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With schools shut down, here are some ways to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day

Educator Scott Slivken speaks with his sixth-grade students during virtual office hours. The pandemic forced Slivken and his students to stay home from the KIPP DC Northeast Academy in Washington. By Lauren Lee, CNN

(CNN) -- Today is Teacher Appreciation Day, and if there has ever been a time when appreciation for teachers is sky high, it is now. With the coronavirus pandemic closing schools, parents are now de facto homeschool teachers, discovering just how hard it is to teach.

Social distancing has changed the usual means of saying "thank you." So here are some ways you can recognize teachers from afar.

Participate in a social media campaign

Giving teachers a shoutout on social media is a great way to publicly show your appreciation. The National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association are honoring teachers with weeklong social media campaigns using the hashtag #ThankATeacher. The groups have created toolkits complete with shareable graphics and customizable thank-you notes to shower teachers with love.

Send a photo collage or thank-you video

Home videos and photo collages are creative and personal ways to show your appreciation to teachers.

You can keep it simple -- just share a picture or video of your children holding signs or cards. Or take it a step further with a hands-on learning assignment: Challenge your children to recite poems, write a script and get creative with props.

Yard signs and thank-you parades

Plenty of neighborhoods are sporting yard signs recognizing 2020 graduates. There are also a few signs celebrating teachers.

In the past week, Miami-based Somerset Academy surprised its teachers with yard signs reading "A star lives here".

Over the past few months, teachers have started their own caravans to cheer up students. How about organizing a teacher appreciation caravan? Have signs, balloons and everyone there to honk and wave as they did in Bordentown, New Jersey.

Purchase an e-gift card

One of the easiest presents you can send your teachers is an e-gift card. With many stores and restaurants struggling, this gift can serve dual purposes: teacher appreciation and support for the economy.

Fund school supplies online

As school budgets continue to tighten, funding for supplies is growing increasingly scarce, leaving teachers to fill in the gaps.

A survey by AdoptAClassroom.org found 96% of teachers purchase supplies for their students from their own pockets.

That is why non-profits such as AdoptAClassroom.org and DonorsChoose stepped in with online platforms to help. AdoptAClassroom.org allows tax-deductible donations to teachers, schools and educational passion projects for K-12 students. This can include distance learning supplies, or simply restocking classrooms for when school reopens.

DonorsChoose enables people to customize their donation based on location, materials requested or greatest need. Classrooms set up profiles with a personal statement from the teacher that includes an itemized list of needed supplies.

Also, consider donating to the Kids in Need Foundation. The non-profit provides free supplies to teachers through "resource centers" that look like small office-supply stores. Teachers receive a number of points and can shop the aisles. These resource centers are in 43 big cities -- including New York, Miami, Atlanta and Chicago -- where at least 70% of the children take part in the free or reduced lunch programs.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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