Morale Magic- Boost Your School Morale


If we could give you one thing that would improve your school in incredible ways, would
you be intrigued to know more? What if this this gift was easy to implement and all you needed to do was give it a try? What is this one thing, you ask? It is called a monthly morale booster.
Positive morale is a human need.  Everyone wants to feel fulfilled and recognized for the work that they do.  If we as leaders create that environment, build relationships and provide the supporting culture needed, the staff will take care of everything else.

Morale Magic has everything you need for the entire school year.  No more worrying about coming up with the ideas, creating it all on your computer, or finding the time to brainstorm.  We have done it all for you!

 MORALE MAGIC

eBook by Stephanie McConnell and Christine Bedre
Morale Magic is authored by two school leaders. This is an ebook which includes over 500 pages of content. A digital copy is sent to you via email after purchase. Instant Access! Morale Magic includes both book content pages for pleasure reading and printables for each month. 

A look at each month:

July
Send Postcards Coffee and Conversations Paint and Plan New Teacher Staff Academy Birthday Luncheons  
August Scavenger Lights, Camera, Action Popsicles and Snow Cones Our Hopes Aloha Luncheon Clay Models-Qualities of a Great Teacher  
September Ice Cream Sandwich BAR Basket Head Teambuilding Know Your Why- activity Selfie- Did You Know Bulletin Board Social Media Mania- Jeans  
October Song that describes you Trunk or Treat School Wide Event PVC Activity (PVC Power) Red Ribbon Week Shout Out Graffiti Spirit Chain (Links of appreciation)  
November Hot Cider Bar Instant Pick-Me-Up (Reflection board - quote/thought for each day) Smore activity Popcorn treat  
 December Books and Blankets White Elephant Book and Blanket Service Project Shower Curtain Activity A Cup of Holiday Cheer Sunshine Box  
January #One Word Social Media Mania The Biggest Loser Challenge Super Bowl  
February Mardi Gras- Contest Fat Tuesday Staff Lunch Valentine’s Day Sec. Seminar Circle Puzzle Piece Activity - Teamwork Two by Ten  
March St. Patrick's Day Teacher Oscar Awards Ice Cream Staff Builder Beach Ball Activity  
April Spring Into the 60’s Flower Pot Decorated Contest (Earth Day) Milk and Cookie Bar Administrative Professionals Day Stress Awareness Month  
May Teacher Appr. Week (one per day) Cinco De Mayo (Sip and Salsa) Taco Tuesday Lemons into Lemonade (Serve lemonade) Attendance Awards  



ABOUT THE AUTHORS

I, Stephanie McConnell, serve as an elementary principal located in Northeast Texas. I started my journey as a school leader in 2005. I’m inspired to bring value to other school leaders through my love of leading and teaching. It has always been my aim to create a school culture and climate where students, teachers, and community members feel welcomed and a part of the school. In order to have a great school, it starts with me- the school leader. I believe in doing the work that I love. I hope to inspire you along the way.  
When I’m not at school, I am a blogger and content creator. I love sharing a day in the life of a principal on the blog, Principal Principles.  
Stephanie and her husband, Brent, have three children- Ashley, Aaron, and Allison. 
You can contact Stephanie at principalprinciples@gmail.com.


I, Christine Bedre, serve as an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction located in East Texas. In 2014 I began my educational leadership adventure. My passion is to assist the growth of newcomers in both teaching and leadership roles by developing best teaching practices, curricula choices, and data assessments to support authentic student learning. I hope you enjoy my vision and can use it as you create your dynamic school culture.  
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my sweet family and watching my young children grow. Additionally, I like to share curriculum with other educators through my blog, The Pickled Principal.  
Christine and her husband, Brian, have two children - Buck and Brighton.  
You can contact Christine at pickledprincipal@gmail.com  
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Organizational Tools for Principals

Being a principal can be challenging, right?  However, having the right tools will help you meet those challenges and deadlines.  I like to think I am organized.  I'm sure I could do better from time to time.  I'm sure we all have a junk drawer or at least I hope I'm not the only one.  I haven't blogged in several months.  I am staying so busy with leading a school and family events.  Therefore, I thought today would be a great day to share some tips that I have found very helpful.

TICKLER FILING SYSTEM



I know we live in the digital age, but let's not forget there are still things we must file and keep.  The tickler file is definitely back to the basics.  This system is like a calendar for your filing cabinet.  You have 43 folders- 31 numbered and 12 labeled with months.   Every morning, that day's folder is pulled out and the contents placed on to the desk.  For example, if I have a PLC meeting on April 18, I can keep any handouts behind April 18.

How this looks in the desk or filing cabinet:

Since tomorrow is April 18, you would see folder 18 at the front, followed by 6-31, then May through next March.  When I empty the folder, I'll place it at the back of the number folders, leaving the next day ready to be pulled out.

Why?  

This helps you prep for the year.  It is a simple but effective system that works for planning events for the year.

I love these months and numbered files from Amazon.  They are very sturdy and will last many years.

GOOGLE KEEP


My friend introduced me to Google Keep at the beginning of the year.  You know how when someone creates something so cool that you wish you were the genius behind it.  That is me with Google Keep.  If you are in love with sticky notes and all things digital, this is your win-win.  Google Keep will sync your notes to your Google Drive and other devices.  The image you see above is a screenshot of it on my phone.  However, I can just access Google Keep on my computer as well.  When I add something to either device, it will appear on the other devices.  I have several sticky notes in various colors depending on the topic.  Sounds cool, right?

How to access it on the computer:


1.  Click on the 9 dots in the right corner of your Google account.  
2.  It will open up a variety of items.
3.  Click on Google Keep (lightbulb)
4.  Begin creating.  It is easy!
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Student Data Folders: Making Learning Visible

If you haven’t started using student data folders, it is a tool I highly suggest. These folders are in the hands of the students. They’re tracking and monitoring their own data. Teachers debrief with students after checkpoints and have critical conversations about their growth. Students recognize areas of their own strengths and areas to improve. The folders are the used to transform small group instruction that is designed specifically for their needs.

Data is useless until it impacts the instruction.
If the idea of using data folders sparks your interest after reading this post, I highly recommend the book by John Hattie- Visible Learning for Teachers.


WHAT DATA TO USE:

In reality, I'm sure you could use any forms of data you have- content-based assessments, weekly assessments, progress monitoring, or even state data.  The big ticket item is to locate data that is relevant to reach the goals or your desired outcome.  For me, we needed to make a focus on individual student needs and less whole group instruction.  We have access to a data management system called DMAC.  We use DMAC to generate all of our content-based assessment reports.  After each assessment, we have data at our fingertips in a matter of minutes.  

Here is an image of the reports I generate for each student.  Image provided by DMAC demo.

This data allows us to see the standards in which the student has mastered and the areas in need of assistance.  The reports are color-coded.  If printing in color is an issue for you, black and white copies will work too.  I had to forgo color as well.  

STUDENT-FRIENDLY DATA

Student-friendly data is key.  Not all data is readable for students of elementary age.  The report shown above is very understandable.  Teachers meet with students either one-on-one or in a very small group.  The teacher helps the students understand how the read the chart.  Conversations begin to happen.  

HOW TO GET STARTED:

Background: We are an elementary campus of PK-5.  The data folders are in place for grades 3-5.  However, this will be in place for K-2 as well for next year.  We are departmentalized in grades 3-5.  Small group instruction is built into the master schedule.  PLC meetings are every Wednesday for one hour.  Progress monitoring is scheduled every two weeks for students receiving intervention and remediation.  This is my first year in this school district (Not a new principal, but new to this district.)

  1. Locate the data for which you want to share with your students.
  2. Build a folder for each student.  We are only focusing on reading and math at this time.  I recommend starting small as well.  
  3. Talk to your teachers about this process.  Model how to have a student data conference, if needed.  
  4. Provide assistance in providing targeted interventions for students who have not mastered standards.
  5. Make groups that are flexible or more fluid-like.  This will allow teachers to pull students each day based on the standards that are below proficiency.  

HOW TO MANAGE ALL THE DIFFERENT GROUPS:

Managing all the information and knowing what students all need was the biggest question and concern from my own staff.  I tried to make this easy as well.  DMAC will run a report and generate a list of students who are below proficiency in each standard.  This helps teachers pull students based on their needs.  I know they do not have time to analyze every folder and make their own list.  That is another wonderful part of DMAC.  Most data management systems will do this.  

Image provided by DMAC demo.  


Folder Organization: 

The folders will stay with the teachers and not in the desks, lockers, etc...  Since we are departmentalized and change classes, we decided to have one folder for the reading/ELA teacher and one folder for the math teacher.  Remember, we decided to begin small and work on reading and math at this time.  The file folders are the very inexpensive manilla office folders.  Next year, I plan on making this a school-wide goal as I have always done in my previous districts.  

Tip: 

 I gave my teachers half-day subs so they could use the time to look over the data and make plans for instruction.  This is a lot of information to hand to your teachers.  Be understanding of the time that this takes to do it right.  

NEED DATA FORMS? 

Here are some resources that may assist you in getting started.  These data discussion cards have been a big help to me over the years.  





This data wall (digital version) is a great resource for teachers to group their students.  

DIGITAL DATA

I have a love with Google because we can easily keep up the data for the entire year with a spreadsheet.  We update the data every two weeks. The file is shared with the teachers and intervention staff.    While we are in PLC meetings, we pull up the data with our MacBooks and see the gains of each student.  If you are interested in this Google spreadsheet, click here to make a copy of my file.






FYI: I do not work or have any connections with DMAC.  It is just a data system that my district uses and is beneficial to us.  


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Morale Booster for New Year

Happy New Year to You! I hope you have a great 2018.

I'm excited to share this Make a Wish FREEBIE for January with you. First of all, I know how time-consuming and costly it can be to purchase something every single month. I try and provide low-cost goodies because I'm paying for a lot of these out of my own pocket. I know you are probably doing the same thing too.

We return to school on Monday, January 8th. My staff and I have yet to celebrate the new year together. I'm preparing for that day with this fun idea.

 We plan on sharing a wish for the new year using glitter.  Who doesn't love glitter?  These individual glitter packets from Michaels make this morale-boosting activity easy to prep.


I mean just look at these colorful glitter packets.   They were only $4 each.   To create this fun experience it will only cost me $12.  Like I said, I purchase most the morale-boosters out of my own pocket so $12 is a deal.


 How to Use:

1. Print the Make a Wish card.
2. Attach a glitter packet to the card.
3. Take time to go outside with your staff to make a wish. The staff can pour the glitter packet in the palm of their hands and blow to make a wish.  If they don't like the idea of glitter all on their hands, just sprinkle in the wind.  It's the same idea but a little less messy.
4. Snap a photo and share the fun! Tag me @principalprinciples

I taped the glitter packet on the back of the cards so it is easy to pass out as we go outside.
I found the Washi tape at Michaels too.




Thank you for following Principal Principles. See you in February! If you love the FREEBIE, give me a shout out by sharing your finished product on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.



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