Thursday, August 28, 2014

First Day Fun

For the first day, we wanted to welcome back all the staff for the entire school.  We had custom pins made for the teachers with the following saying:

We made survival kits for the 12 new teachers.

I made some welcome back pencils for other staff.  We made bags of chocolate treats just in case we needed more.  We made labeled water bottles with chips for the bus drivers and monitors.  We gave the custodians water and munchkins.

For the entire first day, we went to every classroom to greet the students and teachers. We, also, visited all other staff to welcome them back.

We did all this to be a united team and school.  We wanted to boost the staff and student morale.  

In a survey using Google Forms, 91% said it made a great start to the year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Survival and EdCamp Professional Day

I wanted to build team spirit among the teams of teachers and found an idea to do a Survivor competition.  We scheduled two hours for this portion of the afternoon.  Upon arrival in the cafeteria, we had locally made cookies and coffee.

For the first part of the Survivor competition, the teams had to create a banner and chant that represented them.  Each team them presented to the entire group.  The competition was broken down into three categories: Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.

For Outwit, the teams had to list as items they could for the given topic in 60 seconds. We used countries, vegetables, cheese, and cars.  Next, they had to do a quiz about the school's mission and vision statements.  Finally, they had a quiz to create school goals based on our action plans.

For Outplay, teams had a Scrabble competition.  We paired up the teams and they were given eight minutes of game time.  How ever many points they got in the game, it was added to their overall score.  Using iPad minis, the teams were matched for a chess competition. They earned a point for each piece captured.  I was amazed at how many didn't know how to play chess!

For Outlast, teams had a relay competition around the square field.  A team member had to run a leg while carrying a big orange cone.  After we moved to the gym for a free throw competition.  Each team member was given two turns to add to the final score.

The winning team was given a huge box of supplies to divide among themselves.

For the second part of the afternoon, we held an EdCamp with a focus on using more technology with students.  We had four twenty-minute sessions.  Each session had four different options.  We had seven people present the technologies.  Here are the following technologies that were presented:

Snapshot (part of Edmodo)
Subtext (also a free app on Edmodo)
NoRedInk (also a free app on Edmodo)
QR Codes
Skype Classroom

Monday, August 25, 2014

Uplift Teachers' Spirit

On August 18th, I've embarked on a new journey as the assistant principal at the middle school I work at.  I spent many hours since the spring doing some soul searching about applying for this position.  I knew that the competition would be tough so I read and read and read book after book.  The key author that helped me was Todd Whitaker.  His books helped me to think about and come up with ideas that would help improve the school.  I began to have difficulty sleeping because so many ideas were popping into my brain.

The first thing I knew the school needed was an amazing welcome back for the teachers.  Working in an inner city school has many ups and downs.  As a teacher, you need as much inspiration and support you can get.

The first ideas was to spruce up the faculty rooms with much needed supplies.  I had approval from the principal to buy for each room: a comfy chair, set of dishes, set of silverware, and curtains.  The school is one campus but two separate buildings.  Each floor has a faculty room for a total of 6 rooms. The other assistant principal and I started by cleaning and organizing the rooms including the refrigerators.  Next we put in the dishes and silverware, set up the chair in a cozy corner with inspirational quotes from Scholastic Instructor magazine around it, curtains, dish rack and created a tree of thanks on the bulletin board.


It ended up taking us from 9 am to 7:30 pm on a Friday to finish all 6 rooms.  The teachers were definitely surprised. It's great to see all of it being put to use!