Friday, April 29, 2016

April showers bring May flowers...

I'm sure that all of you remember this joke- If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring?  The answer- Pilgrims!  Now think about it.  When was the last time that you had a good laugh, I mean a really good laugh.  Mine was driving with Lauren.  She is a pretty good driver and hopes to get her license on her birthday, June 1st.  The picture to the left (complete with her Justin Bieber t-shirt from the concert) was a shot I took without her knowing while driving our Acadia.  She honestly wanted nothing to do with driving "the big truck", but she did a great job.  You might even be able to notice that she's smiling while she's driving.  We laughed about how fast she was driving, how close she was to the gas pump, and ended with her telling me that driving "the big truck" was easier than driving her car.  The best part, and the one that made me laugh the hardest, is the picture on the right.  Lauren pulled the Acadia into the garage and said, "I park better than mom!"  It made us laugh because Lauren has issues parking in parking lots with no one around, but for some reason it was easier parking in the garage.  I hope that if you didn't laugh this week at school that you find something to laugh about today.

It's Staff Appreciation Week!
Monday, May 2nd             College/Team Up Day (Wear your favorite team gear!)
                                            Charity kickball game  5PM
Tuesday, May 3rd              Comfy Day (Does this really need an explanation?)
                                            Staff recognition awarsd in the Little Theater at 8:15
Wednesday, May 4th         Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you!)
                                            Mrs. Hemmer visits 9:00-12:00
                                            A-team meeting 1:30-3:30PM
Thursday, May 5th            Cinco de Mayo (Taco bar for lunch! Sign up here.)
Friday, May 6th                 Thank You Day (Give a note to a colleague or colleagues and wear your                                               jeans!)

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
"The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder."- Thomas Carlyle, writer and historian
"Whatever it takes to finish things, finish.  You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished."- Neil Gaiman, writer
(from Pinterest)
"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself."- Henry Ford, industrialist
6 Reasons Running a Marathon Is Like Being an Educator (blog co-written by @awelcome and me)
"You are too important to the bigger picture to just fall off the canvas."- Johnnie Dent, writer
(from PixTeller)
"Beginning in itself has no value.  It is an end which makes beginning meaningful--we must end what we begin."- Amit Kalantri, writer
"If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary."- Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and motivational speaker
Are Teachers Architects or Masons (from @ajjuliani)
"One important key to success is self-confidence.  An important key to self-confidence is preparation."- Arthur Ashe, tennis player
#mertonint on Twitter@mertonint on Twitter
Merton Intermediate School Facebook page
Family smore for 4.29.16.
Principals' Board presentation 4.25.16

Please find time to read this powerful blog, The Semicolon and The Nerdy Teacher.  It was written in July of 2015, but the message is something that we can all learn from.  The semicolon is a punctuation mark that signifies a pause in a piece of writing.  Sometimes in life we need to take a pause, too.  If you have a chance, take some time to speak with a student, colleague, or family member about how their day is going.  Just a little time, and someone to listen, might be all that they need.

A new Monday tradition?  Let's do this again!
64.  What's so important about the number 64?  It's the number of hours some of our students go without hearing something positive from an adult between the time they leave us on Friday and the time we see them again on Monday.  Try to say something positive to our kids today, and then greet them, individually, with a positive on Monday.  In fact, let's greet the kids at the doors Monday morning to get their week started out right!

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend with family and friends.  I'll be running a half-marathon in Eau Claire with some principal friends who have never run a half-marathon before.
"Take care of our kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself."- John Gunnell (@gunnellAP)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Do your best...Be your best!

The first quote from this week really hit me- "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."- so I made it the focus of my first thoughts instead of putting it in the "quotes" section.  The quote is from Judy Garland, singer and actress, and probably most famous for her role as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz".  How often have you compared yourself to someone else?  It may provide you a goal for a short time but the only person you can really compare yourself to is yourself.  Other people don't look like you, don't think like you, and don't have to deal with same things that you have to deal with.  I can only compare what I do today with what I did yesterday while still deciding what I will do better tomorrow.  Let's all be first rate today!

Monday, April 25th          School board meeting 7:30PM
Tuesday, April 26th          Yogurt bar
Wednesday, April 27th     Workout Wednesday

Celebration Day t-shirts for staff
All staff should provide Barb with their size for a Celebration Day t-shirt.  You will get the color of the grade level you represent for the day.  Those going between grade levels or not assigned to a grade level will get purple!  If you have any questions, don't ask Barb, ask me!

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
"Who we are in the present includes who we were in the past."- Fred Rogers, TV personality
And That is Enough (blog from @Jonharper70bd)
(from PixTeller)
"Your inner strength is your outer foundation."- Allan Rufus, writer
How Will You End Your Year? (blog from @JohnBerray via @burgessdave)
"Take action.  Success is not guaranteed, but inaction will guarantee failure."- Ken Poirot, writer
(from Pinterest)
Don't You Dare (blog from @ajjuliani)
"Beyond your wildest imagination, there is something worth working for."- Gordon Attard, enterpreneur
(from PixTeller)
"The speed of your success is limited only by your dedication and what you're willing to sacrifice."- Nathan Morris, financial coach and writer
"What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple.  Whether you are willing to do it, that's another matter."- Peter Drucker, management consultant and writer
(from Pinterest)
"Problems are only opportunities in work clothes."- Henry Kaiser, industrialist
"Tomorrow is the only day in the year that appeals to a lazy man."- Jimmy Lyons, musician
@mertonint on Twitter
#mertonint on Twitter
Merton Intermediate School Facebook page
BLT notes from 4.18.16
Family smore for 4.22.16

Back to School Meemic grants
Please see this flyer with information about a 3 question grant for back to school supplies from

A challenge for each of you...
I know that it seems like a long way off, but I'd like to discuss one activity that we will take part in during our May 27th PD day.  I want you to take a chance, try something new, or change up the way that you do something in your classroom with kids.  But that's not it.  You need to bring your "innovation" with you to share with others.  Maybe it's an artifact from a student or a visual or who knows what else.  Any questions, don't hesitate to vox me.  Come on!  You can do it!

And one more challenge that's even more important then the innovation challenge.
64.  What's so important about the number 64?  It's the number of hours some of our students go without hearing something positive from an adult between the time they leave us on Friday and the time we see them again on Monday.  Try to say something positive to our kids today, and then greet them, individually, with a positive on Monday.  In fact, let's greet the kids at the doors Monday morning to get their week started out right!

Have a great weekend!
Take care of our kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The benefits of testing- more time to read!

I bet the title of this week's blog caught your attention.  Testing is something that we are required to do, a mandate from the state or federal government.  Testing is going to take our students a lot of time and it takes away from your instructional time, a chance to be creative and engaging.  On the flip side, I see the opportunity for our students to also have more time to read.  You might be able to model reading, too.  Let's look on the bright side.  I'm sure that you all have a book you've wanted to read.  This might be the perfect opportunity.

Monday, April 18th         Screening for 6th grade position ("All day")
                                           BLT meeting 4:15-5:15PM
                                           Kickball game at Hartland-Lakeside  4:30PM
Wednesday, April 20th    A-team meeting 1:30-3:30PM
                                           Culver's Night  4:00-8:00PM
Friday, April 22nd           Katie Welnetz visits for lunch
                                           (Please stop in to meet our newest School Board member.)
                                          Student Senate Carnival 5:00PM

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
"Be not afraid of greatness.  Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."- William Shakespeare, playwright and poet
"Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance."- Coco Chanel, fashion designer
(from PixTeller)
"Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."- Vince Lombardi, coach
"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision...It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."- Andrew Carnegie, industrialist
(from PixTeller)
"I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university."- Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
"Respect yourself, and others will respect you."- Confucius, teacher and philosopher
An Open Letter From an Asperger's Mom to a Teacher (from CPI newsletter- I thought this was an awesome way to honor National Autism Month)
"To become a master at any skill, it takes the total effort of your heart, mind and soul working together in tandem."- Maurice Young, rapper and producer
"Know who you are, and be it.  Know what you want, and go out and get it."- -Carroll Bryant, writer
@mertonint on Twitter
#mertonint on Twitter
Merton Intermediate School Facebook page
Family smore for 4.15.16

Google Innovator Program
I got an email this week that has information about a program through Google.  I thought that some of you might have an interest in learning a little more about it.  Here is a link to a Q&A session that will occur on Tuesday, April 26th.  This is no pressure at all, just sharing an opportunity.

National Junior Honor Society
Yesterday was a fantastic day of celebration, and you and the kids all looked awesome!  Thanks to Heather and Megan for all of their work getting this organized.  Our custodial staff all chipped in to get everything ready.  Your flexibility and understanding to help make the day so special for our inductees is greatly appreciated.  Here's a picture Mary took of the celebration.

Did you see the weather forecast for the weekend?  Get out and enjoy it with family and friends.  I know I will!  Remember, take care of our kids, take care of each other, and take care of yourself.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stay positive!

As you all know, April will be the time for the Forward Exam, our state test.  As we continue to learn with our students, I urge you to stay positive.  The Forward Exam will take instructional time out of our days so those times that we have with our students outside of the testing time needs to be positive for our students and for you.  Can you allow students more of a chance for choice in their learning?  What new activity might you try?  How can you be a learner with your students?  Why not invite another teacher in to co-teach an activity?  Maybe you could have a guest speaker or guest student?  The ideas are truly endless.

Tuesday, April 12th              Tornado Drill  1:10
Wednesday, April 13th         Staff meeting 8:00-8:30
                                              Movenote for Forward testing instead of Student Assembly
Thursday, April 14th            Dress Your Best Day!
                                              National Junior Honor Society assembly  2:00-3:00
*Don't forget to practice for the Forward Exam

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
5 ways to create more teacher rockstars in your school (from Do you see anything in this blog that we can do together to share your awesomeness?)
"The person who is waiting for something to turn up might start with their shirt sleeves."- Garth Henrichs, writer
L.E.A.D.E.R. (from Eric Sheninger- Which areas do I need to focus on for you, personally?)
"[H]e who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying."- Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher
"The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it."- Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
"Those who are ill informed about change will be at risk for a rough future."- James Canton, entrepreneur and writer
"Don't believe the world owes you a living.  The world owes you nothing.  It was here first."- Robert Jones Burdette, humorist and clergyman
"Should-haves solve nothing.  It's the next thing to happen that needs thinking about."- Alexandra Ripley, writer
"Perfection isn't necessarily found only in publicly accepted trends.  Perfection is found in self."- Nick Thaddeus, writer

As I was on the playground one morning this week hanging out with some students, a familiar springtime joke was told.
"If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring?"  Wait for it..."Pilgrims." 
Why am I telling you this?  It's a little reminder about the fun we can have with students, a chance to show a different side of us that they might not see.  Think about the last time you had a good laugh with our students.  Was it yesterday?  Was it the week before Spring Break?  Mine was yesterday during Homework Club.  Why do I mention this?  I'll tell you why.  We are the luckiest people in the world.  We get to learn with kids, and each other, every day.  Find a way to laugh today with our students or each other.  It's a great way to help stay positive.
Have a great weekend!