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Take Five for...

Using A.M. Announcements to
Build a Sense of Community
In Your School

After the formalities are out of the way, the student who is anchoring the morning announcement introduces a special "Guest of the Day." On Monday and Thursday, that special guest is the school's assistant principal, whose twice-a-week talks revolve around one of the school's biggest thrusts, its reading curriculum. She also draws names for prizes awarded as part of the school's Reading Counts program. Wednesday's guest is the school nurse, who offers health tidbits for students. On Tuesdays and Fridays, principal Larry Davis presents Mr. Davis's Morning Math Question. The first person in each class to correctly solve the math problem races down to the office to receive his or her special 'Mr. Davis pencil.' Of course, Davis gives teachers the answers in advance. (Larry Davis)

Each morning, principal Beth Burt introduces a Quote of the Day and reinforces the Math Word of the Week. "The quote relates to our character education trait of the month. For example, this month's trait is 'loyalty,' and today's quote of the day was 'Make it a goal to make a good friend last a long time.' This week's Math Word of the Week is perimeter: the distance around an object or shape. [We] offer appropriate ways for teachers to reinforce the concept across the grade levels."

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Have you found a way to add some life to your morning announcements? Do you use them to promote school-wide goals and build school "community"? Do you include anything special in your a.m. announcement routine -- a quote of the day, a character ed idea of the day, a special pledge the students recite...? Click to join the conversation. Share your thoughts and ideas so others might learn from your experiences.

After vice principal Maria Bernardi shares the morning's character-education message, she always asks the children to Pass it on! "I ask them to try to do something good for someone else -- to perform a kind act, say a good word, or do a good deed. This term, I've extended the theme by asking students to let me know if they've noticed their peers 'passing on something good.' I share those good news stories the next morning. It is amazing how many stories have been generated Small steps lead to big journeys!"

Many schools include in their morning exercises a student-led Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. At some other schools, a school-wide pledge to that school's special mission also is included. Assistant principal Bonita Henderson reports that students recite the following school pledge each day at her school: "I will be respectful. I will be responsible. I will be a problem solver. I will be an achiever. I will be peaceful." That pledge ties in nicely with the school's Positive Behavior Support program, she added.

Principal Carol Roebuck's morning announcements include a special "Birthday Book Club" announcement by the school's librarian. "Parents can purchase a book in honor of a child's birthday. They can select a book that is special to the student, or ask the librarian to choose a book she knows the child will like. The registration packet that we send out at the start of the year includes a form parents can use to participate in the program. A special label is placed inside the book in honor of the child."

Take Five more to read this entire article from Education World's "Principal Files" series:
"Good Morning! -- A.M. Announcements Build School Community"
(Education World -- April 13, 2004)