My FitBit Is A Liar: Things I have learned today

Update for Dec 1-5

This week’s post is a guest post by Terri Root!  Enjoy!

(sigh) “Mama said that there would days like these.” That is what Katie, my very wise 9 year-old daughter, said when I pointed out that her pants were on inside out…
Well, friends… I am gonna’ tell you the same thing: “Mama said that there would days like these.”


1) When it comes to weddings, “Awesome!” is almost always the correct answer
First thing this morning my mother said to me, “I am going to get my make-up done at 10:00 am on the day of the wedding, don’t you think that is a good idea?”… the wedding starts at 6:00PM… so the logical answer is “No” – which is what I said… this is wrong… the guilt, discussion and sadness that ensued is not logical or good so… “Yep! That is awesome!!” is the correct answer.

2) No pants no service…
After that really, educational conversation, I went to my mammogram.

Mammograms are really an event now. They walk you back into a private waiting room and ask you to change into a real cloth robe… in your own changing area…

So I changed out of my clothes and into my robe and walked out into the waiting area where my new friend, Jane – 88, informed me that I did not need to take my pants off for the mammogram… I wondered why the robe was so short. We had a very good laugh about that… after I put my pants back on. I even showed her how to use the coffee machine.

3) Did you know that Epson Salts work as a laxative?
After my mammogram I decided that maybe a nice coffee might be a good idea before going to the grocery store with a very long list of items. So armed with my coffee I went to the grocery store and started my grocery adventure with about 15 wheel chair assisted adults and, almost as many super cute, new mothers in a “no sleep” haze with their equally as cute babies.

I had my cart almost filled to the brim with groceries for in-coming family when I was overwhelmed by the feeling my husband lovingly describes as a “crap attack” – the extra vitamin C I took this morning, along with the Epson Salt bath I took last night combined with the coffee and suddenly the previously sweet wheel chair shoppers, new mothers and babies became a crazy and awful obstacle course to the bathroom…

I am ashamed to say that I became “that woman”… I had to move a woman in wheel chair over so that I could dash past her… In my mind, I gave the woman a fast, hard push without warning and rushed past… but it probably wasn’t quite that bad… still I could not stop to talk so… I hoped my “I am so sorry, excuse me please” would make up for my extreme rudeness.
I made it in time… but I believe I have done some major damage to my rep with the big guy.

4) My Fibit lies
After all of this… my Fibit says that I only had 2 mins. of “very active” time… liar.

December Kids EdCamp is coming Dec 17th!

Please bring your passion and add your session to the growing list! We are excited to have 13 sessions, but we need more to make this second EdCamp successful. YES! You can do the same session as before!

Articles Worth Reading — 

“Characteristics of Engaged Learners Vs Disengaged Learners” (Infographic)

“How a Moveable Space Can Ignite Creativity in the Classroom” | MindShift via @MindShiftKQED

“The School Won’t Fall Apart…” | The Principal of Change

Neat idea!–

Videos that make you smile —  

Can you whistle?–


Real Dads cry —

Upcoming Dates — 

Monday, Dec 1 — 
1:35pm — School Community Meeting — Putting the pieces together!

Team Time all day (Moved from Tuesday, Dec 2)

Tuesday, Dec 2 — 

8:00-noon — TGRG Data Team meeting at CO for coaches, intervention teacher and principal
3:45 — Tech Lab PD w/ Kelly Riley in Media Center

Wednesday, Dec 3 — 

8:00 — Building Improvement Team Meeting – – This is a proposed change from Tuesday due to TGRG Data Team meeting. Let me know if you can’t make it.
12:30 — Special Ed Department Meeting
3:35 — AD/DC Staff Meeting at ADE
5:30 — MarketDay Pickup

Thursday, Dec 4 — 

12:30 — Ohio Historical Society program for 2nd Grade students.

Friday, Dec 5 — Herb to visit Wickliffe Elementary — I need to reschedule BAC for Tuesday, Dec 9 at 8am.  Please let me know if you cannot make this. 

Tuesday, Dec 9 — 

8:00-8:45 — BAC Meeting

Fri Dec 12, 2014 — 
7am – 9am Board of Edu Bldg Tours – HMS, ADE/HPS & DCR


Fri Dec 19, 2014 — Holiday Parties

Dec 22, 2014-Jan 4, 2015 — Winter Break


Guest Post: What if schools were more like Google?

Update for Nov 24-25

This week’s update comes from Adrianna Kruse, Kindergarten teacher at Alton Darby Elementary. You can follow Adrianna on Twitter — @AdriannaKruse

Google has become both an extremely well-known noun and widely-utilized verb. At least once a day, I find myself “googling it” or encouraging someone else to do so. It is no secret that Google, as a company, has not only achieved sky-high financial profits,  but also is one of the most innovative and creative businesses in the world. What you may not know, however, is that year after year, Google is also listed by sources such as Forbes magazine, as the best place to work. Yes, a business as successful as this is bound to yield high pay grades for their employees, but that it is not unique to Google, or why it is considered the best place to work. It is considered the best place to work, because of the type of physical, social and emotional environment that it creates for its employees. So, I pose the question, what if our school was more like Google, and it was the best place to work and learn?  How to can we use Google’s ideals to inspire us to make this a reality?
According to an article by Mark C. Crowley, the physical environment of Google is one that inspires the employees to want to be there each day. If you haven’t seen pictures or videos of what the Google corporate office in California looks like, I strongly encourage you to “Google it”. They have a blend of traditional and unconventional work spaces, slides in place of some staircases,  artistic inspirations throughout the building, relaxation rooms, exercise facilities, and on-site amenities that rival that of a high-quality hotel. The physical environment is warm, upbeat, innovative and welcoming. What if we provided an environment with some similarities to this at schools? Where students had choices about the type of space in which they work best; were provided with everything they need to feel comfortable, safe, and taken care of; felt trusted that they know what is best for them; and had choices of a combination of different spaces throughout the day.  
The emotional and social environment that Google provides for it’s employees is founded in trust, collaboration and inspiring them to do something that may just change the world. As stated in International Business Times, Google co-founder Larry Page said, “My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society. As a world, we’re doing a better job of that. My goal is for Google to lead, not follow.”  Google leaders have also been noted in this article as saying that they value their employees making a contribution to society over making money.  Because of this belief system, they are achieving both exceedingly well. These are the exact ideals that we should strive for as teachers. What if we value teaching students to make contributions to society over doing well on “the tests” and meeting every single standard?
Another relevant component to Google’s successful work environment that I found in Mark C. Crowley’s article, was Google’s 20/80 policy. Regardless of the position an employee holds within the company, from intern to CEO, employees spend 80 percent of their time working on current company projects and the other 20 percent working on any project that they choose. To me, this sounds like a very reasonable model that we could imitate in schools. We could use 80 percent of time to guide students in learning the basic skills, knowledge and facts that we value, but give them the freedom and trust to pursue their own learning and projects the other 20 percent of the time. During this 20 percent, Google employees breed innovation and discoveries that would never be made if not given the time, freedom, trust and choice to do so. I would love to see students being given the same opportunity on a weekly basis.
Karen May, VP of people development of Google stated, “Imagine a world where most organizations were the best place to work. Imagine what we could be getting done on the planet if that were true.”

I ask you the same question about schools, what if our school was the best place to work and learn? Imagine what we could get done on the planet. ☺ Adrianna Kruse

Spotlight on…December 17th Kids EdCamp:

Click on the link to propose your session: My/Our December EdCamp Proposal

Click on the link to see what others have proposed: Submitted Sessions

Please submit your proposal soon! Teach your passion! 

Videos that inspire — 

Finish Strong — What happens when things don’t go as planned? Do you punt or try to make it even better than expected?

Getting creative with an announcement

Articles worth reading–

“How Libraries are Advancing and Inspiring Schools and Communities” – MindShift

“Make Literacy the Focus of PBL” – Edutopia

Upcoming Dates — 

Monday, Nov 24 — 

Tuesday, Nov 25 — 

9:30-10:30 — Student Steering Committee meeting at ADE
11:00 — Title Team meeting

Nov 26-30 — Naps, turkey, football, friends and family, disconnecting, enjoying the moment, going for a walk…

Monday, Dec 1School Community Meeting — Putting the pieces together! Please provide feedback in the form below (You will 

Team Time all day (Moved from Tuesday, Dec 2)

Tuesday, Dec 2 — 

8:00-noon — TGRG Data Team meeting at CO for coaches, intervention teacher and principal
3:45 — Tech Lab PD w/ Kelly Riley in Media Center

Wednesday, Dec 3 — 

8:00 — Building Improvement Team Meeting – – This is a proposed change from Tuesday due to TGRG Data Team meeting. Let me know if you can’t make it.
12:30 — Special Ed Department Meeting
3:35 — AD/DC Staff Meeting at ADE
5:30 — MarketDay Pickup

Thursday, Dec 4 — 
12:30 — Ohio Historical Society program for 2nd Grade students.

Friday, Dec 5 — Herb to visit Wickliffe Elementary — I need to reschedule BAC for Tuesday, Dec 9 at 8am.  Please let me know if you cannot make this. 

Kids Are Capable of So Much

Update for Nov 17-21

There was something about this week that made me wonder “What is going on here?”.  

Let me preface this by saying that I know that there are thousands of positive moments that happen each day at school and it’s these moments we remember.  But this week, the problems we had to solve, or tried to solve, seemed to be overtaking the positive moments.  It could also be that we have Conferences coming up and Progress Reports due — That certainly adds to the stress.  

In these moments, it seems like it’s easier to focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s going well.

Wednesday night, I saw a Tweet by George Couros that piqued my curiosity:

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 9.35.49 AM.png

It is one of the most adorable videos I’ve ever seen (If this doesn’t make you cry, you are a robot.):

I needed to see that video this week because it reminded me that despite the times kids have where they don’t show us their best, each child is capable of so much good.  It’s already built into them.

It’s our responsibility to remember that. It’s also our responsibility to focus on the positive and help students learn and grow by building off of their strengths and what they are capable of doing, not by focusing on what they cannot do.

(After watching 1 minute, jump to minute 6. Again, grab some tissues. THIS is why we teach. Because we need to never give up on finding what works for kids.)

Here’s to a wonderful week!


Videos That Inspire

“How can 1st Graders help the Earth?”:

Commercial reenacts a powerful moment in history:

Articles Worth Reading

“Making School About Connection” (Edutopia)

“Make the Most of the Maker Movement”  via @edutopia

Upcoming Dates

Nov 17-20, 2014   BOOK FAIR!

Mon Nov 17, 2014
7pm – ADE/DCR Parent Meeting at Bradley HS

Tue, Nov 18, 2014
3:30 at ADE–First teacher steering committee meeting
7pm – Assessment and Accountability Summit, Weaver Middle School

Wed Nov 19, 2014     
3:45pm – 8:15pm Parent-Teacher Conference Night

Wed Nov 26-28, 2014    No School

Tue Dec 2, 2014        
8am – 9am Building Improvement Team mtg

Wed Dec 3, 2014         

3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE

Community Mindset

Update for Nov 10-14

This year, we are investigating how Blended Learning can help us redefine the work we do with our students.  

These seven characteristics “create an environment  where students and teachers learn and teach more effectively. Blended learning can provide students with choice and voice in their learning and is dynamically customized for each student, reaching students of varying learning styles.”

On Friday, we attempted our first Community Meeting of the year to celebrate our accomplishments so far and to begin the work of defining the key principles we stand for as a learning community.  We gave students a voice in this process by asking each homeroom to complete the phrase: “At Alton Darby Elementary, we are ______________.”  I am excited to see what students think best completes this statement.

As I was reflecting on Friday’s meeting, I thought about one of the Blended Learning characteristics called Community Mindset.  Honestly, I am still learning what these characteristics mean for the work that we do. But I am excited when I think about what we’ve accomplished so far this year. Consider the definition for Community Mindset:

The district culture is one in which teachers and students are empowered and inspired to teach and learn from one another. Learning is a partnership and a shared experience in a student centered classroom. Student learning is personalized and encourages critical thinking.

When I think about Friday’s meeting, I believe that we are establishing a partnership with our students and providing them with a voice in their learning. Thank you so much for your support, ideas, and encouragement! Let’s keep this momentum going!



Upcoming Events 


Mon Nov 10, 2014

6:30pm – 7pm PTO Executive Mtg 

7pm – 8pm PTO General Mtg

Tue Nov 11, 2014
Picture Retake Day
5th Grade Meeting with See Kids Dream
Team Time with Herb — Let me know if you want to meet!
8am – Building Improvement Team Meeting, Media Center
Fri Nov 14, 2014         
End of K-5 Grading Period
Progress Report Timeline:
Nov 17-20, 2014   BOOK FAIR!
Mon Nov 17, 2014
7pm – ADE/DCR Parent Meeting at Bradley HS 

Tue, Nov 18, 2014
3:30 at ADE–possible date for first teacher steering committee meeting—more info to come, stay tuned
7pm – Assessment and Accountability Summit, Weaver Middle School

Wed Nov 19, 2014     
3:45pm – 8:15pm Parent-Teacher Conference Night


Wed Nov 26-28, 2014    No School


Tue Dec 2, 2014        
 8am – 9am Building Improvement Team mtg

Wed Dec 3, 2014         
3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE

Articles Worth Reading

Student choice continuum by via   

Embedded image permalink

The 5 Recent Google Drive Updates Teachers Should Know About

Becoming More Receptive to Feedback: 3 Muscle-Builders!  

(Mind)-setting students up to succeed: social-psychological interventions in the classroom

14 Things That Are Obsolete in 21st Century Schools

100 Schools Worth Visiting 


Powered by The Arts

Update for November 3-7

This week brought us another reminder of how talented our Arts Team is.  The Fall Concert that Mrs. Root created with students was an absolutely amazing experience.

When we combine the Fall Concert with the Warrior Dash and Dot Day, we can begin to understand how much the Arts can impact a school’s culture.

We strive each day to create learning experiences that focus on skills such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity because we believe these skills are going to enable our students to be successful in discovering their passions.  The arts, and those who bring learning to life through the arts, help us create a learning culture that focuses on these important skills.

Thank you Mrs. Bowers, Mr. Burkhart, and Mrs. Root for continuing to inspire us to celebrate learning through the arts!

-Mr. H

Upcoming Events

Mon, Nov 3 —

Tues, Nov 4 — 

Waiver Day/No students; Hilliard University at Darby HS and Heritage MS.
  • Your day can be 7:30-2:30 or 8:30-3:30.
  • Our Staff PD will start at 1:00pm in the Darby HS band room and last until 2:30.

Wed, Nov 5 —
5:30pm — Market Day pick-up

Thu, Nov 6 —

Fri, Nov 7 —
Newsletter Home
Yearbook Art Contest Ends
First School Community Meeting!

When you walk into our building, each person can see our mission that was establish on the very first day of school in 2001: Children.

This year, we are continuing the work of establishing and communicating the common expectations for all members of our community through the PBIS Framework. When we take steps to reestablish the principles of our community, it is important that we also work towards our Mission and ensure that kids have a voice in the process.

Therefore we will be having our first School Community Meeting this Friday!

After discussing how we were going to elicit feedback from students about their beliefs about what makes Alton Darby, we decided we need to start by getting everyone together to celebrate our accomplishments so far this year and to give us all a task we will work to complete.

And this is how it will happen:
  • 8:50 — Student arrive and go immediately to the gym before going to homeroom.
    • Breakfast students will go to breakfast as usual. They will join us when they are finished.
    • Teachers will be in the gym to help get students organized. I will have a seating chart for you SOON.
    • We will be leading the students in a cheer – “We…Are…Alton…Darby!”.

  • 9:05 — Mr. H starts the meeting by welcoming everyone, explaining why we are together, and then explaining the task everyone will work to complete.
    • Task – Homeroom teachers will facilitate students in completing this phrase: “At Alton Darby Elementary, WE ARE _____________!”
    • You will will be given a blank Puzzle Piece to write the word you decide reflects your room.
  • 9:15 — Students are dismissed to homeroom.

A 10 minute meeting that is going to help us do something BIG!  Thanks to Jay, Angie, Karen O, Kim, Missy, Adrianna, Carla, Jane, Kris and Tiffany for your help with the planning!  And thanks to everyone for helping to make our first School Community Meeting a success!

Mon Nov 10, 2014
6:30pm – 7pm PTO Executive Mtg
7pm – 8pm PTO General Mtg

Tue Nov 11, 2014
Picture Retake Day

Fri Nov 14, 2014
End of K-5 Grading Period

Mon Nov 17-20, 2014
Book Fair Week

Wed Nov 19, 2014
3:45pm – 8:15pm Conference Night

Wed Nov 26-28, 2014 No School

Articles Worth Reading

“What Are The Habits Of Mind?”

“How Relearning Old Concepts Alongside New Ones Makes It All Stick | MindShift”