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Principal Ideas: Reading and Awards

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.

Reaching for Our Reading Goal

From Ed World's

During my first few years as principal I found that my students generally managed their behaviors reasonably well inside the school building. It was outside at recess that their behavioral problems usually occurred. Too often, they would get detentions for events that happened during those more loosely supervised times of the school day. That's why I developed the Playground Pass system, a short-term behavior program that helps students have positive playground experiences. Over the past four years I've field tested and refined the system to the point where it is an effective tool that helps students make better choices during less-structured school times.
Source: Playground Pass Creates Recess Success

Each year, we hold an assembly on the first day of school for the obvious reasons, but the purpose of that assembly is also to set our reading goal for the year. The students select the number of books the whole school will read. Last year they read more than 33,000 books and their reward was beach day! Beach day is a day-long celebration for students who achieve their reading goals. Activities include beach volleyball (we have sand brought onto the track field), inflatable monster water slides, karoke music, hamburgers and hotdogs, water bucket relays, and slip-and-slides. We even crown a teacher "King or Queen of Beach Day." The activities are scheduled just like a traditional field day, but the activities are much more fun! This is a great way to motivate the students to keep reading all year. Their reading progress is posted each grading period and an applause assembly is held. Everyone gets into the act on Beach Day, which would not be possible without the support of parents. It is also a great way to finish the year and reward the students for a job well done.
Thanks to Dr. Cathy Vasile, Blossomwood Elementary School in Huntsville, Alabama.

Happy Hour

On Friday, during the last hour of the school day, teachers send students to visit me to share news of an A on a spelling test, a new baby at home, or any other "good news." I provide each visitor with a handwritten note to the parent on a special note card that has the words "Happy Hour" and my name.
Thanks to Diane Rose, principal at East Salem Elementary School in Salem, Virginia

RISE (Reading Is Surely Enjoyable) in the Morning

We hold a "RISE (Reading Is Surely Enjoyable) in the Morning" program. Each day, parents sit in the hallway and read to a child or groups of children.
Source: "Principals Share Parent Involvement ideas " ( -- February 28, 2000)

The Golden Apple Award

With all teachers have to do, motivation is the key to keeping them focused and feeling worthy. At each month's staff meeting in our school, two teachers are awarded the "Golden Apple" for their above-and-beyond efforts. The neat thing about the Golden Apple is that the teachers select its recipients. Each of the winners of this month's Golden Apples are responsible for passing on the award to another worthy teacher at next month's meeting.
Source: Larry Davis, "25 Ways to Motivate Teachers" ( -- November 19, 2002)


Join the Fun -- Share an Idea!

The ideas presented in this article come from the Education World archive and from principals just like you. Since these principals have been kind enough to "show and tell" an idea, now it's your turn! Share an idea you've used to

- Celebrate Students
- Welcome Students Back to School
- Motivate Teachers
- Involve Parents
- Raise Money
- Plan a Special Event
- Make Graduation Day Special
- Liven Up Your A.M. Announcements
- Plan an Effective Staff Meeting
- Get Some Good PR for Your School

or any other topic of interest to principals.

Send your idea today to [email protected].

Be sure to include your name, your school name, and your school address because if we post your idea in Principal Ideas, we'll send you an Education World mug!

Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2006 Education World