We got this!

IMG_3286Double, double, toil and trouble…it was not one, but two pairs of princiPALs on the scene today at LME!  It’s a great thing too because Party Day always brings interesting situations to address.  🙂

First grade teachers Katie Bergvall and Stephanie Daniell IMG_3281(both MISD alums) accepted the challenge of being Mrs. Van and Mrs. Bass (in costume at least) for the day.  Ms. Daniell found Mrs. Bass’ bullhorn to use (hhmmm…no one usually gets to use the bullhorn but Mrs. Bass), and Ms. Bergvall talked on the walkies (remarkably, just like me).  🙂

Thanks to our wonderfully supportive parents and entire learning community for coming out to celebrate a fun school day with us.  As our twins noted today, “We got this; y’all be safe out there tonight!”

Carved and ready!

Are your pumpkins carved and ready for the big day?

photoOur Head Start friends never let a rainy day get them down.  During recess, they took the opportunity to clean out pumpkins, count and clean seeds, and carve (with assistance) photo 02some funny faces to share.  The room was abuzz with excitement and orange goo! 🙂

Other classrooms and our own Nurse Sullivan talked about Halloween safety in anticipation of several events tomorrow.  Here are a few important tips to remember (based on advise from our learners):

  • Never trick-or-treat alone; go in groups and with a trusted adult.
  • Use reflective tape on costumes and treat bags to help drivers see you.
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see others and others to see you.
  • Wear well-fitting costumes, masks, and shoes to avoid blocked vision and possible falls.
  • Only visit well-lit homes.

Autumn holidays like Halloween are fun times for everyone involved.  Most importantly, be safe out there as you get those pumpkins carved and ready!

Dreaming BIG pumpkin dreams…

I adore reading and sharing in classrooms; it reminds me why I chose to answer the call of teaching in the first place.  Today, I had the honor of visiting with some of our older readers who chose a book for me “because of the really BIG words, Mrs. Van.”  🙂  Little did I know the really BIG words were synonyms of the actual word BIG in How BIG Could Your Pumpkin Grow?

In his delightful story about all the places a giant imagespumpkin could be, award-winning artist, Wendell Minor does just as he imagines with LARGER-THAN-LIFE pumpkins decorating some of America’s favorite places.  From the highest lighthouse in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to the Capitol dome in Washington, D.C., to Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, to Yosemite Falls in California, giant pumpkins abound in colossal ways!  Mr. Minor’s celebration of famous American landmarks and landscapes plays with the concepts of size and scale in fun, factual ways to inspire reader imagination.

Just imagine the places of travel in our beautiful country and whether an enormous pumpkin could fill the area.  “Perhaps your MIGHTY pumpkin could grow up to be president…Hail to the chief!”  So, to young pumpkin lovers and readers who dream BIG, never give up on your dreams!

Note:  A Van Am Gram party note went home today (or tomorrow for some) reminding you about class parties, parking (in the rain and mud), and morning car line in the bus lane.  Be safe out there! 

Silly socks…

photoSilly socks…not just for kids anymore!  Our building was full of silly socks today as a focus on the first day of Red Ribbon Week“Seriously, don’t do drugs!” challenged us all to take the message of being drug-free seriously, but not ourselves too seriously.  As students reflected on the silly things we do in life, they also talked about the serious side effects of harsh drug, tobacco, and alcohol use on the body.  StuCo members shared startling statistics about drug abuse during the morning message…sobering facts to ponder in these formative years of growing and learning.  Here’s hoping the message throughout the entire week causes you and your child to have frank conversations about drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use.  Let’s all STAND UP together!

Note:  Tuesday’s theme is STAND UP For Your Friends!

Harlem Wizards ROCK!

The Harlem Wizards stopped by LME today during our Miller Rally to share some ball moves and talk about the BIG game tomorrow on Saturday, October 26th at Frank Seale Middle School.  Join them @ 6:00 for the pre-game show and supper follHarlem Wizardsowed by the big game @ 7:00.  Our own Stephanie Daniell, LME first grade teacher and former MHS basketball hoop star, will be on the MISD team playing against the Wizards!  🙂

EnJOY this wonderful autumn weekend and be safe out there!

Trunk or Treat?!

trunkdynastyIt was a festive and fun family event this evening as our learning community came out in huge numbers to enJOY our first Trunk or Treat Family Event!  From Trunk Dynasty to Rockin’ Readers, our learners, their families, TrunkTreatand neighbors visited, laughed, and reveled in the evening autumn breeze.  Our LME Book Fair was open and business was booming indeed.  🙂

Thanks to our amazing PTO Board for their vision and organization of this family event.  Thanks to our staff members and 3rdgradeTTfamilies who graciously participated by decorating trunks and sharing amazing treats with so many.  Thanks to all who contributed to an extraordinary opportunity of community fellowship!

Yearbooks and Red Ribbons and Trunks…oh my!

Yearbooks-182x182-Y-LOGOOur yearbooks are on sale now!  There are two ways to order your 2013-2014 copy of our LME yearbook:

  • Place a check (made payable to LaRue Miller Elementary), money order, or cash into the yearbook envelope with student name and homeroom teacher.
  • Visit http://www.topoftexasprinting.com to click on “buy your yearbook.”  Tax will be charged and the online option will only be available until Dec. 20th.

We are also having our traditional LME Yearbook Cover Design Contest open to all LME students.  Guidelines to enter this contest are:

  1. Design must be submitted on white 7.5 x 8 inch paper.  Mrs. Story has the paper ready for pick-up.
  2. Design must include the year 2013 – 2014.
  3. On the back of the design, please include first and last name, grade, and teacher name (written lightly in pencil).
  4. Design cannot be stapled or folded.

The winner of the yearbook cover contest wins a free yearbook!  Design are due to Mrs. Story, yearbook sponsor, by Friday, November 1st!

Red Ribbon Week is our annual drug awareness campaign and this IMG_1817year we are STANDING UP Against Drugs at LME.  Please make note of the following themes each day:

  • Mon; Oct. 28:  Seriously, Don’t Do Drugs! (wear silly socks)
  • Tues; Oct. 29:  STAND UP For Your Friends (making friendship bracelets)
  • Wed; Oct. 30:  Don’t Let Drugs SNEAK UP on You!  (wear bright sneakers)
  • Thurs; Oct. 31:  Be a STAND UP Character; Show Your Good Character! (dress like you favorite book character).  This is also Fall Party Day at LME!
  • Fri; Nov. 1:  STAND UP For Your Future! (wear your favorite college or team shirt)

Finally, our PTO is sponsoring a special Trunk or Treat Event this week on Thurs; Oct. 24th, in conjunction with our Family Book Fair Night Event.  Trunks will be decorated and ready in the front parking area @ 6:30 p.m.  The Book Fair will be open from school dismissal until 7:30 p.m. for our families to stop, read a great book, and shop (the holidays are just around the corner, you know!) 🙂  The weather should be great, so please stop by for some family fun and fellowship!

The morning started like this:

  1. What am I most grateful for in my life?communicate
  2. What am I most looking forward to right now?
  3. What miracles will I create today?

Three simple questions; several collaborative answers…such was the start to a powerful day of intense conversation.  The topic?  Teaching With Poverty In Mind.  Led by Eric Jensen, veteran educator and leading brain expert, our group of educators looked at these particular points:

  • What is poverty and how does it affect learners in our schools?
  • What drives change both within schools and inside a student’s brain?
  • What effective strategies create best practices to replicate in our school?
  • How do we engage the necessary resources (people and materials) to make this change happen?

“Poverty is not a culture, but a chronic condition affecting the mind, body, and soul resulting from multiple adverse risk factors” (Eric Jensen).  Too often we talk about change while maintaining a culture of excuses; we must do better because our learners are counting on us!  There is no magic bullet to offset the challenges faced daily by our disadvantaged students, but we can shine a spotlight on what matters most: enriching the minds and lives of all our students everyday. 

Dr. Jensen talked at length about brain research and its effect on all learners.  For example, neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells, improves cognitive performance, elevates moods (less anger and stress), and enhances memory—all things we can increase (or decrease) by how we teach and how our school is run everyday.  Teachers and parents can truly affect learner outcomes by focusing on four key elements:

  1. Effort (building relationships, setting goals, and providing feedback),
  2. Attitude (giving hope with a growth mindset and optimism),
  3. Behavior (teaching social skills, interdependence, and accountability), and
  4. Capacity (perfect practice and executive function skills).

We will continue to have these powerful reflective conversations about our actions in our classrooms.  We invite you to join in our conversations!  For now, my hair hurts, so it’s time to support my own well-being with a power walk.  🙂

Note:  Don’t forget to join us for our PTO Trunk or Treat Family Event on Thursday, Oct. 24th in the front parking lot from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.  The Book Fair will also be open during the evening; see you there!

Safety on the roads, please!

It’s School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 21-25) and we are also participating in the “Celebrate My Drive” national campaign to win $100,000.

School buses:  Please take time to ‘THANK a bus driver’ schoolbus1this week (and every week) while honoring and remembering their important role of keeping our students safe traveling to and from our campus.  The MISD Transportation Department sent out flyers to remind all drivers of the rules of the road when school buses are stopped with yellow or red lights flashing:

  • When you see a school bus, assume children will be around and take extra care; leave lots of space around the bus.
  • When the bus turns on the yellow flashing lights, this means it is about to stop to load or unload students. Slow down and prepare to stop.
  • When the bus turns on the red flashing lights- this means STOP in BOTH directions. NEVER pass a school bus with red flashing lights in either direction. Stop well away from the bus.  If you have any doubt what to do, always STOP.

Celebrate My Drive:  This is teen driving awareness campaign sponsored by State Farm giving our district a chance to win a grant of $100,000 and a concert by Grammy Award-winning artist, Kelly Clarkson (our good neighbor from Burleson).  Here’s how to help:

  • Go to celebratemydrive.com and complete the form.
  • Commit to safe driving on behalf of Midlothian High School.
  • Do this once per day everyday from through Oct. 26th (Saturday).

While our little learners may not be driving to school just yet, it is never too early to teach safe driving and bus practices daily.  After all, they do watch what we do on the roads…you can count on it!  😉

Random Act of Kindness

One of our Miller Essential 5 reminds us to surprise others by performing random acts of kindness…one such random act today was shared with me!  The learners (and Book Buddies) in Mrs. Waddill’s IMG_3267third grade homeroom and Mrs. Stanley’s first grade homeroom read and talked about one of my favorite books, Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson.  Little Mary picks some blueberries and leaves the basket on Mrs. Bishop’s porch.  Mrs. Bishop finds the blueberries and bakes some yummy muffins to secretly share with five friends.  Each friend, in turn, does an ordinary deed for five more friends and the story continues…

Our learners in both classes decided to share a random ordinary act of kindness each week as part of their time together.  This week, they presented me with my own “chain of compliments,” with each person crafting a kind compliment, thought, quote, or picture on their personalized strip.  I wore the chain as a scarf for much of the afternoon to share with others.  My challenge now is to find a way to perform my own random act of ordinary kindness with others.  What a blessing to receive an act of kindness filled with compliments; what a treasure to work with learners and classroom leaders who care about making our school a kinder, gentler, friendlier learning community!  🙂

Note:  BRAVOS to our 4th graders and their leaders for a most extraordinary “Miller Style” program last night.  We had a huge turnout and appreciate the wonderful community support and powerful message shared together!