Sunday, March 18, 2018

We're Back!

Thank you to everyone who sent up prayers, thoughts, and condolences on the sudden loss of my mother this week.  They were felt, appreciated, and needed.  I know we have others feeling the sting of loss lately too, so I won't act like mine is any more than they immense pain the are also going through. But thank you for your love and support.

Week at a Glance
Monday - 2018-2019 Calendar Planning Meeting - 4:30pm - Central Office
School Board Meeting - 6:30pm - Board Room
Wednesday - Instructional Rounds during Conference Time
Science Vertical Meeting - 3:30pm
Thursday - Nesloney Out
Friday - House Games


Remember Gradebook closes TONIGHT at midnight.


February 22 - Kevin Haliburton
February 23 - Eric Ceballos

Calendar Planning Meeting

If you would like to have a voice in what happens with our 2018-2019 School Calendar please plan to attend the Calendar Planning Meeting on Monday at 4:30pm in the upstairs room 208 at Central Office.

PLC Time

This week during PLC time we will be discussing your plan to reach every student (struggling, on level, and above level) as well as your after school tutoring plans.  Please be prepared to discuss.

Morning CAR duty

Monday - 2nd Grade
Tuesday - 4th Grade
Wednesday - 2nd Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 5th Grade outside (1st Grade inside)


Sparks in the Dark

Here is an episode we filmed with author Dusti Bowling. Dusti wrote the book "Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus".  A gorgeous and funny book about a girl with no arms and the new friend she makes who has Tourettes.

In Closing...

Today, and every day, I hope we choose to find those special moments. Those moments that bring a small smile to our face. That bring a little light into our day. I hope we focus on those far more than the what we cannot change and the things we could choose to complain about and use all our energy on.  Today, here is your "aww" moment.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Spring Break!

This is it! 5 more days until you can take a much needed (and deserved) Spring Break!

Remember what we need to do this week!
1. Keep instruction strong and engaging.
2. Keep your expectations high.
3. Smile, use kind words, encourage.

We can do this!

Week at a Glance

Monday - Nesloney Out
Wander Wedding Shower - 3:45pm
Tuesday - Staff Meeting Cancelled (details below)
Pilot Program Webinar - 3:45pm (details below)
Wednesday -Math Vertical - 3:45pm
Thursday - RTI Meetings (Grades 3-5 during conference)
Family Engagement Committee Meeting - 3:30pm
Painting with a Twist - 4:30pm
Friday - RTI Meetings (Grades K-2 during conference)
End of Grading Period

Nesloney Out Monday

I will be out Monday at a training for Middle School ELAR Students.  I hoping to bring back some great strategies for our 3rd-5th Grade kids.

Staff Meeting & Pilot Program

The staff meeting for Tuesday has been cancelled.  That was also the day we have a webinar scheduled for our K-2 (and Moore) teachers who volunteered to be part of a new Math Computer Pilot Program.  That webinar will take place in the library.

RTI Meetings

RTI Meetings will take place on Thursday and Friday this week.  Please be ready to discuss all of your TIER 2 and TIER 3 kids.  You should bring documentation on them (F&P Levels, MAP testing, Istation data). If you do not have the data you will be sent back and need to meet after school.

PLC Time

This week during PLC time we will discuss lesson design and our plan coming back from Spring Break.  Please bring one lesson to share with the group that you have coming up.

Morning Car Duty

Monday - Kinder
Tuesday - 3rd
Wednesday - Kinder
Thursday - 3rd
Friday - 4th


March 7 - TJ Longabaugh
March 10 - Maria Alcantara
March 11 - Todd Nesloney
March 11 - Brenda Parker
March 16 - Annie Walker
March 18 - Jeannie Robertson

Family Engagement Committee Meeting

Re-scheduled for Thursday at 3:30pm


Many have asked about #KidsDeserveIt or "Tell Your Story" T-shirts.  You can get yours HERE.

Sparks in the Dark

Did you miss the #SparksInTheDark episode w/Brad Gustafson? Don't worry! Ck it out here:


In Closing...

This week we have the opportunity to shower our kids with high quality instruction and love. 

This week I challenge you to be careful of your words, tone, and patience.  Several times over the last week I was witness to some words being spoken to our children that could have been chosen differently.  Words spoken out of frustration or exhaustion, but spoken also in front of parents who bared witness.

Please be cognizant of our tones with our children and the words we choose to use because so often our kids will use those words to define who they believe they are.  Speak kind.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Anxiety About Change

Anxiety about Change


When we find ourselves going through any kind of change in our lives, our natural response may be to tense up on the physical, mental, or emotional level. We may not even notice that we have braced ourselves against a shift until we recognize the anxiety, mood swings, or general worried feeling toward the unknown that usually results. There are positive ways to move through change without pushing it away, however, or attempting to deny that it is happening. Since change will occur in almost every aspect of our lives, we can learn to make our response to it an affirmative one of anticipation, welcoming the new while releasing the past with grace. 

One thing we can do is change our perspective by changing the labels we use to identify our feelings. We can reinterpret feelings of anxiety as the anxious butterflies that come with eager expectation. With this shift, we begin to look for the good that is on its way to us. Though we may only be able to imagine the possibilities, when we acknowledge that good is there for us to find, we focus our energy on joyful anticipation and bring it into our experience while allowing the feelings to carry us forward. 

We can also choose to do a ceremony to allow our emotions to process. Every culture has created ceremonies to help people make the transition from one phase of life to the next. We can always create a ceremony too, perhaps by burning written thoughts to watch the smoke carry them away, thereby releasing them, or we can welcome new endeavors by planting flowers or trees. Some ceremonial activities such as a farewell send-off or housewarming party, we may do automatically. Society also has built-in ceremonies, like graduation and weddings, which may satisfy the need we feel. Sometimes the shift from denial to acceptance is all that is needed to ease our anxiety, allowing us to bring our memories with us as we move through nervousness to joyful excitement about the good to come.

Change will occur in almost every aspect of our lives, we can learn to embrace it while releasing the past with grace.

Week at a Glance

Monday - TELPAS Begins
Start of Parent/Teacher Conference Week
Tuesday - 5th Grade Scheduling Conversation - 7:45am - Cafeteria
Black History Program - 8:30am - Gym
Literacy Committee Meeting - 3:45pm - Library
Black History Program - 5:30pm - Gym
Wednesday - Writing Vertical Meeting - 3:30pm - TP Room
Family Engagement Committee Meeting - 4:00pm - Library
Friday - 4th Grade Field Trip

Parent/Teacher Conference Week

Remember, Spring Conferences are not optional. We MUST meet with every single parent. If you can not get a hold of them, please get with us to schedule a home visit.  With the students we serve, we can't take these meetings for granted.

Our other goal should be to make sure not only is the student in the conference, but in reality 1st-5th graders should be leading their own conferences and talking about their own growth in these meetings! Let's keep pushing our kids to own their info!

I will need all sign in/record sheets you have once your meetings are completed to turn in for my Title 1 paperwork!

Black History Program

Mr. H has prepared a Black History Program at 8:30am on Tuesday morning in the gym! And again at 5:30pm also in the Gym.  We hope to see you there!

Literacy Committee Meeting

The literacy team will be meeting on Tuesday at 3:45pm.  All are welcome to join!! We will have a representative here from Scholastic to help us with some of our planning as well!

Family Engagement Committee Meeting

The Family Engagement team will meet on Wednesday at 4pm.  Again, anyone can join! We will be planning Dinner with a Gentleman and an event for the Females in our student's lives.


February 28 - Julie Brooks
February 28 - Sharon Ganske

3rd/4th/5th Grade

I am in the process of planning some things for our 3rd-5th Graders.  I will be hosting once or twice a week "Lunch and Read w/the Principal" where they can come have lunch with me and we'll be reading a book together (and if they come, they'll all be leaving with their own copy of that book).

I will also be starting an after school weekly time (on Fridays) for students in 4th/5th (right now) to stay to learn how to play chess.

I will be coming to speak with grade levels at sometime on Monday and I will get letters out about Friday afternoons.

PLC time

You have this week to meet with Parents during PLC time

Monday - PreK and Kinder
Tuesday - 2nd and 3rd
Wednesday 4th Grade
Thursday - 1st Grade
Friday - 5th Grade

Morning Car Duty

Monday - PreK
Tuesday - 3rd Grade
Wednesday - Kinder
Thursday -  1st Grade (outside) and 4th Grade (inside)
Friday - 2nd (outside) 5th (inside)

Sparks in the Dark

Here is a great conversation we had about a week ago with Jennifer LaGarde.


Thinking Outside the Bin: Why labeling books by reading level disempowers young readers

Teaching is a Creative Profession

In Closing...

I talk all the time about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, about growing and learning, about changing!  Well one of my T-PESS goals this year is to better understand (and execute) ELAR lessons in all grade levels.  That's why I attended NCTE in the fall, Scholastic this past week, and ILA this upcoming summer.

But I am actually going to be teaching an ELAR lesson in grades K-5 (don't worry PreK I'm getting to you!) I am teaching two lessons in each grade level.  It's absolutely terrifying, as all my actual teaching experience is in Math (and 4th-5th at that!).  This past Friday I did my first two lessons.  One in Ms. McMillian (3rd) and one in Ms Kuehler (1st).  It was a stressful experience planning but I had a blast.  And both Nicole and Kelsey gave me great feedback afterwards on some things I can work on to do better next time.

I don't want anyone at our campus to feel like they aren't valued at what they do.  We have such a large team that I know someone is always bound to feel left out, and I am working my tail off to make sure I get to all of you often to let you know how much I SEE and APPRECIATE the work you do!  This is one more way that I hope I can show you, I see how hard you work and I want to learn along side you.  Because we all can be growing and learning. Do I have a ton of other things I also need to do?? YES! But this is important, you all are important.

Here is a video of me reflecting on the lessons!

Sunday, February 18, 2018


As we enter the 2nd semester of school more and more, the one thing we have to continually do is focus on our goals.  We can't, even more a moment, take our eyes off the goal. And our goal is continually improvement and forward movement.

How do we accomplish that?
- We continue to develop lessons that challenge and have deeper questioning.
- We have high quality work for students to complete.
- We make sure students have an opportunity to work/collaborate with their peers.
- We have consistent consequences for poor choices.
- We work from bell to bell (don't waste minutes)
- We show up every day ready to give our best

and so many more.

As a campus, we have made great strides forward and the worst thing we can do is think "whew we made it off the list, we're good!".  We still have a lot of growth (in all areas) that we are trying to accomplish.  Let's keep our focus on the prize, ask for help when we need it, and keep looking for solutions and not complaining about mistakes!

Week at a Glance

Monday - Nesloney Out
K-5 ELAR Teachers Meet with Klammer (Library) - 8:00am
All Staff Meet with Dr Brewer (Gym) - 9:15am
School Board Meeting - 6:30pm
Tuesday - Nesloney Out
Wednesday - Nesloney Out
Reading Vertical - 3:30pm - TP Room
Thursday - 2nd Graders Hard Hats Trip - 8:10am
We Walk
Friday - 100th Day
Delic on Campus (3rd-5th Only)
House Games
Saturday - EdCamp Grow (in Brenham)

Nesloney Out

I will be out three days this week attending a training of Principals for Scholastic.  They're helping us design new literacy practices for parents and students. They're also supposed to be providing us with ways to get even more literature in the hands of our Title 1 schools and some summer reading initiatives.  I will have my phone on me and can assist as needed.


All IAs will need to report to their normal spaces.  The only change is that Pavlock will now be helping 5th grade teachers all day tomorrow and Puentes will as well.  The rest of the IAs will work with the same grade levels they have on other Inservice days.

100th Day

The 100th Day is actually Tuesday, but we will be celebrating it on Friday to coincide with House Games!  Dress up 100 years old or 100 of something! Best dress-up wins!

Hard Hats

2nd Grade students will be headed to Reed Arena on Thursday. 2nd grade teachers, please send reminders home this week!

Dr Loyde

Delic will be on Campus Friday meeting with 3rd-5th grade teachers and talking data.  You need to come ready to discuss growth, how we're measuring it, what we're doing to reach every kid, how are you increasing the Meets and Masters.

EdCamp Grow

I hope you consider growing yourselves too and attending Edcamp Grow in Brenham on Saturday! Information is HERE.


HUGE shout out to Marylee for organizing her first ever big set of testing! Make sure you find some time this week to give her a hug or pat on the back for her hard work! Organizing testing for multiple grade levels is no joke, and we always find ways to improve!

Also, give a huge thank you this week to Jennifer Short for the hard work she's put into PLCs and organizing those and pushing our thinking. It isn't always comfortable to be pushed outside our comfort zones and be asked things we think are obvious or haven't been asked before, but it's so necessary!


There is a LOT going on with TELPAS this week.  If you have ESL/Bilingual Students Marylee has emailed you all the info. If you haven't received anything from her let her know!

PLCs This Week

K-2 ELAR teachers will meet at 3pm on Monday.

All, come ready to discuss more small group work, how are we reaching EVERY child, and what do you need more learning in?

Morning Car Duty

Tuesday - 3rd Grade
Wednesday - 1st Grade
Thursday - 3rd Grade
Friday - 5th Grade outside/PreK Teachers inside


February 19 - Susan Brak
February 23 - Ashley Dietert
February 25 - Lisha Worrall


In closing...

It's when we're most exhausted and drained that we have to dig deep and find our strength.  We cannot lighten our teaching or show up 1/2 hearted. Our kids need us and they need us at our best every day. It isn't easy, but as we all know teaching is the hardest job out there, and the most rewarding. So press on! And let us know how we can support you!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Recognize Your Value

Recognizing Your Value

Change your thinking to knowing that your life matters, and that you are important.
It can be easy sometimes to buy into the illusion of our own insignificance. We may see large corporations or institutions, celebrities or successful people in our community, and compare ourselves to them, thinking that their fame or material power affirm how little our own lives amount to. But nothing could be further from the truth. Every single one of us matters tremendously. Our very existence affects countless people in countless ways. And because we are each essentially a microcosm of the larger universe, our internal experiences affect the whole of life more than we could ever imagine. The world simply could not exist as it does now if you, or any one of us, were not in it. 

Perhaps you are aware that on some level you believe your life does not matter. If this thought resonates within you, maybe it is time to explore why you feel this way. You may have formed self-rejecting or belittling beliefs as a child to keep yourself safe or to help you make sense of confusing situations. You may have felt unseen or unheard and decided that there was something wrong with you, rather than with the attention span of the people around you. Spend some time looking into where these feelings of insignificance first took root, and see what changes you might be able to make in your life and in your heart. 

This one belief in your own unimportance could be limiting you and impacting your life in enormous ways. When you shift your perceptions around your own ability to affect your life and impact the world, you may discover wonderful parts of yourself that you had long ago forgotten. There may even be exciting new parts that you never even knew existed. When you gain awareness of how much your life really does matter, new sources of energy can emerge and your sense of connection with the world is renewed.

Week at a Glance

Monday - Fire Drill
Tuesday - Nesloney Off Campus
Short Off Campus in the Morning
TELPAS Training for teachers with ELL or bilingual Students - 3:45pm
Wednesday - Valentine's Parties (should all be happening after 2:15 unless prior approval from Nesloney; TL give exact time to Walker/Enriquez)
Bilingual Vertical Meeting - 3:30pm - TP Room
Thursday - 4th and 5th Benchmarks
Friday - 5th Grade Benchmark
3rd Grade Field Trip
End of Progress Report Time (Grades due Sunday)

TP Time

This week we will continue our growth in PLC time.  Please come ready to share and find solutions! We are better when we work together and focus on the goal of moving forward! We are going to be switching the TP time this week on Wed/Thurs because of benchmarking.  So that means 3-5 Math will meet Wednesday morning and K-2 Math will meet Thursday morning.

Car Rider Morning Duty

Monday - 2nd Grade
Tuesday - 4th Grade
Wednesday - 4th Grade
Thursday - 2nd Grade
Friday - 1st (outside) and 3rd (inside)


We really need your help with morning duty.  If you are stationed inside, there MUST be a teacher at the cafeteria door where kids line up for breakfast from walking in from outside.

The other indoor teachers MUST be walking throughout the kids sitting in the gym. Not standing along the side, back, or by the door.  We are having a lot of issues in the gym in the morning and need teachers being vigilant, and most importantly on time. Morning duty starts at 7:15am.  Meaning we need you in your station at 7:15am.


Benchmarks are on Thursday/Friday. With the way the state would like us to start treating STAAR, we are going to keep this day as normal as possible.  You will keep your same lunch and recess and camp times.  More info may be coming.

Progress Reports

Please make sure you are keeping up with grades as our next set of progress reports will come out next week!


February 18 - Maura Pavlock
February 18 - Kayla Wander


In Closing...

I always think about our perceptions of things. One of the most dangerous things we can do as educators is sit behind closed doors and talk about others negatively.  This week is National Random Acts of Kindness week.  I challenge you to take the time to show someone a random act of kindness with no recognition back to you!  If we want things to be better, we have to start by celebrating each other. That takes all of us!  We can sit and complain (whether behind closed doors, out in the open, or online) or we can vent and then sit down and work to find solutions! Together we make this school the best it can be.  We aren't perfect by any means, but we are moving forward! And it takes all of us, working together, to keep this ship moving in the right direction!

This video to me is a great reminder of how easy it is to say one thing when you think no one is listening, and then say it again when the person is standing right in front of you! What a great, hilarious, reminder of the power of our words and when we choose to say them!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Reading Changes Lives

Again and again, this year especially, we've talked about the wonderful power that lies within books. That they're more than just words on the page.  For some of us, we've still yet to find that book that helps us believe that reading is truly transformative.  Over the last two years, I've spent many days and had many conversations with thought-leaders in the field about this.  I was a voracious reader from the 5th grade (because of the Animorphs book series) until I was in college.  But then it died out a little. I lost my spark.  Recently though it's been reignited and I can't stop. 

My best friend, Travis Crowder, just wrote a gorgeous blog post for Ethical ELA called "I Read for Me, I Read for My Students" and it is a beautiful reminder of the power that lies in books.  I encourage you to check it out.

Over the last few months, as I've read books like "I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter", "Far from the Tree", "Ghost Boys", "One of Us is Lying", "Dancing Home", "The Sun is Also a Star", "Dear Martin", "The 57 Bus", and so many others, I've been deeply reminded about the power in books.  About the empathy that can be built. When I've read about characters from different religions, ethnicities, sexual orientation, abusive homes, foster care/adoptions, runaways, deportation, brutality, and so much more, I not only feel my eyes more opened to the world around me, but I feel my heart opened to those who are different than I am.

Today I encourage you to pick up a new book.  A book that might challenge some of what you think you know about someone (or a group of people).  Not a professional development book, no.  But a book with rich characters, diverse stories, and a challenging idea.

You might just find that it helps you connect with your students (and others you meet) unlike ever before. 

(and if you need help finding the right book, let me know! I'd love to sit and book talk some books with you!)

Week at a Glance

Monday - Start of Counselor's Week (let's celebrate our awesome counselors!)
All classes go to PE
Wednesday - Nesloney off Campus
Social Studies Vertical Meeting - 3:30pm - TP Room
Thursday -  Google Expedition Day for 3rd-5th
PTO Fall Fundraiser Party Bus Day
Friday - Nesloney off Campus at Region 6 Principal Training


Brittney Taylor - February 5th
Lauren Musick - February 9th
Geralyn Jackson - February 11th


What a great job everyone did at Boosterthon! Please remind students to start collecting AND that they can still get new donations through this week!!

TP Time

This week in TP Time Jennifer will continue discussing small group work, stations, and Guided Math/Reading.  Bring resources to share!

Car Rider Morning Duty

Monday - Kinder
Tuesday - 5th Grade
Wednesday - Kinder
Thursday - 5th
Friday - 4th (outside) and 2nd (inside)

Classroom Champions Chat

Please make sure you've signed up HERE for the Classroom Champions Chat (even if you're not planning on participating, please sign up)


Love Projects: 3rd Grade Selfies (WOW This would be GREAT to do with our students)

In Closing...

If you're not book talking books at least 2-3 times a week to your students (and allowing them to do the same) you're so missing out on sharing great stories with your kids.  If you're not sure where to begin, or how to do a book talk, let me know! I would love to come into your class and book-talk 10-15 books to share with your students to get them hooked.  Reading is what changes lives.  Reading is what gives us an escape, new friends, fantastical voyages, and so much more.  And when we help someone find a love for reading, we not only change their lives, but also the other lives they come in contact with.

Matt de la Pena shared a special read-aloud of his new book "Love" for World Read Aloud Day. If you'd like to share with your students.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Staying in Pain

Staying in Pain


Pain comes and it goes. It is just one component to the grand cycle of life. And when experienced as such, pain can serve as an important teacher. It is when we get stuck in our pain that it becomes detrimental to our well-being and development. If you notice that you feel closed-off, resentful, heavy-hearted, or that you try very hard to avoid being hurt again, there may be a part of you that is still stuck in pain.

We can get stuck in our pain for many reasons. As children, it was natural for us to cry, throw a tantrum, and let the experience move through us. By fully feeling our pain in this way, our emotions would wash us clean, leaving us open and available to new experiences.

With age, though, we might have determined that expressing emotion was no longer appropriate, and so we developed a variety of coping strategies to deal with our discomfort.

We may have learned to stuff our feelings down or to run away from them. Perhaps we began thinking that staying closed and unwilling to try new things would keep us safe from heartbreak, safe from rejection, and safe from failure. We may have even gotten so used to being in pain that the thought of being without it scares us. But, if we continue to hold onto it longer than necessary, we are expending a lot of energy that could instead be channeled into making our life experiences more positive.

If you notice that you are continually connecting with the same familiar patterns of pain, consider embracing your feelings and letting go of your hurt. Whether your pain is from childhood or from an experience last week, see if you can give it room to move. When it does, you will reconnect with a wonderful source of your own vital energy.

Pain can serve as one of life's great teachers, but it is important to move through it and not become stuck in our pain.

Week at a Glance
Monday - EDmentum Q&A Informational Session - 3:45pm - Computer Lab
Tuesday - Yearbook Team - 3:45pm - TP Room
Wednesday - Enas House Trip - leave at 10:45am, return at 2:45pm
Science Vertical Meeting - 3:30pm - TP Room
Thursday - World Read Aloud Day
Friday - Fun Run/House Games

EDmentum Q&A

Many of our 3rd-5th grade teachers have had questions about EDmentum and Exact Path.  So the district has brought back the EDmentum people to answer any of your questions!!  There may be people here from other campuses as well.

Enas House Trip

I met with all Orange House members on Friday.  PLEASE make sure any Orange House members in your class got my note. If not, send them to me first thing Monday.

World Read Aloud Day

World Read Aloud Day is Thursday! Let's plan some great activities and diverse read alouds to share with our kiddos that day! I'll have a couple of fun surprises in store too!

Fun Run/House Games

Our Fun Run on Friday will count as our January House Games.  Let's work really hard this week to continue to get pledges!!  We can do this!  Remember to wear your grey shirt on Friday that Boosterthon gave us. If you didn't get one, see Joni.

I will send out an email tomorrow reminding you of the times!

TP Time

This week in our PLCs we will be discussing documentation options for our SLOs.  We will also be discussing how you're reaching every student in your classroom. So come prepared to share small group resources/ideas. And be prepared to discuss your instructional rounds from last week.

Car Rider Morning Duty

Monday - 1st Grade
Tuesday - 3rd Grade
Wednesday - 1st Grade
Thursday - 3rd Grade
Friday - 5th Grade


Vivian Stenseth - January 31
Lisa Marsh - February 3


In Closing...

I will always remember what Ron Clark told me when I was feeling like I was doing everything in my power to please certain people.  He said "Todd, you can buy every person a Ferrari, and someone will still complain that theirs isn't red".  Wow, powerful right? It still stands as my reminder that we can't please everyone. We're going to upset people with our decisions, we're going to hurt people's feelings, and some people just like to wallow in their perpetual negativity.  BUT that doesn't mean we stop trying to understand where they're coming from, and it doesn't mean we give them any less empathy. We just don't let their negativity control our emotions.