Happy Halloween!

It’s been a BOO-tiful day overall…and we’re not just talking about the glorious autumn day!  From the first “Cowabunga, Dudes” to special SPELLing activities to the Peanuts gang and the Three Amigos, our learners and their classroom leaders have been “thick as thieves” into this special day.  We started with our annual parade of book characters and moved into various engaging activities involving pumpkins and a little event known as classroom parties.  Thanks to all our wonderfully supportive parents, community mentors, and friends who TREATed our learners to many special opportunities throughout the day!  EnJOY these captured moments and Happy Halloween from everyone at LME!  🙂

PS – Please remember to wear green to support our Ethan (his favorite color) tomorrow and bring your items to donate to Manna House!

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Easy enough for a 3rd grader!

Today I had the opportunity to speak with a group of third graders interviewing me for a presentation they are collaborating on in class.  We were talking about leaders, specifically positive leaders, and the actions they take.  There was no end to their observations:

  • Leaders are kind.
  • They help others.
  • They smile.
  • They make you feel better about yourself and teach you.
  • They care about others.
  • They inspire and support you.
  • They make a difference in the world.

These students truly believe they are leaders and possess the qualities of leadership inside of them; they get it (and ironically, as the adult, I often forget it).  So we talked about ways to focus on the positive leader in each of us since we can ALL be leaders.  Again, their ideas are inspiring (and show they’ve done their research too!):

  • Be thankful and focus on what you get to do.
  • Smile cause it produces that fuzzy stuff in your brain (serotonin)!  😉
  • Exercise since it reduces stress and all.
  • Do something for someone else to show you care about them.
  • Encourage others; root for them!
  • Change the world one person at a time!

These are just a few of their ideas, but think about the results if everyone practiced these daily!  They truly inspired me and as one young leader offered,  “We should all focus on being a positive leader in someway everyday because they are easy enough for a third grader!”  🙂

Red Ribbon Week and more…

It’s our annual Red Ribbon Week with daily themes, announcements, and special activities (as discussed in a blog last week).  Everything kicked off today with Ryan and Rustin sharing morning announcements on ways we can support and encourage each other because “the more we have playing on our team drug free, the stronger our team will always be!”  There were lots of team jerseys showing support for “team up against drugs” and students braided spirit bracelets to weave the strands of choices (red), loyalty (blue), and service (green) to remind ourselves how and why good choices affect our future success.  Making good choices and doing the right thing are lifelong skills impacting a child’s ability to say “NO” to harmful influences later.  The rest of the week looks like this:

  • Tuesday = Our Team Dares to Dream (dress for your dream job)
  • Wednesday = Team Up to Read and Show Your Character (dress in book characters)
  • Thursday = We Support Our Team and Members (dress in green and yellow to support our Ethan and childhood cancer)
  • Friday = Our Nation Teams With Pride (dress in red/white/blue for our annual Veteran’s Day salute)

Art To Remember has also started at LME.  You should have received an order envelope last week containing your child’s chosen artwork and product information.  This is an optional program and your participation is not required.  If you would like to order something, please complete the order information on the envelope.  Whether you choose to order or not, please return everything to your child’s teacher by Friday, November 2nd.  If you have questions, please contact our art teacher at scott_fiorenza@midlothian-isd.net for more information.

I enJOYed observing our Head Start friends carve on pumpkins from their trip last week.  They were eager to discuss the shapes for the faces they voted on and why the pumpkin becomes a jack-a-lantern when it’s carved.  Several comments were noted:

  • “Did you know, you can toast the seeds and eat them?”  🙂
  • “Jacks scare me!”  🙂
  • “I like the ooey-gooey stuff!”  🙂

Gotta love our little learners exploring their world during the seasons while learning about safe choices in their lives.  Yes, it’s a busy autumn week ahead with a full moon, Halloween (our first party day), AND report cards on Friday for the first grading period…


Our very talented 4th grade class presented a highly entertaining piece called “Thwacked” to our campus and community last evening.  The storyline involves a rude prince who is turned into a frog when he offends an old lady.  Once a frog, the prince eventually forgets he was ever a prince and begins eating bugs, loving life on the log, and hanging out with his two friends “Froggie” and “Frogger”.  One day when he was sleeping, something “thwacks” him on the head and wakes him up.  Frog is convinced a piece of the sky fell on him.  He panics and soon involves his frog friends, a business woman named Tinker, three maids, some students, a librarian, a coach at school, and eventually the entire town!  Everyone is so concerned about the sky falling and they call on the Mayor and her council members for help.  Meanwhile, a witty student named Rachel is trying to solve the puzzle because she does not believe the sky falls.  Everyone refuses to listen to her because they are swayed by what everyone else thinks.  Even the mayor doesn’t have answers but pretends to have a plan.  Finally, the ensemble decides to go back and see where Frog was when the sky fell.  Rachel notices an acorn on the ground and, despite everyone around her refusing to believe her, she solves the puzzle by thwacking the Frog back on the head with the acorn.  Everyone finally realizes they were never in any danger and that it was simply an acorn.  Frog’s head is hurting from the acorn so Rachel kisses him on the head (and I bet you can guess the outcome now)…yes, Frog turns back into a prince, having learned a valuable lesson.  By the end of the play, everyone reminisces about the adventure.

The complexity of the storyline and the demanding performances given were truly extraordinary.  Watch out, middle and high school fine arts teachers…this talented group of singers, dancers, and actors will keep you hopping!  As Mrs. Grant, our wonderful music teacher noted, “I am extremely proud of their work!”  Bravos to all involved!  🙂

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Planting and Pumpkins Galore!

Our LME Head Start classes and friends explored beyond the classroom walls today in their first community trip.  They traveled to the Garden Harvest Farms and the FUMC Pumpkin Patch in Midlothian.  Riding a school bus for the first time is always a special treat . . . thanks to Mrs. Burks for driving and delivering them safely to all their destinations.

Our youngest learners spent time touring the gardens, planting a special Miller PreK lettuce garden (we hope they grow because Mrs. Van loves fresh salad!), and planting little cups of chard to personally grow at home.  At the Pumpkin Patch, everyone played games, ate lunch, sang songs, and selected classroom pumpkins to enjoy next week for Halloween.

Here’s what some of our HS friends observed:

  • Pumpkins are all shapes…small, big, really fat, and tall.
  • Not all pumpkins are orange; some are white and green.
  • My cup will grow at home.
  • We sing silly songs all the time.
  • Have you eaten in a pumpkin patch before, Mrs. Van?
  • I like pie; we will make pie!
  • I don’t like lettuce, but I know you do, so I’ll give you mine.  🙂

Seeing these little bright eyes light up and smiles all around, you can’t help embracing their obvious enthusiasm for learning and enJOYing the sights, sounds, feelings, and experiences outside the walls of the schoolhouse.  Here’s hoping you enJOY a similar autumn experience soon!  🙂

Eye on the ball…

I had an interesting conversation with a 5th grade friend yesterday afternoon (at his request!).  He came to visit with me about ways to stay focused on goals and keep things in perspective—a rather insightful topic for a ten-year-old!  I used the analogy of playing tennis in college (for PE credit) and my goal (at the time) to be the first unranked 18-yr-old to win the U.S. Open.  🙂 

In my pursuit of personal tennis greatness, my lessons consisted of repeating coach’s words:

  • Keep the racket low.
  • Move your feet.
  • Bend your knees–both knees, Beth.
  • Rotate your hips.
  • Low to high.
  • Follow through.
  • This is not volleyball; this is tennis…
  • Don’t pass out.

One day I thought I was doing everything right and still wasn’t hitting the ball well.  While contemplating my issue, I laughed as I realized I had overlooked the obvious:  keeping my eye on the ball.  I was so caught up in trying to do everything else that I forgot the most important part of the game!

Keeping an eye on today’s educational ball is critical…in our case at school, this is ongoing student success.  We know we are not alone (in tennis or in life).  Distractions cause us to lose our focus.  We allow the trivial to get in the way of the meaningful.  Busyness and stress keep us from developing the relationships crucial to building a winning career and team.  We fret about the past, worry about the future, and take our focus off the present (Remember the quote:  “Today is a gift; that’s why it’s called the present.”).  Bombarded by information and distractions, we forget what is truly important.  We focus on the outcome instead of the process and wonder why we miss our targets.  We focus on everything else except the ball.

I encourage each of us to keep our eye on the ball.  Get back to the basics; focus on the fundamentals.  Remember what really matters and identify the simple principles and actions crucial to the success . . . Simplify, Focus, Execute.  How will you keep your eye on the ball and take your game to a new level?  🙂

One Team; One Goal: Be Drug Free!

Our annual Red Ribbon Week is coming up next week, October 29 – November 2 here at LME.  Each day has a special team focus revolving around our campus sports theme this school year:

Monday, Oct. 29:  Team UP Against Drugs – Supporting each other is important for success; the more folks we have playing on a team drug free, the stronger our team will be!  Wear your favorite team jersey or t-shirt to show your team spirit.

Tuesday, Oct. 30:  Our Team Dares to Dream – Go after your dreams and don’t allow bad choices (drugs) to get in the way of achieving your goals!  Dress for your DREAM job and share your future goals.

Wednesday, Oct. 31:  Team Up with Good Character and Read – Reading helps you learn, helps you relax, takes you places, and gives you an alternative to taking drugs.  Having good character is doing the right thing when no one is looking because it’s the right thing to do.  It’s our annual Book Character Day at LME with our character parade and class parties.  Bring your book, dress as your favorite character, and share!

Thursday, Nov. 1:  We Support All Teams – Helping others is part of our team approach since our team is made up of many community members.  It’s important to look for ways to help each other because drugs will never feel as good as helping another person.  To support our Miller friend, Ethan L., we will all wear green (Ethan’s favorite color) and yellow (for childhood cancer).  Each grade level will also collect items for our local Manna House to help stock this important community pantry:

  • PK/KG = toothpaste
  • 1st = soap
  • 2nd = deodorant
  • 3rd = shampoo
  • 4th = combs/brushes
  • 5th = toothbrushes

Friday, Nov. 2:  Our Nation “TEAMS” With Pride – It’s important to be a part of Team USA and honoring our veterans is a Miller tradition!   Our 5th graders will present their annual salute to Veterans @ 8:00 a.m. in the gym followed by the Wall of Honor March.  Wear Red, White, and Blue to support our troops and pledge to be a drug-free citizen!

Making positive choices now and in the future will ensure success for each of our learners and help make our country the BEST it can be.  We look forward to a busy week and to everyone participating.  Every day is game day at LME with one TEAM and one goal:  Being Drug Free begins with me! 

Homecoming 2012 Information…

We are a week away from one of Midlothian’s most participated community events each year…Homecoming!  The 2012 Midlothian High School Homecoming will be celebrated the week of October 22 with community festivities concluding with the varsity football game between the Panthers and the South Grand Prairie Warriors next Friday, October 26th.

Homecoming is full of tradition…woven into the fabric of not only high school life, but the entire community.  Festivities for the whole family during the coming week include:

October 24, 6:30 p.m., MISD Multi-Purpose Stadium

October 26 at 3:00 p.m. (Download parade info and route)

  • All MISD campuses will have a 2-hour early release.  (LME releases at 12:45 p.m.)
  • The parade will be led by Grand Marshal Ethan Hallmark, a 6th grader at Frank Seale Middle School who was diagnosed with Stage IV High-Risk Unfavorable Neuroblastoma in 2010.
  • In addition to the traditional Panther Spirit theme, the parade will feature Midlothian’s Support of the Fight to Find a Cure for Cancer.
  • Best Panther Spirit and Best Fight for the Cure will be awarded and announced at the Panther Homecoming football game that evening.
  • Note:  The parade will be canceled if weather conditions are unsafe.

Email midlothianpanthercheerleaders@gmail.com for parade questions.

The Homecoming Game is Friday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m. At MISD Multi-Purpose Stadium:

  • MHS Panthers vs. South Grand Prairie Warriors
  • The Homecoming Court will be recognized during halftime and the Queen and King will be crowned.

We hope you join us for several of the festivities throughout the week.  Elementary students are allowed to wear their athletic and community-sponsored apparel on Friday during school to show their Panther pride and spirit.  Our Miller PTO is selling Panther spirit items in the cafe during lunches on Wednesday and Thursday next week; a note went home today with students.

It’s true, there’s no place like home; home is where your story begins!  Happy Homecoming Week 2012!  🙂

Note:  LME has our annual Fall Book Fair Oct. 22-26; join us for some wonderful book bargains!

What a day of learning!

Yes, it’s been a day of intense learning and my hair hurts!  Our Design Team spent the day in training with other MISD campuses talking about the design of student work.  It’s part of our Working On The Work framework for creating highly engaging and meaningful learning experiences for students.  We are blessed with creative, enthusiastic, and energetic leaders of learners who strongly believe in being creators of lesson design for success.

Tonight, we had over 200 parents and many teachers participate in our Parent Math Night with all six elementary campuses in MISD!  Ricky Mikelman, Math Consultant, answered important questions about ways to help your child at home with math, what to do when your child doesn’t know what to do, and how you can further investigate the concepts your child is learning in math today.  She noted, “The goal of math instruction today is to build math understanding students can take out into the world with them…after all, math is not just about right answers; it’s about exploring different ways of thinking.”  As she further commented, “If you teach a child to understand patterns and relationships, they can solve anything!”  BINGO!

I spoke with some students attending our math night too…they talked about the strategies they are using in classrooms across our district now with enthusiasm and excitement—I learned some new strategies this evening too!  As always, when you have questions about what we’re doing in math, please call and talk it over with your child’s teacher.  These are exciting learning (and teaching) times in MISD!