menu   home About Me rti Free My Products  

5 Tips for Hiring A New Principal

It's that time of year when schools sometimes find themselves in the position of seeking a new leader, a new principal.  Have you been there before?  We have.  More than once.  Now is a good time for tips for hiring a new principal.

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
Pin This Image for Later!

 As everyone knows, finding the right administrator for your building is crucial. It can make the difference between a school year reaching new heights, a year of just moving along or even a season of discord and feeling lost.  

Tip #1- Know What Your Building Needs Are

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
Pin This Image for Later!

If you are on your building's hiring committee, you know this is an important task to undertake.  It is an duty to be taken seriously.  You need to know what the needs are overall for your building.  Not just for yourself or for one or two teachers.  But overall, what areas does your school need someone to step in on day one and be a leader?  Is it literacy, core instruction, discipline, staff morale or school culture?  Whatever it is, make sure you know what is most needed for your building.  This will be key to helping you find the right person for the job.

Tip #2- Know the Style of Leadership Your Staff Responds to Best

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
Pin This Image for Later!

Every group of people will respond and react to different leadership styles in various ways.  So the hiring committee needs to consider this.  Does your school staff like high energy, on the move, take charge personalities?  Do they respond better to changes if someone makes the tough decisions and then lets them know what the changes are or do they want to be more involved in all the decisions?  Some school's staff love change and challenge and others handle change if it comes in small amounts at a time. One is not better than the other...just different and you need to know what will fit with your group of people best so everyone can get on to the job of educating students in the best way possible.

Tip #3- Get to Know the Candidates

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
Pin This Image for Later!

The hiring committee needs plenty of time to not look over, but really get in and read with a critical eye over the resumes, letters of reference, and form their own questions for the days of interviewing.  Do they really have experience or was their principal experience that they listed filling in a day here and there.  Which is good, by the way, but it is not the experience of a full day, every day principal.  Is your school in a situation where a great candidate, but one who lacks experience, could still come in and learn on the job and it could still go well?  Or is your need one of a leader to come in and deal with tough situations on day one?  This will help you as you consider who to call in for an interview.

Tip #4- Know the Candidate's Knowledge

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
Pin This Image for Later!

This is an important tip to understand.  Dig in a bit to the candidate's answers to your questions.  Do they have an in-depth knowledge of literacy, differentiation, PBiS, PLC's, etc....Or are they throwing in these buzz words because that is the trend or they think you as a committee are looking for them?  They need to be specific in their knowledge and not use general answers to your questions.  It should be pretty easy to tell who really has knowledge of important educational issues and who does not know have that in-depth knowledge.

Tip #5- Know What Questions to Ask

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
Pin This Image for Later!

You have a limited amount of time with each candidate, so the questions the committee will be asking needs to be thoughtful and for a purpose.  Your committee should spend some time on these to make the most out of your interviews.  Ask specific, open ended questions.  Ask tough questions- have they ever had to fire a teacher- tell us about how you handled it.  What discipline problems have you faced and how did you deal with it?  What will you do when you have a angry parent screaming at you about the way a teacher has handled a situation?  Getting the tough questions out there will help you learn about the candidates, what they will bring to your school if chosen, and how well they will fit with your building's needs.

Hope these tips help you if your school is seeking out a new leader and you are on the hiring committee!  I would love to hear about your experience with this!

You May Need:

Reading interventions Fluency Activities and Passages
Pin Me for Later!

Inflectional Endings s, es, ing, ed Reading Intervention Binder
Pin Me for Later!

We would love for you to sign up for our newsletter!  You will receive teacher tips and maybe even better- FREE RESOURCES!  Click here to sign up and be sure to confirm your email address to be able to receive your freebies!


Counting Syllables and Closed Syllable Word Work

 I'm always looking for new word work ideas and activities for literacy centers.  And new ways to make them fun and engaging for students.  Here are some ideas for using using plastic hammers, Play Doh and paint strips! Some of the the links below are referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Segmenting sounds using Play Doh and toy hammers

I have one kindergarten student who is just stuck at segmenting words for phonemic awareness activities.  One way I found to keep her engaged and help her stretch out those sounds is by using small plastic hammers, paint strips (I use these for so many things!) and Play Doh!  I roll out 3 small balls of Play Doh and place these in the paint strip boxes.  She needs the visual boundaries of the boxes to help her separate the sounds.  Then we draw a card of a word to segment.  She uses the hammer to tap out the sounds in the words.  

Using ABC Phonics Posters and Linking Charts for letter identification

You can also use the hammer on phonics posters and ABC linking charts.  Call out the picture clue and have students tap the picture and name the letter that goes with the picture.  

Ideas and Activities for teaching inflections

Students can also use the hammers as they read inflection charts.  Or the teacher can make the ing sound and students tap the picture that goes with your sound.

Ideas and Activities for teaching reading in phrases

For fluency ideas and activities, these hammers really help with reading words in phrases.  They tap and read- She can. Then tap and read- be there.  If students are having difficulty reading in phrasing this can really help having a visual and the movement of only one tap per phrase.

Clapping Out Syllables Activities for closed syllable words

Bang It Out and Tap It Out is a fun way to teach students to divide words into syllables and then be able to spell each syllable.

Closed Syllable word work activities and ideas

Students enjoy Bang It Out using the hammers to break the word cards into syllables.  Then they Tap It Out for the sounds in each syllable.  

closed syllable word work ideas and activities for two syllable words

Breaking words into syllables and then hearing the sounds in closed syllables really helps students to spell multisyllabic words.  Which also helps them to be able to break and read them too.

clapping two syllable closed syllable words

You can find these fun hammers here.  Of course, you have to set clear examples for how these hammers are to be appropriately used.  My students have really enjoyed them and ask for them in our activities!

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter!  You get access to our free resources library.  Click here to sign up and be sure to confirm your email address!


6 Days of Reading, Learning and Fun

Valentine's Day Sight Word Activity

So much going on this past week!  Lots of prepping of materials and lessons, a conference trip thrown in and some new fun too!

I am linking up with Mrs. Wheeler from Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade again for Sunday 6!  We highlight 6 things from our week with you.  Be sure to head to her blog and read her 6 too! 

Valentine's Day Sight Word Activity

Valentine's Day is coming so now is a great time to get our all your Valentine's activities!  My students LOVE this sight word game- Where's My Heart?.  Place sight word cards in a pocket chart with the words facing out.  Hide a heart or two behind the cards.  Students choose a card that they can read, you pull the card to see if there is a heart behind it.  If you find the heart, you win! Fun word  practice!

blends and digraphs activity for Valentine's Day

If you are working on blends and digraphs this is a fun Valentine center!  Complete the puzzles, build words with magnetic letters and then write the words!

Reading Interventions Blends and Digraphs Binder

I found out last week that this Blends and Digraphs resource was featured on TpT.  That was a fun surprise!  You can find it here.

Phonics word work activities

I was sent to Nashville this past week for a phonemic awareness and phonics conference.  It was put on by the 95% Group.  Here we were learning about moving circles for sounds.

Phonics word work activities

Older students learn to map out the sounds they hear.

Phonics word work activities

After using colored chips for sounds, you can switch out the vowels for letter chips to learn the spelling patterns.  

Of course, when you are in Nashville you have to go to the Grand Ole Opry!  I had never been before and it was a lot of fun.  We got to see a lot of different performers from new talent, to those who had been around a long time to the musicians who are popular right now.  Eddie Montgomery from Montgomery Gentry was a lot of fun.  It was also his first time on the Opry stage since his singing partner, Troy Gentry, had passed away.  We got to meet him after the show and get a picture taken with him!

Craig Morgan was also there and I really enjoyed him.  He is a veteran and supports veterans. 

Another place we tried out was the Bluebird Cafe.  Singers and musicians get discovered here.  Wonder if I listened to anyone that night who will become famous??  

We also walked around at the Opryland Hotel.  Beautiful place with an indoor waterway. Just a beautiful hotel!

RTI Data Tracking Forms

We finished up our RTI data meeting and I spend the week prepping new groups and setting the calendar for our next cycle of RTI.  We will begin baselines this week and interventions begin right after that.  Lots of work to be done in RTI and having an organized system makes all the difference!  You can find the RTI data forms here.

Picture Sorting Activities for Word Work

Lots of prep for picture sorts too.  I use picture sorts a lot during my word work in guided reading.  I like to have my cards prepped and ready to go for all the different guided reading groups that I have.  Makes it so much easier!  You can find these here.

Don't forget to head over to Mrs. Wheeler's blog and read her six too!

Tool Kits for Independent Reading

Tacky the Penguin Book Study and Problem and Solution Anchor Chart

All week during read alouds, shared reading, and guided reading we are modeling and helping students, we hope, towards being independent readers.  They need to be able to transfer those skills and apply them during their independent reading  to demonstrate that they do really understand and are capable of using those skills.  But that can be difficult sometimes.  
Some of the the links below are referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

We have been reading Tacky books, which my students love!  Who doesn't love Tacky and his wacky, but adorable ways?  I used these books to help the students with problem and solution in stories.  We charted the problems and solutions as we read the books. 

After modeling finding problem and solution, students grabbed their independent reading tool kits and book baggies and off they went to enjoy independent reading.

Using Tool Kits for Independent Reading

My students really enjoy their tool kits!  There isn't a lot in them and they aren't anything fancy, but cool bookmarks and Post-it Notes are worth getting excited for.  😄  And we want excitement while kids are learning!

I just use those cheap pencil pouches that can be clipped into their notebooks to keep everything for the tool kits.  Different sizes of Post-its, pencils, bookmark and highlighter for when we use articles are kept inside.  Easy!

I need to get me some lined PostIt Notes for some of my readers who are struggling to write on the notes and keep it from being all jumbled up.

Tacky the Penguin Book Study and Problem and Solution Anchor Chart

As students are scattered out reading and enjoying their books (I always try to use that phrase- let's go enjoy our books to promote the enjoyment of reading), they take the took kit with them.  As they are reading, they can stop and jot if they would like.  Then for the last few minutes, we gather back together on the carpet to share what we found in our own books.  This day was for if we found the problem and solution in our stories.  After sharing with the group or our partner, the Post-it notes go up on our Problem/Solution anchor chart.  

Teacher Self Care

Tips for Teacher Self Care being mindful of moving more

It's time for some teacher self care.  It's January and I know lots of people make resolutions for exercise and these resolutions can quickly fall to the wayside.  

In September 2017, a report came out that too much sitting can be deadly.  Now, I'm not really sure why we needed a study for that.  It just seems like common sense that sitting too much is not good for us.  We were made to move.  But I must say it does really wake a person up and make you a bit more mindful of your movements.  Some of the the links below are referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Tips for Teacher Self Care being mindful of moving more

Teachers do a lot of sitting.  Even if you are moving around in your classroom, we still sit a lot:  at the guided reading table, doing read alouds, sitting on the carpet while working with students, grading papers, writing lesson plans, etc...  You get the idea.  So I want to give you some tips for helping you be more mindful of moving more.  Easy to implement ways to keep you motivated to move more. Not an exercise program.  Just easy ways to move a little more.

Tips for Teacher Self Care being mindful of moving more

1.  Wireless Earbuds

Get a pair of earbuds and listen to music, podcasts, or audio books.  Makes the time go quickly if you are exercising on a treadmill.  Some schools require teachers to complete professional development, so listen while you walk and get both accomplished at once!  Use your time wisely.  I got these wireless earbuds for one of my sons.  They have a good sound and are not ridiculously expensive.  Which is good because he tends to lose things sometimes.  😀

2.  Step Counters
Tips for Teacher Self Care being mindful of moving more

You don't need an expensive step counter.  You can even use one on your phone if you carry your phone around.  It won't be as accurate, but the whole point is set a goal and try to meet it every day.  I have a Fitbit Charge 2.  I can tell when I am not wearing it I am not usually getting as many steps and movement in.  One easy way teachers can get in more steps is to walk those long hallways.  Stretch those legs out and go for a couple of strolls down the hall when you have planning time.  Walk around the playground when you have recess duty!  This helps you see the whole playground and keeps you moving.  Also keeps you warmer when it is cold out!

 3.  Workout DVDs
Tips for Teacher Self Care being mindful of moving more

Find work out dvds that you enjoy.  I have this PiYo and like it.  Some teachers like Beachbody.  You can find friends to share and exchange dvds with too.  Or workout after school together with some teacher friends!  If you do this once or twice a week, it will give you some variety to your routine.

Tips for Teacher Self Care being mindful of moving more

4.  Aerobic Stepper

Do you have a favorite tv show you watch in the evening?  Instead of just sitting while watching tv, get a stepper and use it while watching your show.  Gets you up off the couch and moving.  So easy!  When your show is done, so are you!

5.  Use a planner
Tips for Teacher Self Care being mindful of moving more

So many teachers live by their planners so use your planner to help you get moving!  Plan out your exercise like a to do list and check it off when you do it.  It's just another easy way to get moving in your schedule and help keep you healthy.  Moving more is just like brain breaks for our kids.  It gives our brains a boost, makes you feel better and gives you energy!  

Wish List:  Treadmill Desk
Tips for Teacher Self Care being mindful of moving more
Some days I think I would like to have this treadmill desk since I spend a lot of time on the computer.  Does anyone have this?  What do you think about it if you have it?  Has it helped you?

Free Resources