Thursday, September 30, 2010

Academic Family Fun Night Success

Tuesday night Smithville Elementary hosted it's first Academic Family Fun Night. Preparation for the event began in March and the committee's hard work paid off. The cafeteria was packed with smiling kids and their families were eager to move from one activity to another. This event was designed to be hands-on, and it was. Elementary students were pulling their families from one station to the next challenging them to play the next game or participate in the next activity.

Little brothers and sisters were also participating and having a great time. The event began at 6PM and was scheduled to run through 7:30PM. The only problem, we couldn't get people to stop playing! The energy in the cafeteria was contagious and at a constant buzz. Families got a hands-on sampling of what their children learn in school and how to extend the learning process at home. The stations included organizing a backpack, planting seeds, using a microscope, skip counting, making paint, estimation jars, using context clues, finding the main idea, and many others.

Once students and their families checked in, they were given a map of the activities and a binder ring. At the completion of each station, participants received an index card with the game information to place on their binder ring for use at home. The Academic Family Fun Night committee wanted students and their families to have an opportunity to continue learning and playing the games even after the actual event. Each child also turned in their maps for a prize packet at the conclusion of the event. The prize packet included pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, and small notepads.

We were excited to have others from within the school system and community helping out as well. Jill Strube with Safe Routes to School, and the Recycling Grant attended, as did Chris, Misha, and Stacy of First National Bank with the Save for America Program. The SHS Pals group was on hand supporting the Child Nutrition Department and helping at various booths. Candy Beihle with the Child Nutrition Department was on hand providing samples to families as was Starr Waneck with the S.H.A.C. (School Health Advisory Committee), providing handouts to families promoting health and safety.

A huge thank you goes out to The SES Booster Club for supporting the event and also for providing a concession stand.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Having a great time!

Braden at Academic Family Fun Night

Elsie came to Academic Family Fun Night

Great Fun at Lunch Bunch

Getting warmed up for the big match!

Putting her all into the hit.

Two-handed is the best approach....I've studied this.

Complete focus....

The ultimate standoff.....who won?

I just love Lunch Bunch. The challenge of playing tetherball, catching up on what is going on in our student's lives outside of school, and just having some great fun. Students are chosen randomly for Lunch Bunch based on the previous week's perfect attendance list. The challenge them becomes - beat Ms. Murray at tetherball. Ms. Murray is the 3rd Grade Champion from 1977! Don't do the math!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Drainage work on Bishop St.

Jack Page, with the City of Smithville, met with Ms. Murray and SISD Maintenance Director Zack Harris recently about concerns with the drainage on Bishop St.
Recognizing the need to improve drainage, workers were out on Bishop St. Thursday afternoon widening the opening of the drain. Concrete was also poured to improve the area leading into the drain at the north end of Bishop St. as well as the crosswalk located at the Elementary nurse's station.
Our parents were wonderfully patient as students were rerouted due to the prep work and concrete truck at dismissal time.
The construction work is greatly appreciated and we know it will be a nice improvement on rainy days.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mrs. Lewis' students write persuasive paragraphs

Mrs. Lewis gave her 5th grade students a writing assignment to persuade Ms. Murray they should be able to keep Sami, her golden retriever, for the weekend. Here is a sample of one student S. Halleck:

Sami walks down a fourth grade hallway. Everyone gathers around Sami ans she lays on the floor. She loves having attention. "You like this don't you Sami?" asks a short girl. "Woof!" as if to say "you bet!"

Sami is a Golden Retriever, who visits Smithville Elementary School. Her owner is Ana Murray. Sami loves attention. Her fur is a golden-orange color. She loves everyone at Smithville Elementary.

Dear Ms. Murray,

Please let me take Sami home for the weekend! I absolutely love dogs! I would feed her, bathe her, groom her, play with her, and most importantly love her! I vow to have her back by Monday.

S. Halleck

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Friday is Run @ Work Day

For the 5th year Smithville Elementary students, staff, parents, and commune members join together for 35-40 minutes of walking and running on Barry Field. The event was organized 5 years ago in conjunction with the Road Runners Club of America. The event was created to encourage adults to engage in at least 35 minutes of exercise daily. The idea was that this behavior would help individuals improve their heath and general well being while also influencing younger people to make healthy choices as well.
Smithville Elementary believes that physical fitness and healthy eating habits are key to a positive and productive life. So we find it fitting to end the Texas Obesity Awareness Week with a morning on the track.

Some of the most recent research proves that exercise is directly related to improvement in academics. The results of an experiment with 9&10 year old's show that a 20 minute walk before sitting down to take a test raised their scores. You can read the entire article in the New York Times Health section. We here at SES have long believed in the positive relationship between physical fitness and successful academics. We will continue to provide opportunities and motivation for your child to improve their physical fitness.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Smithville Elementary joins Marathon Kids

Thanks to Coach Kristynik, our students will be able to join MarathonKids. MarathonKids is a free running and nutritional program that promotes the development of a healthy lifestyle in our children. According to the flyer provided by, the program challenges kids to run/walk 26.2 miles over six months, in quarter or half mile increments. Children will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride by tracking progress on a mileage and food intake log, while earning rewards along the way.

Students learned about the MarthonKids program last week during P.E. class and were given registration forms to complete and return to school. One of the amazing parts about this program is that it is free!

MarathonKids has been around for 15 years and has expanded to many cities across Texas and other states. You can find more information at The program is free due to generous donations from sponsors. We are excited about joining MarathonKids in encouraging healthy habits in our students.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Smithville Elementary is on Facebook

Smithville Elementary now has a Facebook Page. You can find us at and search for Smithville Elementary. There are a couple of Smithville Elementary's but we are the one with the cute tiger!

In our attempt to be better communicators to our community we have explored the many ways to get information to our families. We hope that our website, blog, AlertNow (phones calls), twitter, and now facebook will help us get the word out on upcoming events and exciting news concerning our school. We will continue to send our Parent Communication Folders home on Thursdays as well.

SES will not post student pictures on facebook. We will post pictures of activities and events as long as no student can be identified to protect their identity. The use of facebook is primarily to post event dates and information. We hope that you will 'like' us and help spread the word about our page.

President Obama's 2nd Annual Back to School Speech

Smithville Elementary School will be recording President Obama's 2nd Annual Back to School Speech at 12:00 PM Tuesday, September 14, 2010. A copy of the speech will be made available in the SES Library for teachers use in the academic setting. Any student wishing to view it may do so before or after school. If you would like more information you may find it at

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This week is Texas Obesity Awareness Week

How fitting it is that our annual Run @ Work Day this Friday will mark the end of the Texas Obesity Awareness Week. This is SES's 5th year with the run at work day event. We have been involved with this event for five years of its existence because of our commitment to the whole child and the influence of good physical fitness habits. Smithville Elementary engages in many additional physical activities throughout the year beyond the regular physical education times. Our students participate in the Walk for Diabetes, Hoops for Hearts, Friday track days, our annual Fun Run, and now our students will have an opportunity to join Marathon Kids.

To support the Texas Obesity Awareness Week at Smithville Elementary we will begin the week with stretches and exercises during Rise & Shine led by Coach Kristynik. Our Specials staff will then reveal the latest P.E. Coke Rewards package we received last week. Each day this week the PE Department will provide students and staff healthy tips. Coach Kristynik will also talk with the entire school about Marathon Kids. Marathon Kids is in it's 15th year and Smithville Elementary students will have a chance to participate for the first time. We are extremely excited about this opportunity and hope that our students take advantage of this great experience.

As you can tell we have many activities that promote healthy and active lifestyles. Please feel free to join us at any or all of our events this year and show your commitment to healthy living.

Grandparent's Day a Huge Success

It was wonderful once again to have the special people in our lives join us on Friday for Grandparent's Day. Thank you to all of our visitors for taking time to spend lunch with us. There were close to 250 total guests that joined us and made our Friday so great.

The picture below doesn't do justice to the turnout and energy in our cafeteria. The food was great as usual and the atmosphere was one I look forward to each year. Grandparent's Day is one of my favorite days of the school year.

Thank you to everyone that helped us celebrate the special people in our lives - grandparent's.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Grandparent's Day 2010

Today is Grandparent's Day at Smithville Elementary. The official Grandparent's day is this Sunday, but today is our day to celebrate our special members of the family.

Brief History:
Grandparents Day was officially recognized in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. This day has a threefold purpose:
1. To honor grandparents
2. To give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children.
3. To help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.

It is our honor to celebrate these special people in our lives on this day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SES is on Twitter

Smithville Elementary is now on Twitter. You can sign up to receive 'tweets' about SES. The 'tweets' will be sent out for reminders of upcoming events, celebrations, and general news about SES. Last Friday I even 'tweeted' about the football game, which was really exciting. Twitter is an easy way to receive text messages from your school. It's also free! Who doesn't love free?

Click on the "I'm on Twitter" link on the right side of this blog to sign up. You can also follow the tweets in the conversation block further down on the right side.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Good Morning Rain or Shine!

Many people know that I spend a lot of time on the beautiful park trails in our area on the weekends. I have run the trails of Bastrop County for over 15 years and it's pretty safe for me to say that I know the trails very well. I know when the park system makes the slightest change and when mother nature decides to make a change.

The trail allows time for reflection and meditation. It is a place where so many connections to life can be made. Such as the diversity in the forest with the trees, plants, wildlife, and terrain. Anywhere you look there are tall trees, old trees, young trees, fallen trees, and trees of many species.

I am constantly amazed at how one day to the next as much as the trail remains the same, it also changes. An overnight rain can change the path in which one travels due to debris or a fallen tree.

No matter if the rain, wind, or park system changes the trail - it always stays the same. The beauty of the forest is still there, the trail is still there, and the peacefulness of nature remains in the end.

Education is much the same. Each day we work with children to improve their lives as well as our own. Each year educators adjust to the needs of the local, state, and federal regulations and expectations. Yet, each day and each year, we still have the same expectation from year to year no matter what changes in education.

Yet, each day and each year, we have the same expectation no matter what changes are made in education. That expectation is to love students and guide them to be the best they can be.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rain brings out the best in people!

Today we were greeted with an early morning cleansing through heavy rain. Of course it began right before kids began getting to school and stopped when the bell rang for school to start.

The rain fell so hard that it couldn't run-off so kids, parents, and staff were wading through lots of water. The rain also brought out extra help attempting to get kids from buses and cars with limit success under umbrellas. Our help came from staff, parents, and maintenance. I wanted to thank all of those that I saw - Mr. Spicer a parent, Mr. Mounts another parent, Mr. Young in maintenance, Mrs. Waneck from the nurse's office, and numerous staff. Thank you also to those I didn't see.

Our 5th grade made an adjustment in their meeting location which was very energizing for them and the entire building. Lots of excitement and wet feet this morning but we are on track as usual. There's not much that gets Smithville Elementary 'off-track'.

Enjoy the 3-day Labor Day Weekend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Digital Microscopes in the Classroom

Ms. Swearingen is explaining to her students how to use the electronic microscope. This microscope can save images to the computer for further examination for science lessons.

The students were full of "oooo's" and "ahhhh's".