A few years ago, we asked teachers to name their #1 favorite end-of-year gift and the answer was not “cash and a massage” (ha). In fact, we were heartened to hear again and again a teacher’s favorite gift from students is a personal message of thanks from them.

After a year during which many (many!) of our teachers got to know our kids via computer screens instead of in person, I think that finishing off the school year with a creative video message of thanks is one fitting way to cap off so many months of Zoom school.

But there are so many creative ways to send a teacher a video thank you, besides, just a hastily shouted “thanks” to the camera as your kids go running off to jump in the pool. So I’ve pulled together some unique, yet easy ways to use video to thank a teacher for a school year like no other.

This could even end up being a video you both want to hold on to forever.

Related: 8 creative ways to thank our teachers during a very different Teacher Appreciation Week

And, yes, I realize some of you in the south have kids who have been out of school for weeks, but it’s never too late to send a favorite teacher a video thank you, even if they’re already lounging poolside for the summer break. I think that when it’s from the heart, they’ll appreciate it any time at all.

Top photo: Paging Fun Mums

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Creative ways to thank an English teacher 

Write Thank You to teacher using wooden blocks to create a special video from your childPhoto: Courtney Hedger on Unsplash 

The beauty of editing means you can always cut out any mistakes or speed up the film if perfectionism is turning your quick video into a bit of a production. To thank an English or Language Arts teacher, try these ideas:

– Beginner readers can use magnetic refrigerator magnets or wood blocks to spell out “thank you” while you film them sounding out the letters.

-Record them writing a note of thanks on a large sheet of cardboard and then reading it back.

-For older kids, grab a list of vocabulary words from their assignments and put together a magnificent, splendiferous ode of gratitude to their esteemed educator.

– Recite a Shakespearean ode, or a favorite poem about gratitude

– Read a piece of your own poetry written for your teacher. They’ll be verklempt.



Creative ways to thank a history or social studies teacher

As someone who used to teach history to a bunch of middle school homeschoolers, I know that I’d be so excited to get a video that demonstrated that they were paying attention to my lessons!

– What did your kids study this year? Use their school work as inspiration to come up with a backdrop for your video — and possibly even inspire a costume!

– Rattle off the Preamble to the Constitution

– Perform a song from Hamilton (probably not “Burn,” though) or recite a portion of a famous speech

-Run through all 50 states at high speed — or another bit of memorization you did this year — before yelling THANK YOU!


Creative ways to thank a science or math teacher

Thank a science teacher by doing an experiment on video for them like this Bottle Rocket from Kiwi Co.

There’s so much creativity in STEM, and there are so many great ways to thank a math or science teacher for all you learned this year!

– If you have as many LEGO bricks as we do, take a look at these16 essential skills kids learn from LEGO, and fantastic resources to help get them going: You’ll find a ton of ideas for building that draw upon things your kids would’ve learned in school and can recreate on video. The trick is to keep it light and fun and don’t forget to say thanks!

– Pick a cool science experiment to perform on camera using household materials, or a cool kit from CMP favorite Kiwi Co like the Bottle Rocket Kit shown above.

– Thanking a math teacher? Have your child recite their multiplication tables while bouncing a ball or skipping rope.

– Budding comics can try out some geometry jokes as part of a video thank you.

– Spell out THANK YOU using the periodic table.


Creative ways to thank a music/band/chorus teacher

Your kids can thank their music teachers by playing them a song on videoPhoto by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

– Have your children been taking piano lessons? Was a recorder sent to your home for virtual school? Show your kids’ music teacher how much they’ve learned this year by recording your child playing a short tune. (Really short if it’s on the recorder)

– If their instrument is their voice, record them warming up their voice or have them sing a message of thanks to their coach or instructor.  Billboard has a great list of songs about being grateful, and they could choose a verse from Alanis Morisette or Sly and the Family Stone.

– If you are super organized and determined, you may even be able to organize the entire class — give each kid one line from a song, then edit them together simply to send to your teacher.


Creative ways to thank a foreign language teacher

 Se hable espagnol or parlez-vous francais? Even first year students can say gracias or merci, while students who are further along may be able to put together a few sentences in their language of study.

Don’t worry about perfection or even saying everything in a foreign language. Just follow your child’s lead and let them put together something from the heart. Comprendes?

Creative ways to thank an art teacher

Use art to thank teacher with a video message

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash 

– I’d like to think we parents hung onto all those art projects for a good reason! So use them to video a kind of show-and-tell of your student explaining each one — or just picking a single favorite and explaining what they learned from it.

– Use a favorite piece of art as a backdrop (it can be real or virtual, like a  Zoom background) and use that as your scenery as your child thanks their teacher for a great year of creativity, wherever it took place.

– A child can create their own special artwork of their teacher using whatever medium they enjoy most of all: Chalk art (like the ideas on Paging Fun Mums, shown above at top), paint on an easel, illustration, collage…even slime. It’s all a masterpiece to a loving art teacher.


Related: 5 ways to use tech to document your family’s stories from the pandemic


Creative ways to thank a gym teacher or coach

Don’t forget the poor gym teacher who may have had to motivate a bunch of kids to do burpees from home during a year of virtual school.

– From skipping rope to running around cones in your living room, have your child show off how fast or agile they are as they shout out their thanks.

– A special coach will be impressed to see their soccer player properly juggling a soccer ball, a gymnast doing a handspring in the yard, basketball player shooting hoops, even if it’s using an indoor net. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a fun way to deliver a proper thanks to someone who helped keep your kids moving over the course of a hard year. You can add a title over the top that simply says “thanks for helping me get better at my 3-point throw” or, “before you, I couldn’t do this.”

– Speaking of three-point throws, have your child try that shot and edit together a blooper real until they make it! A player’s authentic cheer when they do is always worth it. (And of course you can do this with pretty much any sport or activity a child has been working on, from hopping on one leg to a back walkover to a skateboard trick.)


Creative ways to thank a teacher from the entire class…and it’s free for now!

Tribute class video to send to a teacher from the entire class

Of course there are tons of non-video specific ways to thank a teacher from the whole class, and over the years we’ve shared everything from ecards for teachers to handmade gifts like class photo collages for teachers. Those work but here’s one more:

If you can get each of the students to contribute a short video of thanks, you can compile an entire classroom of thank you’s using the service,  Tribute,  which is free to use to make teacher thank you’s until July, 2021 (normally $25!)

Just ask your child’s classmates to send in a short video saying thanks (you can create a shared iPhoto or dropbox folder for that), then upload those videos to the Tribute website, and move the clips around to create your final video.

Having created one of these videos for my own daughter’s 18th birthday, I can say that it was a cherished gift to receive. And our teachers really do deserve all the thanks in the world after this year.