The topic of the most recent episode of the world-renowned (if I do say so myself) Principals Playhouse Facebook LIVE talk show was bringing JOY to school in these dreary winter months. Jon Wennstrom and I always have so much fun together, and this was such a timely topic as we face the longest stretch of consecutive school days, as we face going to work in the dark and often going home in the dark, not to mention the pressure of end-of-year assessments looming over our heads. No wonder we are forgetting to bring the JOY every day. We have a lot on our minds people!
You can check out the episode HERE. You can watch it or just listen to it, but be sure to not miss seeing the “wet willie” toward the end. It is epic.
Jon gives great tips to have a warm, caring environment inside your school or classroom, even when it is subzero outside. His school took part in a “Post-It” Challenge where every staff member and student wrote two positive Post-It’s, one to staff and one to a student. A teacher told Jon that it was her favorite school day ever as positive notes filled up lockers and classroom doors. What an easy, fun way to spread the love!
A strategy that I shared was a simple one too, but so impactful. Teachers and principals, look over your plans for the day to find something you are SO excited to do. If you can’t find something, that is okay–just add it in. This is where my JammyPack comes in handy–doing the Macarena at lunch recess with students brings joy to any day of the week! If we are excited and having fun with students, they will be excited and having fun too.
Gratitude journals are a great way to focus on the positive parts of your day as you reflect each night. Jon got this tip from mentors Debbie McFalone and Derek Wheaton. We have so much to celebrate in even our worst days and celebrating the good stuff has this funny way of lightening the load of the bad stuff.
We tend to become what we say we are. If we say we are lucky and have the best jobs on earth, almost like magic, we do. If we say we have the worst group of students ever and they are driving us batty, almost like magic, we do. I recommend belting Faith Hill’s The Lucky One at the top of your lungs every morning. You might annoy your family or even the neighbors, but I guarantee you will light up your morning and be ready to OWN the day.
One last tip I shared is to celebrate successes in your classroom or school, big or small. Set a goal, accomplish it, and celebrate. Add in some refreshments and you will have a bona fide party! This past week, I attended a book party in one classroom where students were reading and complimenting each other’s newly published books. You could hear a pin drop in the room because they were so into what they were doing. In another classroom, students were celebrating reaching their reading stamina goal. You should have seen the pride in those sweet faces.
If you missed the Principals Playhouse, don’t worry! You can catch up by watching it on Facebook, wait until we post it to YouTube (very soon, we promise), or just plug March 1 at 7:30pm EST into your calendar to check out our next episode. If you are going to the National Principals Conference in Chicago in July, you will be able to catch us not only LIVE on Facebook, but in person. Just because NPC rejected our session proposal doesn’t mean that we aren’t taking Principals Playhouse on the road! We plan to sneak into a session room after hours to host our renegade LIVE in-person Principals Playhouse.
Great things to come for us and for you! We wish you joy, gratitude, celebrations, singing at the top of your lungs, wet willies and finger-dancing your way through an awesome February!