I’ve Tweeted, Voxed, blogged, and bragged about it. Last year it turned out to be one of the highlights of my day. I surprised parents at work, made some cry, and even got to tell a few in person about it. And, I’ve witnessed other educators start to do it.
The “it” I’m talking about is the #GoodNewsCallOfTheDay. I’ve shared my story with others about starting the #GoodNewsCallOfTheDay hashtag last school year. During the summer of 2015, in a Twitter chat, I was impressed when a teacher mentioned she made a positive phone call home for one of her students each day. I though, “I have 650 students and can certainly find one a day who deserves a positive phone call home.” Thus, the #GoodNewsCallOfTheDay was born.
Last year I made 130 #GoodNewsCallOfTheDay phone calls home. I tried to make one each day I was at school, but admittedly, I missed some days. I kept a spreadsheet of the date, student’s name, grade level, and teacher because I wanted to be sure I was reaching out to all grades PreK-5th and touching all classrooms.
I chose most of the students based on something I observed or because of a relationship we had developed. It might have been something I saw them do or say in the hallway, classroom, cafeteria, the front of the school, on the bus, or on the playground. Sometimes I’d ask a teacher for a recommendation of a student who needed a boost or recognition.
It took about 10 minutes to go to the classroom, announce the name of the student who was getting the #GoodNewsCallOfTheDay, bring them to my office, and make the phone calls. I also took a selfie with the student and posted that on Twitter. This year I’m giving students a #GoodNewsCallOfTheDay wrist band as a remembrance.
I’d call whoever the student wanted and I would try work, home, and cell phone numbers. Most of the time we got to talk to one or both parents but sometimes we left a message. If we left a message, I would circle back with the student the next day to see what their parents said. On the rare occasion where I could not locate a working phone number, I sent an email message.
This turned out to be the best part of my day and I’m looking forward to continuing this practice at my new school. This will give me a chance to get to know the students, develop positive relationships, and share the great things our students are doing.
Join me, and other educators, in using the hashtag #GoodNewsCallOfTheDay or create your own. As George Couros says, “We need to make the positive so loud that the negative becomes almost impossible to hear.”