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Thursday, June 8, 2023

6 Ways to Make Staff Meetings Lively and Engaging

As an administrator, you know that teaching and working in a school is more difficult now than ever. Staff morale plays a huge role in a healthy, thriving school. What's an administrator to do? Focus on those staff meetings! Engaging and lively staff meetings are one of the best ways to focus on boosting staff morale. If you're an administrator looking for ways to make your meetings more fun, I've got tons of great resources for you. 

Need help making the most of your staff meetings this year? Here are 6 ways to make staff meetings lively and engaging that everyone will love!

Today we're talking all about how to help your teachers and staff actually look forward to faculty meetings, rather than dread them. Let's dive into some fresh ideas to boost staff morale and help your entire staff feel appreciated! Everyone from the office staff to classroom teachers, and counselors to custodial staff will all benefit from the activities and ideas.  

First Up, Get to Know Your Team  

Every school is different. As an administrator, creating a positive and engaged working environment is a big part of the job.  It's important to tune into what makes our team unique, and how you can best support them. To do that, you must get to know them.  
Getting to know your team is a very important step if you want to make the most out of your staff meetings this year.
  • What's your teacher demographic? Mostly newbies, veteran teachers, or a mix of both?
  • What are their pain points in the classroom? This likely varies by grade.  Don't assume - ask them. This will show that you are interested in helping.
  • How are teachers and other staff members being treated by parents?
  • Do they feel supported? Why or why not?
  • What are their personality types? 
  • Do they know YOU? 

The key is to make sure you're well-educated on your faculty, gain their trust, and ensure they feel supported! Not sure how to do that? No problem, these 6 activities will help you learn more about your staff and help them feel supported all year long.

1. Staff Meeting Icebreakers 

The beginning of the year is hectic for everyone in the school system. This time of year marks when new teachers might be entering your school and this is an important time to make sure they feel welcomed and supported in their teaching journey. 

Ice breakers like these are the perfect way to make your staff meetings lively and engaging and will help both veteran and newbie teachers get to know one another.
This can be a "make or break" moment. After all, if a new teacher or staff member doesn't feel welcomed into their new community it can be hard to persevere through the struggles of that first year!

With all of this in mind, we also know that staff meetings are packed with TONS of things to cover. 

You're short on time, and while you want to ensure everyone is acquainted, you've also got a fair bit of ground to cover too! 

This is where simple Staff Meeting Icebreakers will save the day. These fun get-to-know-you sheets aim to have staff get another person's signature on each square. The squares list things like:

  • Pinterest-worthy classroom
  • taught 20+ years
  • literacy guru
  • long commute to work 
The idea behind these fun icebreaker sheets is that your staff will be presented with an opportunity to learn a bit more about their peers during meetings. They will discover commonalities, get to laugh and converse about some of the funny topics, and make newbies feel welcome! 

There are 4 different options, so you can use a variety of these sheets for a large group of staff, or repeat this activity once a quarter. This quick and easy icebreaker is always a hit, and easy to implement. Plus, it's a wonderful way for YOU to learn more about your staff too! 

2. Staff Morale BINGO 

Next up, who doesn't love BINGO? This simple game is a fun option that can be used all year long to keep your staff meetings feeling a bit more lively. The object of these Staff Morale BINGO cards is to mark as many boxes off with an X (or a digital sticker on a PDF) during the meeting. Since these can be printed or sent out digitally via email, they're great for Zoom meetings too! The boxes are filled with fun topics like:

Use a staff meeting BINGO game like this to keep your teachers engaged during staff meetings this year.
  • I enjoyed my favorite beverage during the meeting. 
  • I received a compliment from our principal. 
  • I sat with my teaching BFF. 
  • I brought a shareable treat to the meeting.  

These simple boxes are easy to follow along with during the meeting and add a touch of fun to what might feel like an ordinary (and sometimes monotonous) monthly task. The boards also feature seasonal decor on the game boards as well because we all know how much teachers love a good theme, right? 

After the meeting, staff members can turn in their game boards and be rewarded with some kind of prize. That piece is up to you, it doesn't need to be fancy! Just a small token of appreciation is often all it takes to boost staff morale and encourage your teachers. 

3. Four Corners Staff Meeting Game 

Next up, let's talk about Four Corners - Staff Morale Edition. Four Corners is such a great way to infuse a little bit of fun in your monthly staff meetings without taking up a lot of time. 

A four corners activity like this is perfect for staff meetings because it won't take up a lot of time to run and is fun for everyone.
There are 20 different questions included along with 4 corner signs to hang in the room. This game helps get your staff up and moving, mingling, and getting to know each other a bit better. 

To play, read or hold up a question and answer choice. Next, staff will mix and mingle while moving to the corresponding corner to answer the question correctly. 

The format of this game makes it easy to customize based on the amount of time you have to spare. If you have limited time, choose just a couple of question cards. If you have more time, use more.

This is a great starter activity for your staff meeting to get everyone started off on the right foot and set the tone for a fun meeting! It's also great as a mid-way movement break.  Students aren't the only ones that need brain breaks!

4. Staff Morale Photo Hunt 

This next activity is really fun, and a bit unexpected from what you tend to see at your typical staff meeting. To play this Staff Morale Photo Hunt game, participants will search their phones for specific scavenger hunt items from a list. There are 3 categories for this game - school life, my work family, and work-life balance. Some of the fun things to hunt for include:

Everyone has a smartphone these days so put it to good use with a fun staff morale photo activity during your staff meetings.
  • an organization hack (teacher life)
  • a student beaming with pride (my work family)
  • a self-care photo (work-life balance)
  • plus MANY more

There are a total of 45 questions across 3 categories and recording sheets for teachers to write down their answers. This is another game that can be modified to meet the time allotment that you have. Simply decide prior how many questions you'll ask, and how much time you'll allow teachers to search.

After the game is finished, have staff members turn them in and award a prize to the winners. The prize can be inexpensive (or free) too - "Jeans Day" is always a hit!  

5. Gratitude Roses for Staff Morale

Focusing on gratitude and appreciation for others is so helpful in boosting staff morale. 

Use this gratitude rose activity not only during staff meetings but also throughout the year as a special way to show appreciation to your teachers and co-workers.
The idea for these Gratitude Roses came from some of my previous administrators who had a real knack for keeping the staff feeling appreciated and motivated. My past two principals began each staff meeting armed with a vase full of fresh-cut roses. 

During our meeting, anyone in the building could thank a colleague for something that they did well or in recognition for something kind. 

For example, if another staff member walked your kids in from recess, handled emergency sub plans, covered your class, or helped unjam the copy machine, you could thank them with a rose. The idea is the same here, except these roses come in the form of notes! 

Simply pass these out, or make them available for your staff to grab at the beginning of the meeting. They fill out the page with a note of gratitude and pass it along to the deserving staff member. These can be used all year long during staff meetings, or placed in a central location to grab at any time. Encouraging kindness and gratitude is always a great practice for boosting staff morale! 

6. Appreciation Spinners for Staff Meetings 

One of my favorite ways to ensure that staff feels appreciated is through small tokens of kindness. As a special way to thank your staff for their dedication and hard work, try these Staff Morale Prize Spinners at your next meeting. 
Use staff morale prize spinners like these for extra special fun during your staff meetings throughout the year.

These spinners use fun, seasonal themes, so you can choose a different one for each monthly meeting. Teachers will spin and receive the prize they landed on. Many of the prices are free or very inexpensive which makes this feasible to facilitate. Some of the fun prizes included on the spinners are:

  • jeans/comfy clothes day 
  • prime parking 
  • having pencils sharpened weekly 
  • having a bulletin board changed out 
  • having duty covered 
  • a candy stash
  • a pack of favorite pens

When I created this resource, I surveyed teachers to see what they would value most as a prize and many of them said to get more of their time back. You'll notice that many of the prizes on these spinners do just that! These are great to use as a final activity to close out your staff meeting. 

Keeping Staff Morale Up All Year Long 

Overall, the key to maintaining healthy staff morale is to form meaningful relationships with your team! Taking the time to implement icebreakers, games, and activities focused on building trust, be intentional about showing appreciation, and making room for socializing makes a world of difference. You want to make sure your staff feels heard, valued, and supported. After all, working in education is NOT for the faint of heart in this day and age! 

My best advice for making sure your staff morale stays high is to keep those meetings fun, and lively month after month. We all have a lot going on, but putting some time into this helps ensure a happy team of teachers. If you want to boost morale all year long, be sure to check out the Staff Morale Activity Bundle.

Grab this Staff Meetings Bundle to make your staff meetings lively and engaging this year!
Included, you'll find all 6 of the fun activities and games mentioned in this post so you can keep the fun rolling in at your staff meetings all year long! With the bundle, you'll be able to...

  • get meetings started off on the right foot every time
  • turn boring meetings into engaging opportunities for community building
  • encourage teamwork and random acts of kindness among your staff
  • recognize staff for a job well done
  • help staff members get to know each other (and you) better 
  • gain teacher trust
  • show your appreciation 

There's really no downside to organizing lively and engaging staff meetings, so make sure to check out the Staff Morale Bundle if you need some no-brainer ways to boost morale among your crew!

Save This Post 

Don't forget to pin this post on Pinterest to keep these staff meeting ideas handy! 

Staff meetings don't have to be boring and tiresome with these 6 fun activities everyone in your staff meeting will love! From fun ice breakers to get to know you activities, to BINGO to prize wheels, your staff meetings will be the stuff of legend this year. Be sure to grab the Staff Meetings Activity Bundle for fun activities you can use in your staff meetings all year long! #tarynsuniquelearning #staffmeetings #successfulstaffmeetings #funstaffmeetings #staffmeetingiddeas

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