tell us in the comments or better yet write your own blog post and leave us the link here. Help us spread the word to make this gratitude reach far and wide for every teacher.

You can also include your pictures of teacher love projects on our PBS Supersister Flickr Pool here.

Now go get your gratitude on!


PBS Supersisters Great Day of Gratitude

Posted by Kristen on April 19, 2010 at 9:09 AM in Great Day of Gratitude
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The Great Day of Gratitude is May 5, 2010

Everywhere you go, the story is the same. Funding for this program or that program at school has been cut, because the money just isn't there. In the old days, funding cuts meant the disappearance of programs that taught our kids a foreign language or how to play the tuba or the thrill of check mate.

Not anymore.

Funding cuts today mean that thousands of teachers will not have a job in the fall. Thousands of teachers will have to find another job to pay the bills.

We cannot make the funding for teachers miraculously appear, but we can certainly do our part to show our teachers that they matter to our community, that they matter to us, and that they matter to our children.

The Supersisters have decided to host a Supersisters Great Day of Gratitude. On May 5, 2010, Supersisters everywhere will join together to show their children's teachers that we are so thankful for the investment they have made in our families and in our communities. What can you do?

We are only limited by our imaginations. Moms in Alabama will spend the morning in the resource room of their elementary school. They'll run copies or cut out construction paper animals that the second grade teacher needs to have but just doesn't have the time or help to get it done.

Moms in Ohio will stand in the preschool pick up line, so that the teachers can have a day off from this dreaded duty. Moms in Virginia will bring armfuls of fresh flowers to decorate the teacher's lounge and baskets of fresh muffins for a wonderful morning snack.

Children everywhere will cut out homemade cards and write their words of thanks to the teachers who took the time to value their accomplishments and to cheer them on to even the smallest victory.

We would love for you to be a part of the Supersisters Great Day of Gratitude on May 5. So make a plan, grab a badge and tell us in the comments what great ideas you have for showing our teachers how much they mean to us. With your help we can make this a truly Great Day of Gratitude!!

Badge: just cut and paste the following!

<a href=""><img  src="" border="0" alt="The Great Day of Gratitude is May 5, 2010" /></a>

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