Out of alignment

I have been a regular runner for about six years. I love running for too many reasons to list, but recently I have needed to back off because I have broken an exercise rule and now I’m paying for it. The rule that fitness experts share is “listen to your body”. I was ignoring that rule and trying to fight through lower back pain. When I was having trouble getting up from sitting and not being able to sleep because of the pain, it was time for me to pause and figure things out.

My wife scheduled an appointment at a chiropractor and after reviewing a head to toe X-ray, it was pretty clear I needed to fix some alignment issues I have if I wanted to get back to running.

“No running for awhile until we get through some work” was what the doctor ordered. It is frustrating because I keep thinking about what I want to do instead of focusing on what I need to do. That’s the battle of a teacher too – Having to focus on what you need to do instead of what you want to do. And it can be frustrating especially if things aren’t moving along at the speed you want it too.

I remember trying to get my 4th graders to be flexible with numbers in order to solve problems and being frustrated at the lack of progress I was making with them. The reason for the lack of progress was that there were many gaps in their understanding of how numbers work. I had to shift my focus from what I wanted them to do to what they needed. It took a long time working together with my students, but we were adjusting something seemingly small that needed to be adjusted before we could get to bigger tasks.

Life has given me another reminder that it’s ok to take a step back and focus on something smaller in the short term in order to eventually get to where you want to be.

Have a great week! Here’s the Staff Update.


I’m going for it…

How my week felt in a nutshell…or in the back of a pickup.

20+ scheduled meetings in one week seems like a lot of meetings. After living through a week of 20+ meetings, I can confirm with you that it is.

This week felt like I was doing a lot of things all at once. I saw the truck packed with furniture in the picture above on my way back to school from, you guessed it, a meeting. I laughed because of how incredibly unsafe it looked. I guess it’s not actually funny, I just couldn’t believe what I saw. You know someone at some point said that they shouldn’t move furniture like this. The driver obviously had enough bungee cords to prove otherwise.

Strangely enough, after a full week, I felt great on Friday evening. I still had enough energy to spend time with the family and stay up late after everyone went to bed.

There’s a reason I still felt great at the end of the week that I’ll get to in a minute.

Fast forward to Sunday to me waking up at 4:45am to get myself ready for a 10 mile race later that morning. On Friday, we race participants had received an email from the race organizers warning of the dangers of running in heat that was in the forecast for the race. They reminded us that “no records are going to be made” in this kind of heat, so take it easy and be safe.

While I was driving to the race that morning, I had already started telling myself not to run hard and to play it safe. Despite the forecast and the warnings, the morning still felt pretty cool while I was standing at the starting line. We would be running on a trail that was fairly wooded too, which would keep the air cool.

3 miles into the race, I was feeling pretty good. I didn’t feel as hot as I thought I was going to feel. I was passing some of the other runners I had started the race with and I told myself, “just go for it”. I ended up having a pretty good run and it became a confidence booster for me as I head into the last few weeks before the half marathon I get to run.

I bring up the packed week and my race this weekend because everything that happened this week reminded me how important my self-talk is.

I felt great on Friday not because the week was over with, but because those 20+ meetings led to better things for the kids we serve. I said yes to all of those meetings after all because I said to myself that I can do it. I also reminded myself to have gratitude for a great team of teacher to work with and I celebrated the work that was accomplished.

I felt like I ran a good race because I decided to stay tuned into how was feeling during the run. I’ve run enough to know when I’m dragging and when I feel like I could run all day. I pushed out the pessimism of the race organizers and went for it.

I know that every week won’t go this way for me. But when you feel like you can take on a challenge, what are you giving up by not going for it?

Have a GREAT week!

– Herb

Upcoming Dates —


25 – Pastries with Parents, 8am
27 – Herb at mtg off campus, AM; ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45pm; Mumkin Delivery, 1pm; Mumkin pickup 4-7pm
29 – ADDC Culture Celebration, 1-3pm


2-6 Conference Week
5- School Community Meeting, 9:25am; Fall Conference Late Night 4-8pm
7 – Cardboard Challenge
9 – PTO Meeting, 7pm
10 – School Improvement Team Meeting, 8:15am
11 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8:30am
17 – District Leadership Institute – Herb out
18 – District Leadership Institute – Herb out
19 – ADE Fall Tailgate, 6:30-8:00pm
20 – COI Day, No School
23 – Yearbook Cover Contest (through November 3)
26 – State of the Schools, 6pm Makoy Center
31 – Halloween


Is it about the tech or the learning?


Thanks to Angie, one of our 2nd grade teachers for sharing this article from The Guardian called “Tablets out, imagination in: the schools that shun technology.” I love thinking and discussing the role technology plays in learning and this article caused me to refine my thinking and philosophy of tech in the classroom.

The question of the use of technology in schools seems as though it’s been asked for years. I can remember when we got our Apple IIe installed in my 1st Grade classroom and my teacher explaining to us that we were going to have to take turns using it but we weren’t going to spend all of our time playing games on it.

I guess playing Number Munchers and Oregon Trail wasn’t playing games in my teacher’s eyes, but that was the extent of our use of technology in my classroom 30 years ago (it hurt to type that).


Fast forward to today when we have ubiquitous access to technology and one can see the reason why we continue to ask the question of how much is too much.

Just like with most things in life, Mother knows best: Moderation is the key. Balancing the use of technology so that its use is most effective for students. At the center of this balance is the classroom teacher. Just as we facilitate a discussion through a line of questioning that deepens understanding, we also need to consider how we facilitate the use of technology by our students. How are we presenting the use of iPads can be the key to unlocking the potential of creativity and ownership of learning that our students can leverage to demonstrate their understanding of complex concepts and new skills. George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset, argues that students should be learning with technology instead of simply learning technology.

Some powerful learning moments come when teachers present a new app to students, allow for some exploration of the app, and then ask students “What are some ways we might use this app to show our learning”. Furthermore, this kind of ongoing discussion around the theme of “how might this help you learn” emphasizes the key idea that technology is a tool for learning just as is a pencil, calculator, or textbook. If we make technology the end-all-be-all for learning, then it will be.

If we reinforce the idea that technology is a tool for learning, then it will be. Take a look at these guiding questions, also from Couros:


From https://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/3702

What really excites me about tech in the classroom is the unforeseen outcomes that will come from the imaginiations and creativity of our students.

Thanks to Angie for sharing this article!

Have a GREAT week!


Worth Checking Out

T.G.I.F.: Feedback Fridays — http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/education-update/sept17/vol59/num09/T.G.I.-£Feedback£-Friday.aspx

Impossible, unlikely or difficult? —  tinyurl.com/yd8o7n4x

How the Google Suite Can Enhance Open-Ended Math Exploration — https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/09/04/how-the-google-suite-can-enhance-open-ended-math-exploration/‬

Upcoming Events


21 – Student Picture Day
25 – Pastries with Parents, 8am
27 – Herb at mtg off campus, AM; ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45pm; Mumkin Delivery, 1pm
29 – ADDC Culture Celebration, 1-3pm


2-6 Conference Week
2 – School Community Meeting, 10:45am
5 – Fall Conference Late Night 4-8pm
7 – Cardboard Challenge
9 – PTO Meeting, 7pm
10 – School Improvement Team Meeting, 8:15am
11 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8:30am
17 – District Leadership Institute – Herb out
18 – District Leadership Institute – Herb out
19 – ADE Fall Tailgate, 6:30-8:00pm
20 – COI Day, No School
23 – Yearbook Cover Contest (through November 3)
26 – State of the Schools, 6pm Makoy Center
31 – Halloween

“I’m about to go below the line…”

“I need to go below the line for a minute.”

“I know this is below the line, but…”

Last week, there were several times during a conversation when the person I was talking to knew they were going below the line, acknowledged it openly, and then went below the line.

Is this how it’s supposed to work?


I’ve been right there with you, too.  I’ve learned that my most likely below-the-line-moments happen when I am needed to respond to something completely unexpected.

Huh.  I’m prretty sure that kind of thing happens every single day (sometimes every single minute), so I am also pretty sure I need to anticipate more and react less.

The last weeks will test our ability to adapt and adjust to situations.  We won’t get what we want.  We will have to switch our plans at the last minute.  We will need to step up and help out when it’s the last thing we have time to do.

What’s important is that we continue to recognize when we are about to react on autopilot to a unexpected situation.

The next step, the response, is important.

Before you take it, work to gain clarity.  See the situation for what it is and then see the next ten steps.

Think about how your next response will create events for others.

Have a GREAT week!



Worth Checking Out

Without a sail http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/05/without-a-sail.html

Owning Your Own Future https://nyti.ms/2pv36wK

Big Meta-Analysis Says Four Teaching Strategies Are Most Effective For Low-Income Students http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2017/05/13/big-meta-analysis-says-four-teaching-strategies-are-most-effective-for-low-income-students/


Upcoming Dates

15 – Field Day, 8:30 – 11:30 am and 12:30 – 3:30 pm

16 – Focus fieldtrip to Falling Waters, 5:30 am – 9:15 pm; SLSP field trip to Tim Horton’s and Petsmart, 9:15 – 11:00; Fire Drill, 10:00 a.m.

17 – Staff Birthday Lunch

18 – Principal’s Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; See Kids Dream 5th grade field trip to Riffe Center

19 – Last day at preschool; 4th grade field trip to Zoo; SLSP fieldtrip to Get Air, 9:15 – 11:00

22 – BAC Meeting, 8:00 am; PTO Spirit Night at Dave & Buster’s, 4:30 – 7:30 pm

23 – 3rd grade field trip to Art Museum; PTO Family Luau, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

24 – 1st grade field trip to Art Museum

25 – Mental Health & Wellness meeting, 8:00

26 – Last Day of School

Hitting the Wall


Last October, I almost made my personal goal of completing a half-marathon in under 2 hours. My official time was 2’02” but I was just happy to have made it to the finish line.

After the race, I gave myself a couple of weeks off before I got back into keeping a regular run schedule.  Getting back into a schedule became more of a chore than a joy and so excuses not to run started to become more common.  I even started to think about giving up running altogether.

I remember asking myself OK, what’s really going on with me?

I had been working so hard to get to a point where I could complete a race that it became the sole reason for running.  What I lost along the way of training was the joy and the happiness running had given me before.  Things needed to change for sure because I really love to run.

So, I quit worrying about my pace and focused on mechanics like my strides, my breathing, and my heart rate.  I also stopped worrying about distance.  At the peak of my training I was running 20-25 miles a week and I think that was bumming myself out since I had backed that way down.  At night, I started thinking about the run I was planning on the next morning which made those 4:45 am alarms easier to wake up to.  I also started focusing on how I great I felt after running rather than starting my workout thinking about how I didn’t really want to do this.  

All of this points to the power of self-talk and what you tell yourself each day.  It made me remember to reflect on what I was saying to myself.  If my self-talk was a person, would I want to hangout with them all day?

This weekend, I ran over 6 miles in the pouring rain and thunder, farther than I had run in 2 months, and I loved every step. I had forgotten how much I loved running in the rain!  It’s silly but I kind of felt invincible, like nothing could stop me.  It was the first time in a while when I didn’t want to stop and I was happy the whole time I was running.

“Hitting the wall” is something that happens to us all throughout life.  I believe these moments are supposed to happen because they give you a chance to remember your “why”.  The work you need to do to get over the wall is hard work.  It’s reflective work that forces you to be honest with yourself.  You start thinking less about what you want to happen and more about what you need to do in order to get the outcome you desire.  

“Joy” sounds like such a simplistic outcome to work for but it’s complicated to obtain especially if you are creating your own roadblocks.  Take time to remember your “why”, especially when the going gets tough because it will get you closer to the outcomes you are working toward.

Have a GREAT week!



Worth checking out —

4 Essentials to Growing into Great Leadership https://leadershipfreak.blog/2017/04/28/4-essentials-to-growing-into-great-leadership/

My friend taught me…to seesaw http://myfriendtaughtme.weebly.com/1/post/2017/04/my-friend-taught-meto-seesaw.html

3 Misconceptions About Innovation in Education http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/7305


Upcoming Dates


1 – Bus Driver Appreciation Day; 3rd grade Music Performance, time TBD; School Community Meeting – “Make a Difference”, 10:45am;

2 – No School for Students (Waiver Day)

3 – Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

4 – Admin. Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; PTO Flower Sale Pick Up, 4:00-7:00; PTO Spirit Night at Chick-Fil-A, 5:00 – 9:00 pm

8 – Kona Ice Truck here; PTO Meeting, 7:00; Spirit Week

9 – KG/1st Data Teams; Retirement Party, 3:45

10 – 2nd/3rd Data Teams; SLSP field trip to Dare Equestrian; 5th grade field trip to Art Museum; last day for Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

11 – 4th/5th Data Teams; Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am

12 – 4th grade field trip to Art Museum; SLSP Field Day at Darby H.S., 9:15 – 1:30

14 – Mother’s Day

15 – Field Day, 8:30 – 11:30 am and 12:30 – 3:30 pm

16 – Focus fieldtrip to Falling Waters, 5:30 am – 9:15 pm; SLSP field trip to Tim Horton’s and Petsmart, 9:15 – 11:00

18 – Principal’s Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; See Kids Dream 5th grade field trip to Riffe Center

19 – Last day at preschool; 4th grade field trip to Zoo; SLSP fieldtrip to Get Air, 9:15 – 11:00

22 – PTO Spirit Night at Dave & Buster’s, 4:30 – 7:30 pm

23 – 3rd grade field trip to Art Museum; PTO Family Luau, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

24 – 1st grade field trip to Art Museum

25 – Mental Health & Wellness meeting, 8:00

26 – Last Day of School!

Your Unfair Advantage

Over break, I read Embracing a Culture of Joy: How Educators Can Bring Joy to Their Classrooms Each Day, by Dean Shareski and was struck by the phrase “unfair advantage” that Shareski uses: 

Finding your unfair advantage is not about competition but rather an internal sense of confidence and purpose. It speaks to Pink’s (2009) and Schwartz’s (2015) notion of mastery and autonomy. While teacher satisfaction research can vary, many studies indicate that the lack of autonomy is growing in education (Sparks & Malkus, 2015). If teachers were told to embrace what makes them unique, to find and foster their unfair advantages, I can’t help but surmise that it would make a significant difference to job satisfaction. The unfair advantage of schools is the diversity of students and teachers.

Shareski explains that, if given that all things are equal – resources, time, etc., we all have something unique that we bring to our work and that gives us an unfair advantage over others.  Shareski goes on to say that this isn’t about being competitive.  It’s about recognizing a talent or passion you have that others in the building do not have and how that leads to a culture of joy in your classroom and throughout the building.

The problem, as Shareski points out, is that we often can’t see our own unfair advantage because we spend most of our time in our own classroom, our own building or our own district.  However, that shouldn’t stop any of us from knowing or finding out what our own unfair advantage is.  We should continue to look for opportunities to gain an outside perspective that will allow us to discover what it might be.  Discovering our own unfair advantage allows us to embrace what makes us unique and leverage these strengths in our work.  Recognize your strengths. Be proud of what you bring to the classroom and to our kids!

Finally, how powerful would it be for our kids if we help them think about their strengths and how they can grow them and use them as they continue to develop as learners?

EnJOY the GREAT week back!

– Herb

Worth Checking Out —



Upcoming Dates –

27 – Class Panoramic Pictures

28 – Legend Group (403b) here during lunches

29 – Staff Meeting, 3:45 – One2One Pioneers to present; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

30 – Mental Health & Wellness meeting, 8:00

30-31 – Herb in DC

31 – Fruit & Veggies (pineapple & carrots); Staff school supply orders due; PTO Parents Painting Night, 6:30 – 8:30 pm



3 – School Community Meeting – “Adjust and Adapt”, 10:45am; Board of Education meeting at ADE, 7pm

4 – BIT meeting, 8am; 5th grade ELA, Part 1

5 – IMPACT PD (K-2 Teachers); 6th grade transition meeting, 2:00 – 4:00; 5th grade ELA, Part 2

6 – Admin meeting (Herb, AM); Blue Jackets Choir performance (before game); 3rd & 4th grade ELA, Part 1

7 – 3rd & 4th grade ELA, Part 2

10 – Preschool IEP meetings (Herb/Brian H), throughout day; PTO Meeting, 7:00

12 – Staff Meeting – Progress check on Data Team goal; KG ELL testing; Urban Zen, 3:45 – 4:45; Lambright’s Parent Ed Camp

13 – Mental Health and Wellness Team meeting, 8am; One2One Principal meeting, 10am; KG fieldtrip to Franklin Park Conservatory; 2nd grade Wax Museum; Last day to submit requisitions; Staff Lunch

14 – Holiday, No School

17 – 4th grade fieldtrip to Supreme Court & Statehouse

18 – 5th grade Math test

19 – SLSP fieldtrip to Steak N Shake; 4th grade Math Test

20 – Principal’s meeting (Herb, AM); 3rd grade Math Test

21 – 2nd grade fieldtrip to Art Museum

24-28 – Book Fair, open til 5:00 on 25th; open during Art Show on 27th; open 8:00-10:00 am on 28th

24 – Gifted model parent meeting, 6:00; Vidic’s Medicine Safety Presentation (5th=1:30 – 2:15, 4th=2:15-3:00)

25 – 5th grade Science Test; 4th grade Social Studies Test; Vidic’s Medicine Safety Presentation (2nd=1:00-1:35; 3rd=1:40-2:15; 1st=2:20-2:55)

26 – Staff meeting, 3:40; Walk-A-Thon

27 – Elementary Transfer meeting, 8:30; Art Show, times TBD

28 – BAC meeting, 8:00; fruit & veggies (grapes & snow peas); clean office lounge

This Incredible Opportunity

My goal as an educator has always been to help change the world and help make it a better place for all.

We who teach have been given this incredible opportunity to help lead a community of learners.  Our work empowers students with the skills and knowledge they will need to be the leaders we will need in the future.

When I feel down or stressed, I need to remember to be grateful for this incredible opportunity I have to make a difference – to keep the main thing the main thing – and then act with as much positivity, optimism, and joy as I can every single time I walk through the doors of this great community of learners.

Have a GREAT week!

– Herb

Articles Worth Checking Out

Can Personalized Learning Flourish Within A Traditional System?

Lazy but talented

Using Math Menus: Some Nuts & Bolts | Marilyn Burns Math Blog

Upcoming Dates


7 – BIT Meeting, 8am; 3rd Safety Drill, 10:45 am

8 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8am — Check in on Students’ writing performance since last month (Counts as monthly Data Team check-in for literacy)

10 – Principals’ One2One meeting, 10am

13 – Spring Flower Sale Orders due

15 – Olive Tree Spirit DAY; Class Panoramic Pictures; Spec Ed Team Meeting, noon; RTI Team meeting, 3:40

16 – 5th Grade Musical Performances: 10:50, 1:20, & 7pm

20-24 – Spring Break

29 – Staff Meeting, 3:45

30-31 – Herb in DC

2016-17 Testing Calendar

Ohio State Assessment Schedule at ADE (Grades 3, 4 & 5):

Tuesday, April 4 — Grade 5 English Language Arts, Part 1

Wednesday, April 5 — Grade 5 English Language Arts,  Part 2

Thursday, April 6 — Grades 3 & 4 English Language Arts, Part 1

Friday, April 7 — Grades 3 & 4 English Language Arts, Part 2

Tuesday, April 18 — Grade 5 Mathematics, Parts 1 & 2

Wednesday, April 19 — Grade 4 Mathematics, Parts 1 & 2

Thursday, April 20 — Grade 3 Mathematics, Parts 1 & 2

Tuesday, April 25 — Grade 5 Science and Grade 4 Social Studies, Parts 1 & 2