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Principal Ideas: Easing Classroom Tensions

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.

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
- Plan a Special Event
- Welcome Students Back to School
- Make Graduation Day Special
- Liven Up Your A.M. Announcements
- Motivate Teachers
- Involve Parents
- Raise Money
- 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 principalideas@
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!

Easing Testing Tensions

During the week of state testing, I hire a masseuse to come in and do 10-minute chair massages for any teacher who is interested. We find a private, cozy place in the building, soften the lighting, provide soothing music, and the masseuse is set to do her magic. It's really a morale booster. Teachers love it, and it does help to alleviate the stress associated with testing.
Thanks to Joan Schopp, principal at Cedar Lane Elementary School in Middletown, Delaware


Principal Walks the Talk

Tired of low student turnouts on the first few days of school? At our school, volunteers from the staff and community join me in walking the neighborhoods on a Saturday morning before our school's scheduled opening. We knock on doors. We're sharing our expectations, encouraging kids to come on time, come the first day, and we're bonding with parents. Parents are very receptive to this approach. We want to dispel the myth that urban parents and children don't care about school. If you get them involved, they do care.
Source: Robert E. Morris, Principal Goes Door to Door With Back-to-School Message

Positive Discipline

If one of your teachers is looking for rewards that emphasize the positive, check out these ideas. This Web page was developed by a third-grade teacher in Alberta, Canada. You won't find any negative discipline tips on this page.
Source: WANTED: Rewards, Rewards, and More Rewards!

"25 Great Things About Our School"

Put in teachers' mailboxes your personal list of "Twenty-Five Things That Make [Fill in Your School Name] Great!" (The Education World article, 50 Signs Your School Is a Great School might give you some ideas as you create your own list.)
Source: "Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long" ( -- April 22, 2003)

WEB (Welcome EveryBody) Day

We greet new sixth graders to our school for an event called WEB, short for Welcome, EveryBody. The event -- which is held from 8:30 to noon several days before the beginning of school -- involves the school guidance counselors, teachers, and some eighth-grade students at the school. The new students already visited school the previous spring, but we find the WEB program to be much more effective in introducing the students to the school. The event gives sixth graders -- who are entering our school from eight feeder schools -- a chance to bond with one another, learn about the nuances of middle school, connect with some upperclassmen, take campus tours, and learn about clubs and activity offerings. It also gives teachers, counselors, and kids a chance to talk about things such as peer pressure, making friends, and good study habits.
Source: Les Potter, "Schools Find Many Ways to Say 'Welcome Back'" ( -- August 19, 2003)

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