Kinder Kamp Kuteness…

KKamp4Our annual “Kinder Kamp” was held last night at LME…what a JOYful experience!  Thirty-nine incoming Kinder friends and their families joined us stories, singing, dancing, and table activities while parents were given the “inside scoop” from our Kinder Team of experts about daily Kinder life on campus.  It’s bittersweet for KKamp3us really…we’re about to send our first LME Kinder friends (now 5th graders) on to middle school world…we remember the evening they joined us before we opened the doors six years ago.  As I looked across the gathered group last night, we have some families starting the middle school experience while they are starting the Kinder experience again too!  🙂

Our Kinder Teachers shared some fabulous tidbits, so here are a few to help you along the way…

Things to do to help your child prepare for Kinder learning:

  • Read together every single day–lots and lots of books together!
  • Share children’s poetry (for the rhyming words and patterns poems present).
  • Sing songs together.
  • Read and recite nursery rhymes (again, for the pattern and predictions).
  • Play with blocks, Legos, and other “building” materials.
  • Practice writing with a pencil.
  • Practice coloring shapes and designs.
  • Practice using scissors (great manipulative skill).
  • Practice on buttons, shoelaces, velcro, and zippers (clothing items in particular).

Helpful skills for your child to have for Kinder include:

  • Recognize and write first and last name.
  • Recognize and count from #s from 0 – 10.
  • Recognize colors and shapes.
  • Know letters and the sounds they make.
  • Take turns.
  • Sit quietly and listen to a story.
  • Good restroom habits and manners (washing hands, too!).
  • Good manners at recess.
  • How to introduce self to others.

Three particular websites our Kinder Team enJOYs include:

We hope these ideas help spark some fun learning opportunities in the days ahead as we all prepare for that first important step in the learning journey…Kindergarten Kuteness indeed!  🙂

Kinder Time!

kinder1It’s time to welcome our incoming Kinder friends to LME this week!  Join us tomorrow evening, April 29th, at 6:30 p.m. in the LME Cafe as our outstanding Kinder Team shares informative tidbits with parents about the upcoming school year.  Our Kinder friends will experience an engaging learning experience with two of our Kinder teachers while parents learn about daily school activities and expectations.  Come meet our staff, ask those critical questions, and get a feel for our growing campus.  As one “experienced” Kinder friend shared with me today, “Oh Mrs. Van, Kinder friends and fun are the best…you know that!”  🙂  We look forward to seeing you there!


It’s time for the annual Midlothian Education Foundation’s 5K4Kids Event!  Join us tomorrow morning at the MISD Multipurpose Stadium as the community celebrates spring by kicking off the day with a family-friendly fun run and 5K race.  The 5K starts @ 10:00 a.m.  All proceeds 5K-4Kids-Logobenefit the extraordinary work of our MEF through the awarding of innovative teaching grants, celebrating learning, and honoring top MISD graduates and educators each year.  Celebrate our community by joining other families in the downtown Spring Fling festivities following the race.  Get outside this weekend and enJOY the great weather (before the storms come our way).  We hope to see you there!  🙂

Note:  Again, many thanks for your patience and understanding this week as we completed mandatory state assessments.

Eye on the ball…

I was reminded during a conversation today about playing tennis and my personal goal (at the time) of being 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 of wisdom to me:keep-your-eye-on-the-ball

  • Keep the racket low.
  • Move your feet.
  • Bend your knees; both knees!
  • Rotate your hips…low to high.
  • Follow through.
  • 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 the most important overlooked the obvious part:  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.

Distractions in life cause us all 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 being our personal best.  We fret about the past, worry about the future, and take our focus off the present.  Bombarded by information and daily distractions, we forget what is truly important, thus focusing on outcomes instead of process and wonder why we miss the target.

You are encouraged today to keep your eye on the ball; get back to basics and focus on the fundamentals.  Treasure what really matters…simplify, focus, execute.  Teach your little one to do this too; the future generation depends on us today to show them the way for tomorrow…keeping your eye on the ball each step of the way can take your game to the next level!  🙂

Note:  We are so grateful to our learners and their classroom leaders for completing another round of state assessment this week…just some makeups to go now.  Way to go, Team Miller!  🙂


personalexcellenceI finally grabbed the book off of St. Michael’s nightstand to peruse one afternoon while waiting for the plumber at home…Walter Isaacson’s 2011 book on Steve Jobs. Why did I ignore this book for so long? Yes, it was homage to the monumental contributions of Mr. Jobs, but certainly not the guy I thought I knew either. While his accomplishments are impossible to ignore, he allowed the writer to give an unflinching portrait into his world.  Most interestingly, Mr. Jobs ultimately believed his personal excellence started on the shoulders of the prior generation.

Here were my takeaways:
1. Be bold.  Young Steve needed a Hewlett-Packard part at age 12 and called the CEO, Bill Hewlett to get it; Hewlett gave Jobs his first job a couple of years later.
2. Make your own rules (sometimes).  When his college classes got too expensive, he talked the Dean into letting him audit for credit; he earned a free college education that way.
3. Pay attention to (every) detail.  Quality craftsmanship out performs every time; you pay for the quality, thus Apple products may be more expensive but worth it later.
4. Hire the A-Team!  “A” performers only want to work with “A” performers; under-performers get the boot; teaching and practicing collaboration and cooperation early in life is critical to long-term excellence.
5. Make something beautiful and simple.  Create with beauty and simplicity in mind every single time.
6. Master the art of persuasion.  This is critical in the classroom; you have to persuade learners to play along daily!
7. Leaders need to get out of the way.  Know when to let the experts do their work…teachers are more facilitators in project-based and challenge-based learning now.  Embrace the the concept of learners as leaders too!
8. Customers (learners) cannot always tell you what they need.  Raw intuition and active listening are critical; taking risks and leaps with hope works wonders in teaching and in learning life lessons.

Here’s hoping you find application into your own leadership role as parent and caregiver for our future generation; after all, they are standing on our shoulders in search of their personal excellence every day!  🙂

Note:  Day #2 this week is done!  WHEW!  Thanks for your patience!  🙂 

To our STAAR gazers…shine on!

State assessment…another week started…today is done!  As we continue this staarnext assessment week, we encourage our learners to rest, eat well, and do those calming techniques that allow them to focus, concentrate, and do their personal best no matter what.  Thanks to all our learners (testers and non-testers), all our LME staff members, and especially Mrs. Bass, our campus testing coordinator, for giving your personal BEST everyday!  Special thanks to our parents and learning community for your patience, smiles, and hugs this week!  Everyday is game day at LME and testing days are certainly no exception.  Shine on, STAAR gazers!  🙂

Long Live Earth!

I had the opportunity this morning to visit with a group of young learners writing Earth Day poems and thoughts.  They wanted a story about Earth Day and why we need to take care of our environment so I chose a favorite book of mine called Long Live Earth by Meighan Morrison.  The author/illustrator combines beautiful hand-pieced quilt squares with poetry to tell a reflective tale about what generations of people have done to our planet and the current conditions we must address.  The story also carries a strong message of hope for the future: “This magnificent Earth deserves far better care; we can help in its rescue if we each do our share.” 

There was great discussion following the story and now these young learners are wanting to plant more trees (for shade as well as natural growth) and even a special garden here at LME (I see a grant in our future!).  🙂

We continue to challenge all learners to think about their responsibility to not only personal spaces, but to our natural environment at large.  One quick example:  we recycle many items here daily at school and encourage you to do the same.  Yes, we must each do our share and here’s hoping you join us in this ongoing and critical endeavor…Long Live Earth!  🙂

Note:  It’s a testing week at LME, so we appreciate your support as we remain a closed campus to visitors; we look forward to seeing you next week.

Fine Art Form and more…

sign1The annual Fine Arts Show and Gallery with our Family Book Fair event was another huge hit this year.  Each child displays seven completed personal masterpieces thanks to the talented vision and execution of our art teacher extraordinaire, Scott Fiorenza.  Whether it’s a Head Start student or an Art Club master student, Mr. Fio knows how to create and deliver artistic magic each year!

Thanks also goes to our entire Specials Team of educators artshow1who not only support each other through programs, shows, exhibitions, 5K runs, and more, but have so much fun along the journey too!

We are blessed with the most amazing PTO Volunteers who spend time and creative talents arranging, organizing, and hanging each child’s artwork throughout the hallway galleries for this big show.  These ladies also host the refreshment table each year…yum!

Much appreciation goes to Melissa Bolgiano, our Library Media Specialist, and her volunteers who ensure our Book Fair and Family Night event goes smoothly.  Thanks for supporting our campus library and the new Maker Spaces in our 21st Century Media Center.

Our Miller Ringers and Singers along with some talented piano students shared beautiful musicartshow3 for gallery gazing throughout the evening.  Thanks, Mrs. Perez and friends, for setting the tone and mood for success.

It is so critical for our young learners to have these important creative, artistic, and musical outlets throughout their educational journey.  Judging from the turnout and the responses, our learners are most definitely in fine art form…and more!  EnJOY your holiday weekend!  🙂

Fun and Games

An unusual lunch conversation with a small group of learners believe2today (who asked to have lunch with me, by the way 🙂 ), gleaned some interesting ideas for families on-the-go these days.  Instead of DVD players, iPads, and other technology devices in the car between activities, these students engage in oral thinking games.  Here’s the idea:

One child shared how the family plays Would You Rather…” in the car between soccer games.  Two options are given and each person is asked which they prefer and why.  For example, “Would you rather live near the beach or near the mountains?” 

Another child explained what’s called “Three Favorites.”  Someone picks a category (like movies, outfits, books), and everyone shares their top three choices and why.

My own daughters would play “What Doesn’t Belong?” as we rode in the car between scheduled activities.  We took turns naming items and asking each other to explain which is the odd one out and why.  There can always be more than one right answer too.  For example, when I said, “owl, ostrich, and eagle,” one daughter said, “Ostrich…because it can’t fly.”  The other daughter said, “Owl, because it’s nocturnal and hunts at night.”   🙂

The important point here is how we spend time interacting with our children between the schedules and demands of life.  Just like my short lunch today with these learners, it’s not so much about the quantity of time as the quality of the time together.  Thinking through ideas, verbalizing opinions, sharing laughs, and engaging in meaningful conversations will go a long way in building critical thinking in fun, “gamey” ways.  Here’s hoping you try some of these ideas to create your own fun and games!  🙂

Rounding Up a Busy Week!

It’s a busy but short week here at LME.  Here’s the important scoop:

parentsurveyWe value your parent input and truly encourage you to participate today in the Midlothian ISD K-12 Parent Technology Survey.  This helps us make plans for future students’ technology education and needs (including instructional materials adoptions). All parents are encouraged to take the short survey by April 18. Take survey now 

Round-Up for all our incoming PreK, Head Start, and Kindergarten PleaseRegisterfriends starts today at each elementary campus from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm through Thursday this week.  Parents are encouraged to visit and register your child online, then bring the required documentation to the attendance-zone campus for final steps.  Required documentation includes a driver’s license, child’s social security card, official birth certificate (state-approved), complete immunization records, and two proofs of residency (mortgage statement, lease agreement, or closing document AND a current gas, electric, or water bill showing the physical address (within the last 30 days).  Campus staff will be on hand to help with all aspects of registration, including providing laptops for completing the online process in person.  We look forward to meeting our incoming learners this week!

Finally, it’s the week of our REALLY BIG SHOW!  Join us on Thursday, April 17th from 6:30 until 8:00 for the 6th Annual Fine Arts Show and Family Book Fair Event!  As Thoreau noted, “The world is but a canvas to the imagination.”  Please come enJOY the creative canvas of each learner at LME this year!