4 Biggest Mistakes of the Last Week of School

End of school

Ahhhhh the end is near. Only one more week of school. It's bitter sweet but more sweet than bitter if you know what I mean. But it's A LOT! The last week of school is mixture of many emotions. Relief that summer is coming and time for rest and rejuvenating. Pride in the kiddos who have grown so much. Finally, a bit of saddness say goodby to some kids and staff who will not be coming back. That's the hardest part for me. However, the last week of school is a whirlwind to say the least.

So, this weekend I have been reflecting and resting to get the most out of the last week of school. I have good intentions of being present in mind, body and spirit but when Monday hits...who knows what the week will bring. In this post I narrowed it down to 4 big mistakes I will try not to make this week.

Mistake #4: Trying to do ALL the things!

Yup! Everything! Crafts, end of the school year Pinterest ideas, Field Day, field trips, and the list could go on. This year we are guilty of all of these things. Some things are out of our control and hard to schedule. Like canceling our Spring Concert due to 8 hours of tornado warnings across the area. We will make that up during Field Day because why not?

Mistake #3: Just winging it.

Oh my! I have to have a plan. Even if it's just to start the week off with something sketched out on the calendar. Even if plans are interrupted it's better to be safe than sorry. Even if we are off the rails first thing Monday morning maybe I can get back on track?

Mistake #2: Sweating the small stuff.

Choosing to pick my battles. There will plenty of battles this week. If it hasn't worked all year, it sure isn't going to work the last week of school. Behavior. "Um, it's the last week of school. Swinging on the bathroom stall door hasn't been okay the other 180 something days so let's use it or lose it! OUT!" There will be lots of time-outs and breaks. There is so much fun to be had this week that self control for everyone goes out the window. So, I take a deep breath and remember this too shall pass.

Mistake #1: HUGE Mistake.........Not putting the tiny humans FIRST!

In mistake #4 I mentioned not to do ALL the things but..... there are some pretty fun activities for the end of the school year. There are school traditions and teachers have traditions. But just having fun is good for the teacher soul and the student soul.

So, as the principal, there will be a lot of, "It's okay." "No student has thirst to death in the 25 years I have worked in a school. GET TO CLASS!" "You do not need to use your voice to use the restroom. OUT!" And the list goes on but it's all worth it. There is just extra excitement the last week of school. But I will still be sad on Friday when it is all over. The kids are super fun. The teachers have worked hard all year. But endings are still always a little sad.

Hopefully you enjoyed your last few days if you are out of school and may the "force" be with you if you are still fighting the good fight!

If you haven't downloaded my Teacher Apprecation Guide with over 30 ideas to incorporate throught the year CLICK HERE!

5 Tips for a Successful Teacher Appreciation Week!!!

Ready or not here it comes! I have always loved Teacher Appreciation. As a teacher I remember how special our PTO and students made the week. Now as a principal I have enjoyed being a part of the planning process.
Over time our process has changed and families and PTO members have come and gone. We have also established different committees that take on some of the responsibilities. Of course the more help the better but I do love all the little projects and planning that goes into Teacher Appreciation.
There have been hundreds of lessons to be learned about celebrating Teacher Appreciation over the last 15 years but I am only going to share my Top 5 Tips for Success:

#1 - Recruit help!!! 

If you are a principal this is the busiest time of year for you too. You cannot be doing all the things that go along with closing out the school year and planning an entire week of appreciation for your teachers! It's just too much. Recruit your secretaries, your family, spouse, children, neighbors and/or friends! You will be surprised at how much others are so glad to help!
Cutting out tags for Easter treats!

#2 - Plan Ahead!!

Teacher appreciation is always on my mind. Seriously, almost the whole year. There are tons of ideas that flood social media over the course of the school year. You are going to see TONS of ideas! There is no way you can implement all the ideas you see. Start working your way back from May and space out your projects for the week.

#3 - Organize your ideas!!

Where are you putting all of your ideas over the course of the year? I actually type ideas on my Google calendar as I see them. I mentally process when I could fit in the project and put it on or around that date. When you enter an event on your calendar you can also enter the link to where you found the idea.

#4 - Join our Facebook Group

My great friend Amber Teamann and I started a Principal's Only Facebook group almost 2 years ago. This group is now over 5,000 members and there are endless ideas being shared. You could literally plan over 5 years worth of appreciation events by searching the group. Currently you HAVE to be a principal to join the group but we are working on other projects to include more people.

#5 - Get ideas delivered straight to your inbox!

* Over 30 ideas for teacher appreciation to start implementing today

* Download the guide an make a plan 

In this guide you are going to discover how to boost staff morale through appreciation and motivation treats just like School Leaders from all over the country/world.

I  put together a Free Guide showing you over 30 ideas for teacher appreciation to start implementing today.

Anyone can subscribe! Just click 
"CLICK HERE" under the image below, enter your name and email address and you'll instantly receive the Free Guide.


Fabulous February Confession

I didn't do it! Nope! No Fabulous February for Willard East this year.

Before February started I told my "Culture Club" we are not doing it. As the leader it is my job to look ahead and filter things that are on the calendar or would like to be on the calendar. When I looked at February I knew there was no way. In my defense, I have talked about this before. If February doesn't work out there is always Marvelous March and/or Awesome April.

("Culture Club" is what we call our Leader In Me Environment/Culture Action Team. Just more fun to picture Boy George singing Karma Chameleon every time we say it! )

We had 2 snow days in February. We hosted our very first Leadership Day as part of the Leader In Me initiative. This Tuesday is Family Reading Night. And I have been out of building more in the past year than EVER. In the past I have tried to do all the things AND still pull off Fabulous February. Needless to say I was miserable and my family was miserable because I was trying to be all things to all people.

Teachers need Fabulous February. One of my teachers reminded me the other day, "Now I remember why we do Fabulous February." It's a crazy month. Especially with all the snow days and inside recess. I actually love all the Instagram posts about inside recess. They are pretty funny.

Having said all of that......We will do something. When we became a Leader In Me school last year the torch was passed to the Culture Club. There is now a group that plans culture building activities all through the year. That was bitter sweet. Fabulous February is a lot of work! If someone wants to do all the things go right ahead. But it is also MY "thing." I like all the planning and creating and anticipation.

I say all of this to say that there is no right or wrong way. Whether it's February, March, or April it's the "why" that keeps us going. Everyone needs appreciation, fun, gifts, sweet treats, etc. It's just for fun. When it's not fun, we reevaluate and plot a new course.

Here are some awesome ideas that we might to try to convert to March or April activities. These have been posted in our Facebook group under other topics. The nice thing is that we change them to meet any idea!

"March in Mug" (Idea from Michele Stanton in Facebook Group)

Thank you Jessica Gomez - "A Toast to the End of the Year"

If you did Fabulous February how did it go? What will you change in the future? Let us know in the comments so we can all learn together.

Principal Planner - Complimentary Copy

Happy Sunday friends! I was able to get quite a bit done on some of my creative projects this weekend. Of course there are tons of other things to do but on a dreary day there is nothing better than coffee, clipart, and chillin' with my kids!
Can be digital or paper. I currently use as paper but
have uploaded it to Goodnotes too.
This is the FREEBIE
I teased a little bit about this freebie in my Insta-stories over the past couple of weeks. It may not necessarily be finished but it's finished for now. Some of you have been waiting for me to share it and I just wasn't sure I liked it. Still not sure.
Last year's goal was to be more productive in the evenings.
This is posted in my TpT Store.
Over the course of the past couple of years my kids have hit the age of total immersion in sports and school events. When I say there is something every night, I mean EVERY night. I originally started using an "evening planning" calendar. I was not productive at all in the evenings because there is no set schedule. Every week is different.
This is a freebie lesson plan template and I can't remember the
title or store but will update this when I find it again.
For years I have used a daily planner. Paper and digital. Paper because I just like it and I like stickers. (I don't use stickers all the time.) I am making the transition to the weekly calendar because I can't keep up. I need the week laid out in front of me to see where I can plug in some important things. It's easy to get lost in the day and become unproductive waiting for things to happen or the next appointment.
Notice all the time available for plugging in
to-do items.
As you can see this is evolving and a work in progress. I used to fret over changing planners during the year. I thought if I bought one I had to use it or the planner police would arrest me for not finishing it. No more planner guilt for me! I love all the planners!

Fall Break & Freebies

Hello Friends! Is there really anything better than a fall break inserted right at the end of "Shocktober?" Perfect timing! Especially for my teachers. I know October is tough and I try to do everything to keep the humor alive and support teachers. Just knowing a break was coming up was a big incentive.  Bring on naps, coffee, movies, and of course LivePD!!!

Totally forgot there was a "Freebies" page on my blog. Oops! I had my blog redesigned last year and was trying to think to the future to things I could offer or do to support principal friends and/or teachers. Who doesn't love a freebie?

I have added 2 freebies, I think:) They should be linked in Google for "anyone with the link" but I guess we will see once this goes live and everyone knows where to look. Total disclaimer here.....I do have a TpT store. I call it my "start up business" but it's been "starting up" for a couple years. It's about as vacant as the brick and mortar stores you see all over town. Eventually I will move in with more content. Check it out and "Follow me" there and you will know when I do upload new content someday.

Do you have a fall break? How do you rest and rejuvenate?