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Teacher Appreciation Week: Ideas and deals to say thanks

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How do you thank a teacher?

If you already have an answer to that question, you're clearly prepared for Teacher Appreciation Week – a celebration of educators that runs May 4-10. And National Teacher Day is Tuesday, May 6.

The National Education Association, which is behind the unofficial holiday, is asking people to thank teachers on social media, using Facebook, Twitter or Vine. Including the hastag #ThankATeacher on any of the sites allows people to find thank you notes easily.

Farmers Insurance has a goal to thank 1 million teachers. The site allows you to easily write a thank you note, picking from prewritten messages or writing your own. Every teachers that receives a note is eligible to apply for a $2,500 grant.

Hand-written notes are certainly possible too. One teacher in rural Louisiana posted this thank you note online, from a young preschool student (the student's mother transcribed the young child's word, it seems, and it's quite sweet).

Need some ideas?

The Country Chic Cottage put together a list of 35 ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week gifts, many of them handmade. Among the items: a Dr. Seuss-themed teacher mason jar, kid-painted flower pots, and candy bar wrappers featuring thank you notes.

And if you like the idea of the classic apple as a gift, but think it's a bit too boring, try sprucing it up by creating a an apple swan (which looks pretty easy in the how-to video).

Deals for Teachers

A number of companies are doing Teacher Appreciation deals, and International Business Times collected a list. Chipotle and Chik-Fil-A are doing some national deals, while Applebee's is offering free meal items for current and former teachers in Wisconsin. If you're looking for school supplies, Office Depot and A.C. Moore are among the stores offering a discount. Houstononthecheap.com says Italian restaurant Buca di Beppo also has a buy-one-get-one-free deal. Take Part also has a long list of freebies and deals.

Google made a large, surprise donation to teachers in Greater Atlanta Tuesday. The web behemoth flash funded every single area teacher's classroom request on ConorsChoose.org – $340,000, going to 356 Atlanta teachers, who will receive materials for their 38,775 students. Among the requests: trumpets, alphabet tubs, wind chimes, a karaoke machine, pencils and markers, and more.

"With two kids in the Atlanta Public School system, I'm inspired daily by the hard work of our local teachers," said Tom Lowry, Google Atlanta's head of office. "Today, we're excited to team up with DonorsChoose.org to say a big thanks to teachers and to support all their classroom projects in the Atlanta area."

Google also put together a thank you video in honor of the week, telling the story of a young girl who grew up with a dream of going to the moon – and how now, as an adult and teacher, she is able to share that passion with students.

"To every teacher on earth, thank you," the video concludes.

Extra Credit

One of Minnesota's top teachers was honored earlier this week.

English teacher Thomas Rademacher at the Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource School was named the Minnesota Teacher of the Year on Sunday. Rademacher, who has taught at the Minneapolis FAIR School since 2006, was picked from 128 candidates, according to Education Minnesota, the statewide educator’s union, which puts on the program.

Rademacher was nominated by one of his students, Asyana Eddy, who wrote, “Mr. Rademacher will do anything in his power to help his students succeed. He gives us the freedom to approach his subjects in the most creative ways possible, he teaches us that our thoughts matter, and that we are capable of anything we want to do with our lives,” Education Minnesota said in a news release.

Rademacher won a $6,000 prize, the Star Tribune notes.

In addition, Mashable put together a list of 19 teachers that deserve notice for being fun and creative. (Note: Mild swear words included in some.) Here's one of their examples:

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