Saturday, November 26, 2016

Act Like A Child

Well we're back at it again starting Monday!  We've got a little less than a month until Christmas Break!  If there's one thing I've learned it's that being an adult is hard.  There's constant decisions that have to be made, jobs to keep up with, bills to pay, and so much more.  Sometimes we feel like we're spinning our wheels and getting no where. Or sometimes we may feel like it's all just too much, too hard, to overwhelming.

There is a way for us to make "adulting" a little bit easier though.  How you might ask? Well it comes down to the simple fact of remembering what it's like to be a kid.  To live those childlike moments and embrace them.

To run barefoot down the beach.  To sit and build something out of play-doh.  To lay in the grass and try to figure out what shapes the clouds have made. To go out and order a Happy Meal just so you can play with the toy that comes with it.

Sometimes the best way to maintain perspective and to not get to overwhelmed is to embrace your inner child.

As educators we have a leg-up on the rest of the adults. How so? Well we get to be around children all day long.  Kids who can help us remember what it's like to dream big, to believe in the impossible, and to imagine things can be better.

My all time favorite quote is "Adults need to have fun, so children will want to grow up" by Erica Bauermiester.  It's so true. Why would a child ever want to be anything like us, if we look like unhappy, angry, grumps.

Let's find ways this week to tap into our inner child.

Week at a Glance

Monday - School Board Mtg - 6:30pm
Tuesday - Math Vertical - 3:30pm - TP Room
Wednesday - Cecil Wedding Shower - 3:30pm - Library
Thursday - Community Connections Voluntary Mtg - 3:45pm - Library (more info below)
Friday - End of Progress Report Grading Period (3:45pm)

Community Connections Mtg

In an effort to reach more of our students we are looking to crowdsource what connections we as a staff may have.  We'd love for you to join us for a voluntary meeting just to share some of our connections and to explain ways we're working to better meet some of our students social/emotional and academic needs.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through December 9th.


November 28 - Andrea Day
November 30 - Mallory LaPlant
December 3 - Allison Guy
December 4 - Tamera Boyd

Christmas Family Fun Night

Our Campus Christmas Family Night is December 8th from 5:00-8:15pm.  As always, we are asking staff to serve at least one 45 minute shift that night.  This is a HUGE fundraiser for PTO, a great night for families, and a great time for us to mingle with families.  You can sign up for a spot to work HERE.

TP Time

We will continue to dive into lessons.  Please bring one lesson for a TEK you're teaching or will teach. Each team member should bring a DIFFERENT lesson for a different TEK.  Please know the TEK for your lesson before our meeting.

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


If you have not already decided on a date for your observation, please note that may reflect in part of your T-TESS observation rating, as you were instructed to decide on a date with your evaluator BEFORE Thanksgiving Break.  We would like all observations done before Christmas, and with Benchmarks and other things coming up, I know all of our calendars are already almost full.

Kids Deserve It

Episode 50 is an interview with "Ada Twist, Scientist" NY Times Bestselling Author, Andrea Beaty.


Rockstar Educators

Geralyn Jackson - Geralyn is our counselor.  I really don't know how our campus could function without her.  She is a huge champion for kids and the broken.  She is constantly counseling with kids, meeting with parents, handing out food or supplies, doing 504 things, and so much more.  Geralyn is light hearted, compassionate, and extremely hard working.  I have had the pleasure of getting to spend all three years of my admin position with Geralyn as part of the team and I know that I am a better person for getting to work alongside her each and every day.

Vivian Stenseth - Vivian is one of our PreK teachers.  She is a powerhouse in the classroom.  Even though she is very soft spoken and always so calm, I am consistently blown away by her creativity and the thought she puts behind each of her decisions.  She challenges her students, but also loves on them so much.  She gives them freedom to express themselves, but also structure to learn and grow.  She's extremely patient and always loving.  I love every moment I'm able to spend in her classroom because I see a teacher who's heart is truly there for the kids, but I also always leave the room with another idea or lesson learned!

Evangelic Sipp - Evangelic is a 5th Grade Math and Science teacher.  I can't tell you enough how blown away I am by the growth Evangelic has shown in the past year.  She's only in her second year of teaching, but she takes such deep thought to all of her lessons and ideas.  She's the first to jump on board with a new teaching strategy and she's always hungry to learn more.  She's also excellent at connecting with her kids emotionally and looking for ways to grow them academically as well as socially.  I am thankful we have teachers like Evangelic on our campus.

In Closing....

Kids are resilient, creative, and can do so much more than we often give them credit for.  They believe in the impossible, want to change the world, and they keep getting back up when they're knocked down.

Let's take this week to learn from our kids.  Start each morning talking with your class. Share  your joys, your pains, your successes, your failures.  Share your heart.

And most of all, find the kid in yourself. Play at recess.  Stay for their PE class.  Invite your students to stay after school one day for a game of kickball.  Let them see you care about them more than just a score on a sheet, and in the process you'll find some joy too.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Let's Be Thankful

Thanksgiving.  That time of the year when we take just a little more time to think of things we're thankful for.  As I was making a list of things I was thankful for, our students kept coming to my mind.  And how we could view so many of them as having trouble making a thankful list, but in reality, they're able to notice the "little" things so much better than us sometimes.

I was having a conversation with a student this week about her behavior.  She's a tough cookie. She's been a "project" of ours for about the last year or more.  She's got a lot of pain built up in her life, and that sometimes comes out of her in the most unfriendly ways.

As she had another episode, I pulled her into my office.  I asked her what was going on, and of course she didn't want to talk about it.  She never does.

So I tried a different approach.  We have three staff members in particular who are working or have worked a LOT with her to get her in a better place.  I told her how much her teacher loves her, I told
her how much our assistant principal loves her, and then I told her how much her teacher from last year loves her.  Because truly, they care about her so much.

Then I told her, that the way she treats those who care about her, hurts them.  And that some people can only take so much of someone being hateful to them before they throw their hands up.  Before they walk away.  Before they say "I've tried everything and I just don't know what else to do".  Before they say, "Does she hate me??" We've all felt that way before about a student or loved one.

And for the first time ever, I saw something different in her.  She looked at me and said "I don't hate them.  I love them a lot too."

What?!?  I had never heard her say that about anyone.

And she sat with me in my office and she cried, with me.  We talked about how our emotions can sometimes get the better of us.  It happens to all of us at one point or another.

But we can't let our emotions control us all the time.  We can't let our hurt, our anger, our pain, push others away just because we choose to lash out at those we love.

We talked about how it's ok to be angry.  It's ok to struggle with work or friends.  It's ok to want to cry.

But we have to verbalize those emotions.  We have to ask for help.  We have to show that we're trying to change and be better.

Did I truly get through to this child? Who really knows.  Only time will tell. And I know she'll lash out in anger/pain again.  But maybe, just maybe she can see a little more that we care about her so very much.  That we want to help her, to be a part of her life, to walk with her down this road.

I tie that into Thanksgiving because I am so thankful to have the job I do.  I am so thankful to work with kids that come to us broken in a thousand pieces, hoping to find someone with a little glue and time to help them put the pieces back together again.

Teaching is a special profession.  It's not something I feel I have to do, but I get to do.

And I am so incredibly thankful to work alongside people like YOU every day.  People who pour their heart, soul, time, blood, sweat, tears into these kids.

People who are more than just educators.  People who are life changers.

Our job isn't easy.  Our job doesn't always feel rewarding every day.  But I am thankful you walk alongside me with these kids.  That you jump off the ledge with me.  That you take risks, love deeply, and keep pushing yourselves.

I am thankful for our parents we have how are doing the best they possibly can to raise their children.  I am thankful for our district administration who makes decisions they feel are for the betterment of kids.  I am thankful for our own personal families who deal with our tears and time away from home because we love what we do.

Thank YOU for what you do.  There is no way I could ever express how needed and appreciated you are.

Week at a Glance

Monday - Marvel Out
Book Fair Begins
Staff Meeting at 3:45pm
Tuesday - Dress Like a Pirate Day (for Book Fair)
Bilingual Vertical Meeting - 3:30pm - TP Room (lead by Marvel)
Book Fair Fun Night - 4pm-7pm
Wednesday - Moreland on Campus
Thursday - Kinder and First Grade Field Trip to Zoo (Thomas, LaPlant, and Jackson attending)
3rd-5th to George Bush Library (Nesloney, Boenker, and Madison/Taylor attending)
Friday - House Games (visitors will be here to observe as well)
Pot Luck Lunch

Pot Luck Lunch

Please make sure you've signed up to bring something for the Pot Luck lunch on Friday.  We still have about 25 people who haven't signed up to bring anything yet.  You can sign up HERE.

Book Fair

The book fair is this week and we'd love your help in talking in up!  Especially our Book Fair Fun Night on Tuesday night.  It's a come and go event with "Fish and Chips", door prizes, guest book readers, and more! We'd love to have tons of families in attendance.  We will also have Tuesday be "Dress Like a Pirate Day" to help go with the theme of our Book Fair.

House Games

The House Games are on Friday and will work like normal.  We will begin calling about 2:10pm.  That is a day to get your teams fired up, for you and your students to dress in your colors, and for us to bring the energy and excitement!  Let's show what we can do when we all come together to have fun and celebrate!

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through December 2nd


Cassie Reynolds - Nov 17
KVon Lamber - Nov 23
Dorothy Sargent - Nov 24

Christmas Family Night

Our Campus Christmas Family Night is December 8th from 5:00-8:15pm.  As always, we are asking staff to serve at least one 45 minute shift that night.  This is a HUGE fundraiser for PTO, a great night for families, and a great time for us to mingle with families.  You can sign up for a spot to work HERE.

Ugly Sweater Christmas Party

On our last day, December 16th, we are having our Staff Christmas Party after the kids leave at 12:00pm.  This is going to be an  "Ugly Sweater" Christmas Party! There will be more details to come, but I wanted to let you know now in case you wanted to start looking (or start making) for that ugly sweater!  There will be prizes!

TP Time

More Lesson Plan work.  Please bring ONE activity that you'll be doing this week to share with the group for us to dive into.  You need to know what TEK it addresses.

Monday - 2nd Grade
Tuesday - Kinder
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade


T-TESS is going strong, but I still have LOTS of people who have not contacted me (or the other two evaluators) to set up an evaluation.  Let's get all of those on the calendar before Thanksgiving Break.

Kids Deserve It


Rockstar Educators

Mallory LaPlant - Mallory is our campus Secretary, but as you know she's so much more than that.  Mallory always comes with the best attitude and she steps up in so many ways.  She always has a thousand things on her plate but is always there with a listening ear, a great attitude, and ready to tackle something else.  From our work orders, to new enrollments, to keeping up our salt water tank, to SO MUCH MORE, Mallory really is a huge asset to our school.  I am so thankful for Mallory's positive attitude, but even more so for her immense love for the students we serve here at our school.  I have watched Mallory eat lunch with kids, laugh with kids, and even cry over some of our kids.  We are lucky to have someone like her!

Joni Leonard - Joni is our PE teacher. What I love about Joni is that she is willing to jump off the edge with me with some of my ideas.  And she's also incredibly flexible with her time.  Joni probably has the schedule that gets changed the most on this campus, and she just takes it in stride.  I have watched Joni really push and stretch herself over the last year or two to try some really fun ideas with our kids.  And I love what she does with them especially on our House Games days to get them even more excited.  Joni is such a needed part of this team, and I don't know what we'd do without her energy, ideas, and support!

Allison Guy - Allie is one of our 3rd Grade ELAR Teachers.  Allie comes up with such creative ideas and ways to work with her students.  I love how she's willing to try something she's totally uncomfortable with just to see if it will work.  She's got such a gift with our SPED students as well.  I am thankful we've had the energy and ideas of teachers like Allie who continually make me look at things different and want to try new ideas too!  If you haven't seen her most recent idea with book trailers, go check out her bulletin board outside her room!

In Closing....

I hope you take a little time this week to share with each student why you're thankful for them.  Remind them that they're loved. They're noticed.  Take a moment to speak individually with EACH child. It will make a difference they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

And if you need a laugh, this video below should help :-)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Some Have No One Else

This week I was reminded of the simple fact that we have children at our school that have no one else.  That we're they're only one. The only one who encourages them, celebrates them, believes in them.

I have students come into my office every day for "Hats Off" calls to celebrate them.  Friday something different happened.  I had called home to celebrate a third grader who struggles with school quite often.  He was so excited about his "Hats Off" card.  As we called mom (and had her on speaker phone), I told her the great reasons why I was calling home and how proud of her son we were.  I then asked her, as I do every parent, if she'd like to talk to her son to celebrate him too.  Her response? "No, that's ok. I can talk to him later if I feel like it".

Wow.  Did I mention she was on speaker phone? And her son heard the whole exchange.  I watched this little boy lose all sense of excitement and instead put his head down.  It broke my heart.

But it was a reminder.  A reminder that our kids come from homes where they aren't always taught of their worth and value. And socioeconomic status doesn't always play a part.  These kids come from home full of monetary wealth and homes devoid of any material things.  Kids are kids.

It was a reminder for me to hug our kiddos a little tighter.  To give a few more high fives.  To dance a little more.  To laugh as much as possible.  To celebrate every single moment.  For we may be the only way celebrating that challenge and I want to be the pebble in that child's pond of life where ripples are felt for years to come.

Week at a Glance

National Young Readers Week!
Monday - Marvel and Boenker Out
Tuesday - Nesloney Out
Curriculum Visit in the AM from Central
Social Studies Vertical - 3:30pm - TP Room with Boenker
Wednesday - Fire Drill
PTO Meeting - 5:30pm - Library
Thursday - #ReadYourHeartOut day (Share reading all day on Social Media)
Nesloney Reading on Roof all Day
Friday - Delic on Campus (meet during Conferences)
Veteran's Day Program - 7:45am - All Teachers needed in Gym at 7:35am

TP Time

We will continue looking at LP during TP time as well as discussing homework

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

Lesson Plans

Should be updated through November 18th


If you have not scheduled yours yet, you need to have a date decided on by the end of this week with your evaluator!

The Best Part of Me

When I visited my friend Brad Gustafson's school last week, this activity stuck out to me.  It was called "The Best Part of Me".  Not only were the photos, taken by the kids, PHENOMENAL, but the writing was as well.  HERE is a link to the Scholastic article.

Kids Deserve It!

Final day to order shirts for November is SUNDAY.  You can order HERE.


Rockstar Educators

Jessica Schutzenhofer - Jessica (Kjos) is one of our 2nd grade teachers.  One thing I appreciate about Jessica is how excited she can get about her students.  The best example was on Friday when Jessica had her kids doing a reader's theatre.  She was so excited for the kids to do it that she really wanted me to to see it.  So badly that she rearranged their day so it would fit in my schedule. The kids did amazingly well and had voices and all. They loved the experience.  I am so thankful we have teachers like Jessica who will give kids experiences that allow them to be creative and have fun, while also learning and connecting with each other!

Olivia Aguinaga - Olivia is one of our 3rd grade teachers.  Olivia brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her team.  But even more so than that Olivia has a playful side that she lets out every now and again.  I absolutely loved the way she dressed up for our 50s day this week! By far my favorite costume, I even had to do a double take to figure out who it was.  Our kids remember those little things.  Those times we danced with them, those times we dressed up, those times we used special voices.  I am so thankful we have teachers on our campus who are building those memories for our kiddos.

Maura Pavlock - Maura is one of our PPCD IAs.  Maura is a breath of encouragement every single day.  She always shows up, upbeat, ready to go.  Even on days where she definitely doesn't want to be here.  Maura is funny and fun.  But most of all she has a deep love for the kids she serves.  You can see it in not only the way she works with them but in the way she talks with them as well.  I am so thankful we have educators on our stuff who love kids with every ounce of their being.

In Closing....

Remember this next week, as we get closer and closer to the Holidays, that the holidays aren't happy experiences for all of our students.  Some dread those days where they have to be at home instead of being at school.  And because of that fear and dread they will act out in different ways.  We have to have a big enough heart to love them anyway.  To forgive them time and time again.  To wrap them in compassion, patience, and honesty.  We have to show them we aren't going anywhere, we aren't going to abandon or give up on them, and we love them so very much.  Because we might be the only one.