Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Memo: Field Trip, Pitch and Grades

Today our Holiday Family service project came to an end. Incredibly, we raised 1916.68. The money was used to purchase gifts and gift cards to make this time of year special for our family. We appreciate all of the encouragement, effort and help that you gave in our endeavor. Here is a picture that we took this morning of the team and all of the gifts for our family.

Tomorrow is Pitch Day for our 20% Time projects. Nearly all of the kids are ready with their materials and we think that tomorrow will be an exceptional learning experience. We know that we have a lot of great project ideas and we are excited that some of the central office staff and building principals will get a chance to see them. 

We are going on our field trip to see Interstellar on Friday. The entire seventh grade is going and it should be a great learning experience in a comfortable environment.

Grades for first semester close on Friday. Kids should check SIS to make sure they are not missing anything and if they are, they should turn it in as soon as possible. We know that this is the last week of school before break, but we still keep on learning up until the last minute.

Registration for Hixson’s Trivia Night is now open! You can print the registration form or pay online by visiting the trivia night’s website: We hope to see you on February 7th!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Memo: Holiday Family, 20% Time, and Field Trips

We are in the final stretch of our Holiday Family service project. We have collected 1793.38 so far and all of our fundraising ends next Monday, 12/15. The kids have done an extraordinary job and they have stated that they are not finished yet; they plan to make one final push during this last week.

We are going to Ronnie's Theater on December 19 for the showing of Interstellar. We would love to have chaperons on this trip but...chaperons would have to pay the $6.00 entrance fee on this one. The field trip form link is in the previous blog post (scroll down). Deadline for permission slips is this Friday.

Grades close next Friday, December 19. These grades are the permanent, semester grades. We have been encouraging all of the kids to check their grades and get in any missing work. We are here before and after school everyday until next Friday.

Next Tuesday, 12/16, is Pitch Day for 20% Time projects. Kids will "pitch" their project ideas to a committee of educators in order to get feedback about their project idea and process. Some of the committee members are Dr. Riss, Dr. Simpson, Dr. Smith, Dr. McGee, Dr. Gilb, Dr. Roberts, Jill Right and Tim Brown.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Memo: Field Trip and Family

Next Tuesday, December 9, we are going to see the movie "Interstellar" at Ronnie's Plaza. The permission slip is linked HERE. We would like to have permission slips turned in by this Friday and if any of you would like to go as a chaperon, please let Melissa know ( The cost of the trip is 10.00. We had mentioned this trip last month and we were finally able to make it happen. There is a link HERE explaining why the movie is PG-13. Paper copies of the permission slip will be coming home as well.

Our holiday family collection is going beautifully. We are currently at 1380.00 and, since the kids believe we will meet our 1500.00 goal this week, have decided to push for more. They are now trying to crack the 2000.00 threshold. If they are able to reach this new goal, they will be one of the five most successful Harmony Teams in terms of collecting.

Kids are gearing up for their 20% Time project pitches. Pitch Day is an exciting day for the kids as they get to show their idea and the thinking behind their idea, to a committee of adults. They will receive a lot of feedback about their ideas and, when Pitch Day is over, they will be off and running on their 20% Time projects.

Semester grades close on December 19. These grades are the final, permanent first semester grades. We are encouraging kids to check their grades and make sure that they know if they need to make up any assignments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Surprise: Let Them Eat Cake

With all of your help, we managed to pull off our Surprise Thanksgiving Breakfast Buffet again this year. We have to say, the participation by parents was off the charts this year. Set-up and clean-up both went flawlessly.

All morning the kids were worried that something was wrong. Melissa played her part beautifully by tipping off the kids that Dr. Smith was annoyed at our team for some reason, but we didn't know what that reason was. Melissa's absence during first and second hour was noticed by the kids; they thought we must really be in trouble. Dr. Smith did her part by scaring the bejeezus out of the kiddos when she came up to class at the beginning of third hour. When the doors to the cafeteria opened, kids were confused. The cafeteria looked clean. In fact, it looked great...and their parents were there...and there were mountains of food...and cake! "Surprise," yelled the adults in the room, and finally smiles broke out over the kids' faces. An audible "Phew" floated through the group.

Lined up at the buffet.

Loads of food and loads of fun.

This is always such a fun day. It takes a lot of coordination and preparation, but the payoff is definitely worth it. We stress team-building all year long and want to make sure that kids feel like they belong. We want their school experience this year to be one that they will remember forever. We know that the kids will definitely remember their surprise Thanksgiving buffet for a long, long time. Of course, the amazing cakes that Mr. Park created for this team also lent an amazing WOW factor to the event as well. Here are some pictures of the 2014-15 Harmony Team cakes.

Cornucopia Cake - Side view

Cornucopia Cake - End view (each gourd is a cake pop)

Turkey Cake - Front

Turkey Cake - Back

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Memo: Holiday Family and 20% Time

We are off to a great start for our three day week. There are no after-school activities on Wednesday. Our holiday family total is fantastic so far. We have made 2/3 of our goal and it looks like we should make or exceed it.

Our holiday family wish list is here. If anyone would like to purchase one of the items on the list, that would be awesome. Please e-mail Melissa ( or Don ( to let us know so that we don't have duplicates. Again, we really appreciate everything you are doing to help.

Our 20% Time projects are coming along nicely. This week we are working on our presentations for Pitch Day. The kids are both excited and anxious. We are going to have all of the kid work on public speaking with Mrs. Gado, one of the elective teachers here at Hixson who has great experience and expertise in this area.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Memo: Field Trips and Family

On Wednesday, we are going to the Downtown St. Louis Public Library for the St. Louis International Film Festival. There is a chance we may have to cancel the trip if the Grand Jury decision comes down before then and there are protests downtown. We want to make sure that the kiddos are safe. In the event of a cancellation, we will e-mail home and plan an alternative here at school. We will have a great time either way.

We are still raising money for our Holiday Family and our total is up to $549.49!  We are doing a great job to make a very special Christmas for a family.  We will also be collecting items as soon as we get our holiday family's wish list if you would like to donate in that way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Memo: Field Trips and 20% Time

Today we went on our field trip to the Symphony. The kids really seemed to enjoy the program and their behavior was excellent. Powell Hall was packed with students from Hixson and other schools. Our kids made our school proud today.

Our Holiday Family collection is going beautifully. Our goal is to raise 1500.00 by December 15 and right now, we are at 350.00. That is awesome! The kids are stoked about raising money, partly because they feel it is a good cause and want to help, and partly because they are competitive. 

We are going on another field trip next week. We should have all permission slips in by this Friday, November 14. Our trip is to the Downtown St. Louis Public Library for the St. Louis International Film Festival.

20% Time is going really well. You can check out your kids' blogs at The student blogs are on the right side of the page. They are looking good and the ideas are really coming along.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Memo: Field Trips and Holiday Family

We know that some of you have been having trouble accessing the field trip permission slip for the Film Festival trip. We have changed the permissions on the form so that everyone with the link (click here) can get it. Our trip is November 19.

Tomorrow is election day. We will have no student attendance here at Hixson.

We are beginning our fundraising for our Holiday Family service project. We spoke to the kids on Friday about this and they seemed excited to get started.

Melissa will be contacting chaperons for next week's field trip later on in the week. We appreciate your help with the field trips. It makes a big difference.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Learning While Community-Building

There is much more to school than the classes in which kids are enrolled. Sometimes, because of learning opportunities or the time of year, we can plan fun events that incorporate learning into a fun "day off" of regular classes. Today was one of those days. Being Halloween, we had our own costume contest on team. Here are a few of our favorites.

Kids voted by secret ballot and our winners were: Sam (pictured below) in third place, Carter (center) in second place, and Owen (right) first place. The kids had a lot of fun dressing up and really got into the spirit of things. After our costume contest voting, we played some Halloween Trivia. A few weeks ago, we discovered Kahoot, a game-like quiz app. We used it to introduce our Digital Citizenship program in Discovery and the kids loved it! So today, we Kahooted again!

Sam in armor

During second hour, kids collected data on all of the pumpkins that they brought in (thanks again for your pumpkin donations). They were to measure, circumference, mass, radius, weight, etc. Once the data was collected, they were ready for the Pumpkin Drop later in the day. 

Kids collecting data

In third hour, we introduced our big service project for the year, our Holiday Family. Every year our team adopts a family in need for the holidays. We raise money, purchase gifts and help out in any way we can to make this season a great one for a family that has fallen on hard times. It is extremely rewarding and the kids develop even more compassion and empathy during this time. Of course, we have a bit of a competition between Hellwig's and Eckert's classes, so that is fun too!

We did the Pumpkin Drop during fifth period. One team member would stand in the second-story classroom and hold the pumpkin out the window. Upon the release, other team members on the ground would measure the time if took for the pumpkin to fall, the depth of the "crater" in the dirt-filled kiddie pool. All of the data collected will be used in science on Monday. 

It was an eventful day full of different and fun activities. We try to honor the ebbs and flows of the school year by mixing in a variety of learning events at every opportunity. Today was a great day for that!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Please Pass the Pumpkins!

Tomorrow we are having some very fun and educational events on team. One of those activities involves pumpkins. We have about 10 and need about 40. If you have an extra pumpkin laying about and are willing to donate it, please send it in with your kiddo in the morning. Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Memo: Pumpkins, Parties and Potpurri

Melissa and I are back from the MOREnet conference in Columbia, MO where we got to brag about the amazing things your kiddos are doing for 20% Time projects. Dozens of educators showed up to our session and are planning on adopting some features of 20% Time in their own classes and schools. We learned a great deal while we were there, including some really cool technology that we introduced to the kids today.

Friday marks the end of Term 2. It is amazing how quickly the year flies by. It seems like just yesterday we were meeting all of the kids on the first day of school and all of the parents soon thereafter. Wow! Grades for Term 2 will close Friday.

This Friday is Halloween and we will be doing some special events on team during core time that day. If you have a pumpkin you would be able to donate, we would love to have them. We are going to use them for a Pumpkin Decorating Contest and also for an activity about gravity (you can guess where we're going with that one). There will be a variety of fun events during core time this Friday.

On Friday we will also introduce our Holiday Family collection. Every year, each team adopts a family in need for the holidays. We raise money, purchase gifts and try to make the holiday a special time for them in a time of need. Harmony Team has always come through in a big way during this time. In fact, for 9 consecutive years, we have raised more money than any other team in the building even though we are only half the size of most teams. A couple of years ago, we set the all-time Hixson record for money raised for this project, over $3,000.00. Our goal each year is $1500.00 and in each of the last 9 years, we have met or exceeded our goal.

Please stay tuned for a TOP-SECRET e-mail that you will be receiving within the next week. Speaking of e-mail, school e-mail has been down for the past three days. It may be a few more days until it is up and running again. As always, you can still reach us at and Please feel free to use those e-mail addresses.

On November 11, we are going on our St. Louis Science Center field trip to see the "Forces of Nature" presentation. We will be back in time for lunch. On November 19, we are going on a field trip to the St. Louis International Film Festival. This event takes place at the St. Louis Public Library (Downtown Branch). The field trip permission slip is linked here. We will be going to Happy Joe's for lunch on the way back to Hixson. The cost for the entire trip is only $7.00

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monday Memo: Party, Pumpkins and Pictures!

The Fall Party is this Friday after school from 3:30-5:00 at Hixson. Kids must purchase wristbands by the end of lunch on Thursday. Wristbands are $5.00 and will be available during lunch all week long. Kids must purchase a wristband in advance to attend the party.

After introducing 20% Time to the kids last week, we are continuing our work this week. You can take a look at our other blog,, for updates on that project.

Call for Pumpkins! We are asking for pumpkin donations for some special activities that we are doing on team next Friday, October 31. If you can donate a pumpkin, please send it in sometime next week. Thanks in advance.

Please be prepared for a Top Secret e-mail that will be coming to you within the week. It is imperative that you do not show any of the kids or share any of the content of the e-mail with any of the kids. We appreciate your secret-keeping abilities!

This week we have a backwards schedule. Elective classes will be in the morning and core classes are in the afternoon. This Friday is Picture Retake day. Picture Retake Day is for the following students:

1. Students who were absent on September 12th and would like to have their picture taken for yearbook.

2. Students who have completed picture order packets and brought money to purchase pictures. NOTE: Some students forgot packets/money and only had yearbook pictures taken. They may now purchase pictures.

3. Students who would like pictures to be retaken and have brought original pictures taken on August 8th or September 12th to return to the photographer.

Monday, October 13, 2014

All School Party and Spiritwear Information

All-School Party
When: October 24
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Cost: $5.00, which includes pizza, DJ, photo booth, and other activities 

How to Attend
·         Students may purchase a wristband at lunch on October 17 - 23
·         Wristbands will be handed out during 7th hour on October 24. 
·         Students must have a wristband to attend the party. 

Parents who are able to volunteer their time as a chaperone may sign up by clicking here

The deadline for ordering spiritwear has been extended to October 21. You may find more information about spiritwear by clicking here.

Monday Memo: 20% Time Kick-Off

Today we kicked off the 20% Time Projects for 2014-15 school year. We spent two periods of core time showing kids WHY we believe so strongly in this type of learning and also HOW we're going to coordinate projects this year. While many kids can't wait to get started, we are stressing that everyone should take their time and really explore their interests in order to come up with a project they are passionate enough about that they can sustain it all year long. You'll hear much more about 20% Projects in the near future. If you'd like to read more about how today went, please click here: 20% Time Project Kick-Off.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fair Ye Well

Today, kids attended the Hixson Career Fair and the Hixson Health Fair. Many community members spent part of their day talking to kids about their careers. We also had several health experts in to talk to kids about nutrition, exercise and healthy living. The kids had a great time.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Memo: Conferences, Short Week and Fairs!

Parent conferences are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. If you signed up, you should have received a confirmation e-mail with the time of your conference. If you need assistance, please e-mail us and we can let you know your time slot. We are looking forward to meeting all of you.

Wednesday is half day. Kids will be dismissed at noon. Friday we are off school altogether.

On Wednesday, the health fair and career fair will both be happening at Hixson. Kids will rotate through the career fair and health fair during third and fourth hours. Both are usually interesting and fun events for the kids.

We are still waiting for a few more field trip forms to come in for our trip to the St. Louis Symphony on November 11. If you have not already returned the slip, please do so ASAP.

There are no after school activities this week because of conferences. We do still have morning session every morning from 7:45-8:25 and kids are welcome to come up and work or read during that time.

This week is the Scholastic Book Fair. Please stop by the book fair in the library annex when you come in for your conference. Tomorrow is Hixson Night at Papa Johns. Fliers went home with all of the pertinent information.

We also explained how grading will be a bit different this year. That information is on the "Grading" page. When you look across the top of the blog, click on the "Grading" page and hopefully that information will answer any questions that you may have. We can also talk at conferences about grading this year.

Gaming in the Classroom

As you can probably guess, the accessibility of a laptop computer also means the accessibility of computer games. While the filter at school does a good job, the kids are even better at finding games that are not blocked by the filter. We find gaming to be very distracting to the students. Therefore, we will begin issuing detentions for students that we catch gaming in class and those kids will lose their computer for the remainder of that period (but not the rest of the day).

There are appropriate times for kids to play games (before school, during lunch, between classes, etc) but not during instructional time. If we catch kids gaming, we will issue a detention and follow up by sending an e-mail home. The laptops are great tools for learning and we want the kids to get the full experience.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Chromebook Insurance

We hope that everyone takes advantage of the insurance program for the Google Chromebook laptops. It is a good deal. The cost of the insurance is 27.00 and the deadline for buying insurance is October 17. The insurance form can be found here:

Chromebook Insurance Form

The kids love the Chromebooks and we are using them extensively. We hope everyone can see the value of these amazing tools.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Memo: Chromebooks Go Home!

Today we got word that the kids can take home their Chromebooks and chargers. When we told the kids, needless to say, they were elated. There are some housekeeping issues that we have to take care of over the next few days. The most imperative is insuring the Chromebooks. We sent home insurance forms with the kids today. The insurance for the year is 27.00 and we are encouraging everyone to purchase this insurance. The deductible is 0.00, so it is a good deal. Please check out the form when it comes home and return it at your earliest convenience. If your kiddo does not bring hone the form, you can download it here:

Chromebook Insurance Form

The kids are indeed bringing their laptops home today. A few parents reported that they didn't want their students to bring the Chromebooks home. We will keep them here at school if that is the case. We have found from our experience in a 1:1 classroom, that having computer and Internet access at home is a great advantage for kiddos so we encourage the use of the Chromebooks at home.

We would like to caution the kids that a padded bag of some sort would be a great solution for transporting their Chromebook between home and school. There are a lot of sleeves or cases on the market nowadays that are inexpensive and effective. Even bubble wrap in a student's backpack would do the trick. We would like for the kids to keep the chargers at home and charge the laptops overnight; the batteries will last all day here at school (they are rated as 8-10 hour batteries).

Parent conferences are next week. Please sign up if you have not done so already. We can also conference through e-mail or by phone if a face-to-face time does not work for you. The link to the conference information is here:

Fall Parent Conferences

Field trip forms were sent home on Friday. We need those back in our hands by next Monday. The trip is to the St. Louis Symphony on November 11 for the program called "Forces of Nature". The cost of the trip is $8.00 which includes transportation. We will be back at school before lunch so the kids will eat here at school.

The Scholastic Book Fair kicks off on Friday of this week. The fair will run all next week, so when you come in for your conference, please stop by and brows a bit. There are some awfully good choices this year.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Memo: Conferences, Duke and Grades

Because of a glitch in our online grading program, we are a bit delayed in issuing grades. They will come home a day or two late but they will be there. As always, you can check current grades on the parent portal. Just log in and you can see all of your kids' grades.

Mrs. Gavin passed out brochures for the Duke TIP program. Eligible kiddos will have scored in the top 95% on the Terra Nova section of the MAP test in either fifth or sixth grade. The link to more information is here: Duke Link.

Parent conferences are coming up. All of the information was posted on an earlier blog post but is also linked here: Fall Parent Conferences. Please note that we can do conferences by phone, e-mail or in person. We hope to be in contact soon.

The Scholastic Book Fair will open Tuesday, September 30. It will run through October 9. Please feel free to come in anytime and browse the books. All money raised from the book fair goes to buy resources for the library.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Harmony Gear Is In!

Today a very large box was delivered to the office for Harmony Team. Our gear has come in! The gear choices included t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, athletic shorts, long flannel pajama bottoms, and cinch sacs. The kids could choose any of the clothing items in pink, blue, gray, white, and tie dye. About a half our ago, we put the gear orders in the kids' lockers and, in ten minutes, they will come to their lockers to get their things and leave the building. Inside their lockers will be a little something extra today. The kids have no idea that the gear came in so it is fun watching their reactions to how great the gear looks! This is a wonderful end to a great and productive week.

A tie-dye blue Harmony shirt and a Harmony cinch sac

We are Funded!

Thanks to all who donated to our Kindles in the Classroom grant on! This afternoon our grant was completely funded! Five brand spanking new Kindles will be on their way to us within the next couple of weeks. The final donation came in from the Rise Up Foundation in Orange, CA. The organization is also sending books for our classroom. We would like to thank all of the Harmony Team families for participating. We really appreciate it and can't wait to get those Kindles in the kids' hands! Thanks again!

UPDATE on Important Info for Fall Conferences

Fall conferences this year will be held during the following dates and times:

October 7, 4pm – 8pm
October 8, 1pm – 5pm
October 9, 4pm – 8pm

You may schedule a conference with your child’s teachers by clicking on the link below. Before doing so, however, please read the following:

* You will need to know the name of your child’s team to sign up. (Synthesis is a 7th grade team, Synergy is an 8th grade team.)

* Please sign up for an available time to meet with your child’s team. In most cases, this will include your child’s   English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies teachers.

* If you would like to meet with your child’s elective teachers, you will need to schedule a conference separate from the team conference. This may require going back to the address below and logging into the website a second time.

* Conferences are ten minutes in length. Please be respectful of everyone’s time by being prompt and conscious of keeping your conference to ten minutes. Teachers will be happy to continue the conversation at a later time, if necessary.

Hixson Middle School Conference Scheduler:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kindles in the Classroom Grant!

Our grant for five Kindles for our "Kindles in the Classroom" program on Harmony Team is live on If you would like to donate to the grant, please do! If you could share our grant with others on Facebook, Twitter and your other social media outlets, please do.

Using the Promo Code INSPIRE will double any donation given (up to 100.00) so our money goes a long way! This afternoon, I gave ten bucks, and had it doubled, so that I could take screen shots of the process to make it easier on other donors. Thanks in advance for any help you can give. 

Here is the crucial part of the note from that directs donors to the correct project (just click the link highlighted in blue).

I want to make sure my students have the materials they need to succeed, so I just created a request for my classroom at

Kindles in the Classroom!

Give to my classroom by September 22, 2014 and your donation will be doubled thanks to Just enter the code INSPIRE on the payment page and you'll be matched dollar for dollar (up to $100).


Simply put in the amount you'd like to donate and click the green "Proceed to Checkout" button.

Type in the code "INSPIRE" into the Promo Code box and click "Apply" to get your donation doubled. Then simply follow the rest of the process. It really is that easy.

We appreciate any help you can give us in our endeavor to use technology to learn and create lifelong learners. Harmony Team parents are always so supportive and this year's parents have been no different. Thanks for all that you do.

Symbaloo - Organizing Our Digital Tools

Harmony Symbaloo Link

Symbaloo is a tool that we will be using this year on Team Harmony. Instead of bookmarking all of the sites that we will be using this year, we've created a Symbaloo featuring graphic "tiles" for each of the sites we'll use this year. The Harmony Links Symbaloo is available for all students and parents to use. Simply sign up for a Symbaloo account (free at, click on the link above, click the "Add to Webmix" button and the Harmony Links will appear as one of your Symbaloo frames. Easy as that. We feel this will be a convenient and useful place for kids to keep all of their digital tools organized. Kids can also create their own personal Symbaloos. It's a great tool!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Memo: Laptops, Grades and Grants

On Friday, kids received their Chromebooks. During first and second hours, kids learned a bit about how to operate them and sign on to the school wifi (which can be tricky). Since then, we have been working with kids to familiarize them with the apps and digital tools we'll be using this year, primarily the ones on the right hand side of this blog in the "Most Used Sites" section. We've begun using Google Classroom and we're picking it up quickly. Kids also have created accounts on 3DGameLab so that we can complete class-related online quests. We'll continue demonstrating various tools (BrainPop and Khan Academy) to the kids this week and integrate them gradually so as not to overwhelm them.

Term 1 closes on Friday. Grades will be issued and mailed home next week.

The link to use to sign up for conferences will be available in the next few days. It will be available on the school web page and as soon as we see it, we will post it here as well. Please sign up for conferences so we can talk about your amazing kiddos.

We submitted a grant to for five Kindles for our Kindles in the Classroom program. As soon as the grant is live, we will publicize it with the hope that some of you or those you know would be interested in making a donation to the cause. We normally get a code which enables every donation (up to 100.00) to be doubled. We have had great success with in the past and hope that we can put even more Kindles in the hands of our kiddos.

That's about it for this week. We hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, September 12, 2014

In School Dental Care

We are sending a form home today with kiddos about in-school dental care. This is what the form looks like. Please look for it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monday Memo (on Tuesday): Pictures, Activities, Texts and Kindles!

We are off to another busy week on Team Harmony. Picture Day is Friday, September 12 in the LMC annex. This day is only for the kids who did not have their pictures taken during Orientation. Picture Retake Day will be in October.

Term 1 ends next Friday, September 19. This is a snapshot of where kids are right now. The grades are cumulative until the end of Semester 1 in December. 

After school activities are in full swing. There are dozens of clubs and activities for kids to participate in. We also have study session on Wednesdays and Thursdays after school on team. Any kiddos who need a quiet place to work or a little help can stay either or both of those days.

Yesterday we started using Remind, an app that allows teachers to send text message reminders to students and parents. You can sign up on the right hand side of the blog. No phone numbers are kept by teachers or students and no private text messaging can occur. The app is only for mass-distribution reminders. We find this useful for field trip reminders and the like. Please sign up if you'd like to receive text message reminders.

Please use the hashtag #hxharmony in your social media postings to post cool things that Harmony kids are doing outside of school. Those postings will collect in our Tagboard stream on this blog. 

The Kindles have proven to be very popular once again on team. We are going to put a grant up on in order to purchase five more Kindles. We will have the grant up by the end of the week. The way grants work on is that people from the community, who want to help public schools, donate to the grant project of their choice. In the past, we have received a code that, when donors use it, doubles the donations. For example, if our grant is for 300.00 worth of materials, then we would only have to raise 150.00 if each donor uses the code. We hope that some of you will help us acquire these Kindles by considering a donation and spreading the word! We cannot tell you how much the kids love those Kindles!

We hope you all have a great week!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tagboard Those Tweets!

One of the digital tools that we use on Team Harmony is Tagboard. It collects all of the posts from across the Internet that use the #hxharmony tag. We began using the #hxharmony tag last year to keep track of all things Harmony. Scrolling through the stream is a good way to get caught up on team happenings. If you scroll down this blog a little and look on the right hand side, you'll see our Tagboard stream.

We would like parents and students to post cool Harmony Team kid-related happenings to our stream as well. Our Harmonites are involved in so many activities outside of school and much of the time we don't even know it so it'd be nice for you to give them a shout-out on our Tagboard stream. All you have to do when you tweet (or whatever social media tool you use) is include #hxharmony. Your post will show up in our stream. We would love to foster the spirit of community on team by keeping up with the kids' outside activities.

Please be aware that we have a short list of media-exclude kiddos on team and their images cannot be posted online. If it is your own kiddo, go for it! We are excited to see the sports, plays, clubs and other out-of-school activities that the kids are involved in. We hope that our Tagboard stream helps make the blog even more interactive.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Keeping Up with the Harmonites!

Melissa and I consider ourselves to be pretty technology-literate when it comes to using tech in school. However, we also realize that there are tons of people who know so much more than we do and so we rely on others to help us be more efficient and effective. During Open House, Mr. Carton had some great suggestions for our blog in order to make it even easier for parent and student. We appreciate his help and have the following suggestions:

1. The Assignment Calendar feed URL for those of you who do not use Google and want to subscribe is I have changed this in the previous Calendar post as well.

2. For those of you who want to subscribe to the RSS feed of the blog, he suggests (a paid service) or (a free service). I use Feedly as my news reader and it is very cool. I went through the process of subscribing to the Harmony Team Blog RSS feed on Feedly and it worked nicely. Here is the process:

- On your computer, go to and sign up for a free account.
- In the search box, type in and Hixson Team Blog should appear as one of the choices. Add that blog and it will appear in your list of feeds on the left hand side of the screen.
- That's it! You've just subscribed to this blog on Feedly.

A big "thank you" to Mr. Carton for his help in improving this blog. As always, leave comments or e-mail if you have suggestions or questions. We are always trying to improve the parent and student experience with our online tools.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday Memo: Activities, Pictures and Ice Buckets

We hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. We are back for a busy four-day week at Hixson. After-school activities begin this week. Kids will have many activity choices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after school until 4:00pm.

Picture Day is next Friday, September 12. Any kiddos who didn't have their picture taken at Orientation can have them taken next Friday. Retakes will take place in October.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has come to Hixson Middle School. Kids making donations at lunch will be entered into a drawing to dump a bucket of ice water on the teacher of their choice.

Please continue to check the assignment calendar. The kids have been great about getting their work done on time and we would love for that to continue.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

It was only a matter of time until the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge came to Hixson Middle School. Well, when we do things, we go big! Here are the details.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Memo: Open House, Homework and Gear

Welcome to Week 3 at Hixson. This week have Hixson Open House on Wednesday evening from 6:00-8:15. We hope to see you there!

Harmony Gear orders are due on Thursday, August 28. We will only be ordering one time this year. Homework for Parents, found in an earlier post on this blog, is due on Friday, August 29.

Friday, August 29, is a no-student day. Teachers will be in for professional development and kiddos will have four-day weekend! Lucky them!

Friday, September 12 is Picture Day at Hixson. Many students had their picture taken during Orientation so only kiddos who did NOT have their picture taken during Orientation will have their picture taken on the twelfth. Picture re-takes will occur later in the year.

Please continue to check the Harmony Assignment Calendar to stay up-to-date on assignment due dates. All core class assignments and team events will be on that calendar. The Hixson Calendar will show all school events and important dates.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Memo: Gear, Homework and Calendars!

This week things are really kicking in. Core classes are well underway and some of our team-oriented activities are on deck as well. Here is some important information for the coming week.

Today, kids were given Harmony Gear orders. We have a line of Harmony clothes (t-shirts, hoodies, shorts, flannel pants, cinch sacks, etc.) that kids and their families can purchase if they would like to. Each student was given an order form and the order form is also available for download here: Harmony Gear Order Form.

This week we will be attending Principal Talks. Dr. Roberts, Dr. Miller and Dr. Smith will be talking to the kiddos about expectations this year both academically and behaviorally.

Please fill out the Homework for Parents if you have not done so already. We want to know as much about your kiddos as possible. This confidential information often helps us tailor our instruction and also helps us relate better to the students. Just scroll down this blog to find the entry titled "Homework for Parents". We really appreciate your cooperation and support.

Picture forms will go home this week for the kids who didn't have their pictures taken at Orientation. Please expect them by the end of the week.

You can subscribe to the Harmony Assignment Calendar or just view it on this blog. Across the top of the blog are several page links. Click the one that says "Calendars" and you will be able to see the Harmony Assignment Calendar in addition to the Hixson Calendar. You can also see a short snapshot of the assignment calendar on the right side of this blog. We will be updating the assignment calendar with due dates for all of our core classes and some team information updates.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Subscribe to the Harmony Assignment Calendar

Students and parents can subscribe to the Harmony Assignment Calendar to make it easier to monitor assignment due dates and set reminders.

Subscribing to the Harmony Assignment Calendar is easy. If you have Google Calendars, go to the Video Tutorial link above and watch the video called "Subscribe to Harmony Assignment Calendar". If you don't have Google Calendars, try the directions below.

Here are the directions from the Google Help Page:

To add a calendar using its address, follow these steps:
  1. Click the down-arrow next to Other calendars.
  2. Select Add by URL from the menu.
  3. Find the address of the Google Calendar in iCalendar format, or if you have the iCalendar address of a calendar from a different application (for example, Apple's iCal), you can use this as well.
  4. Address of our calendar: 
  5. Enter the address in the field provided.
  6. Click Add calendar. The calendar will appear in the Other calendars section of the calendar list to the left.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Welcome to Team Harmony!!

We would like to welcome all of you to the Harmony Team for the 2014-15 school year. We are looking forward to meeting all of you and working with your kiddos this year. One of our points of pride is creating a positive, constructive and collaborative climate on team. Since we are a half team, the kids get to know each other pretty well and we become more of a family than a random group of kids. We will work hard to make sure that your kids have everything they need in order to succeed this year at Hixson.

As you may know, we use technology quite a bit on team and see it as a tool to foster learning. We will be introducing a lot of digital tools and showing the kids how to best use their new laptops within the first few weeks of school. The learning curve is steep but within a couple of months, they will be old pros.

Please subscribe to this blog either through e-mail or your RSS feed. We will be updating the blog a couple times per week and we want to make sure you get the updates to stay current on all of the team happenings. Please feel free to e-mail us at any time if you have questions. We are always available to talk about the kiddos. Welcome and let's have a great year!

By the way, please fill out the Homework for Parents when you have time. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Homework for Parents!

Each year we try to get to know the kids as quickly as possible and we would appreciate your help. When you have a few minutes, please fill out the "Homework for Parents" form. The responses are confidential; only the Harmony Team Teachers will be reading the comments. We ask that you fill out the form by Friday, August 22. Thanks for your help. We're looking forward to an excellent year!