Give THANKS…

It’s been a while, but I opened a memory box today where beautiful words from young writers tumbled into my lap.  Written by this precious class last year, their words shared simple reminders for daily living and resonated on a quiet November afternoon:

Give thanks for each day and thanks for each night; for lovely little flowers and the stars shining bright.

Give thanks for new crayons like red, green, and blue.  Give thanks for special moments when your wishes do come true.

Give thanks for a puzzle or your favorite teddy bear and even the thrill when you’re lifted high in the air!

For a wonderful hug, a band in the parade, a bath, or a new toy; for any little thing in your day that brings great JOY!

Give thanks for walking, hiking, and the snowflakes from above, especially give thanks for being with the people you love!

Give thanks for the oceans, the salt, and the sand; the sweet and simple pleasure of just holding someone’s hand.

Give thanks for saying “please” and “thank you” each day, and especially for hearing the words “I love you” along the way.

autumntrailMay we all take time to reflect on not only the blessings, but the giving of thanks…each night and each day!

EnJOY!

“We are most alive when our hearts are conscious of our treasures…” ~ Thornton Wilder

This is the gift–to hear and enJOY life’s opportunities every single day. Truly, there is something in every day and in every season to celebrate with thanksgiving as treasures along the journey…to be more aware of what we have, to appreciate again and again all the wonderful things money cannot buy (the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, a child’s laughter, a loving family, and more).

As we wrap up this school year, it’s important to take a moment to focus on things as though we are seeing them either for first time, or in my case as LME princiPAL, for the last time. With 34 years of educational opportunities, it is time to personally move to another phase of this journey called life.

Before I leave this fast-growth learning community in the most capable of hands, please allow a little poetic license to share some final pearls of pirate wisdom and TREASURES…

T = Take time to breathe, to try something new, and to be THANKFUL.  The most precious things in life are always right in front of you.  Trust and be amazed!

R = Remind yourself and others to relax, rejuvenate, rest, and reward.  Play is important for all ages, most especially when you need to recharge your battery and take in the abundance of life each day.

E = EnJOY the ride…the good and the not-so-good!  Expect adventures and entertain a few wild ideas to enhance this big, bold, grand, astonishingly beautiful world.  After all, it’s not the destination, but the journey along the way…

A = Always allow grace to shine forth…hold yourself and others to a standard of less perfection and more grace…every.single.day!

S = S-T-R-E-T-C-H your mind, mindset, body, heart, and soul to uncomfortable levels.  We often find new possibilities, answers, and options just outside our comfort zone!

U = Understand and forgive others even when they do not deserve it; this is usually when they need your understanding and forgiveness the most…

R = Respect yourself first; respecting others will be easier then.

E = Entertain new opportunities by saying YES…engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment start with each of us!

S = Savor the simple, profound, JOYful moments; these will become the milestones to your personal life story.

EnJOYAll these TREASURES are present in the many JOYs of my educational journey at LME.  One of the surest and most encompassing JOYs comes from the great works and excellence of others around me.  While some may not appreciate the idea of thriving on others’ successes, it is more than enough to have the honor and privilege of being a part of something profoundly extraordinary because I chose the role of catalyst in the process.  We can all be a ladder, a lamp, or even a lifeboat on this journey…here’s hoping your heart is always conscious of your TREASURES; enJOY the journey!

Note:  VanAmGram will become a personal blog on July 1, 2016 and will no longer be associated with LaRue Miller Elementary.

 

We are THANKful!

As we wrap up this exciting week of learning at LME in anticipation of our first holiday break, we are truly grateful for the following gifts:

1.  Our Midlothian Education Foundation surprised four IMG_6119of our extraordinary teachers today with a grant award of $3,934.95 for the clever “Telling Stories, One Stop At A Time” animation club.  Under the outstanding direction of Amy Clark, Andrew Morgan, Scott Fiorenza, and Katie Bergvall, students will work with innovative animation stop-motion to create digital stories and more during presentations.  Stop-motion software allows artists to work one frame at a time to create video and moving images using pictures drawn with sound added later.  Think of the big animated movies out today; this is what our learners will use!  Congratulations to our animated team and many thanks, MEF!

2.  The LME learning community gathered and gave 4,939 canned and boxed food items today during LME Rally!  WOW!  Winning classes are Kinder = Mr. Pendley, 1st = Mrs. L. Bergvall, 2nd = Mrs. King, 3rd = Mrs. Milne, 4th  = Mrs. Dickard, and 5th = Mrs. Lassetter.  Thanks for giving time, service, and resources to those most in need this holiday season!

3.  Finally, our KC (Kindness and Compassion) Club designed and implemented The Thankful Tree (like the The Giving Tree) for our campus while sharing ways and ideas for helping others to be thankful for each day.  The response to their video and the idea truly “leaves” us breathless…way to go!

Here’s hoping you enJOY a fun, festive, fall holiday with those you hold dear.  May the blessings of the season remind us all to #LoveServeCare everyday!  🙂

Note:  Students have a holiday from November 24 – 28; we will see everyone back on Monday, December 1st! 

Thanks and Giving…

Thanks1 Thanks3 We celebrated our annual Family Thanksgiving Feast today with great thanks and giving indeed!  From the traditional meal to great conversation during all six lunches, families noshed in fellowship, tradition, and fun.  Special thanks to our cafe ladies and volunteers who fedThanks4 over 1100 LME family members.  Thanks to our learning community for joining us today.

In the process of sharing, several learners and their families Thanks2stopped by the “thankful tree” to post their blessings and drop off canned and boxed food items for our big food drive this week.  Our Student Honor Council reports we have over 2500 products in just two days…WOW!  Please keep them coming through Thursday!  As always, thanks for sharing the love by giving this week…and throughout the year!  🙂

 

Who is a teacher?

NTD1On this National Teacher Day, it probably goes without saying we have extraordinarily talented, outstanding educators at LME…heart, mind, and soul!  Yes, I’m biased, but it’s my blog after all…  🙂

With this respectfully noted, I asked some older learning friends for their specific thoughts today about our teachers.  Please enJOY their comments:

Who Is A Teacher?

A teacher is someone who see of us as unique persons and encourages our talents and strengths.
A teacher is someone who looks beyond my face and sees inside my soul even with eyes in the back of her head (just like mom).
A teacher is someone with a special touch, a smile, someone who takes time to listen to all sides and is fair, even when I mess up.
A teacher is someone with a caring heart who respects and understands even when they don’t want to and even when I want him to only take my side.
A teacher is someone who looks past bad choices to see the hurt and pain in others even when she has a tough day herself.
A teacher is someone teaching all of me, not just certain parts of me.
A teacher is someone building my confidence and raising my worth in life.
A teacher makes a difference in my life, affects my family, and pushes me to my future!#thanks

Bless you, LME staff, for the work of teaching and learning you do every single day!  Happy National Teacher Day; Go Team Miller!

Our Vital Volunteers

You’ve likely heard the saying:  Kind hearts are the garden; kind thoughts are the roots; kind words are the blossoms; kind deeds are the fruit.  We are abundantly showered in daily volunteer blessings at LME with the BEST Volunteers in the MISD Garden!

volunteers1We celebrated our All-Star Volunteers today with a huge Miller Rally, presentation, and special breakfast.  Under the direction of music teacher, Amber Grant, the Miller Singers performed a delightful piece for all to enJOY.  Special grade level “speakers” shared various heartwarming words of thanks while the entire student body cheered on them on during the Rally. Everyone enJOYed the scrumptious breakfast provided our entire LME staff.

Team Miller was on their top game today.  Special thanks to volunteers2our Volunteer Committee who orchestrated this big event…Ms. Cole and team, you truly blossomed today!

There is something profoundly majestic in young learners gathering as an entire student body to show their appreciation to our daily volunteers.  THANK YOU seems so small compared to all they do for and with us…we are so grateful for the dedicated time, talents, gifts, and service our All-Star volunteers and MVPs provide each day at LME!  Here’s hoping you find a way to volunteer soon.  🙂

Grant Award

It’s a special day when you’re presented a check for $1,000 checkfor math and science education materials!  Thanks to the forethought of the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Program, Mr. Walid Alameddine, VP and COO of Victron Energy, presented us with a check today to purchase math and science resource materials to further expand and enhance our math and science learning opportunities. The Alliance is designed to provide all ExxonMobil retailers an opportunity to invest into the future of their communities through educational grants to neighborhood schools. Stringent requirements and special criteria must be met before grant awards are distributed; Mr. Alameddine ensures he secures grants for our area on an annual basis.

As always, we are so excited to put these funds to great use in our math and science classes.  STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) education is an essential component in 21 Century learning.  This continued support from our community partners is most appreciated.  As one young learner noted today once the announcement was made, “Yeah, Mrs. Van, everyone knows that math and science ROCK!”  Thanks and “rock on,” Mr. Alameddine, Victron Energy, and the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Program.

Thanks, Mrs. Williams!

January is School Board Recognition Month and Midlothian ISD always takes the opportunity to thank our community leaders who voluntarily serve countless hours in the best interest of the our entire learning community.

Great leadership begins with a willing heart, a positive attitude, and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. We have seven individuals who exemplify these (and many other) leadership qualities in MISD:  Wayne Shuffield (president), Cindy Williams (vice-president), Todd Hemphill (secretary), Duke Burge, Keith Hitt, Jim Mentzel, and Matt Sanders.  Learn more about each board member here.

In appreciation for her work in MISD, our campus cw1adopted Cindy Williams for the month of January to celebrate her 15-year commitment and overwhelming contributions to our growing district.  Mrs. Williams participated in a special Friday Miller Rally (led by our Student Honor Council) where grade levels presented tokens of appreciation and notes, the staff prepared a homemade breakfast buffet to cw2share, StuCo led her on an engaging campus tour (as seen through the eyes of our learners), and rounded out her visit with hugs and congratulations for a job well done.  Her message to us today sums it up best:  “Never stop learning because life never stops teaching!”  Thanks, Mrs. Williams, and all our extraordinary MISD Trustees, for believing in the power of learning through your commitment, words, decisions, and community service in action!

Giving Thanks…

We wrapped up a busy week before Thanksgiving with a variety of heartwarming teaching and learning opportunities today:

HSsosOur annual Super Outrageous Science (SOS) Day events found us exploring everything from butter to electricity to owl pellets (yes, really).  Learners shared delightful commentary and observations throughout the morning as we visited classrooms.  You can see some Head Start friends here presenting their theories on the process of making butter.

I also enJOYed some special reading time (after buttter making) RNclasswith Kinder friends in Mrs. Nanney’s class when I read with them the book they gave to me.

Our campus participated in a special Miller Rally this afternoon that involved us welcoming home a soldier mom stationed overseas for the past 15 months.  She successfully surprised her second grade daughter on our campus, yet we surprised the mom with lots of flags, banners, and welcome home signs to show our appreciation for her service to our country.  Special thanks to all involved who ensured we successfully pulled off this important mission!  Welcome home, soldier; enJOY your family this holiday season!

givethanksFinally, several students shared their blessings of thanks and giving.  Here’s hoping you take time in the coming days to count your blessings too!  🙂

Note:  Our campus is closed November 25-29.  Have a safe and blessed holiday!

May you have enough…

In walkabout today, several learners commented to me about their gratitudes and blessings; this is a common theme in our classrooms this week (and, I hope, every week).  🙂  In talking with one particular learner happythanks1who is dealing with a great deal more than a young child should know, I was reminded of this saying my Granny B often quoted:

May you always have enough…

  • happiness to keep you sweet,
  • trials to keep you strong,
  • sorrows to keep you human,
  • hope to keep you JOYful,
  • failure to keep you humble,
  • success to make you eager,
  • friends to give you comfort,
  • wealth to meet your needs,
  • enthusiasm to look for tomorrow,
  • faith to banish worry, and
  • determination to make each day better than before! 

Yes, it is important to teach our children to share and embrace the gratitudes of daily life along with the necessary coping skills to deal with stress and pressure too.  Our daily focus on strong character traits at school (like trust, respect, responsibility, service and more) help to reinforce these coping skills and focus on the blessings all around us.  Together, we are working to truly maximize foundations for our future leaders today and everyday.  Thanks for walking the journey with us; thanks for sharing your most valuable blessing, your child, with us!