The Cardinal Way

Sharing and Learning at Southport Middle School

Student Success is a Team Effort!


I recently came across the following video:

Be The Punchline | Kinda Deep | Michael Jr

I am always amazed how things seem to come to us at the right time, just when we need to hear them. I am not sure how I stumbled across this video, but I felt it was a great reminder for the quickly approaching holiday season. I love the line at the end of the video from Michael Jr. -- “If we could just stop asking the question what could I get for myself, and start asking the question what can I give from myself.”

I have so much to be grateful for in my life. Sometimes with four young children and the busyness of the Christmas season, I can get lost in planning for family gatherings, last minute shopping, making sure each of my kids have equal numbers of gifts, and so on. It can become a stressful time of year as we try to get it all done, and get it all in. This video was a good reminder that our self-worth, our joy should never be in what we possess. The holidays should never be about getting; they should always be about giving.

Our desires to own things or to get/give the perfect gift will always ultimately lead to unhappiness. When you desire to own things, those things usually end up owning you. It is never enough. We always want more, or we always want the next best thing. I am reminded of Mark Batterson quote from In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: “Don't accumulate possessions; accumulate experiences!”

So, I am going to cut this post shorter than normal this week. Instead of continuing to work through this idea, I am going to go put it into practice. I am closing my computer and going to spend some more time accumulating experiences with my family; and I am going to keep that going through the break - staying off email, staying off twitter, staying out of school as much as possible. I am going to go remind my kids, and model for them, that life is not about getting for yourself, it is about giving from yourself.

Have an amazing holiday season! Take some time to give from yourself over the next couple of will be time well spent!

Keep learning, keep growing, keep sharing!

This is cross posted on my Principal's Blog


  • Congratulations to Brian Heerdt on the birth of Noelle Marie Heerdt
  • Congratulations to Lori Farnworth, who is expecting her second child
  • Thank you for the extra effort that everyone put into making Innovation Day a success. Every student I spoke to today had lots of positive things to say about your sessions!


Week 18 Grateful Friday Challenge:

In Groups of 4 - here is your challenge:

1. Each person in the group must write a positive note to a staff member and go place it on their desk.

2. Go take a group selfie in a place in the building that makes your group feel grateful

  • Be prepared to share your picture
  • Post it to twitter if you have an account #SMSisGRATEFUL

3. As a group, pick a student. One person from the group must make a positive parent phone call (you must talk to the parent - no messages - no emails).

4. Write yourself a positive note and leave it on your desk so you see it when you return from break

  • Take time to thank yourself for taking the time to stop and focus on all the little things for which you feel grateful

5. Make a list of something each of you will do over break to show gratitude for someone outside of school.


Francine's interview - FRANCE - #HUMAN


Each day we share a story of learning taking place at Southport Middle on our 180 Days of Learning Blog. Below are this week's stories of learning.

Band and Orchestra

7th and 8th Grade Band/Orchestra students showcased their tremendous skills this evening. Both orchestra and bands played many pieces, movements, and even suite by our 8th Grade orchestra. These students have been working all semester towards performing in front of their parents, family members, community members and peers. Both the 8th Grade Band and Orchestra had a combined piece. Part of that performance is in the video below. Students had a presentation rehearsal last Wednesday evening to get ready for their outstanding performance. After many countless hours of practice and refinement with each piece the students did an amazing job!
SMS 8th Gr. Band & Orchestra

Denise McClanahan

Students in Ms. McClanahan's 8th grade Health class are discussing conflict resolution. Students role played how they would and should react to conflict types situations. Students then learned about the T.A.L.K. strategy to deal with conflicts. In this strategy, students are asked to Take a time out, Allow each person to tell his/her side, Let each person ask questions, and Keep brainstorming. Students completed an activity where they worked through a given conflict addressing each step in this strategy to deescalate the conflict.

Georgina Mayorga

Ms. Mayorga’s EL students have been studying elements of plot and used this informaiton to write and illustrate original Holiday children books. Students took their finished product to Clinton Young Elementary today and read their stories to a 1st grade classroom. These stories focused on students’ writing and speaking skills as they are learning a new language. The activity was also a positive way for SMS to partner with our neighboring elementary school. Student success is a team effort!

Innovation Day

Southport Middle School holds its first Innovation Day of the school year. Teachers picked a personal interest or passion to teach this morning. Students participated in a two hour session this morning of their choosing covering an amazing variety of topics! It was a great day for teachers and students to explore and have fun with learning something new. View photos from Innovation Day by clicking on the link below:

Innovation Day - December 17, 2015


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