Just think of Principal Ideas as a virtual show-and-tell for principals. Each week in the coming school year we'll present four or five new principal-tested ideas. Send in your idea today! See the sidebar to learn how to be part of Principal Ideas.
The Big Picture
During Spirit Week each fall, we take our annual theme picture on the playground. I go up on the roof of the school and take the picture from there. I spray paint on the grass to indicate where students are supposed to stand, and I share the plan with them ahead of time. It only takes about 15 minutes to get 600 students in place and snap the picture. Over the years we have done a flag picture, heart flag, smiley face, star, pennant, racecar, and hot air balloon. A poster-sized picture is displayed in the front foyer for the year. Eight of those posters now hang in the hall. The local paper also shows up to take a picture for the front page of the newspaper. We do our pictures in our school colors, which are red, white, and blue.
Thanks for this idea go to Tiffany Boxum, Hugoton Elementary School, Hugoton, Kansas
Black History Trivia Contest
During Black History Month, after the Pledge in the morning, I present a trivia question.
Sample question:The first class to get the correct answer is announced. A tally board outside the principals door keeps track of the classes that get the correct answers. At the end of the month, the class with the most correct first answers is awarded an ice cream party.
Who was the first African-American to be invited to dine at the White House?
Booker T. Washington was invited to dine at the White House by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901
Do You Really Know Me?
This is a fun activity for a back-to-school staff meeting or anytime. Provide a card for each staff member. Each person writes on that card something about herself/himself that they think no one else on the staff might know. Each card is then read aloud and teachers guess who wrote it. The first person who guesses correctly wins a prize.
Thanks for this idea go to Carole Ervin-Brown, Indianapolis (Indiana) Public Schools
As a way to reward students who show good character, staff members write up a missile message (a tie-in to our communitys location as a former NIKE missile site) that tells when the student was caught acting responsibly or respectfully. At the end of each week we draw 15 of those missile messages. Students whose names are drawn get a trophy to hold and display for a week. Those trophies are given by the previous weeks winners at our weekly character assembly. Students get their picture taken and placed on our character tree, which is painted prominently on a hallway wall. Students names also appear in the local paper. The following week the latest winners will pass on the trophies to 15 new winners.
Thanks for this idea go to Lana Gerber, Nike Elementary School, Gardner, Kansas
Bus Driver Breakfast
Our school decided that our bus drivers needed some special recognition. Most all of our bus drivers left from their bus routes to go to other jobs. Our school faculty and administration met the bus drivers at their buses as the children were unloading with a specially decorated bag (students' artwork) full of breakfast goodies that they could take with them. They were so appreciative of this small gesture of kindness. Everyone would tell them how much they appreciated their dedication to our children.
Thanks for this idea go to Mary Lou Yeatts, associate professor, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky
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