While the pandemic has changed the education format, it has not changed the importance of school spirit. School spirit helps build school pride and instill a sense of belonging and community within the student body - something more critical now than ever. Hosting a spirit week is a great way to jump-start your school spirit. This blog will explore some ways to host a spirit week virtually.
The PTA Guide to Virtual Spirit Week Starts Here:
What's a Spirit Week?
It is a week full of exciting activities to energize the student body. Typically, it is done in person, but some fun ways exist to continue the energy virtually. Here's how:
Step 1: Pick a Week
The first and most important step to begin with the plan is to choose an appropriate week. While choosing a week, it should be carefully checked that it is not clashing with any other events. Ensure no holidays are coming between the week to make it smooth and uninterrupted. The event should be diligently planned and organized so that it doesn’t face any interference.
Step 2: Pick a Theme and Create a Daily Plan
Setting a theme for the week isn’t necessary - you can focus on different theme days - however, we have found some schools to have a lot of success with a weekly theme. For example, a “green” theme where you spend the week on earth-focused activities, a “kindness” theme where you spend the week focused on kind activities, or a “movie” theme where each day of the week has a different movie focus. Whether or not you pick a theme for the week, you need to plan each day and focus on each particular day. We recommend mixing dress-up days with activity days for the best engagement. Try to plan activities that are easy to do, full of fun, and easily manageable.
Monday: Kick-Off & Fundraiser Day
Kick-off spirit week with a fun opening ceremony. The principal can introduce the theme and share the week's goals. Since spirit week is typically a fundraiser, this should also be a time to share the fundraising goal for the week and introduce what fundraising activities will be during the week. Some ideas that work well, even during virtual schooling, are as follows:
restaurant week: ask a local restaurant to donate a % of proceeds from the week’s sales to the school
raffle tickets: allow people to buy all week long and announce a winner on Friday
sell spirit wear at a discount: offer a discount code for the week to your online spirit wear store
sell baked goods: take orders in advance and have volunteer bakers bake and deliver the goods locally (contactless delivery, of course)
Tuesday: Virtual “Field Day”
Doing a full-on field day this fall is a bit tough, but you can still highlight sports during spirit week by asking kids to play a game at home. You could ask students to invent a new game or play 10 minutes of a ball game. They can then share photos of them playing the game while wearing their spirit wear. The activity aims to get them active and show their school spirit.
Wednesday: Crazy PJ Day (or another theme day)
This will be a relaxing and fun day for the children. They can remain in their comfortable pajamas. Encourage students to post their crazy pjs to your social media and award prizes for the craziest pjs. Here are some other theme days to consider:
Time travel day
Thursday: Talent Show
Students will make videos in which they are exhibiting their unique talents. It can be anything they enjoy, like athletics, making puppets, or singing. This is a great opportunity for children to explore and enjoy their hidden talents while telling all their friends about them. It should be all about having fun.
Friday: Spirit Wear Day & Closing Ceremonies
Students are encouraged to wear school colors or spirit wear all day. Bringing signs to their zoom meetings or decorating their learning space is also fun. At the end of the day, there should be closing ceremonies. These ceremonies aim to end the week with high school spirit and further the positive school culture! These ceremonies should consist of a compilation of photos from the week, a video of the talent show, and an update on fundraising totals. If you run a raffle, the winner should also be announced. This is an opportunity to connect as a school and a fun way to end the week.
Step 3: Recruit Volunteers
Although spirit week isn’t a heavy volunteer activity, you do need to recruit a few volunteers. Recruit a high-spirited staff member or principal to perform the opening and closing ceremonies. You need one to two people responsible for consolidating photos and videos. You need one person to set up and manage your fundraising element. Finally, recruit key teachers and students to help promote spirit week in the weeks leading up to the week.
Step 4: Involve Families and the Community
Whether putting on a performance or wearing the spirit wear, make sure the activities can involve others and ask the students to involve their families. Ask local community leaders that support the school to participate. The more people you have sharing their spirit, the more fun for everyone and the bigger impact on your school’s spirit and culture. We have seen success in having a local celebrity (e.g., mayor, chef, council person) attend the opening or closing ceremonies.
Step 5: Promote Your Event Early & Often
Promotion is always essential as it is what creates the tone and engagement. If you can do any promotion at the school facilities (e.g., the outside sign or hallways), that is highly encouraged. Leveraging your school’s website and social media is also critical. We recommend starting promotions 4 weeks in advance with a save-the-date that includes your theme for the week. Three weeks before, you should start sharing the daily schedule and any fundraising materials so that people can ensure they are appropriately set up and can start asking for donations. Two weeks before, you should start showing fun example pictures of the activities and advertise any contests. One week before, you should start a countdown.
The student council and teachers can play a huge role in promoting the event online, so be sure to leverage your event volunteers to help.
Step 6: Have Fun and Share Your Success
During spirit week, enjoy it and get into the spirit yourself. After all your hard work, don’t forget to take a moment to brag! Share your fundraising success, any contest winners, and some closing words at the end of the week. In the weeks following, create different collages of photos to share on your social media site to keep that school spirit going.
Virtual spirit week is an excellent way of brightening the students’ lives, encouraging a positive school culture, and driving PTA/PTO fundraising. We hope these tips will make your week a success.