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Principal Ideas: Observations and More

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!

Learning Through Observation

Set up a schedule to ensure that every educator makes at least two visits to other teachers' classrooms or other schools during the year. Arrange coverage for those teachers. You might set up a special arrangement with other schools to open their classrooms to your teachers, but teachers should also be able to make their own arrangements for visitations to classes/schools they have learned about through the grapevine.
Source: "25 Ways to Motivate Teachers" ( -- November 19, 2002)

Rise & Shine Fridays

Every Friday morning we have a Rise & Shine assembly. Parents are invited to the school. We showcase a different class each week, and every student in the class gets a turn at the microphone. Most parents love sharing their children's moments in the spotlight.
Source: Mary Ellen Imbo, "Principals Share Parent Involvement Ideas" (, February 28, 2000)

Luxury Lunch

At my school, the parents from the Parent-Teacher Club give teachers a wonderful luncheon during Teacher Appreciation Week. This is one of only two times during the year that our whole faculty gets to sit down to a meal together. Parent volunteers keep our classes for one and a half hours while we enjoy ourselves and visit with one another. We are treated royally during Teacher Appreciation Week, and it does make us feel that we get some recognition for our hard work. Many teachers look forward to such a peaceful, leisurely meal among friends during Teacher Appreciation Week. Add decorations, tablecloths, and real dishes, and you can turn your drab teachers' room into an oasis of elegance.
Source: Janice Goff, Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

Win-Win Observations

Give teachers extra release time to observe another teacher in your school or a nearby school. Arrange coverage of the teacher's class to enable the release time. This is a win-win for everybody; teachers really appreciate being treated as professionals and they pick up new ideas and skills.
Source: "Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long" ( -- April 22, 2003)

Teachers on the Telephone

One of the best welcome-back-to-school ideas I have seen comes from a veteran teacher on my staff. She takes time to call every student's parent after the first days of school. She simply introduces herself and emphasizes that she wants the parents to feel free to call her at any time. She also makes sure to say something very nice about each student. True, it takes her some time to make the calls, but she feels it is time very well spent. Would you be surprised if I told you she has all the parents on her side for the rest of the year?
Source: Betty Peltier, "Schools Find Many Ways to Say 'Welcome Back'" ( -- August 19, 2003)

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