Sunday, April 13, 2014

Staff Easter Egg Hunt Idea

Easter egg hunts are for kids/adults of all ages! Below is a post from my staff memo about this time last year. I may have shared this last year but it's pretty timely with Easter right around the corner.

And now for the Easter Egg Hunt: This idea is from a Springfield principal. This is just a fun faculty activity so we will see how it goes. I think I thought of everything but you never know. I also had two little helpers and you never know how much “help” they really were.
  • There are 30 plastic eggs hidden around the building. NONE are in classrooms. They are numbered so we make sure we find them all. (I did not write down where I hid them and I am sure I will forget.)
  • Inside each egg is a QR code for you to scan to see how to claim your prize.
  • Once you have scanned and completed your assignment bring your egg with code to the office for your prize.
  • If your code does not work or the assignment doesn’t apply to you then just bring the egg up for your prize.
  • ONE EGG LIMIT! Once you find your egg you are done. If you find more and want to help a friend out then feel free. Or you can just leave the rest hiding:)
  • Students might find the eggs. If they bring them to you and you don’t have one yet, by all means…… claim the egg! If you have already found an egg tell the student to put it back where he/she found it.
  • I think all the clues/assignments are student friendly so you are welcome to share with them if you would like.
  • Other than an Easter Egg Hunt, how could you use this in your classroom???? See me if you need help. (I created the codes and printed copy of codes on my phone. I did not use a QR code website. I can show you how to do that if you would like.)
  • HAVE FUN!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Mobile Principal's Office

All credit to @collinspartyof5 for this fantastic idea! And be warned.....your staff will get great enjoyment teasing you about your new "mode of transportation." But all kidding aside.......

this has really been one of the greater productivity/time management purchases of my principal-ship.

More than anything it was about becoming genuinely mobile. I liked to think I was mobile but I still had to go to my office for "stuff." My iPhone is always with me but it's hard to be truly productive with such a small device. (I think it still appears rude to be on your phone at certain times.)

Then I tried the iPad. I love the iPad Mini but I would leave it laying everywhere and spent most of the day looking for it:) I can't get to everything as quickly as I can on my MacBook. 

BTW the cart even comes in black as you can see in @twhitford 's post Amongst the People.

When mentioned at the MAESP Spring Conference Principal @samantha581 recruited her husband to help with her cart assembly:)

It's not even really about the cart anymore. I think I have had the cart for over a month. When out and about I "park" it where ever needed. Staff can find me if they just look down the hall and see the cart.

Being visible has not been a problem for me. It's always better to be out and about. The difference is that I can still get work done and get a better pulse of what's going on around the building.
  • Hanging with kids during passing periods. 
  • Being available for teacher's.
  • Just listening to what's going on.
  • Popping into classrooms to enjoy the learning.
  • Provide quality feedback because you can be in classrooms more often.
Can you handle it? Remember at the beginning of the post I said your teachers would find joy in making fun of your new cart? Well they will even buy you "accessories."

Friday, February 28, 2014

Too Much Parent Communication???

Are we sending too many emails from school? Today was the 3rd time I heard someone say, "I get so
many emails from my child's school I can't keep track." In this case the parent has a student at multiple schools in the district. Well good grief! Your "darned" if you do and "darned" if you don't. (School appropriate language.) Even after sending all the emails we still hear, "I didn't know it was pajama day."

I never thought we could over-communicate. My teachers and I pride ourselves in how much and how often we communicate with our school community. When working on my masters/specialist degrees I clearly remember one superintendent saying something like, "If you don't tell your community the whole story they will make up the details."

The thinking here is specifically for email. My school also manages a Twitter account, Facebook account, and Instagram account. But most people go to these locations on their own. We all live in our email so it's not really a choice to check our email every day. We all check our email.

New thinking and questions about school email:
  • Is once a week from the school office enough? I try to include all the weeks details in one email. (And on the website, and on Facebook, on. )
  • Are parents more like to read an email from the school office or the teacher? 
  • Remind101 - my school community has really embraced this tool. But at this time only the teachers use it. Trying to decide if it should just be teachers or how often should the office use it?
  • Be specific in the subject line - This is something I try really hard to do. It drives me insane when I get emails with NO SUBJECT. If your email isn't even worthy of title then it's not worth my time to read it.  No, really, this drives me CRAZY!
  • I still send paper copies and I probably always will.
  • Who sends the email? - Lately I have been sending emails to my secretary to copy/paste into the parent email list. I do this so she can handle all the replies. However, in the beginning the parents may not have known who angiecurry@........... was and deleted or didn't read the emails. I should probably send one every now and then just as a reminder.
  • Spam - Didn't realize how much school email was going to parent spam. Not sure how to fix that one. Maybe at the beginning of the year send paper, post to Facebook, Twitter, website etc. that an email was sent and to make sure you got it.
I will still use all the communication tools available. I also think this will continue to evolve over the years and can be an ongoing conversation.

Facebook.....Blast it out! The more the better! Parents love it! that's personal. Careful what you send there:)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Your February Pep Talk - Teachers and Students

Don't let February be the "arm pit" of the school year! I just shared this video on my staff memo and thought you might share too. It's made it around but a good one for this time of year.
Happy sharing!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ideas for Managing Your Schools FaceBook Page

This year marks the 6th year my school has been on Facebook. My how things have changed! Here are
some things I do to manage/use my school Facebook Page:
  • In the early days I posted a disclaimer something like this ".....that anything posted on this page should be appropriate for a 5 year old to read or see. This is not the place for "unhappiness." If you have a concern that needs specific attention you need to contact the office....." I did this because I wasn't sure I could find the time to monitor the page consistently. I was worried that something would get out of control on FB before I could get it taken care of.(This was before the bazillion notifications you can now get on your cell phone:) This was even before Lessons Learned from Justine Sacco event.
  • Parents can post to the page. Most don't they only comment. You may not want to allow that until you are comfortable with your presence on FaceBook as a school. You can do whatever you want. Start tight, then loosen up when you are ready.

  • We have multiple admin allowed to post to the page. My secretary, counselor, computer lab teacher and a few other teachers have admin rights. Most do not post very often but they can if needed. I think they are hesitant but we post plenty so I don't really worry about it.
  • Central Office is also one of the admin on my page. That only started this year. They only post snow days or district-wide announcements sporadically. They can post most district-wide stuff to a district page.
  • Not everyone is on Facebook! I now that is shocking to some of you. But if I have 304 students and 348 "likes" that doesn't mean that ALL my "likes" are from my school. Especially since 5 of them are my mom, my dad, my brother, my college roommate, and my relatives in NY. Not to mention former families who haven't "unsubscribed" yet. That means I also communicate through other tools as well. Even PAPER!
  • Have ONE initial starting point. I try to post to my school website first. Then share that info through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and email. That does not always go as planned. Pictures sometimes only get posted to FB. Too bad. Don't know what else to say here.
  • Be positive! We have so many good things to share in schools why not shout it from everywhere?
  • Grammar and Spelling errors. Since we are school it's probably wise that we spell things correctly and/or use good grammar. Honestly, that doesn't always happen. When posting from my phone I will sometimes be posting so quickly that I spell a teacher's name wrong or auto-correct gets me. I have yet to post profanity due to spell check but that may happen I just hope not:( Most of my school community is pretty forgiving but some people get hung up in the small details.
  • Posting pics of students: So far the parents LOVE THIS! They love being able to see their kids during the day. They sometimes comment asking for more pics! Usually you know exactly who the students are that can't have pics posted so you don't take pics of them. Easy peasy!
  • Unexpected audience: Grandparents and/or distant relatives. Oh my how grandparents love to see pics of their little grand kids! It's super fun to see when they comment.
  • Help needed! I just did this for the first time and I am so glad I did!
 Get over your fears and JUST DO IT! You will be glad you did.