Sunday, September 27, 2015

No One Left

Wow, what a week it was!  First off all, thank you to all the many kind words spoken this week!  This is one powerful team who works tirelessly to make the whole ship look good and run smoothly.  We have days we hit choppy water, and large waves that come our way, but we still float and we still steer in the direction of success!  Thank you to all of you for being on this journey.  Just like a puzzle, if any of us were missing, this puzzle wouldn't be complete.

This week I encourage you to...

1.  Smile as much as possible.  You can never underestimate the power of a smile.
2.  Take time to say hello to someone on staff you don't know very well.
3.  Write a quick note of encouragement to a fellow staff member (or send a You Matter Gram)

Here are some updates for this week!

Book Talk

Don't forget to stay up to date with Kim's book, "Crash Course".

Team Planning

Here are this week's team planning times

Monday - 5th Grade
Tuesday - 4th Grade
Wednesday - 3rd Grade
Thursday - Kinder
Friday - 1st Grade

This week is a SCIENCE vertical meeting on Tuesday at 3:15pm in the library.  Make sure your team rep is there!

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through October 9.

PD Opportunity

EdCampKaty (October 24) and TCCA (October 17) are coming up quickly.  EdCampKaty only has a few spots left!  If you've signed up to go let me know, as I will also be at both events and if we need to carpool we can!

Rattler Time & Data Binders

Make sure you're utilizing Rattler Time to work students on skills they're struggling on.  You should also be adding new data pages into your binders to keep track of the TEKS you're working on with your students.  These should be kept up to date DAILY, as Becky and myself will be checking them.  If you need any help, let us know!


Here are a few great people to connect with this week!

Principal El - Principal in Deleware
Tom Murray - State & District Digital Learning Director in DC
Daisy Marino - Educator in Texas


Here are some great blogs/articles to check out this week!

Rockstar Educators

Here are our two rockstar educators this week!  Find a way to celebrate them!!

Mallory LaPlant - Mallory is our school secretary but she is so much more than that.  Mallory works so much harder than many people realize and always does it with a smile on her face and great attitude.  She loves kids, but she also loves the staff.  I am so very thankful to have someone like Mallory on our team.

Tammy Boyd - Tammy is a force to be reckoned with.  Tammy is a 5th grade ELA teacher.  She often doesn't even know how amazing she is.  She loves her students so deeply and has such a passion for teaching, especially reading.  Tammy works countless hours and worries deeply about each and every student.  We need people like Tammy in this world!

Every single day we have a chance to be awesome.  To be our best.  When I was in DC this weekend, I was sitting a table with a fellow administrator from Minnesota, a teacher from Michigan, a technologist from North Dakota, and a man who works for the Department of Education with Arne Duncan.  What did we talk about?  You guys.  Yes, really.  I had to tell them story after story about the hard work you all do every single day.  As I said at the beginning of this post, it takes every single one of us.  We will never be successful as a unit until we embrace our own uniquness and strengths and realize that it takes ALL of us.

Thank YOU for all that you do every single day.  Thank YOU for the countless hours, tears, blood, and sweat you put in.  You make Webb Elementary what it is, and you're the ones changing lives that will be felt for years to come.

Remember to stand up for others.  To be their voice.

While touring the Holocaust Museum today I saw this quote....

"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me.  And there was no one left to speak for me"

- Martin Niemoller

Don't keep quiet.  Speak up.  Speak out.  Choose love.

Here's a brand new Kid President video:

Sunday, September 20, 2015


I'm sure you all felt it, last week was a doozy!  Conversation after conversation showed me that everyone was feeling the pressure of the fourth week of school.

If last week reminded me of anything, it was that we have a lot of damaged children at our school.  We have a lot of students who are hurting, and the only way that they know how to deal with their pain is to act out.  And we're so stressed out and exhausted from the thousands of things on our plates that sometimes we react to their acting out in not the best of ways.

My encouragement for you this week is this....I have seen the work you've been doing.  We're making some incredible headway with some difficult students, but there is still much work to be done.  Our issues can seem so big in the moment, but sometimes we need to take a step back from the situation. Sometimes we need to take time for ourselves too and get rejuvinated by doing something that we love.  That lights our fire.  That builds up a passion in us.

We all have rough days.  We all have much more going on in our lives that what is seen on the surface.  The best thing we can do for each other is be patient and show love. I love this quote I saw this week... "Healing does not mean the damage never existed.  It just means the damage no longer controls our lives."

This week I encourage you to...

1.  Contact a parent you haven't spoken to since meet the teacher.
2.  Find time to appreciate a co-worker this week!
3.  Give lots and lots of high fives and hugs.

Book Talk

This Wednesday we have our newest book talk!  Make sure you're reading the chapter before our discussions so you can add some of your own individual input!

Staff Meeting

There will be a staff meeting on Monday (tomorrow) at about 3:45pm in the Cafeteria. 

Team Planning

Here's this week's Team Planning Schedule

Monday - 5th Grade
Tuesday - 4th Grade
Wednesday - Kinder
Thursday - 2nd Grade
Friday - 1st Grade

We will also have a MATH vertical meeting on Tuesday at 3:15pm in the library.  Please make sure the assigned representative for you team is present.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through October 2nd.

Weekly Video

Here's this week's weekly video!

PD Opportunities

EdCampKaty (October 24) and TCCA (October 17) are coming up quickly.  EdCampKaty only has a few spots left!  If you've signed up to go let me know, as I will also be at both events and if we need to carpool we can!

Technology Calendar

I will be sharing the technology calendar with you today!  You can reserve a set (15) of MacBooks or iPads for a day, or the computer lab by hour.  We have TWO sets of Macbooks and TWO sets of iPads.  If you're unsure of how to reserve a spot, let me know. We will also discuss at Staff Meeting.

Ratter Time

Rattler Time should still be being used.  We will discuss more specifics at the Staff Meeting.  Becky Harrison (our PSP) will be here on campus on Wednesday to observe alongside me to make sure it's taking place.


Here's three awesome people to follow/connect with this week!  I will start giving out weekly prizes as well for teachers who are utilizing Twitter to share the awesomeness going on in their classrooms! (the first 10 people who tweet their favorite part of the school year so far, will get put into an extra drawing for a gift card to be given out tomorrow.  Must tweet today and use the #WebbElem hashtag)

Gary Abud - Educator in Michigan
Kayla Delzer - 2nd Grade Teacher in North Dakota
Louise Morgan - Instructional Technologist in Fort Worth


Rockstar Educators

We have two more rockstars to recognize this week!  Make sure you remind them of how awesome they are!

Brittney Taylor - Brittney is our nurse aide, and she is amazing.  Always a source of positivity and sunshine.  She works incredible hard and has such a huge heart for children.  This week she was faced with several different extremely difficult situations and she handled them so professionally.  I am honored to work alongside someone like Brittney!

Melissa Neumann - Melissa is truly one of a kind.  She's incredibly intelligent and passionate.  She works tirelessly to find the best resources and she is such a great leader on her 4th grade team.  Melissa also has such a great sense of humor and quite the cupcake chef as well!  So thankful to have someone as incredibly talented as Melissa on our campus!

Every single day we're given a choice.  We can choose to complain, to pout, to talk about how things aren't working, how terrible the kids are, how unsupported we feel, of the supplies we don't have, it's too hot, it's too cold, our internet doesn't work, it's raining, and so on.

Or we can choose to focus on the little moments.  The child who for the first time can write their name.  The teacher who finally feels like they belong on a team.  The brand new educator who for the first time feels like their head is above water.  The fact that unlike other schools across the world, we do have air conditioning and wifi.  

It's so easy to complain.  I'm so guilty of it too.  I often find myself getting lost in the things that have gone wrong.  I challenge you this week to smile more.  Laugh more.  Find even the littlest of things to celebrate.  Together we can do this.  Together we must.

I love this video below.  We never realize the impact we have.  Make a difference.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Be One

I don't know about you, but on some levels I really feel like we're beginning to hit our stride as a campus!  Don't get me wrong, we've got a lot of work to do, but I feel like pieces are starting to fall into place.

On Friday, I sent you a link to a song that was just released that I absolutely love.  It's called "Be One" and it's by Natalie Grant. 

One of my favorite lines is, "we pray but never move, we say but never do.  It's time to get our hands dirty".  When I heard that line it hit me like a ton of bricks.  How often do we sit there and pray for something better to happen, for our problems to dissolve.  But then we wait.  We wait for God to do all the heavy lifting.  We have to make sure that we are doing something as well.  We can't talk about being kind to others, but never follow through.  We can't pray for solutions, and then sit around.  We have to do the work too.

We have to get our hands dirty.  We have to stand up and do something.

"Be love there's a whole lot of hurting" was another line that I loved.  Everyone is fighting some kind of battle. Everyone is in some kind of pain.  We can so often get so caught up in our own that we forget.  But I have to make it a daily decision to have my choices reflect love, because I don't want to be someone who is adding more hurting to the world.  And I'm not perfect, and I make painful mistakes every day.  But I try to continually keep those words at the forefront of my mind.  Be love, there's a whole lot of hurting.

And finally the words, "why sit around and wait for a miracle to come, when we can be one".  Wow.  Could that be any more true?

We have the ability to change lives.  We have to opportunity to be a miracle in someone else's life.  I've seen it time and time again as an educator.  Every day is another amazing chance to change someone's world.  We can't miss our opportunity.

It's our time to stand up.  To spread love.  To not wait for a miracle, but to be one. #BeOne

Book Talk

Our book talk chapter this week it so timely.  I can't wait to talk about this next chapter on Wednesday!

International Dot Day

International Dot Day is Tuesday!  Make sure you've shown the video of me reading "The Dot" by Peter Reynolds (or you can read it yourself) and have your kids design their own dots on the plates provided by Haven.  We've got some cool plans.

Also think of ways you can celebrate with your class or grade on Tuesday.  Encourage your students to wear lots of dots on Tuesday too!  We're gonna be sharing photos with the world!  I just love the moral of this story!

Team Planning

Here is this week's Team Planning Schedule

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

We also have a WRITING vertical meeting on Tuesday at 3:15pm in the Library.  Please make sure that the person on your team who is the rep for writing is there.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through September 25th

Weekly Video

Every week I am going to try to produce a short video to send out to parents about our week!  The kiddos LOVED helping me this week, and I've got more plans as we continue!  I got quite a few messages and emails from parents as well of how much they enjoyed this!  Here's this week's if you missed it...


Grades are due Sunday at Midnight.  Please make sure you have 2-3 grades in each subject.

Student Forms

I still have teachers who haven't turned in ANY student forms.  These were due two weeks ago.  Please turn in what you have and use your checklist to collect the rest.  Let us know if you need help.

This Week Changes

This week Library will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday.  Nurse Becky, Haven, myself, and Terry will be out both of those days at CPI training.

PD Opportunities

EdCampKaty (October 24) and TCCA (October 17) are coming up quickly.  EdCampKaty only has a few spots left!  If you've signed up to go let me know, as I will also be at both events and if we need to carpool we can!  So far I've only heard from Haven, Cassie, and Jessica about attending.

Fountas and Pinnell

Testing ends Friday!


ALL MobyMax testing for grades 1-5 should have been completed last week.  If you missed your time I need to know ASAP.  We must report that data in.

Rattler Time

Starting this upcoming Monday, Rattler Time is non-negotiable.

We will explain more what intervention times will look like in the next few weeks.

BUT, what you should be doing is modeling during that time.  Having kids rotate through stations, pulling kids, and re-teaching during that scheduled time starting on Monday.

I know some of you are still completing F&P testing, so that is a great time to continue that as well.

SPED is pulling based on that schedule as well as others, so we need to abide by it.

Terry, Aaron, Kathy and I will be rotating through starting on Monday to ensure that during that time you are using Rattler Time to re-teach and work in small groups.


Here are a few people for you to check out and/or follow on Twitter!  Don't be afraid to reach out and connect with them!

Jeff Herb - Middle School Principal in Illinois
Joli Barker - Awarding Winning Educator in McKinney, TX
Jennie Magiera - Educator in Illinois


Rockstar Educators

This week we've got two more rockstar educators on Webb Elementary to recognize!

Joni Leonard - Joni is our PE Teacher and she is one heck of an awesome one.  What I admire most about Joni is the fact that she gets out there and gets into the activity with the students.  She also always has a great attitude about things and is never afraid to talk about how there could be a better way to do things!  She's also not afraid to try new things, and man does she have the Whip and Nae Nae down :-)

Jeanette Robles - Jeanette is our campus bilingual aide.  She has also been someone on campus who has been put into a thousand different jobs this and she has yet to complain once.  From testing, to covering classes, to working in the front office, to pulling students, she's everywhere.  She always has a smile on her face and it is so crystal clear how much she loves working with these kids.  We are so blessed to have Jeanette on our campus!
Make sure when you see this week's rockstar educators that you give them a high-five, hug, or congrats on the great work that they're doing!

Upcoming Important Dates

Monday, September 21 - Staff Meeting after School

October 15th - Hispanic Heritage Month Music Performance (evening)

October 20th - Eric Sheninger on Campus and at Education Foundation Dinner

October 28th - School Photos

Saturday, December 5 - all Teaching Staff Training with Erin Klein

We've been given such an opportunity to have the ability to work with kids every day.  To build them up, to remind them of their worth, and to educate them.

Remember to set your standards high for our kids.  Expect them to rise to our expectations. Because when we set our expectations low, that's exactly what we're going to get.  

Remember to teach to your standards and don't water them down.  To find time to play with your students, to get to know them, to go their games.  

Are you having a difficult student?  Use the 2x10 method.  Spend two minutes a day, for ten days, talking one on one with that student and get to know them!  If you need any help (instructional or behavioral) let us know!  We are here to help you be the best that you can be so that our kiddos get the best teacher imaginable!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

One Match

I often think about the power that doubt holds over us.  We have days that we doubt if we're a good spouse, or friend, or brother/sister, or parent.  We doubt if we're a good teacher.  If we truly know what we're doing.  If we were cut out for this.  We doubt our talents, our skills, our genius.

Doubt is one of those things that can rip us to shreds.  It can destroy us if we let it.  Every single one of us on the Webb Elementary campus matters.  You may hear me say things or tell you that you matter and think it's just a series of words I've decided to throw together.  But in reality I've seen first hand the power of understanding that each of us truly does matter.

We can't allow doubt to take root in our lives.  We must surround ourselves with others who will remind us when we forget.  Others who will lift us up.  Who will help us celebrate every single success.  Becuase even the smallest successes are worth celebrating.

Each of you makes an incredible difference, and we can quickly forget that.  I love these song lyrics that were shared with me this week by Lauren Neutzler....

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

Let's embrace our uniqueness and our genius, and let's light a fire in these children.  One that can't be extinguished.  Because if we don't, who will?


Wednesday, Sept 9, Sheila Nelms

Book Talk

This Wednesday we'll be discussing Chapter 4 "Play" from Kim Bearden's book!

Team Planning

Team Planning times continue this week!  On your assigned day, your students will stay in the cafeteria at 7:45am and you will meet in the Team Planning room with Kathy French.  Please remember to be on time to these meetings.

Monday - Kindergarten
Tuesday - 4th Grade
Wednesday - 3rd Grade
Thursday - 2nd Grade
Friday - 1st Grade

And our first Vertical Meeting is TUESDAY at 3:15.  It is the Reading Vertical Meeting in the Team Planning Room.

Becky Harrison

Becky Harrison is our PSP Coach.  She was assigned by the state of Texas when the schools were underperforming.  She will be here throughout the year to make sure that we are on track to continuing to stay out of trouble with the state.  Becky will be here WEDNESDAY on campus.  She will be working with our administration team and rotating through classrooms.  She will also be meeting with the staff right after the Book Talk.  We will be looking at some lesson plans as well.

Lesson Plans

Your lesson plans should be updated and created through September 18th

How I'm Getting Home Lists

Thank you so much to the following teachers for already getting me your list of students and how they're getting home each day!!


I need those ASAP from you the rest of you, HERE is the original document...

Student Forms

Those should have been turned in as we are figuring out what forms we still need.  Please make sure you have given those to the front office.


According to the Library Schedule I received this week is a week for PreK-2nd Grade.  Haven also shared a document with you with lots of information about the library.  You can access that document HERE.

PD Opportunities

EdCampKaty (October 24) and TCCA (October 17) are coming up quickly.  EdCampKaty only has about 50 spots left!  If you've signed up to go let me know, as I will also be at both events and if we need to carpool we can!

I'm excited to let you know that I've officially booked three awesome guests (so far) to come and work with our staff this year.

Eric Sheninger will be on our campus October 20th to observe and help our administration team tweak things to help us all run at our best!  He may be doing a quick session after school as well, and he will also be the keynote speaker at the Education Foundation Dinner that night.

Erin Klein will be here on Dec 5th (yes that's a Saturday).  Erin brings a WEALTH of knowledge and expertise.  Erin's daily rate is $6,000 and she comes to us for free as a favor to me, so please mark your calendars to be here that Saturday.  We'll talk more specifics as the day gets closer because they day will be tailored around you and what you need!

Chris Pombonyo will be here Monday February 1st to work primarily with Prek-2nd grade teachers.

Fountas and Pinnell

F&P testing starts tomorrow (Monday).  Please make sure that you are completing this and with fidelity.  If you need help please reach out as we have several people on campus with experience.

Aaron Marvel has told me he would have the tests printed and organized in the workroom.


MobyMax math testing will begin on Monday.  You can find the testing schedule HERE (I hope I didn't leave anyone in 1st-5th off).  You must go to and input your students names before you take them to the lab.  The testing shouldn't take long.  MobyMax will give you their log in information when you add their names to your MobyMax roster.


Here's a few awesome people to check out and follow and connect with this week!

Brent Clarkson - Educator in Texas
Jeff Veal - Administrator in Texas
Lisa Johnson - Technology Specialist in Texas


Here are a few great blogs articles I saw this week.

Rockstar Educators

We have two more Rockstar Educators to recognize this week!

Susan Stanfield - Susan is one of our PreK teachers.  Besides that fact that Susan is always loving on kids, what I am most impressed by Susan is her kindness to go above and beyond.  When Susan saw that maintenance didn't make it to Kimberly Tobola's room on Friday she spent her day Saturday with her husband helping Kimberly move all of her items out of her room and into Brule.  That right there is what family does.  That is what a great person does.  Thank you Susan!

Haven Wisnoski - The Queen.  Haven has been such a tremendous help in so many ways.  She also brings so much creativity and passion to what she does.  I am so thankful to have someone like Haven on our team who is always pushing others to be there best and who never complains when I ask her to help or step up in many different ways!

Please find time this week to give these two an extra high five or hug and let them know how appreciated they are!

Tomorrow we start another week!  We're given more opporutnities to change lives.  We're given second chances, fresh starts, and new beginnings.

I want to leave you with this video.  To me it's a powerful reminder that we all have a story.  We all have pain.  Let's bind together and find ways to help each other.