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Volunteers - Recruiting, Using and Thanking

Compiled By: Risa

Teachers are often looking for ways to recruit, work with and thank those who volunteer at our schools. This is a collection of the many ideas teachers have used to meet these goals.

Volunteer Form
Posted by: jneg

I send this home with my information packet. I used to let the parents decide what they wanted to do and then found that there were things they didn't want to do that I needed done, so now I just mention things they might do. I also have parents who help with special events, parties, field trips, etc. This form is for regular helpers.

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Volunteer note
Posted by: kenz

I used one that I downloaded from ProTeacher and changed parts of it.

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Posted by: SusanTeach

I don't know whose you saw, but you're welcome to use mine if the other one doesn't show up. I have a jungle theme, but you can always white-out that part. :)

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Here's another one...
Posted by: iluv2nd

that I borrowed and tweaked (as usual)! I used the font Hooteroll which I downloaded from Fonts for Kids.

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Posted by: Mrs.H

Here is my form.

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I have one
Posted by: msamyb

I made this one for parents that want to volunteer for the school parties (fall, winter, & Valentine's day). I will try to attach it for you.

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Posted by: Lilacs

I had my volunteer work with a small group or individuals. She had a routine. 2-3 minutes of high frequency word flashcard drills, then they read a book with her and answered questions, and if she had time she could do a little say and spell using the whiteboards. I would also have the volunteer work with small groups that were having difficulty with a specific center. A lot of times I would assign a reading comprehension project and they need help completing it correctly. She could also do reading inventories (word lists, running records, etc.) and other simple assessments. My volunteer also took a group to review reading homework. He would help them re-read and correct answers. Your struggling readers could play phonics games in a small group with her. I also had my volunteer use phonics flashcards (ie. words with ou like out, about, around, etc.). Usually only one set of flascards each day. I preferred having my elderly volunteer do story re-reads to help gain automaticity, expression, fluency, comprehension, and confidence. I also liked that the the material was introduced by me ( a trained, experienced teacher and practiced with a volunteer). Sometimes my volunteer completed phonics/reading assignments with kids who were pulled from the room for special services. Hope this helps.

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No title
Posted by: meghannsf

I don't have a copy of what I send home on this computer. Our school has A LOT of parent help, it's required. On the form I send home it has lists of things the parents can check off. Examples:
I am comfortable reading with a child one on one
I am knowledgeable when it come to working with the copy machine
I know how to use the laminator
I like to play games with children in small groups
Sometimes parents would be happier filing papers than reading in small groups. Having that form is very helpful for me in assigning thier tasks when they come in. This was more useful when I taught older kids (parents were afraid of them!) but it still works!

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Posted by: TootSweet

Can she sort papers, separate Scholastic orders or Scholastic News? Cut out laminating? prepare folders? Take photos of students busy working? Pull a student to read with? Sharpen pencils? Copy?
I'm like you--if I don't have it laid out, I won't think of it when she walks in!

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Posted by: ily

I have also had parent volunteers do bulletin boards, put work in duo-tangs, help at lunch time ect... It doesn't always have to be directly with the children. One year I had a mom who wanted to volunteer but her child became whiny and clingy when she was there, so I suggested that we have her come and work on other things for awhile. Making games, photocopying and laminating are also great projects. I also have some parents that can't come into the classroom but help but making playdough when needed, or colouring, cutting, glueing to make games when needed.

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I love them!
Posted by: elmosjeep

I had parents helpers in three days a week last year (when I taught first grade). I had them
do my book orders
work with children in small groups (centers)
cut out laminating
take down bulletin boards
pull kids into the hall and quiz them on their sight words
edit for writers workshop
Depending on the parent--they really can do anything!

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Posted by: KTJM

I like my parents to work with the kids 1:1. That does not disrupt what we are doing, they all get a turn, and if the volunteer can't show up we just carry on. Here are a few of the things I have them do as they call each child up: telling time, reading fluency practice, retell a story, practice spelling words or math facts, correct errors on papers, practice using guide words in a dictionary, weigh objects on a balance scale, take turns assembling ingredients for a cooking project, writing conferences, help kids that are reluctant writers, etc. I guess it is like a center activity, but with the parent there to do it 1:1 with accountability and encouragement. They can reinforce whatever skill you would like the kids to have additional practice doing.

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a few ideas
Posted by: 123abc

massage vocuher
book store voucher
department store voucher
starbucks voucher
facial voucher
nursery voucher
book for kids saying thank you for....
box of chocolates
bunch of flowers
movie voucher
dinner voucher
the list goes on and on

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ONLY 12?!!! wow!
Posted by: tia

this would probably cost too much for 12, but for my 3 volunteers this year, i gave a sand pail with a towel rolled up (about $4 from walmart), a sunscreen chapstick, and a tube of sunscreen. they all really enjoyed it!

we went to a workshop last year where the benefits of jigsaws puzzles were extolled. one of our 5th grade teachers then gave her volunteer parents jigsaw puzzles for the family! (i thought it was an excellent idea; but was bummed because now i can't give them this year!) :s)

i looked quickly for a link to give the benefits, but i give up after about 5 minutes---so you could attach a little card explaining your gift.

*promote collaboration, problem-solving, trigger brain activity, improve memory

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Posted by: SoniaT

My standard is the happy birthday song, changing lyrics thusly:
"Thank you so much, Ms. Smith, thank you so much Ms. Smith, thank you so much, thank you so much, thank you so much Ms. Smith."

Easy peasy. Have the kids make her tissue paper flowers or something to give to her instead of a cake, and you're done in ten minutes instead of ten days.


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Posted by: Brigid

I do the same thing exceot we change the words to Hi Ho the Derry-Oh! "We thank you very much! We thank you very much! Hi Ho the Derry-Oh! We thank you very much!" Often the person who receives the song will answer the kids back in song! It's really cute.:)

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Posted by: cowboysrule

I have done different things throughout the years. One year I got a flower pot, packet of seeds, and a pair of gardening gloves with a note thanking them for helping our children grow throughout the year.
Another year, I had the kids create thank you notes and made a photo album which included pictures I had taken throughout the year. Another year I bought coffee mugs and put Lifesavers and Hugs candies inside of it. The note along with it just stated what a lifesaver they were throughout the year and here are my hugs of appreciation!

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Tea anyone?
Posted by: Lodi 3rd

We have an annual Volunteer Tea. With ice, tea cookies and a certificate for each. Some classes do a short skit.:s) You could have a Pirates theme or give each some Shamrock Gold as a treasure. Those gold coin candies that are available at World Market.

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Posted by: ksuwildcat

I plan on purchasing hand lotion for my parent volunteers from Bath and Bodyworks. I am going to come up with a something in writing about thinking them for helping my class run "smoothly".

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We also have a tea
Posted by: NCP

and the teacher bring the food. It is usually a huge success. We also find a small item to give the parents and our district prints out certificates for the volunteers. In the past we have given: small packets of seeds, pens we covered with fimo, a notepad, a single stem. This year we are giving a pack of Extra gum with the saying "Thanks for going the Extra mile!"

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Posted by: SusanTeach

I think I saw this idea on here, but I loved it!!! You buy inexpensive planters (either plastic or pottery) and plants, then let the kids put thumbprints all around it. For each one you can turn the thumbprints into a cute bug or butterfly. I would love one of those if I were a parent volunteer. ;)

One year I was a volunteer and the teacher gave me a poinsettia - which I really loved, but those aren't always inexpensive.

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the movie's on me!
Posted by: i teach k

this is one of my favorite teacher gifts or volunteer gifts: go to your local movie rental store. buy a bucket of unpopped microwave popcorn and put in it: two bottles of coke, a couple of candy bars and a $5 gift card to the movie rental place. i usually wrap it up in celophane but you wouldn't have to do that to save cost. it makes a really cute and inexpensive gift basket.

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tote bag
Posted by: denisealice

I sometimes get a canvas tote bag from Michael's (or the like) - they run sales on the them all the time. I then have the kids do the handprint in tempra thing all over the bag - and have them write their names when the handprints are dry. I think the parents like the personal touch, it's not expensive, and no matter what they are very cute.

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Posted by: maddiesmomma

Hey..I have done several things. This year I am going to the dollar store and getting measuring cups and filling them with candy, then putting a little note that says "My volunteers really measure up!" For my kids...I have a little book to give them that i got from scholastic and I printed out a picture of our class with a cute border on it, and all the kids autograph each one, then put it on black paper and laminate it. I also put a cute poem on the back with the year, etc... I usually do awards for all of my kids too, but I have not decided if I will do that again because I am looping this year and I will have all the same students again.... Hope this helps!

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Posted by: lis3569

I have done flowering plants and attached a note saying "Thank you for helping my students grow and blossom this year!". I also include a gift certificate to a local nursery.

I have also done this- I get a tub of popcorn (you just stick in the micro). I fill it with a gift card to a local movie rental place, movie type candy, pop and a gift cert. to a pizza place.

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Posted by: lis3569

I took a real ice cream cone (like the ones our Dairy Queen uses) and then cut out an ice cream shape like the shape of the DQ ice cream. I then bought gift certificates to DQ and rolled them up and placed them in the cones. I attached a note that said "A COOL treat for a COOL volunteer!". I live in a small town and the DQ is the hottest place around! I figured they could take their families there this summer.

The parents last year loved their cool treats.

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Posted by: mrsjrg

My class is going to make vanilla salt scrubs and jar them up for the volunteers. We're going to put the directions on a card and attach it to the jar. I made these last year and they loved it!

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gift baskets
Posted by: yesteach

I bought "bath and body" type stuff from Dollar Tree and a basket and made gift baskets for my parents - under $10.00 each. I bought some raffia and shrink wrap at the hobby store (the kind you use a blow dryer and it shrinks up around the basket) which made it look "professionally done." They seemed to enjoy it.

I've also done candle "samplers" - buy a Christmas tin, a half dozen various scented votive candles and a votive holder. Put some of the shredded paper for gift bags in the bottom of the tin, put the votive in the middle and the candles around the outside.

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Cookie heaven
Posted by: hornfan

I have 11 moms this year helping out throughout each month with reading groups, so I have to think inexpensive this year. I'm planning on baking chocolate chip cookies and getting some candy canes and Christmas candy to fill in some cute Christmas sacks. Oriental Trading actually has a bunch of different decorative bags for between $10 and $15 for a dozen. Or Walmart has always been a favorite of mine for such bags. :-)

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Posted by: teachrchick

Last year I bought Christmas tins for each of my room mothers and literally spent all night baking these spritz cookies using one of those cookie guns, and red and green sprinkles. It took FOREVER...but, it was inexpensive, the cookies were delicious, and it showed thought. I printed up Christmas tags for the tins and sent them home with the kids. I also gave each mother a cute "Mom's to do" calendar for the next year.

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