Monday, August 17, 2009

A Back-to-School "Thriller"

Teachers returned to school today. I have written about our new theme, "Orchestrating a Symphony of Student Success" and today the theme came to life. The teachers assembled in the lobby for breakfast, grade level pictures (Kindergarten country cowpokes were first up) and the first "game" of the day. Each teacher had a famous singer/musician's name placed on her back. Each teacher had to guess the name on her back by asking one question to each person on her team. The first team to turn in all the names won the round and also a gift card for each team member!

Then it was into the Dining Room with its theme decorated tables including such items as music themed clip boards (handmade by the fabulous Marvine!), mugs, pens and booklets, and Peterbrook chocolate popcorn (yum!) Each grade level sat together because today is a day about team building. The first to enter were the Office Team which included the Principal, Standards Coach, Technologist and Office staff. They presented a skit that brought down the house with their version of Thriller - watch this little musical snippet!

Then each team in turn presented a funny irreverent skit based on their genre of music. Some of the skits were prerecorded using the technology that we have been learning and others were live, but regardless, they all left you laughing. Of course there were gift cards for the best skits!

Next on the agenda was the Principal's summary of our data story and an assignment for the teams to work on goals for the year. These were collected and will be used to drive the School Improvement Plan and the work of each Curriculum Council. The day alternated between work and play. One of the most entertaining activities of the morning was a chance to play at music centers where teachers got to play with percussion's "as if they were a child" and then each grade level presented an original musical number. Kindergarten was the big winner of the original song category with their musical rendition of a kindergartner! Hysterical! Again, of course, gift cards for the winners!

New teachers were certainly not ignored. They were given 5 minutes to come up with a Soul Train line, so they danced without abandon to everyone's delight. Then of course, they had to take the official Chets Creek pledge!

The day ended with the Principal, a former Kindergarten Teacher herself, reading us a children's book and finishing with a slide show of some of our most challenging children to the music of Michael Jackson's "Will You Be There?" It helped each of us get in touch with why we do what we do! Oh, and did I mention that there was a drawing on every grade level for an ipod? We finished by lunchtime and were treated to pizza. The afternoon was free for teachers to work in their rooms. Now this was really a back-to-school Thriller!


Suzanne said...

This opening day is such a wonderful gift--a way for teachers to look forward to the start of a new year. At other schools, on the first day, I quietly entered the building and went about my work alone, with no fan fare. But, at The Creek we celebrate the start of each year together, as part of a team, as a whole community. And, I love every moment.

Mrs.Mallon & Mrs. Dillard said...

Every year we say, "This is the best theme yet"...and it always is! What a wonderful way to start a new year!MM

Patricia said...

I truly enjoy the first day back to school. It's not just an opportunity for us to see all our friends and kind of take a 'virtual' vacation when catching up with some about their summer vacation; not only having a meeting, but also an opportunity for laughter and music made this even more enjoyable. I describe this faculty meeting to my friends and family is kind of a 'conference' to energize you for the new year. My headache had to take a back seat because it was time not only to work, but to also enjoy a morning of meetings, then still have plenty of energy to get back into the classroom. ;-)

Marsha said...


Thank you for sharing makes my heart sing because it just shows that in some places the love for our profession and for each other hasn't been replaced by a race for test scores. We still have a sense of humor.

The element of joy is so present here in your writing and in the video you posted. How could anyone not want to teach in a place that goes to this much trouble to welcome back their staff?

Anonymous said...

Your wonderful description doesnt even begin to compare to the real thing! THe inspiration is always unmeasurable! I missed it SO much this year! Very proud of your Thriller skills by the way! Miss you!
Meredy :)

Susan T. Phillips said...

I really had so much fun the first day back this year. I can hardly wait to see what happens next.