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One thing that is different from a year ago for which I am grateful …
One thing that is different than a year ago for which I’m grateful is that I am honored to be subbing for our principal when needed. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of the leadership– to encourage others. The school is a PAX school:
We’re a PAX school.
PAX means peace and harmony; it means productivity and order; it means safety and well-being.
PAX means peace of mind because each of us is kind and productive — we’re positive with each other and we get our work done well.
We better the world and better ourselves.
We are happier when we act with PAX: kindness, helpfulness, doing our work. We ask to help others if they are stuck on work; we share a pencil; we say, “Good Morning.”
Sometimes we forget our PAX and we spleem. Spleem is something we don’t want. It’s pushing or crumpling up our work when we get stuck.
So we play the PAX game to practice PAX. We know exactly what work to do and exactly what behaviors to show. We sit in teams. We time ourselves. The teacher sees someone throwing a paper airplane on the Red Team and says, “Spleem, Red Team.” That team gets a mark; more than three spleems and that team loses. If teams win, someone chooses from Granny Wacky Prizes and we do the prize. An example prize is to make paper airplanes and fly them to a landing spot for one minute.
It’s a fun way to practice doing the “right thing.” The “right thing” is being kind, safe, productive, respectful — we discuss what is expected before the game; after the game we learn what spleems were made so we learn how to win the next time.
And while principal for the day, I get to write “toodles” to staff and students for being the best they can be. I can compliment student conversations during group work. I can emphasize the thoughtful solutions to math problems. I can appreciate the colors chosen for their art. I can thank them for helping a neighbor. Of course, I can thank staff for the care they take beside each child, for the flexibility they have on “sub” days when things aren’t perfect, and for the ideas they share to help each staff and student succeed. I love that part. I love seeing it and acknowledging it. I’m grateful that, through PAX, students and staff choose, practice, and improve the routines and actions that help ensure success in a learning community, and that they carry those strategies for success forward in all their activities.
In my retirement, I’m grateful to see their work continue when invited to be that principal that sees and acknowledges the best in everyone. Because I believe they can, and they believe they can; encouraging each other, they build a positive climate in which they can grow, make mistakes, improve, and learn. Awesome!