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Principal Ideas: Daily Activities

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.

Pointers from

Education World columnist George Pawlas is author of The Administrator's Guide to School-Community Relations, which contains hundreds of great principal ideas -- like this one that Pawlas shared with us:

Do you get all the mileage you can out of your school marquee? (Not to worry! If your school doesn't have a marquee out front, perhaps a local business will let you "borrow" space on one side of their marquee. You only need one side for people to see your message.) Use your marquee space to announce
  • special performances and events.
  • student achievements and awards.
  • test-result success.
    Or maybe your school has a special need. One day I passed a school marquee that announced "WE NEED TENNIS BALLS." Turns out they were collecting tennis balls to put on the bottom of the legs of students' desk chairs so the chairs would glide quietly across floors. I'm not sure how well that marquee worked out for them, but it was a great way to get out the message!

    Be sure to see George Pawlas's monthly Ed World column, Pawlas on PR for PRincipals. Click here to learn more about his book, The Administrator's Guide to School-Community Relations, or to purchase a copy.

Readers Are Leaders

When students enter the school each morning they sit on the floor in the hallway outside their classrooms. Teachers have placed baskets of books in the hallway so students immediately take a book and start reading while waiting for their teachers to arrive. I walk around and hand out stickers printed with our "Readers Are Leaders" slogan to the students who are "caught" reading. Thanks to Dr. Elise Bourne-Busby, principal at Whittier Elementary School in Teaneck, New Jersey

Meet the Teachers

This year, Myrtle Creek Elementary held a "Meet the Teachers" event during our first in-service day before school opened. Our staff came slightly later on that day, and they stayed later so we could open up our school and classrooms (from 4:00-6:00) to students and their families for a special "meet the teachers" event. We advertised the event during registration, and many teachers sent invitations to the students on their class lists. The event was a great way to get kids and families excited about the first day of school, quell jitters, and provide an opportunity for everyone to check out classrooms, teachers, and desks before the big first day.
Thanks to Kristi McGree, principal, Myrtle Creek (Oregon) Elementary School

Chess, Anyone?

We have a district chess tournament that involves parents and students.
Source: "Principals Share Parent Involvement ideas " ( -- February 28, 2000)

A Special Graduation Keepsake

This idea takes a little planning, but it is a great gift for the students who are graduating from your school. At the end of the year, provides parents with a recording (cassette tape or CD) of their child's voice each year of school. In kindergarten, the child might be reciting their ABCs and in first grade they might do a little reading. In second grade they might recite a poem, in third grade their times tables What a special tribute for a child to give to parents on elementary-school graduation day!
Source: Marcia Wright, "Make Graduation Day a Special Day Across the Grades" ( -- May 13, 2003)

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