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Thursday, December 28, 2006

PDWeb and Jan. 2

Here is what you should expect to happen as far as paperwork on January 2. What you about to read will apply to the workshops that will involve teachers from more than one school (Saxon Math workshop, Makes Sense Strategies, New Teacher Training, and Special Education meeting:
  1. When you arrive at a workshop, there will be a pre-printed sign-in sheet with your name on it. Sign beside your name.
  2. After the day has been concluded, attendance from the workshops will be keyed into PDWeb.
  3. You will receive an e-mail that asks you to click on a link and complete a short evaluation on the workshop.
  4. Once you complete the survey, you automatically receive your professional development credit.

If you arrive at at a workshop and your name is not on the roster, simply sign somewhere at the bottom of the sheet. I was going from the most current list of employees available to me, but may not have our most recent hires.

In order for you to receive the e-mail asking you to complete the evaluation, your e-mail address must be in PDWeb. It's only there is at some point you put it there. Here is how to check to be sure:
  1. Log in to PDWeb
  2. Click on "My Profile"
  3. Click on "Contact Information"
  4. There is a field for your e-mail address. Be sure to fill it in.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Material to bring to Saxon training

I spoke with Agatha Kent, our presenter for the Saxon workshop, and there is some information teachers need to bring to the training:

K-3 teachers-- assessment binder
4-6 teachers--Volume I of teacher manual and "Assessments and Classroom Masters" book

Also, if you would ask teachers to write down questions that they have and give those to the presenter at the beginning of the workshop.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Got ESTEEM? THS has it!

There's a new club in town...The ESTEEM Club.
Christina Reynolds is pictured proudly displaying the club's new shirts. Each letter stands for a different trait.
Mrs. Reynolds, the club sponsor, realized that students needed a safe forum in which to discuss issues that teens face today. The popular club has grown from 100 to 300 students. The meetings are held after school and there is even a curriculum in place to keep things on course.

This teacher may have hit on a way to reduce the dropout rate AND increase the graduation rate. Very impressive!



Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Makes Sense Strategies

In preparation for the Workshop on "Makes Sense Strategies," here are several links that that might be of interest.

This first link is to the Makes Sense Strategies website. This site gives you numerous examples of what you will find in the software.

Clicking here takes you to data that has collected showing the effectiveness of Makes Sense Strategies.

As you explore the Makes Sense Strategies, the term that will likely come to mind is "graphic organizers." This presentation gives you some insight into the research showing the effectiveness of graphic organizers.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Alfa "Teacher of the Month" Program

Would you like to nominate a deserving teacher for the Alfa "Teacher of the Month"? Details for the award are posted here. We are in State School Board District 3. The winner for our district will be the October 2007 Teacher of the Month.

Saxon Workshop--Questions for consultant?

Below is a portion of an e-mail I received from Agatha Kent, the consultant who will be conducted our Saxon workshop for grades K-6:

"...It is important to provide Saxon teachers with a 'refresher' about every two years. I found this to be the case when I was Director of Curriculum in a GA school district. We used Saxon successfully for a number of years but, without a 'shot in the arm' from time to time, some teachers would get sorta slack and mis-use the program. I'll review with your teachers the correct way to teach Saxon math and make suggestions for how to cover & practice your state objectives before the April test. Please ask teachers to write down their questions about any part of the Saxon program.....I'll take a look at these before the session begins or during a break. I want to be sure to answer everyone's questions. "

Please think about question that you have and get those to me. You can do so by posting a comment here in the blog, or you can e-mail me by clicking here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

3rd Grade Teachers--Change in schedule for Jan. 2

Agatha Kent will conduct the Saxon workshop on Jan. 2. She asked that we group our teachers so that K-3 are in one session and 4-6 are in the others. The reason is that K-3 uses the kits and 4-6 uses the textbooks. The change will put 3rd grade in the morning session. (I have made that change on the schedule that was posted earlier, so what is posted now is the correct version.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Math Pacing Guides


One of the needs we have seen in our system is a set of “pacing guides” to help insure that prior to the spring testing students have been taught all of the standards on which they will be tested. Teachers at each level helped to compose a pacing guide for math. Those are now ready for you to download and begin using.

To download the pacing guides, click here. If you are asked for a password, just click “cancel.” The only stimulation is that they must be downloaded from a computer within the school system.

You could also get there by doing the following:

  1. Go to teachtalladega.blogspot.com
  2. Click on the link on the right-hand side of the screen that takes you to the downloadable documents.
  3. You will see a folder labeled "Curriculum"
  4. Inside that is a folder for the pacing guides.

    On the first page, you will see a simple calendar that gives you a place where you should try to be at the end of each month. It’s easier to have little goals along the way than to try and cover too much ground just before the test.

    The following pages give you the sequence in which the standards and bullets are taught. You will see pages or lessons where those skills are taught or reinforced. You also have a place to enter other resources you find to help teach that skill. There is even a place where you can record that you taught that skill.

    Nothing in these pacing guides is set in stone. Use this tool. Put it through its paced. You will probably find corrections you feel should be made. The beauty of this is that because it is kept in a digital format, we can take your input, update the pacing guides this summer, and have a fresh copy posted and available for you to download.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Schedule for January 2 Professional Development Day

Here is the schedule for our January 2 Professional Development Day.

Elementary Schools
8:00-10:30 Math Workshop for Grades K-3 (Meet at R.L. Young Auditorium). All teachers in K-2 from the five elementary schools are to attend.
Agatha Kent will conduct a workshop on Saxon Math. After having taught Saxon Math herself, she has worked as a consultant for Saxon the past several years. She travels all over the U.S. conducting similar workshops. Now that we have been using the program for several years, this workshop provides an opportunity to clarify small points and ensure that we are using the program to its fullest extent.

12:30-3:00 Math Workshop for Grades 4-6 (Meet at R.L. Young Auditorium) All teachers in K-2 from the five elementary schools are to attend.
Read the above entry for a description of this workshop conducted by Agatha Kent.

8:00-11:00 Makes Sense Strategies Workshop for Grades 3-6 (Meet at THS Career Tech Building Room 907)
Theresa Farmer is a former Alabama State Teacher of the Year and currently works for the Alabama State Department of Education. Her workshop will be on “Makes Sense Strategies.” This CD-ROM has been revamped and improved since it first came out several years ago. For those who have a digital whiteboard, a SchoolPad, or even a projector attached to a computer, the Makes Sense Strategies contains numerous graphic organizers.

Each elementary principal has been asked to select 5 teachers to attend this workshop. Those 5 can then share what they learned with the remainder of their faculties.

The remainder of the day will be reserved for any activities your principal has planned at your local school.

Zora Ellis
Morning Activities-Mr. Bailey will give you instructions on activities for the morning.

12:00-3:00 Makes Sense Strategies Workshop for Grades 7-8 (Meet at THS Career Tech Building Room 907)
Theresa Farmer will conduct this workshop. A description is listed above. All Ellis teachers will attend this workshop.

THS and Career Tech
Your administrators will give you instructions on activities for the morning.

Teachers New to the System this Year
10:30-12:00 Meet at R.L. Young Auditorium.
Ginger Paris will conduct this follow-up from our opening of school session. Please bring with you the “Positive Behavior Supports” critical questions responses and assessment pages. These were given out a new-teacher orientation. If you have lost your material, check first with another teacher and borrow theirs. I will collect your responses and mail them to Montgomery.


Special Education Teachers from All Schools
1:00-3:00 Meet in Debbie Peters’ Room (910).
Our focus will be on monitoring and various aspects of SETS.

How will all of this work with PDWeb?
You will automatically be signed up for the workshops listed above on PDWeb. Be sure to sign the sign-in sheets. If for some reason you do not find your name on the sheet, add it at the bottom. After the workshops are over, you will receive an e-mail asking you to do a short evaluation regarding either that workshop or other aspects of professional development. Once you have completed that evaluation, you will automatically receive credit for the workshop.

STIClassroom problems have been fixed

Earlier, there were problems with being able to access STIClassroom from home and being able to access SETS (special ed. program) from home. Those problems have now been fixed.

Letters to Santa

Elementary Teachers!
Need an activity that involves writing and SANTA? The Daily Home is offering to publish Santa letters in their Christmas Eve paper. This could be done as a class project and partners could be assigned. Artwork on the letters is sometimes printed, too.

The Daily Home prints every letter they receive on or before the deadline.This year's deadline is December 14. Santa letters can be delivered by email, snail mail, or dropped off by the Daily Home office. Children are thrilled to see their letters to Santa in the newspaper. You can help promote our district and schools by having students include the school name at the end of their letters.

This activity will give students an opportunity to proof their work, become better writers, and enjoy the season.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Birmingham International Festival Mini-Grant

Every year, the Birmingham International Center (BIC) offers K-12 students in Alabama schools the opportunity to plan and put on Mini-Festivals whose theme is based on the nation being honored by the Center. This year’s spotlight is on the Czech Republic. Interested principals should download the In-School Mini-Festival information and application from the BIC web site www.bifsalutes.org. (Choose Education at the top of the Home page, then choose In-School Mini-Festival from the Menu bar on the left.) Funds up to $350 will be awarded by a panel of K-12 teachers. The deadline for submission of applications is December 20.

For background information on the Czech Republic and teaching resources, please also see www.bifsalutes.org. The Chair of the 2007 Student Art Program Committee is Mrs. Bobby Hill, Librarian, Minor High School, Jefferson County Schools. Dr. Phil Hammonds, Jefferson County Superintendent, is the Chair of the BIC Education Committee for 2006-2007.

The In-School Mini-Festival program is one of seven BIC Education Programs to foster geographic literacy among Alabama students and teachers, but teachers and students are encouraged to incorporate all subjects into the festival—Czech music, dance, sports, visual arts, technology, science, mathematics, trades, fashion design, politics, history, economics, and literature. As a subject, the Czech Republic allows students to study a new, self-created democracy in which education is viewed as central to citizenship. The literacy rate in the Czech Republic is 99%; its students are also the top scoring world-wide in mathematics.