Monday, August 28, 2017

Three Unexpected Things to Love #principalgifts

There are SO many things to love about being a principal-- the kids, working with fabulous teachers and staff, the families, learning-- the list is endless and I think it's the best job in the world. I can't imagine doing anything else! But in my fifth year as a school leader I have found some unexpected things that are seriously my JAM.

Parking lots! Pickup? Drop Off? YES. I love this.

I love taking out the disco ball speaker for sure. Music makes everyone happy! Check out some of my former students dancing at drop off! But I also love hopping out to the crosswalk, stopping traffic, waving on cars, waving at families, saying hello, and goodbye, and please remember to use the crosswalk. I love helping kid and parents learn traffic rules and that they are especially important to follow inside our school lot --where our most important cargo is being delivered. I love saying good morning and have a great day!

And I really love it when a kindergartner with a rocking faux-hawk says as he crosses the parking lot, "I AM SO GLAD I AM IN THIS SCHOOL!" and pumps his fist with a smile. That happened today.

Lunch Duty! It is seriously the best.

Opening pizza Lunchables and impossible adult-proofed juice pouches are epic entertainment on the daily. As is talking to students, helping a crying student remember that even though his kindergarten teacher is at lunch that we will take good care of him. Watching fifth graders take responsibility for making sure lunch tables are clean and ready for the next grade level. Today a 4th grade teacher ate lunch with the kids and they were having a fry competition-- who had the biggest french fry? This is a thing! I never knew.

Check out this take by Gerry Brooks on Kindergarten lunch duty. It's all real. #truth

Feedback. And Hard Questions.

I never thought I would love this, or need this. I do. Sometimes we think conflict is scary, or that asking questions or expressing challenges could create problems with relationships. Is feedback sometimes hard to hear? Absolutely. But it's so important to say it anyways. Real conversations, saying out loud that "this is hard for me", or "I have a different idea" is what I-- and we need to hear as school leaders. My friend Eric Saibel has inspired and mentored me so much in this area-- and truly it's through the hard conversations and the real honest feedback that we grow and learn. I share this as an administrator new to a school where we are just getting to know each other--and as an invitation to both my staff and families and colleagues to be real with me. I need and want you to push my thinking, and know that through open and honest conversations we will learn together!

What challenges do you love?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

No Such Thing As An Original Idea #steal #share #inspired

As I spend my first weekend after the first full week of school doing virtually nothing (it is a personal goal to rest and recharge so I am feeling good about this!) I'm reflecting on how much of the work I have done in my first official month in my new school was inspired by, stolen from, or shared with me by others! Like most of it. Seriously, the implementation was my own, but original ideas-- no way.

I love teaching and learning, and this includes planning professional development! I was fortunate to have two half days before school started to work with teachers, to build relationships, to have fun, and to learn the nuts and bolts needed to start the year.

It's always a challenge as summer ends and school begins to plan PD that is a mix of inspiration and information -- and that doesn't remind people of the Charlie Brown teacher!

I was hoping for FUN, COLLABORATIVE, and INSPIRING. Here are just a few of the ideas from the first two days with our teachers -- and my evidence that being connected makes me a better, more effective school leader. I could never have thought of these on my own. And keeping in mind isn't that my ideas are good, but rather that I'm modeling good teaching and learning--  strategies and tools I hope to see in classrooms as teachers and students learn together.

Here are some of the ideas that I've stolen/learned from others-- just in this summer alone!

Amazing Apps for telling your school story!
Legend & Quik

Looking for quick and easy ways to animate text or create videos to share your school story via social media? These will make you look like a pro! 
Here are a few I made!

Credit? The Moms As Principals Work Life Balance session at #NPC17-- The National Principals' Conference in Philadelphia! Follow the hashtag #momsasprincipals for inspiration!

Ready to ride a Roller Coaster? The school year is a roller coaster ride for sure! 

Credit? Again... The Moms As Principals Work Life Balance session at #NPC17-- The National Principals' Conference in Philadelphia! Follow the hashtag #momsasprincipals for inspiration!

Do you wanna make a weiner dog? Our Chopped style challenges featured a ballon art round-- using YouTube to teach us how. Better yet, a kid made this video.

Credit? My very first Roseville City School District leadership meeting featured an Amazing Race-- with a weiner dog challenge, of course! I just changed it up with the Chopped format. Follow Brandon Blom, Jamey Schrey, and Derk Garcia for inspiration!

Another Chopped Challenge? Take a photo walk! What one word will inspire you this year? Teachers searched for letters outside and used a photo collage app to create a word collage!

Credit? Amy Fadeji! One of my favorite friends and she always amazes and inspires me to be better! This photo walk idea is all hers!

Finally, Flipgrid! This is similar to a Brady Bunch type video grid and our teachers recorded a quick video to share their passion. I promised I wouldn't share the video, but here is a screenshot to give you an idea! I can't wait for the advanced CARPOOL KARAOKE Flipgrid challenge! Follow the hashtag #principalsinaction for more inspiration!

I first learned about this from Trisha Sanchez, and tried it out with my Principals In Action Voxer group! And during the first week of school, several teachers tried it out with students! 

An original idea? I don't know... but I am so grateful for friends and colleagues near and far who inspire me daily, share ideas freely, and make me a better person and leader. Who inspires you?

Happy idea stealing!