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.
One especially good staff meeting took place last year. That day, teachers participated in a "Teacher Swap." The Teacher Swap happened on a midweek midwinter day. I encouraged teachers to swap with another teacher -- preferably two levels above or below -- and spend the morning teaching that grade. On the appointed day, teachers went to their new classes and performed the duties and taught the classes of their colleagues. At the end of the day, we had a faculty meeting. Teachers broke into small groups and shared their experiences. Most revealing was the renewed appreciation among participants for the hard work and uniqueness of the demands of another grade level. The 'grass is always greener' adage was quickly dispelled by this experience. Some teachers even became excited about considering the possibility of trying another grade in a year or two. Others were more convinced than ever that they love the age they currently teach. It was an enthusiastic afternoon of wonderful sharing, support, and appreciation for work that colleagues do on a regular basis. Due to popular demand, the Teacher Swap will become an annual event. Next year I might encourage teachers to swap in the opposite direction from which they moved this year. At some time we might even try a similar experiment with the middle or high school teachers who are fed students from our school.
Source: Tim Messick, Principals Share "Best Meetings of the Year (EducationWorld.com - August 10, 2004)
Morning Announcements "Guest of the Day"
At our school, morning announcements follow a pretty standard format. The student-anchors announce school-wide events, famous-people birthdays, the lunch menu, and the weather report. After the formalities are out of the way, the anchor introduces a special "Guest of the Day." On Monday and Thursday, that special guest is the school's assistant principal. Her twice-a-week talks revolve around one of our biggest thrusts, our reading curriculum. She also draws names for prizes awarded as part of our Reading Counts program. Wednesday's guest is our school nurse, who offers health tidbits for students. On Tuesdays and Fridays, I present "Mr. Davis's Math Question." The first person in each class to correctly solve the math problem races down to the office to receive his or her special 'Mr. Davis pencil.' Of course, I give teachers the answers in advance!
Source: Larry Davis, Good Morning! -- A.M. Announcements Build School Community (EducationWorld.com - April 14, 2004)
Grow New Uses for Phone Trees
In order to gain parent participation, we really make use of the phone trees we set up for communicating. Parents remind other parents of meeting times and special events. Those reminders in the form of a phone call from a fellow parent can help motivate parents who are reluctant to participate. We also have parents serve as tour guides to parents who are new to the school and the area; they welcome new students to our campus.
Source: "Principals Share Parent Involvement ideas (EducationWorld.com -- February 28, 2000)
Serve Up Two Shakes at Graduation
As students come up to receive their graduation recognition, have the principal of the school shake their hand at one end of the stage. At the other end of the stage, the principal of the school the students will next attend will shake each student's hand. At the end of the ceremony, have students walk down an aisle lined with students from the school they will be attending next. Those students will cheer, give high-fives, and otherwise congratulate the incoming underclass.
Source: "Make Graduation Day a Special Day Across the Grades" (EducationWorld.com -- May 13, 2003)
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2006 Education World