Friday, December 18, 2015

Almost here...

After the way last week's blog started, I had to have a bit of humor this week.  We can do it!

We have had an incredible start to our year, and I know that there is so much more to come.  As we look forward to our last two days of school with our students, keep in mind that some of our students are not looking forward to the Winter Break with as much anticipation as we might be.  These can be really difficult times with behaviors and performance sometimes impacted by the time away from school.  Let's give our best to the kids these next few days and they'll give us their best.

Friday, December 18th                 PTO brunch and Ugly Sweater and Jeans Day!
Monday, December 21st               BLT meeting  4:15-5:15
                                                        Board meeting  7:30PM (Coding for Student Showcase)
Tuesday, December 22nd             Staff recognition awards at 8:15AM in the Little Theater

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
"Each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity."- Marie Curie, physicist and chemist
"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."- Will Rogers, entertainer and humorist
"No one learns as much about a subject as the one who is forced to teach it."- Peter Drucker, writer and management consultant
@mertonint on Twitter
#mertonint on Twitter
Merton Intermediate School facebook page
Family smore for 12.18.15

(from Pinterest)
(from Pinterest)

Thanks for all of your efforts this week.  All of us are a bit restless and maybe a bit less flexible, but I still am amazed as I walk through our school, hearing and seeing the learning.  Students are reading and writing and doing math and learning about the world we live in, and it's the last few days before a well deserved break.  Keep the expectations for learning and behavior high and the kids will rise to the challenge.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2015


During even my busiest of days, I find time to reflect.  It may happen when I'm running or driving, and sometimes it's while I'm sitting around the house.  One thing that caused me to pause and reflect was a comment I heard from one of our parents.  She had this to say, "The quarter 1 report card comments are worthless. They are generic and mean nothing if it isn't specifically about each student.  (Name removed) had two specific comments without "a" name being used to personalize it.  (Name removed) had nothing. I know it's more to do for the teachers but give us something that shows you know our child and not just the entire class."  It's tough to read and tough to share with you.  But it's important for us all to consider.  We don't need to provide comments only on report cards.  An email, phone call, voicemail, or text at any time during the school year are powerful.  Our Mustang Medals are hung on refrigerators and shared with families.  The reflective part for me about this is the kind of feedback I provide for each of you.  I need to do better, and not just with mini-observations and formal observations.  I need to leave more notes for you after I've been in your rooms- not every time, just more often.  That is my point for sharing the parent's comment with you.  Let's remember to provide more feedback to our families about how their children are doing.  The rewards from this will be unexpected and, I promise you, uplifting.

Tuesday, December 15th          Training Tuesday- Wear your workout clothes!
                                                 Practice  4:15-5:15
Wednesday, December 16th     A-team meeting  1:30-3:30
                                                 Culver's Night  4:00-8:00
Thursday, December 17th         Thermal Thursday- Wear flannel, fleece, or sweatshirts
                                                                             PTO sponsored K-cup restocking!
                                                 Environmental Club  8:00-8:30AM
                                                 Practice 4:15-5:15
Friday, December 18th             Ugly Christmas sweater and jeans day (Kids vote for the winner!)
                                                 PTO sponsored Staff brunch!

Tweets, blogs, and quotes

"Innovation is not about saying yes to everything.  It's about saying NO to all but the most crucial features."- Steve Jobs, entrepreneur
"If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that.  Word of mouth is very powerful."- Jeff Bezos, entrepreneur
"If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong."- Charles Kettering, inventor
The Real Influence We Have on Students (from @ajjuliani)
"The goal is not always meant to be reached, but to serve as a mark for our aim."- Joseph Joubert, essayist
"If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there."- Yogi Berra, baseball player and manager
"If you're bored with life, if you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things, you don't have enough goals."- Lou Holtz, football coach
Presentation for Wednesday's student assembly
@mertonint from Twitter
#mertonint from Twitter
Merton Intermediate School Facebook page
Family smore from 12.11.15

Just wondering what you think, and if any of you would be interested...

Mentorship program helps 5th graders feel at home in middle school (from Wisconsin State Journal)

Just so you know...there are dozens of students who say this about you every day. (LInk from our meeting on Wednesday)

(from Jen via
(from Pixteller)
(from Pinterest)

Have a great weekend, rest up, and be ready to bring your best, like you always do, to our last full week before Winter Break.

Friday, December 4, 2015

December is here

December is here.  How did that happen?  Honestly.  One third of our school year is over.  Whenever I turn the page on the calendar, I reflect back on how the month has gone.  November had two big moments, one personal and one professional, for me- the NYC marathon on November 1st and Veterans Day on November 11th.  The marathon was an awesome experience because I spent 4 wonderful days with Jen and Lauren.  We had a great time even though my marathon time wasn't the best.  But that's OK.  Veterans Day was over the top.  The staff and students of our school put on a first rate celebration of veterans that will be difficult to beat next year, but I have a feeling next year will be better than this year.  What are your two big moments from November?

Did anyone feel like this on Monday?
The day after Thanksgiving break video

Tuesday, December 8            4:15-5:15  Practice
                                                 5:30 and 7:00  Holiday Concerts
Wednesday, December 9       8:00-9:15  RtI Wednesday
                                                 12:45-4:00  Math Committee
Thursday, December 10         Grade level meetings
                                                 1:30  Epi-Pen training
                                                 2:01  Coaches meeting
                                                 4:15-5:15  Practice
Friday, December 11              Lunch on Jay and Jen
                                                 7-9PM  6th grade Youth Night

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
"Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise."- Sigmund Freud, psychoanalyst
Crack the Code (blog about coding written by my friend, Adam Welcome (@awelcome)
7 courageous quotes to help you dream big before you go to bed (from @NancyTerryMath)
Teacher Harriett Glickman and the Integration of the Peanuts Cartoon (How a school teacher had an impact on potentially the most famous cartoon- from @coolcatteacher)
"I am not a teacher, but an awakener."- Robert Frost, poet
What's the worst that can happen? (from @jon_wennstrom)
Embrace what you don't know (my latest post with help from @JPo1992 and @jon_wennstrom)
"Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open."- Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
"We cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs."- Bill Clinton, 42nd U.S. president
"None of my inventions can by accident.  I see a worthwhile need to be met and I make trial after trial."- Thomas Edison, inventor
"You're never a loser until you quit trying."- Mike Ditka, football coach and commentator
"The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires."- William Arthur Ward, writer
"When you study great will learn much more from their caring and hard work than from their style."- William Glasser, psychiatrist
A simple way to encourage creativity (from @RACzyz)
"Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can."- Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer
Principals' report for the 11.30.15 school board meeting
@mertonint on Twitter
#mertonint on Twitter
Merton Intermediate School Facebook page
Family smore for 12.4.15

Looks can be deceiving
As we continue to move through the holiday season, I have taken more time to really look at my surroundings and the people that I encounter.  I used to go shopping to go "people watching" and rarely stopped to think about the circumstances that others encounter on a daily basis.  I am blessed with a wonderful and loving family, friends who always are there, and a school community that gives me strength every day.  One of my PLN colleagues from twitter and voxer posted this video on Facebook.  Tell me you wouldn't think twice before opening the door, just like the woman in this video.

As I prepared for this, the first week in December, I happened to see this blog post from Bethany Hill (@bethhill2829), a principal I met face to face in Chicago at the end of October. The Time is Now, a great blog about innovation.  I began to wonder, how often do I try to innovate?  How often do I encourage each of you to innovate?  How often do we allow our students to innovate?  So I began to think about the opportunities we provide one another and our students on a daily basis.  We give ideas and suggestions, and sometimes that's as far as we or the students can go.  What if we just said, "Here is the content I need you to learn this week.  I'll be here to support you and guide you, but I need you to take charge."  As Jon said in his post, "What's the worst that can happen?"  I would instead say, "What's the best that can happen?"  We've got three weeks in December to give it a try.  Anyone want to join me?  And speaking about innovation, sometimes it just takes using something old in a different way.  Just ask Jimmy Fallon, Adele, and the Roots.  We've got three weeks in December to give it a try.  Anyone want to join me?
(from Pixteller)
(from Pinterest)
(from Pixteller)

Have a great weekend, enjoy the holiday decorating weather, and I'll see you on Monday!