Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bananagrams Challenge

Have you ever play Bananagrams?  I love it.  I like it more than Scrabble or Words with Friends because you create your own game board.  I recently learned about their contest.

I am so excited that I just registered my school to take the Bananagrams Challenge!  Any school in RI, MA and CT are invited to participate in the Bananagrams Challenge.  You have until December 1st to register your school online.  One staff per a school only need to apply.  In January, you will receive for free two Bananagrams game and all the information for you to hold your contest. Once your school has a finalist, you will submit the student's name online.  Your student will compete online in the elimination rounds.  The top 12 students will compete in Rhode Island on Saturday, April 9th. Every top 12 contestant will get a goodie bag while the winner gets a trophy and $1000 for his/her school.  *This is only for grades 4, 5, and 6.

I hope many of you in RI, MA, and CT will join us in competing in this amazing event!  Sign up at their website:  https://bananagramschallenge.com/

Monday, September 29, 2014

Celebrate Library Card Sign Up Month

Being an assistant principal, everyone thinks all you see are the students who are not doing what they are supposed to be doing in class.  This is what I thought before I started the job.

One idea I thought of to ensure that I still was able to work with students and to celebrate all the students who strive to be their best each day was to start doing reward projects with them.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month.  To celebrate, I had all teams of teachers submit two names of student who had show the 3R's (respect, readiness, and responsibility) each day.  Needed only chenille stems and pom poms made this project quite inexpensive.

It was extremely rewarding to work with 4 to 6 students at a time, snack on pretzels, talk about books, and all the things you get for free when you have a library card.

In Rhode Island, our library cards give students access to live tutors with Tutor.com every day from 2 pm to 10 pm for free.  Also they can access to learn a language on Mango and much more.  You can check it out at askri.org.

Directions for Mouse Bookmark

International Literacy Day

We celebrated International Literacy Day by pledging 60 days for 60 seconds of literacy.  Each morning during our announcements, we are using the 60 seconds to create contests for the students.

For the first two weeks, I wrote blurbs about authors and students had to make a guess on who the author was.

For the third and fourth weeks, I read aloud from the beginning of books.  Students had to guess the book and author to win the raffle.

For the fifth and sixth weeks, I will read aloud 3 to 5 Book Tweets (Download them from free at my TPT site) each day.  On the first day, I will share my own.  If a student's tweet is chosen, they will get a prize.

For the seventh and eighth weeks, I will give a jumble of letters and the students will have to unscramble them to get the title.  Those who have the correct answer will get a chance at our daily raffle.

For the final month, the reading teachers for the school are coming up with even more ideas.  I will add to this post once they have shared the ideas with me.

You can download International Reading Association's entire activity kit with even more ideas.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Positive Office Referrrals

When I thought about taking this assistant principal job, I thought all about how to add more positive to our school.  The first thing I created was a simple positive referral.  Teachers fill these out about a student.  I give the student's homeroom teacher a pass to see me in the morning.  I share with them what the teacher said, give them a custom "I'm So Proud of You" pen, and a pencil pouch of supplies.

The best part is calling home and letting the parents know about the great things their child has done.  At first some parents are nervous to get a call from the assistant principal, but then they are proud and excited.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Morning Announcements

Each day's morning announcement has had a focus on a month long or daily celebration.  I've been using these web sites to find out all the holidays/special occasions:

Since our school is broken into two separate buildings on one campus, the other assistant principal and I make the morning announcements in Google Drive so we can play the same opening music and have the same announcements.  As long as the wi-fi and servers are working, it has gone very smoothly.

We've decided to add in the day's weather, staff/student shout-outs, and quotes of the day.  Staff is telling us that we have made these announcements personable.

In honor of Library Card Sign-up month, we had teams submit the names of two students who have exhibited the 3R's (respect, readiness, responsibility) since the start of school.  These twenty-eight students made a mouse bookmark out of pom-poms, chenille stems, wiggly eyes, and fast tack glue.

We had just as much fun getting to know the students as they did making them.  Some were quite impressed that they could even make it.

On September 8th we honored International Literacy Day by pledging to give 60 seconds of reading for 60 days.  We decided to do this during our morning announcements and turn it into a contest.  We are starting with giving a description about authors for students to guess.  Next we will read passages from popular books for students to guess.  Then we will have Book Tweets and ask students to submit their own.  If theirs is chosen, then they will win.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Student Expectations Assembly

Since we have twelve teams of teachers/students, I wanted to create an experience about why we go to school and what we expect for the year.  I decided to use Prezi instead of a PowerPoint.  I loved the theme of a road for the journey that is ahead of us.  I had a few videos in mind that I used as a teacher.  Also I read and saw pictures of what students around the world do to go to school.

We decided to present to both buildings together to again show that we are one school and have the same expectations of all students.

I created a presentation that had some talking by us, cooperative learning for the students with themed music while they worked, and short videos to watch.  I made 3 large R's that were hung on the cafeteria windows.  The R's represent respect, readiness, and responsibility.  For the cooperative learning part, students worked to answer the questions with the 3 R's on different colored notecards which were then taped to the large R's on the windows. Each table shared out one answer from their notecard.

View presentation here:  Prezi

We had numerous positive comments from the teachers and students clapped at many different parts.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Staff Weekly Memo Reinvented

The assistant principal last year started using Smore for our weekly staff memos.  I wanted to keep using it since I loved it.  You can share it via a link in email to all staff and print it out to post in the mailroom and all bulletin boards in the faculty rooms.

After reading one of Todd Whitaker's books, I decided to do two new things in the weekly memo.  I decided to add in a section where staff shares about themselves.  Whitaker spoke about giving the memo out on Friday to uplift the staff and so they can plan the week ahead.  I decided to call our memo, Friday Flash Forward.  It also includes a two week schedule, inspiring quotes and videos, along with other information the staff may need.

I'm using Smore for our monthly parent newsletter to share it on the school's web page and printed copies are sent home.