It is back to school time. A new beginning. A time to come together as a team. Elementary principals from all corners of the United States are preparing what they will say to their staff when they return. Planning that important first-day-back staff gathering can be a challenge.
Any of you principals use children’s books to accessorize that staff meeting? May we suggest that you give these delightful books a try? If they don’t seem to work, ditch them. (…and then it wasn’t us who suggested them. 🙂 ) If the lovely books do seem to bring home an important point, by all means add a title to the agenda now and then.
Phillips and Wong (2010) advised us to “think of literacy as a spine; it holds everything together.” Holding it together at the beginning of the year and all year long seems like a great plan to us.
Here are a few titles that we used when we were elementary principals, and also a few titles shared with us by other administrators, and also how they used those children’s books in their meetings. We hope they bring a little ‘bling’ to your staff meetings – because really, who doesn’t like a little bling now and then?! 🙂
The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane DeRolf –“I used this book at the beginning of the year with my staff to remind them that we all play an important role in making the school a place where we all need to work together.” ~Pat W., Superintendent
Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss –“I read this book at the all-school assembly at the beginning of the year and changed the names in the book to the names of my staff which allowed for some laughter from the students and faculty.” ~Dr. Wendy C.S., former principal
Look out Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson –“I used this book for kindergarten round up in the spring and for preparing my own children for school.” ~Dr. Sonya V., former principal and parent-in-training
Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss – “I read this book at the end of one of my staff meetings to celebrate the fact that we met AYP.” ~Jason S., principal
Testing Miss Malarkey by Judy Finchler – “I read this book the day before grades 3 – 5 take their MCA-II tests.” ~Dr. Connie H., former principal
Math Curse by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith – “Math is our biggest challenge for AYP, so we are brainstorming all possible ways to have our students perform better in math. Thought that we should start thinking “math” like in the story — just a fun way to bring a point across.” ~Melody T., retired principal
Zombies: Evacuate the School by Sara Holbrook – “Use at your back-to-school staff meeting. Read ‘100 Percent Me’ then have each teacher give percentages of who they are. Hang up in the lounge or office. These show how each one of us is unique.” ~Dr. Wendy C.S., former principal
Pip & Squeak by Kate Duke – “I used this to work on developing relationships in the school and home environments.” ~Dr. Sonya V., former principal and current parent of “my 3 sons”!
Accessorizing adds beauty – it can make an outfit or make a meeting. Just don’t overdo it or it will lose its’ luster. We would LOVE to hear of any children’s literature that you are currently using to adorn your staff meetings or all-school assemblies. Please share them in the comments below with us and others.
We wish you a fabulous year filled with enjoyable reading and lots of bling. 🙂