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This activity is a fun one for the start of any staff meeting. It works better once youre into the school year and staff members know each other pretty well. It can also be a nice activity to use to lift spirits after a tough period (for example, at the end of state test week). To start the activity, provide each staff member with a paper plate with a hole-punched hole about an inch in from the edge; a strand of yarn has been strung through the hole. Instruct staff members to loop the yarn over their heads so they are wearing the paper plate on their backs. Give each person a Sharpie marker. Then start some jivey music, something like Bobby Darins Splish, Splash or Sister Sledges We Are Family or almost anything from the Beach Boys. As the music plays, teachers dance around the room and write positive comments about staff members on their paper plates.

For a slightly different (and more organized) approach, you might have teachers arrange themselves into groups of three -- perhaps starting with their own team members -- for the activity. Let them form a group circle facing the back of the person in front of them [see photo above]. Let the music play. When you stop the music, ask everyone to stop writing and change walking directions so they face the back of another member of the threesome. Start up the music. Next, have teachers gather in different groups of three and repeat the activity. Repeat several times. Teachers always seem to have fun with this positive activity. It is one of my favorites!

Bryan McLain, principal, Denton Creek Elementary School, Coppell, Texas

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