Friday Five: The OriginalLast school year, I really made an effort to increase my connection with my students' families, which can be tough when you have 250+ students! I sent out a monthly newsletter and utilized the email lists to send not only announcements, but updates on what we were learning in class as well. One of my favorite things that I did was implement a "Friday Five".
I heard about the idea on social media, and it seemed so simple - every Friday, call or email five families, sharing something positive about their student from the week. Kids do cool stuff all of the time - I figured it wouldn't be hard to remember five good things and quickly pass them on! It got a little tricky to track it and make sure I was choosing different students every week, but once I got my system down, it worked well. Every week, before I left work on Friday, the last thing I did was my Friday Five.
I received so much great feedback about this! Parents were very appreciative of hearing from the school about good things, not only when things were going awry, and students would shyly (but proudly) come up and tell me how happy their parents were with them. I always felt good ending the week on a positive note, and it truly helped me deepen the connection with my students' families. Plus, it cost me nothing!
Friday Five: Take TwoThis year, I am in a non-teaching position, my office is not at a school, and I will have much less consistent contact with students. I want to continue some form of the Friday Five, but obviously it will have to look a little different! As I pondered this, I really had to back up to the core purpose of my Friday Five. There was nothing magical about the day (Friday) or the number (Five), but it was a chance to acknowledge others' good work, build relationships, and spread encouragement. Those goals are not limited to students - we can all benefit from them! This has helped me shape my new vision for Friday Five this year.
I want to take time each Friday to acknowledge something that somebody did well or that really helped me out that week. Maybe it will be one person, maybe it will be five - I haven't quite figured that out yet. It might be a teacher, it might be one of my teammates, or it might be a student/parent if I have been in their classroom! The structure of this is much looser, but the heart of it remains the same. Spread encouragement and joy. Recognize what people do well. It's so easy to get sucked into complaining, and this is one huge way to combat it with focusing on the positive moments!