whipped cream milkshake with sprinkles against pink background

Travel Back to the 1950s for a Sock Hop Teacher Appreciation Week

A bit of nostalgia can be a fun jumping off point for any party and a Teacher Appreciation Week celebration hosted by your PTO is no exception.

This post has a slew of fabulous ideas for a week long 1950’s inspired party all of your teachers and staff will love!

So let’s dive into the fun and embrace the retro spirit to show your staff and educators how much you value their hard work and dedication.

Extend an Invitation to Staff to Kick Off Appreciation Week

Give the school’s staff a heads up about what you have planned for them by personally inviting them with one of these cute jukebox invitations.

The 1950s were known for their iconic fashion styles, so why not encourage both teachers and students to dress up in retro-inspired attire? Think poodle skirts, cardigans, and cat-eye glasses, or slicked-back hair, bow ties, and leather jackets. This not only adds a touch of fun and whimsy to the week, but also allows everyone to immerse themselves in the spirit of the era.

This will give them a chance to get excited about the week and will make all you do more special since anticipation of fun adds so much!

How to Decorate for a 1950s Sock Hop Throw Back Week

Transforming the school into a 1950s haven will transport teachers and students alike to a bygone era. Decorate hallways and classrooms with vintage posters, maybe even a black and white checkered floors, vinyl records, and classic movie posters.

Set up a jukebox in the staff lounge, playing popular tunes from the 1950s. The nostalgic ambiance will bring a smile to everyone’s faces and create a unique atmosphere of appreciation.

Decorating your Teacher’s Lounge or other room where you’ll host the bulk of Appreciation Week events is an easy way to set the tone for the week.

Hang a metallic curtain over the doorway into the event room to really set the stage for fun.

Then layer on some black, silver, blue and pink metallic curtains with coordinating balloons with musical shapes and round checkered patterns or hang them across the walls to give the room a different feel.

Hang some fun swirl decorations and fun 50s iconography from the ceiling to as part of a top down decorating plan.

Wall murals are a quick and easy way to add decorations to your room and cover up a lot of wall space at the same time.

Banners are another way to decorate pretty quickly and easily. This jukebox banner is really fun.

And so is this I love the 50s banner.

And don’t forget about infusing some music into the mix either, silently so no classes are disturbed, of course, with this record album bunting.

And now for the table! Decorate it once and enjoy your work and the effect all week long.

Protect the table (and make clean up oh, so easy!) by covering it with a disposable table cloth like this one that looks just like a diner counter.

Or use this tablecloth with pink cars and a teal background.

Add a few larger decorations, like these 50s honeycomb decorations to raise the visual interest of your table scape.

Or these milkshake table decorations.

And then sprinkle on some cute large confetti.

Daily Ideas for a Fabulous Fifties Teacher Appreciation Week

Follow this plan for a different idea for each day of the school week to spread out the love, gratitude and appreciation for an entire 5 days!


Create a mock soda shop where teachers can enjoy a milkshake or root beer float during the day.

Individual cans of root beer ensure the drinks will stay cold a little longer since you can submerge them in an ice bath. And Zevia soda tastes great and are sugar free.

Reduce opportunities for spills with a lidded cup.

Give the option to top off their shake or float with a fun 50’s themed straw.

Or go a little more eco friendly with this set of red striped paper straws.

Offer a few other grab and go candy dupe treats!

I am clearly not in the know about Dum Dum flavors because I didn’t know these root beer flavored lollipops were even a thing!

Root beer taffy is a fun option also.


Lay out a spread of delightful foods for a wonderful luncheon for all to enjoy. Remember to have options for different dietary restrictions and preferences, mainly vegan and gluten-free.

And make sure to let the teachers and staff know about the different options with these jukebox food labels.

Don’t overlook the fun that can be added with cute tableware! Like this plate and napkin set. It’s the small details like these that add so much to the day.

And how fun are these Cadillac trays?

And don’t forget to add these fun and functional checkerboard wax papers.


Load up staff mailboxes with some yummy treats to mark the middle of the week.

Use these jukebox gift boxes as the delivery vehicle for the treats.

Or these fun checkered handled treat bags.

Tie the bags closed using a jukebox gift tag.

Another option are these diner gift boxes.

As for ideas for what to include in the containers, how about:

  • Cookies
  • Cute office supplies
  • A gift card
  • A coupon for classroom helpers (carline duty, lunch duty, copy assistant, backpack stuffer, etc.)
  • Or candy!

Some candy options for treats available in the 1950s include:

Chuckles gummy candy.

Have your staff counting how many licks til they get to the center with an all time favorite, Tootsie Pops.

Tootsie Rolls, an ever classic for many decades.

Candy necklaces never go out of style, do they?

Candy buttons are another classic candy option.

and Sugar Babies. Of course the formulations for all of these candies aren’t the same as they are back in the day, but no one really wants 70 year old candy! They’ll appreciate the thought even if the candy tastes a bit differently now. And heck, most of your staff won’t remember the original taste anyway!

Wrap some small chocolates in these fun candy labels.


Set up a dedicated appreciation wall where students can leave handwritten messages or drawings expressing their gratitude to their teachers using big sticky notes. The wall can serve as a lasting reminder of the positive impact teachers have on their students’ lives and it’s an inexpensive way to let everyone show their appreciation.


End the week on a sweet note with a delicious dessert bar.

Add some height and a different look to the table by using a cupcake stand for the desserts.

Top off the cupcakes with a cute topper decoration.

Dessert doesn’t have to be only sweet! Many people prefer a savory option, and popcorn is an option that can work both ways, and it’s easy to switch up with this set of popcorn sprinkles.

Make the popcorn a grab and go option by serving it in these cute popcorn boxes.

Over to You!

A 1950s themed Teacher Appreciation Week offers a charming and nostalgic way to honor dedicated educators. By embracing the fashion, decorating the school, selecting retro appreciation gifts, and planning blast-from-the-past activities, you can create a memorable experience that not only shows your gratitude, but also fosters a sense of camaraderie and fun among students and teachers alike.

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