Words of Wonder…

  • Child:  Mrs. Van!
  • Me:  Yes sir?
  • Child:  I wonder…can you name one important thing you didn’t have 8 years ago?
  • Me:  This school (not open yet).
  • Child:  No, silly; you didn’t have me!  🙂

Sunshine QuoteSuch was the start of a most intriguing conversation today!  For example, did you know that good readers form pictures in their mind as they read?  My friend tells me he is a great reader because he “can usually guess what the illustrations will look like before the teacher shares them” (and he said ‘illustrations’ and not pictures).  This friend likes to build paper bag cities at home (from lunch sacks decorated and stuffed with newspapers) to create new communities “so I can see what to do to fix things later.”  He also likes “thinking games for fun” like “Would You Rather?” where two options are given and you choose one and tell why you like it.  From riddles to learning tips to thinking games, our conversation covered a wide variety of extraordinary topics.  I wandered on feeling lighter, sparked with JOY, and bursting to face the next challenge of this busy day, especially when he shared his final thought:  “Kind words do not cost much but they fix so much!”  Here’s hoping we all take a moment to savor these words of wonder…so very thankful to have this child (and many others) in our care each day too!


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! 

HEARTy thanks for LOVEly thoughts…

candyheartsAfter a hectic start to our instructional day with testing personnel on campus, fourth graders testing, our morning message, walkabout, and discussions with various teams, I rounded the corner to my office to find a heart-shaped box overflowing with special greetings.  The anonymous gift left written clues to follow as to who sent this surprise kindness today.  While following the clues, I engaged in several conversations around campus regarding this clever idea.  More importantly, it was simply amazing to follow the trail of LOVEly thoughts and HEARTy thanks along the journey!  So here’s a question for you to ponder today:  If you created this box of candy hearts to share with someone special, what would your secret message be?  Here’s hoping you share your own LOVEly thoughts and HEARTy thanks with those you hold dear today and everyday!

Note:  Valentine’s Day Parties are tomorrow!  HS/KG/1st/2nd = 9:00-10:00; 3rd/4th/5th = 1:30-2:30.

Acts of Kindness and Compassion…

As our community has learned in the past few days, you never know when unspeakable tragedy will strike.  Likewise, you never know when someone will bestow a beautiful act of kindness or compassion.  We want to commend our Miller learning community for extensively wrapping your loving arms of kindness and compassion around all three families involved in the recent event.  More specifically, thanks for showing in action how kindness and compassion work to our learners.

So imagine my surprise today when a first grade class of IMG_2083friends asked for a moment of my time.  They lovingly bestowed a beautiful book of letters entitled, “We Are THANKFUL for you, Mrs. Van!”  Each child wrote his or her own letter and illustrated thoughts as well.  Here are some specific comments (as they were written):

  • Thank you for hireing teachers to teach us. They do good work.
  • You work hart and you are fun to work with.
  • You porteck our school.
  • You care for all of us even when I’m makeing choyces.
  • You do your bery best to help us.
  • You keepe us informed with the annoncements.
  • You are so pritty.  (I will remind Mr. Van of this one in particular since I’m getting older now!)
  • Thanks for loveing us.

What a blessing in my life and just one more beautiful illustration of the power of kindness and compassion in our lives!  Thank you first graders!  🙂

With February being National Kindness and Compassion month, here’s hoping you find a way to share a little KC too!

…Because kindness matters…

I was surprised first thing this morning by some members of the KC Club (Kindness and Compassion) here at Miller.  They brought me beautiful hand-written cards, notes, and letters from KC Club students as well as a box of my favorite Girl Scout cookies (Thin Mints)—just what I needed to start my day!  Our KC Club is open to any Miller student who wishes to share caring and courtesy with others.  The notes they shared with me today included words of encouragement and special thanks for a variety of things:

  • “Thanks for a fun field trip with the WHOLE school and making memories with us.”
  • “Thanks for all you do for us; we appreciate you!”
  • “You are the most awesomest princiPAL ever!”
  • “Thanks for riding my bus with me and helping nurse in the clinic.”
  • “Thanks for helping us learn stuff and all that.”
  • “Morning messages make me smile, think, and laugh.”
  • “Just like our HotSteppers, you ROCK! (Your jump-roping could use some work)” 🙂
  • “Thanks for caring about us a kids in our school.”
  • “You put us first just like our teacher does.”
  • “We love you and are so blessed by your leadership.”

Perhaps I should retire right now . . . wonder what Mr. Van would have to say?  🙂  These expressions of love and appreciation are truly treasured.  These precious gifts of time, thoughts, and thanks will carry me many miles on our educational journey in the coming months.  I was always taught to be “kinder than necessary because kindness matters . . . besides, you cannot do a kindness too soon for you never know when it will be too late.”  We are blessed at LME and expressions such as these this morning only confirm it.  Here’s hoping a random act of kindness comes your way because kindness matters!

Note:  Don’t forget it’s our annual Jump Rope for Heart Event on Friday!

Rachel’s Challenge at LME!

During our Heart Rock Cafe Assembly last Friday, we once again committed ourselves to being kind, compassionate learners and leaders.  The first victim of the Columbine murders was a young lady by the name of Rachel.  She left behind six diaries about her beliefs and how she wanted to change the world through small acts of kindness each day.  Before her unexpected death, she wrote a school essay stating, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.”  Taking those diaries, her grieving family started and inspired a worldwide anti-bullying campaign shared specifically in schools called “Rachel’s Challenge.”  At Miller, we continue to join forces with other campuses to create “chain reactions” in order to link our acts of kindness together across MISD.  Where better way to start this critical process of helping others than with our youngest learners?

Our Kindness and Compassion Club (KC Club) is an important part of this process.  Students across our campus volunteer to come early or stay late in order to assist and spread the word and work of Rachel’s Challenge.  Under the enthusiastic supervision of their sponsor, Ms. Daniell, our KC Club is instrumental in sharing stories of kindness and compassion throughout our campus.  Here are some members sharing their artwork reminding us about National Friendship Month right now; great job, KC Club!

Learning from others and modeling their success are key components in any endeavor.  We are indebted to a visionary young lady named Rachel who continues to challenge us because of her faith and belief in a positive future, thus leading to powerful, kind, and compassionate actions everyday.  Here’s hoping we all follow this lead . . . .

Rocking Hearts and Rachel’s Challenge…

“WHEW!  I need to take a deep breath, Mrs. Van!  All this jump-roping is really working my heart today!”  These were the repetitive words of several Miller friends this afternoon right after our annual Jump Rope for Heart kick-off assembly.  Our theme, Heart Rock Cafe, pumped up the school as several groups shared their many talents:

The HotSteppers show off their impressive jump-roping skills in a variety of clever ways!

Coach Rogers led several teachers to rock the house with their rendition of “I Love Jumping Rope.”

StuCo members shared a moving story about Rachel and her legacy before rocking to a special rendition of “We Will Rock You” with the words of “Rachel’s Challenge.”

Yes, it was an impressive assembly of meaningful and powerful messages to us all.  We must accept the challenges of working on healthier hearts (for our physical side) and on healthier interactions with others (our emotional side) in order to achieve our goals in life.  As we talked about today, it’s up to us to continue the chain reaction of kindness and compassion for ourselves and others.  As I shared, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Here’s hoping we all walk and talk a little lighter knowing the next generation is committed to living healthier, kinder, and more compassionate lives.  Have a great weekend!  🙂

Note:  Don’t forget about the annual Tutus and Ties Dance tomorrow starting @ 7:00 p.m. in the Miller Cafe!