Just think of Principal Ideas as a virtual show-and-tell for principals. Each week in the coming school year we'll present five new principal-tested ideas. Send in your idea today! See the sidebar to learn how to be part of Principal Ideas.
Music at Lunch
Clanging chairs and students' high energy levels can make the school cafeteria a pretty noisy place. In order to bring a little order to the cafeteria, we play music for 6 minutes. During that time, students observe quiet rules. If they maintain quiet during the 6 minutes of music, they earn 4 minutes to chat. If they do a good job, we praise the students' cafeteria behavior in our p.m. announcements.
Thanks to Sandra Clay, principal at Clifton Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia
Mothers tend to be more involved in students' educations that fathers do, but that doesn't mean that dads don't want to be involved. We plan events that give dads special opportunities to get involved. We plan a school clean-up day that attracts lots of fathers. We also do a father-daughter dance at which we take prom-like pictures. To give mothers equal time, we do a mother-son campout.
Thanks to Rochelle Pokorny, principal at Highland Elementary School in Norco, California
Secret Spook Week
The December holidays can be such a busy time. Instead of adding one more thing to do and one more expense to the month of December, why not spread around the fun? In October, for example, we hold Secret Spook Week. Those teachers who want to participate fill out a profile form that asks questions about favorite colors, foods, drinks, hobbies, and so on. Then each participant draws another staff member's profile form and becomes that person's "Secret Spook." Each Secret Spook provides small token gifts for the other person all week long. The total expenditure for each participant was set at $10.
Source: "25 Ways to Motivate Teachers" (EducationWorld.com -- November 19, 2002)
Every October, school officials at Del Oro High School in Loomis, California, mark off their football field into 1-yard squares. Then they let out three cows onto the field. The school sells chances to community members. Each chance buys into one of the squares marked on the grid. The people on whose squares the cows deposit droppings are the winners! They divide the pot. True, this is not a fund-raising method for everyone, but with cow-chip bingo, Del Oro High raises about $20,000 each year, enough money to fund its 37 sports teams.
Source: "Fund-Raising Ideas: Raise Money Without Selling Door-to-Door" (EducationWorld.com, 1999)
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