Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Oh, the Places We'll Go" Party

One of the most-anticipated events of late summer is open house at our local schools. We enjoy reconnecting with old friends in the hallways and visiting new classrooms to meet our teachers for the upcoming year. As a new PTO board member at Wetumpka Elementary School, I was eager to honor our teachers at the school's annual teacher appreciation dinner. I have lots of photos and resources to share from this year's dinner, so hold on to your desks.

Oh, the Places We'll Go!

Oh, the Places You'll Go!
by Dr. Seuss

This Dr. Seuss classic is often used with graduations, but what a great theme for beginning a new school year! I planned this year's teacher-appreciation dinner decorations using this book as our inspiration. We adapted the book title to promote our theme: "Oh, the Places We'll Go!"

Oh, the Places You'll Go! features memorable artwork in happy pastels, so the color scheme and whimsical style lept from the pages for our party. See yesterday's post to learn more about this easy bouquet.

The pink and yellow striped balloon is the quintessential image from the book. I searched for striped balloons without success, but found this great polka dot option to fit our color scheme.

Polka Dot Balloon Pack

I wanted to make a big impact with balloons, clustering a bouquet on each table and tying a row of balloons down the center of the food table. Green apples made charming anchors for the balloons on our buffet. Find the value pack of balloons I used by clicking the link above.

This framed quote added interest to our drink station.

And custom water bottle labels from my sister's etsy shop, The Polka Dot Party, added a refreshing pop of color. Jennifer can customize the wording on all her products to suit the occasion. This would be a great theme for baby showers, birthdays and graduations.

I carried the theme into food labels and quotes, altering the names of items on our menu to fit the back-to-school theme.

These quotes, printed on card stock and backed with scrapbook paper, added color to our tables.

Plates, cups, napkins and plasticware from Party City made setting the table easy and colorful.

Hours before the party, the children helped me bundle the silverware. Teachers have a short time to eat before they greet the masses for open house, so picking up bundles saved time and added convenience for those who needed to take their meal back to the classroom. And aren't they cute? Thirteen-year-old Carson found this assignment tedious, but several teachers commented that they appreciated this detail. I placed our plasticware bundles at the end of the buffet so teachers could fill their plates before picking one up.

I was so excited watching all the details come together!

Teacher-Appreciation Dinner Menu

Fresh-Start Salad
Mixed Greens with Ranch, Thousand Island or Italian Dressing

A+ Chicken and Dumplings

Use-Your-Noodle Spaghetti  Casserole

Roll Call -- Here!
Fresh-Baked Rolls with Honey Butter

Assorted Desserts

Sweet Tea(cher)
Honor Roll Pink Lemonade
Oh, the Places We'll Go and WES Water Bottles

Encouraging messages for our teachers filled the room, as shown on this cake and chalk board platter. (The platter was decorated by children while we worked on other decorations.)

Buddeez Beverage Dispenser

I hope the PTO will get a lot of use out of this unbreakable, 3.5-gallon drink dispenser. We ordered two for our dinner -- one for tea and the other for pink lemonade.

I like that this center well for ice keeps the dispenser cool.

And the clear base allows us to add more color to the table. We used apples and lemons for our tea and lemonade.

Here are some of the teachers sitting down for a quick bite to eat. Our faculty puts in a long day for open house, so this is our teachers' one opportunity to rest for a bit. In the left corner of this picture, you can catch a glimpse of the back-to-school gift the PTO gave teachers this year: a 31 lunch tote. We also had drawings for goodie baskets and school supplies.

What a great start to another school year at Wetumpka Elementary School! We were all smiles at the end of the evening.

One of the teachers marvelled to me that our dinner felt like a party. "No one has ever made us feel this special!" she declared.

Well, these men and women give the best of themselves to our children each day, so we do think they are pretty special.

With teachers, administrators, parents and students working together this year,
Oh, the Places We'll Go!

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