Red Ribbon Week Coloring Contest

"Your Future is Key.  Be Drug Free."


Red Ribbon Week is always one of my favorite weeks of the year. This year, I wanted to do something a little differently.  I started with the usual drug awareness lessons in class using videos from  If you haven't been to this website, be sure to start with the video from Jon Sundt, the founder of Natural High so that you can get the backstory of how the website came about.  During our lesson, we watch videos from celebrities talking about their natural highs as they recount the reasons why they chose not to use drugs. Between videos, students brainstorm and share their own activities that give them that feeling.  At the end, they think of things that they would like to try that they haven't tried yet.  I end by challenging them to try new things.

After the lesson,  I passed out coloring contest papers and promised candy and prizes to the winners.  We really didn't expect to get as many entries as we did.  Entries have been pouring in all week.  Middle school kids really do enjoy coloring.  Give them a reason, and they will gladly color for you.  It's such a stress reducing activity, that I try to use some element of it in most of my lessons.  Check out some of the entries that we received.  You can get the free download for this coloring contest from my TPT store here.

12 Foolproof Teacher Morale Boosters

Like a beautiful campfire, staff morale needs to be monitored and stoked to keep the happy fires burning.  It's no secret that teachers are over worked and sometimes under appreciated. For most teachers, it's the little things that keep them going. Principals, administrators, school counselors, and parents can work together to create a positive school climate by paying attention to teacher well-being and being mindful of the incredible stress placed on them.

What Teachers REALLY Want



1.  Time!  

There never seems to be enough hours in the day in the life of an educator.  Respect a teacher's time by cancelling meetings that could be an email.  Treat their planning time as sacred.  In a perfect world, there would be fewer meetings, few evaluations, and less paperwork.


2.  Shout-outs

Recognize teachers with a bulletin board of acknowledgements or send around a binder to be passed from teacher to teacher with positive notes to each other.  Organize a Teacher-of-the-week program to reward teachers who are nominated by peers for going that extra mile.  Acknowledge staff birthdays on the intercom, with a hand written note, and/or a treat.  Grown ups are never too old to celebrate their special day. 
Check out this "Shout-outs Binder."

3.  Treats

Occasionally place candy, a small treat, or coupons in a teachers mailbox.  Another fun way to pass out treats is to create a cart full of goodies that you roll around the school on random days. 


4.  Compliments

Just like the students, teachers appreciate being noticed when they are going that extra mile.  Make it a point to say something positive to teachers face to face or on a note left on their desk.


5. Student Thank-you Cards 

Organize a time for students to create thank you cards for their teachers.  Guide students on how to make a thoughtful letter.  Have students brainstorm the good things that their teachers do for them.


6. Laughter

Bling the lounge with funny posters or play a game during a faculty meeting that makes them laugh.  Don't be so serious all of the time.  Admit your own faults and laugh at your mistakes with teachers.  Leave silly signs in the restrooms and other surprise locations.


 7. Fellowship

Provide times for staff gatherings outside of school or arrange a pot luck during the school day.  Play games that start conversations and create laughter and release from stress.  These task cards ask silly "would you rather do this or that" questions.


8. Jeans Days

Allow dress down days as often as possible.  Teachers are busy and need to be comfortable to function at their best.


9.  Trust

Trust them to do their jobs.  Micromanaging can lead to hurt feelings.  These are professionals who worked hard to get their degrees.  They certainly aren't doing it for the money.  Let them be.


10. Self Care Reminders

Continue to remind staff in fun ways that they need to be taking care of themselves.  Teacher burnout is a real problem.  You could organize a self care week at school and find local businesses willing to give coupons for spas and other health services.  One of the faves at our school are the free massages in the lounge by a local chiropractor. See my post on hosting a self-care week.


11. A Break from the Classroom

Get creative in covering their classrooms for an occasional extended lunch or restroom break.  I mean, how much is it to ask to be able to go to the restroom when nature calls? 


12. Feeling Valued

Ask for teacher feedback on upcoming events and school-wide policies.  Include teacher representatives in some administrative meetings.  Have a feedback box for anonymous suggestions. 

I'd love to hear how your school recognizes teachers.  Please leave a comment with your ideas.