The Cardinal Way

Sharing and Learning at Southport Middle School

Student Success is a Team Effort!

IN THE MIDDLE OF IT - You Are What You Think

I have written about time, probably because I struggle with the balance of life and school. So, to help prioritize and put first things first, I tried to make a list of what matters most. I wanted to know where should I be spending my time. Before I go on in the post, I want you to do the same. I want you to stop and make a list of the ten things you care about most in this world. Make that list now before reading further.











Did you make your list? Ok, now examine the list you just created and answer this very important question: Is your name anywhere on the list? Did you write down that you care about yourself? I am not making this point from a spot of vanity, but out of a place of caring. I believe in humility; I pride myself in being a servant leader. But, I have also come to understand that if I do not take care of myself, my thoughts, my attitudes, I cannot and will not be able to serve at the highest level.

Sometimes we are so focused on what we say to other people and how we treat other people, we forget to say and treat ourselves the same way. There is a great deal of power in positive thinking and positive self-talk, and we are usually readily available to encourage others yet we are the last ones to say the same things, or think the same things, to ourselves.

Let me give you an example of the power of positive self-talk. I am currently training for a marathon. Most of this running happens in the morning before school, leaving me a couple of weekday mornings with long runs -- eight, nine, or ten miles. Sometimes I listen to audiobooks to pass the time, but many mornings I leave the headphones behind and spend some time alone, talking to myself. I often reflect during this time, and many times while running, write the blog posts you read in my head. Whether it’s a personal or professional reflection, the power of looking back is a vital part of learning and growing; thinking about my actions, my beliefs, my attitudes toward others, my reactions to things that may not have gone my way, or even the way I see myself, my worth, and my value in this world. This post, for example, took formation in my head during a ten mile run last week. I was thinking a great deal about how to keep myself motivated during this long training process and how this training is impacting my life. As I was doing this, I was generating a great deal of positive self-talk. Thinking about how I motivate myself; how I can stay positive at work and at home; how I can push myself to be the best person I can be for my family and my staff at school. Here is the most interesting thing that happened to me during my run while thinking about this post: My average mile pace was about 25 seconds faster than what I normally run, and it was the first time on a long run I was below eight minute miles for my average pace. Nothing else was different -- I got up at the same time; I wore the same shoes; I drank the same amount of water; the temperature was similar to other mornings. Nothing was different except what was happening in my head. A personal best during my training, by almost 25 seconds per mile, because there was not a single negative thought that entered my mind during the eighty minutes of running.

As I am writing this post, I am reminded of this quote which I see on posters in almost every school I enter:

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You are what you eat is a cliche used when thinking about physical health. When it comes to your mental health, I believe you are what you think should be thought of more often. What you feed your mind has a direct impact on your attitude and overall well-being. Whether you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are going to be right! If you want to be amazing then treat yourself like you deserve to be amazing!

Please do not read into this post and think that I believe we only need to have happy thoughts and everything will be work out. Performance is rooted in preparation. I would not be able to go out and run a marathon without training and relying solely on positive self-talk. But, I am stating that my training and performance will get to a new level if I am thinking about, visualizing, and talking to myself about the positives.

Positive self-talk is a challenge, it is much easier to let negativity creep in and take over. If you want to take yourself, your performance, your life to the next level - it is time to start talking to yourself. You will become what you think!


  • Today is Jessica Gilson's last day at SMS. I want to thank Jessica for her service to our students and wish her the best of luck in your new career.
  • Thank you to everyone who is volunteering or participating in Running South tomorrow!
  • Thank you to Forrest Miller and Jamie Marshall for planning the "Go College Week" activities.
  • Thank you to the teachers that participated in the door decorating contest with your students.


Week 9 Grateful Friday Challenge

Back by popular demand -- High Five Friday: Get out your bottles of hand sanitizer and give at least 50 high fives today. A good high five makes everyone feel better!


The Sleeper


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.

Terry Burkhardt

Today in Mr. Burkhardt's 7th grade Art students were continuing their self-portraits. Students were able to take a selfie using their Chromebooks. Once they were finished with the drawing portion of the portrait students could either add in shading by making the picture black-and-white or add in shades of color. The portraits are looking great!

8th Grade Science

8th grade science students have been building rockets over the past few days. Today was test day. Students took their water powered rockets outside to see how high they would fly. Students used an altimeter to measure the height of each rockets journey.

Jamie Marshall

It's "Go College Week" and Mrs. Marshall is in Social Studies classes talking to 8th grade students about becoming a college graduate. Today, Mrs. Marshall spent time in Mr. Hultman's class. During the discussion, students learn important information about college admission, college graduation, and scholarships, along with other important college information. These talks are also designed to prepare our students for an upcoming field trip to the University of Indianapolis and Central 9 Career Center. It is never too early to start preparing for college!

Jessica Whiteside

Students in Mrs. Whiteside Language Arts class are working hard to improve their reading ability. Today, students find synonyms to words to help improve their vocabulary. They also discussed identifying different parts of speech and how those parts of speech are used in text. Over the course of the year, the students combined for over 600 points of SRI growth. These reader's hard work is paying off!

Brian Heerdt

8th grade PE students in Mr. Heerdt's class are playing Frisbee golf. Students learned about Frisbee technique and course etiquette. Students then put thier new skills into action today as they played a round of Frisbee golf and kept score on their own score card. Stay up with more 8th grade PE happenings by following Mr. Heerdt (@WorldOfHeerdt) on Instagram and twitter.


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