Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Teachers' Lounge Decor

Since I don't have a classroom to decorate now that I'm in the Principal's Office, I enjoy decorating the lounge at school.

Today I spent time putting up new bulletin boards and decor on the walls.

One thing that I want is for the stuff in the lounge to serve a purpose... not just be STUFF on the walls.  I know my teachers may want to kick back and relax when they enter the lounge, and I want it to be a place that is cozy for them... but I also want to keep things that are important up where everyone sees them every day.

Check out what I added today!

Everyone needs a birthday display.  I got the "Hip Hip Hooray" stickers at Target in (duh!) the Dollar Spot.  {On a side note... NOTHING makes me miss being a teacher more than that Dollar Spot!  My brain spins with educational possibilities every time I go past it!}  I also got the mini-party hats in the Dollar Spot and made the month pages on the computer.

I also bought the adorable printables on the bottom from TpT.

This year I'm trying something new... I bought a calendar (Target Dollar Spot... but was actually $5) and went through and wrote every event on the calendar for the year... every meeting, every fire drill, every family event, every day off... and have it hanging in the lounge so the staff can see EvErYtHiNg going on.  They are also encouraged to add events as they come up (like field trips, etc...).

The banner above is one that I made and is in my TpT store.  I hung one in my classroom for holidays for an instant holiday decoration!  I'll use them this year in my lounge and change them for holidays.

I also have a display up of our School Improvement goals.  It goes one step deeper, though, and shows what the teachers' and my responsibilities are in order for us to meet our goals.

Last, we are focusing on data displays this year so I will be hanging up grade-level assessment data when we give our benchmark assessments throughout the year.  This will help us as we work toward having honest conversations about data and using it to make decisions.  The "Talk Data To Me" comes from a spoof on a Jason deRulo song that one of my colleagues and I recorded last summer... still working up the courage to share that one with you and my staff!

Looking for more ways to spruce up your teachers' lounge?  Click HERE to check out some more things out on TpT!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Feedback for Teachers {Administrator FREEBIE!}

How is it that summer is more than HALF over?!

I'm getting prepped and ready to start my 2nd year in the Principal's Office and, though there are going to be a few changes, one thing will stay the same: providing loads of feedback to my teachers.

When I was in the classroom, I loved craved feedback from my principal.  What was I doing right?  What needed work?  What did she/he notice that I did not?  How can I be the best that I can be in the classroom?  I have had principals who were good at this, and some that didn't spend enough time in the classroom or who didn't know how to help me become my best teacher me.

I try to be in classrooms as often as possible.  I visit every classroom every day after the morning announcements and I pop in and out throughout the day.  Sometimes I just stand outside of classroom doors and listen (how creepy does that sound?!) or just peek into doorways.

One of the things that I do is provide my teachers FAST FEEDBACK every few weeks.  I sit down in the room for about 10 minutes, tally positive and negative oral feedback, jot down feedback, and ask questions.  When I leave the room, I drop the form off on the teacher's desk.  I don't require meetings afterwards, but we usually end up having informal conversation at some point.

I believe my staff has enjoyed the feedback this year.  I love that I see these papers hanging in their rooms.  I love that, as the year went on, things I jotted down on these forms I could see action on in subsequent visits (stalkings outside the door).

How would you like to be able to provide quick an easy feedback to your teachers?

Here is an example of what this form might look like after a classroom visit.  Bonus points if you get the name on the teacher line!


You can click HERE to download this for free at my TpT store.

If you are in the market for other "Principal/Administrator" stuff... I also have some morale boosters on TpT.  We used each of these items with huge success in my building this year.  It was fun to see the competitive side of my teachers when we did the monthly match-ups (that's the one with the Santa on the cover- it's a bundle with activities for different holidays)!



And this one is actually FREE!  A printable award you can give to teachers.  I give one a month at our end of the month student awards assembly!


Ok!  Enjoy the rest of your summer... it's going quickly!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Personal Update and New Stuff at School for a New Year!

It's been a while.

That's an understatement.

And it feels like I start any blog post off with those words (or some variation) lately!

I wrapped up my first year as a principal.

I loved it.

My staff... amazing.

The kiddos... amazing.

The support from admin... amazing.

I learned a ton.

And I can't wait for next year!

In fact, this was the table on my office the last day of school... already piled high with things for next year.


So, what are we doing NEW next year?

Wow! Words

We are going to get a new Wow! Word every day on the announcements this year as a way to squeeze in some tier 2 and 3 vocabulary words.  This book is laid out excellently with words that 4, 5, 6, and 7 year olds should know.  The vocab is very rigorous and I'm excited to implement this in my building!

What else is new...

CLUBS!!!!!

I'm soooooo excited about this one.  Each staff member (teachers, aides, librarian, speech, counselor, etc...) has chosen something of interest to them and we will be doing once a month "CLUBS" where kids get to choose which club to be a part of and then attend to do something that interests them.  We have everything from baking, crafting, sports, and drama to a sensory club, geocaching club, and dance party club!  We are going to start each club off with a picture book that focuses on some sort of social skill or character building lesson.  Then, the clubs become a vehicle to grow relationships and provide students something positive that is of direct interest to them.  I can't WAIT for our first club day in September!

ANCHOR CHARTS!!!!



We will be focusing on creating and using anchor charts in all classrooms this year.  At each monthly staff meeting, each teacher will be required to bring an anchor chart that he/she has used with students in the last month to share with the staff.  Shhhh... I'm even surprising them at our first PD day with a set of these amazing Sharpies that don't bleed through the paper, sticky notes, and a large chart paper pad so we can start right away with this initiative!

I'm also reading this book, Beyond the Bake Sale, and we will be having lots of conversation and taking action to increase positive parent relations in the building.  This is a great read... I recommend it highly!

And finally... personal update!

I don't often share a ton of personal stuff here, so feel free to skim over it if you aren't interested.

If you've followed my blog for a while, you may know that several years ago I went through a divorce that was quite a shock to me.  I stayed in "our" home for a while afterwards but it was hard living in the place where I once shared a life with someone.  So, I bought a new house on my own and moved about 30-minutes away from the old house.  I loved it!!!!!!  Not only was it FREEDOM not living in that old house, but it really gave me a chance to find ME and who the "not-wife" version of me was.  It was soooo good for me!

Back up two years ago... I met a wonderful guy.  And life was good.

And it's about to get even better!

We are closing on our new house next week and I can't wait!

Here it is...


Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!

Here's to wishes for an amazing summer for all of you, bloggy friends... I'll be unpacking and getting situated, but it felt really good to write this blog post so I'm going to try and be back soon with new news from the Principal's Office!

Happy 4th!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

TWO DAYS LEFT- GIVEAWAY! Don't miss out!

I had the privilege this past weekend to attend the Michigan Reading Association conference with 7 of the amazing teachers from my school.

We learned so much and had a great time too!

In the exhibitor hall, I came across the booth for the website http://www.facts4me.com and was immediately impressed.  Facts 4 Me didn't ask me to blog about them.  They didn't give me a free membership.  I'm just an educator impressed with this website and really wanting you to check it out!



Facts 4 Me is an AMAZING science and social studies resource with LOADS of topics that you can either display for your students, print for informational reading, or assign students to read and research.  I LOVE that it is easy to navigate, includes colorful pictures, and the texts is written with easy readability while still containing important facts for students.

The past 4 years while I was teaching in 3rd grade, we did a Wax Museum project and this would have been the PERFECT resource.  One of the things I appreciate the most is that there are NO external links.  This site is secure and safe for our little learners.




But, here's the best part (well, 2nd best part... well, 3rd best)... You can purchase an ENTIRE SCHOOL LICENSE for ONLY $50!  And, for $150, you get 24/7 access for your ENTIRE school building.  That is what blew my mind!


Ok- 2nd best part... From now until April 21, these ladies are giving every FREE ACCESS if go to the website (http://www.facts4me.com) and use the username and password on the image below.  Please do yourself a favor and check out this site.  You will NOT be disappointed!


And, the FIRST BEST PART... they are going to giveaway a subscription to one of you!!!!  It's easy to enter.  All you have to do is check out the website and come back and let me know one topic you are excited to see!  You can earn an extra entry if you follow my blog too.  I'll announce the winner on my blog next week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, March 13, 2017

Facts 4 Me Subscription Giveaway!!!

I had the privilege this past weekend to attend the Michigan Reading Association conference with 7 of the amazing teachers from my school.

We learned so much and had a great time too!

In the exhibitor hall, I came across the booth for the website http://www.facts4me.com and was immediately impressed.  Facts 4 Me didn't ask me to blog about them.  They didn't give me a free membership.  I'm just an educator impressed with this website and really wanting you to check it out!



Facts 4 Me is an AMAZING science and social studies resource with LOADS of topics that you can either display for your students, print for informational reading, or assign students to read and research.  I LOVE that it is easy to navigate, includes colorful pictures, and the texts is written with easy readability while still containing important facts for students.

The past 4 years while I was teaching in 3rd grade, we did a Wax Museum project and this would have been the PERFECT resource.  One of the things I appreciate the most is that there are NO external links.  This site is secure and safe for our little learners.




But, here's the best part (well, 2nd best part... well, 3rd best)... You can purchase an ENTIRE SCHOOL LICENSE for ONLY $50!  And, for $150, you get 24/7 access for your ENTIRE school building.  That is what blew my mind!


Ok- 2nd best part... From now until April 21, these ladies are giving every FREE ACCESS if go to the website (http://www.facts4me.com) and use the username and password on the image below.  Please do yourself a favor and check out this site.  You will NOT be disappointed!


And, the FIRST BEST PART... they are going to giveaway a subscription to one of you!!!!  It's easy to enter.  All you have to do is check out the website and come back and let me know one topic you are excited to see!  You can earn an extra entry if you follow my blog too.  I'll announce the winner on my blog next week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Sunday, March 5, 2017

Keeping Staff Happy

I just need to put it out there... the teachers and staff at my school are AMAZING!  I try to let them know how much I appreciate them with notes in mailboxes, daily classroom visits, lots of feedback, and treats too.

One thing I have done this year is some sort of "match-up" for each holiday- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine's Day with two more coming up for St. Patrick's Day and Easter.

I put a card in each person's mailbox and they have to find the staff member with the card that goes with theirs.  When they find their match, they come see me for a prize!

For example...

At Halloween, each staff member had a joke or the answer to the joke.  They had to find the person with the joke that set up their answer or the answer to their joke.

For Thanksgiving, each staff member received part of a Thanksgiving meal.  They had to match up in groups of 4 to make a complete dinner.

I loved the Christmas match-up.  Everyone got song lyrics and had to match up.  Most even sang their complete lyric to me!

For Valentine's Day, we made "perfect pairs"...

There are two more coming up, but I'm keeping those under wraps just in case anyone from school stumbles across this blog.

You can find all of these packs on TpT!  Just click the picture above to check out all of my products for boosting morale!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Musings of a First-Year Principal

It's been a while, little blog!

I am now just over mid-way through my first year behind the principal's desk and, I must say, I love what I am doing.

The hours are long, the work is BIG, and the responsibilities are huge.  But, I love it.

I love helping kids solve their problems.

I love going into the lunchroom and spending time with each grade level.

I love eating my lunch in the lunchroom and seeing the faces of the Kinders when I eat my pureed asparagus soup which must look pretty funky to them!

I love digging in to curriculum and helping teachers reach their full potential in the classroom.

I love brainstorming ways to make my school even more amazing.

I love knowing all almost 300 students in my building and, I'm proud to say, I know almost all of their names.

I love standing outside each morning during arrival and waving to parents as they pull in and greeting kids with their first school smile of the day.

I love being outside each afternoon during dismissal and waving at parents as they pull in and saying bye to kids with their last school smile of the day.

I love how in-tune my ears are now to children's tears!  I can hear them a mile away.

I love how I've learned that a baggie with 2 ice cubes can make any scratch, scrape, or bump feel instantly better.

I love doing little things to let my staff know they are appreciated.

I love my morning pop-ins to each classroom in the building.

I love that, when I'm not at school, the kiddos realize I'm gone.

I love my Monday morning all-school assemblies.

I love reading the day's lunch choices on the announcements and, on the day when they have french toast with peas, I love making little jokes about it.

I love that, even when I have to discipline a student, they still give me hugs the next day.

I love the silly things my kiddos say.  It is a K-2 school, after all.

I love seeing parents coming in to help in the classrooms.

I love hearing kids say things like, "Yes!  We get to do math!"

I love seeing Kindergarteners doing "read to self" and working to build their stamina.

I love how I can recognize their individual voices when they say hi to me from across the room.

I love the people I work with.  Seriously.  My staff is amazing.

I love the school secretary.  We'd be lost without her!

I love that I still get to read to kiddos.

I love that, even though I'm not in the classroom, I still feel connected to what is going on in the classrooms in my building.

I love how the bucket of chocolate I keep in my office acts as an instant barometer for how everyone is feeling at school... on stressful days, the bucket gets a lot of action from the staff.

I love when I walk into classrooms and kids tell me they saw me in the parking lot saying good morning.  Yes, I just saw you too.  When I said good morning.  When you got out of your car 10 minutes ago.  I love it!

So much to love!

I hope all of my bloggy friends are having a great year too!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

An Oriental Trading Holiday {with a Thanksgiving FREEBIE!}

Can I just shout from the mountain top that I LOVE ORIENTAL TRADING?????



They sent me this...

... full of these Christmas goodies...

Be sure to check out their HOLIDAY stuff.  It's pretty rad!

I will have each class down to the library in December and I will read my favorite Christmas books to them.  Then I will give each kiddo a candy cane and a holiday sticker.  I did this for Halloween and the kids LOVED it!  And my teachers loved getting a little breather too!



...I got these winter items for my school prize box!


...and these for my teachers!  Every holiday I have the staff do a little activity and the prize is a box full of goodies!  I can't wait to fill these cuties for them!




...I also got these stockings and fabric markers.  Shhhh... it's for a Christmas surprise for my staff!


I am so thankful for Oriental Trading sending me these goodies.  Head over to their site to get some great goodies at some amazing prices!

And now... for the Thanksgiving FREEBIE!

I said above that I do a little goodie box for my staff.  This month, I used the "pie favor boxes" that Oriental Trading sent me in October.  I put one card from the pack below in each staff member's mailbox.  They had to find a complete meal and then come show me to get their "dessert"... a cute pie shaped box full of goodies!


Click the link below to download the freebie and spread some Thanksgiving love around your school!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Want a FREE Halloween Party Game?

If you do... then...

BOOM.

It's your lucky day!

Check out this FREEBIE rewind!



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