Most teachers don’t get nearly enough recognition and appreciation–so why not celebrate each other?

Start by selecting the fastest and easiest method that faculty currently use to communicate with each other. If all staff members are required to access and use a social media account or learning management system(LMS), utilize that! Otherwise, a simple email system will work just fine.

school morale

Set up a special email address for compliments (such as appreciation@yourschool.org). Whenever a staff member notices a kind gesture or accomplishment among colleagues, she or he should send a one-sentence message to the compliment email and acknowledge or thank that person.

A different staff member can be in charge of viewing the compliment email account each month and copy/pasting the compliments into a larger email which is then sent to all faculty members. If you want to get fancy, use a pretty font and border and display the compliments in the teachers’ lounge.

At faculty meetings, you could even hold a drawing with all the names that were in that month’s email! The winner can choose from a short list of rewards: a gift certificate donated by the PTA, a one-time pass to leave school right at dismissal, a designated parking space, etc.

Has your school ever tried a variation on this? Please share your ideas for building morale and celebrating your colleagues!

April bright ideas link upFor more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you. What makes this link-up unique is that none of these posts have products or printables of any kind, just practical classroom solutions. The grade levels for each are listed in the post titles. Enjoy!

{ 1 comment }

If you have been thinking about writing a book for teachers but have no idea how to begin or break into educational publishing, I’d love to share my story with you. Dr. Will Deyamport III interviewed me about educational publishing for his podcast, The Dr. Will Show.

writing and publishing teaching books

In the video below, you’ll hear me speak about:

  • How I got the ideas for my books and started publishing
  • Balancing full-time teaching with book writing
  • What motivates me to write and how I use writing to improve education
  • The decision between traditional and self-publishing
  • eBook vs. print copy sales
  • How to leverage book sales and consulting opportunities
  • How my writing and creative process works
  • My advice for those who want to write and publish a book
  • The importance of promoting your book on social media

I’ve written in-depth on this topic over on the Publishing a Teaching Book page, offering advice on writing your book, getting it edited, choosing a publisher, getting the word out, and more. If your interests lie more in publishing a children’s book, check out this guest post from Kathleen Wainright on how she successfully writes/publishes children’s books.

What questions do you have about educational publishing or writing a book for teachers? I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned, so ask away in the comments!

{ 0 comments }

Secrets of a teacher who loves her job: make a difference for kids in poverty

September 15, 2014
secrets of teachers who love their jobs: make a difference for kids in poverty

Today’s post is the latest from our Secrets of Teachers Who Love Their Jobs post series. Caitlin is here to to share her teaching journey with us and how she stays excited to go into the classroom each day. Thank you, Caitlin! 1. Tell us about where/what you teach, and how many years you’ve been in the […]

Read the full article…

8 ways teachers can talk less and get kids talking more

September 11, 2014
the person doing the talking is the person doing the learning

On Twitter, I recently shared an excellent article by Justin Tarte called 5 Questions Every Teacher Should Ask Him/Herself. The first reflection question Justin recommends is: Who is doing a majority of the talking in your classroom? It’s the person who is doing the majority of the talking that tends to do the most learning, so what […]

Read the full article…

Win grants/scholarships with a free financial literacy game

September 8, 2014
Register your students in grades 9-12 for this free online financial literacy game to teach real life budgeting. Top scorers will win $3 million in classroom grants and student scholarships!

Disclosure: H&R Block has been a longtime supporter of The Cornerstone through their financial literacy initiatives. They have compensated me for helping them spread the word about these free resources for teachers and kids. The H&R Block Challenge is a completely FREE teen financial literacy program in the form of an online game. Through this game’s […]

Read the full article…

It’s September. Don’t worry, teaching gets better.

September 4, 2014
(Blog post) The best parts of teaching are yet to come! Don’t judge the entire school year by your first few weeks

If you absolutely hate the first few days (or even weeks) of school, you’re in good company. I was discussing this with some friends yesterday and we all agreed that the start of a new school year is the least rewarding time to be a teacher. You don’t know your kids yet, and they don’t […]

Read the full article…

A simpler way to teach writing: the one trait rubric

September 1, 2014
the one trait rubric system for teaching and grading writing

I used to spend hours grading students essays and felt extremely frustrated by the subjectiveness of my system. It was very difficult to think about all six traits of effective writing–ideas/content, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions–at one time while grading. I’d often get sidetracked by mistakes in one area, such as spelling or […]

Read the full article…

When parents want to move their child to another classroom

August 28, 2014
dealing with parents who want to transfer their child to another teacher's room

Having a parent ask to move a child to a different classroom can be a huge blow to a teacher’s confidence. And it’s an issue that nearly every educator will face at some point–if not at multiple points–in their career. Sometime parents don’t like the fact that you are forcing them to address issues they’ve tried to […]

Read the full article…

Intentionally blurring the lines between life and work

August 20, 2014
your work is part of your life

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the separation between our personal and professional lives. The line for me is getting increasingly fuzzy each year, with my professional work spilling over and mixing into my “free time” more and more….and I like that. Teaching, blogging, speaking, consulting, and writing are not just my job. They’re […]

Read the full article…

Bright ideas: how Voxer changed my personal AND professional life

August 16, 2014
Vover has been lifechanging for me as a teacher

I would never have written an article like this a year ago when a friend first told me about Voxer. Friend: “Angela, you HAVE to get on Voxer.” Me, skeptical: “Why? I already have enough social media accounts.” Friend: “No, no, this is different. It’s like text messaging, only instead of typing, you just talk.” […]

Read the full article…

15 terrific resources for close reading

August 12, 2014
close reading posters, anchor charts, mini-lessons, videos, and more

Snap Learning is a longtime partner and supporter of The Cornerstone, and they have sponsored this post. Though their products are not included in the roundup below as these resources are free, I encourage you to check out their Close Reading Portfolio or request a demo of the product here. They’re a fantastic company and I believe their interactive close reading exercises […]

Read the full article…

5 ridiculously unhelpful things I’ve said to students

August 8, 2014
5 things I regret saying to students

I was recently chatting online with a teacher who was sharing how embarrassed she was at a recent interaction with a student. He was frustrated with something in class and she told him, “Stop crying and get back to work.” As we reflected on that together, she wrote: Imagine how I would feel if I were crying […]

Read the full article…

Join us for the #teacherfriends practice Twitter chat!

August 5, 2014
Joing this newbie-friendly Twitter chat every Tuesday evening! GREAT people

Twitter chats are a great way to connect with inspiring people and talk with them about topics you care about. If you are new to Twitter or have never tried a Twitter chat, the #teacherfriends weekly chat is the perfect opportunity to familiarize yourself in a safe, newbie-friendly, encouraging environment. My friend Debbie Clement started the […]

Read the full article…

Edu All-Stars Podcast: Talking teaching and blogging

August 3, 2014
Free education podcast (and YouTube videos) interviewing inspiring educators. Love listening to this while exercising, driving, cooking, etc! So motivating.

I was honored to be a guest on the latest episode of the Edu All-Stars podcast, and I thought I’d share the conversation here with you all! I’ve had some great face to face conversations recently with Chris Kesler and Todd Nesloney (better known as Tech Ninja Todd) and it was so much fun to follow up and chat […]

Read the full article…

What’s it like to teach in Bangladesh?

July 31, 2014
Teaching Around the World

It’s been awhile since I’ve published a guest post in the Teaching Around the World blog series, and what better time than summer to daydream about seeing the world? In today’s post, we’ll hear from Karli Lomax, who has been a classroom teacher for 17 years. She’s originally from Massachusetts and earned her B.S. in […]

Read the full article…

Smooth sailing into a new school year: tips and tricks

July 27, 2014
smoothsailingnew

School doesn’t start back until after Labor Day for us here in New York (sorry to make you jealous!), but of course I’ve already started planning ahead. I’ve teamed up with a fantastic group of teacher bloggers to share ideas for making the start of the school year easier. One major challenge during the first […]

Read the full article…

What do you mean by “it works for me”?

July 23, 2014
questions to ask when reflecting on your teaching practices

Hey, it keeps the kids busy and quiet, so it works for me! I don’t care what the “research” says, it works in my classroom. So what if that’s a better way, this is working for me! Yeah, using technology would probably improve it, but what I’m doing is working, so I’ll pass. How can […]

Read the full article…

A bright idea for gently yet firmly saying NO

July 19, 2014
how to tell people no

On my way home from the TpT conference last Saturday, I overheard a random conversation between a JetBlue flight attendant and a passenger. It’s now the topic of a blog post here, so I suppose that’s a lesson to all of us that even our most off-handed words can have a tremendous impact and reach. We […]

Read the full article…

Big fish, little fish, and separate ponds of educators

July 16, 2014
separate ponds of educators

I have never had the option of having a single, tight-knit group of friends. When I was growing up, my dad was in the army. We moved every 3 years, and so did all my classmates. That sounds kind of traumatic, but it was the only life I knew and I enjoyed the adventure of it […]

Read the full article…

The power of social media to connect: #tptvegas14

July 14, 2014
tptvegas14

Every time I go to a conference, I say that the best part was connecting with the people I admire, learn from, and care about. I think that was ten times as true for the first TeachersPayTeachers conference held last Friday in Las Vegas. These are the ladies (and a few gents) that I connect with […]

Read the full article…