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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Shining T.O.Y.'s at our Schools!

The Talladega City Schools Central Office wishes to recognize Teacher of the Year recipients from our schools.


The 2006-2007 Teacher of the Year winners from our schools are:Joy Bittle, Sharon Runyan, Kathy Clay, Kim Mitchell, April Noel, and Linda Barrow.

Congratulations to all who received the title "2006-2007 Teacher of the Year" from your school faculty. What an honor to be respected and admired by colleagues. Although the paperwork is plenty and the work burdensome, it provides an opportunity to reflect and examine your philosophy and beliefs about teaching.

Who knows, you could become the next T.O.Y. for the State and Nation!

Feb. 16 Professional Development Day--Information for elementary schools

The focus of the Feb. 16 professional development day will be the "Student Response System." Each elementary school has a classroom set of "clickers." Students can respond to questions you ask with the devices. This link will give you a quick overview. The article at this link is a little more "weighty."

The schedule for the training is as follows:
8:30-11:30 Two teachers from each school will receive intense training. The goal will be that you will leave the training with the ability to begin using what you have learned the very next day. The teachers should already know who they are. If in doubt, ask your principal.

12:30-2:30 All elementary teachers will receive training on the system that will give you an overview of what this tool will do and a more abbreviated explanation of how to use it. (Those who attended the morning training would not need to return for this training.

Activities for the remainder of the day will be at the discretion of the principal at each school.

Both sessions will be at R.L. Young. All teachers will already be signed up on PDWeb before the day of the event. All you need to do is show up, sign the sign-in sheet, and take the survey afterwards.

Each elementary school has a class set of 19 student clickers. The most likely scenario is that the response system will be on the school library's inventory and will be checked out to individual teachers. Whether additional systems will be purchased will depend largely on how much this initial set is used.

Tourbus and Bob Rankin's "Top 20"

The single best source I have found for my own technology professional development is a free newsletter called "Tourbus." Written by Patrick Crispen and Bob Rankin, this little gem is delivered straight to my e-mail. The most current issue provides a link to the 20 most popular articles written by Bob Rankin during the last year. The topics cover everything from making your computer run faster to how to find out how much your neighbor's house is worth. The link to Bob's Top 20 is here.

A subscription to Tourbus is free. You can sign up here.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Teacher Treasure Chest

Ever wish you had a tool that would engage students, allow time to observe, and be easy to use? Well, if you have your TV connected to your computer or a smart board, I have a website just for you!

Go to www.paducah.k12.ky.us/curriculum/PPoint/ to discover a treasure chest of powerpoints other teachers have created. There are primary classroom and intermediate presentations, plus "The Jeopardy Game" templates ready to use with just a click of your mouse. You need to have powerpoint on your computer to take advantage of this tool.

Some of the topics include:
Grade 4 and 6 punctuation
Nursery Rhymes
The planets
All About Me
Dolch Sight Words for Pre-primer-3rd grade
Counting with pennies,dimes, nickels, quarters
Using the right word
Telling Time

Last spring, I had the pleasure of conducting a workshop with Salter teachers on how to construct powerpoint presentations. In one afternoon this clever group of teachers created powerpoints for the beginning of school such as "Welcome to 3rd Grade" and "Welcome to the Library." Others decided to focus on skills such as nouns, adjectives, and other topics. There is no limit in using this tool.

If you are interesting in learning how to use powerpoint in your classroom, just contact the Central Office (315-5614) or email me at pthomas@talladega-cs.net.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

100 Days Smarter!

Throughout the district, teachers, assistants, and students were spotted celebrating the 100th day of school.

Students dressed as old folks, wrote numbers to 100, drew pictures of their teachers as 100 year olds, made t-shirts and signs of celebration, released balloons containing handwritten notes, and so much more! One of the notes written with tremendous effort by a kindergartener declared, "This is the best day of my life!"

These days, although lots of work for teachers, help children develop a love of school. The message is clear... school is important and worth celebrating. These types of activities are what students remember the most.

TEACHERS, thanks for going the extra mile !

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Paintings by Sarah Whitson

This spring, one of Heritage Hall's shows will feature the works of the late Sarah Whitson. Whitson was a noted local artist. In fact, various paintings of hers hang in our school system. Tommy Moorehead is asking for our help in locating any painting done by Sarah Whitson that we may have in our schools.

Tommy would need them by the first of March. The pictures would hang in the show at Heritage Hall during April and May. If you locate any of these paintings in your school, please call Tommy Moorehead at 761-1364.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Scholarship opportunities for teachers

The Alabama Education Retirees Foundation currently funds nine $1000 scholarships under the Elementary/Secondary Education Scholarship Program. The goal of this scholarship program is to provide onetime scholarships for educators who are currently employed in a state public school system (K-12).

Scholarship recipients will receive training in areas of counseling, mathematics, science, computer education, library media, special education, English as a second language, or other specialized areas where a proven need exists. The deadline for applying for these scholarships is January 18, 2007.

Should you know of anyone working in the K-12 system that might be interested, please e-mail Cindy Entrekin . She will forward information to them.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Red Mountain Writing Project

We received the following information from the University of Montevallo Inservice Center. If you are interested, you can go here to download a flyer (which required Microsoft Publisher to view, a nomination form, and an application. Then, let your principal know of your interest.
Once again we are so pleased to be involved in supporting the Red Mountain Writing Project!

What a wonderful opportunity for the University of Montevallo’s In-service Regional teachers to have. This year’s Invitational Summer Institute is tentatively scheduled to be held at
Simmons Middle School from June 12th through July 7th. At least one teacher from each school should be nominated to attend. Nominees should be energetic, passionate teachers who are committed to improving their own as well as their students’ knowledge of and skills in writing.

The Red Mountain Writing Project (RMWP) is a grant funded through the National Writing Project and is co-sponsored by the University of Alabama at Birmingham. RMWP focuses on the improvement of writing in all disciplines and at all levels of education. Teachers who are chosen to experience the RMWP Summer Institute will return to their schools invigorated and inspired to share their new knowledge and skills not only with their students, but also with their colleagues as well.

Please join us and nominate your best teachers as representatives of your school and system by using the nomination form and returning it by mail to Dr. Maryann Manning at UAB. The address can be found on the nomination form. Nominations are expected by January 31st, 2007. Dr. Manning will send application forms to all chosen nominated candidates.
Once again, thank you for your support of this important opportunity for teachers and students. Should you need further assistance, please contact me at 205-503-5870 or Dr. Manning at mmanning@uab.edu.

Professional Development Evaluation

Most of you have been receiving e-mails asking you to take a short survey about the professional development opportunities you had on January 2. If you did not have an e-mail address entered in the "profile" section of PDWeb or if the e-mail address had not been typed correctly, you would not have received the e-mails.

If you need to take a survey but did not receive an e-mail, here is what to do:
  1. Log in to PDWeb.
  2. Click on your "Training History."
  3. If you need to take a survey, you will see a link out beside that workshop.
  4. Click on the link, and you will be able to take the survey.

Tips for Success on the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing

Tips for Success on the
Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing
From workshop presented by Sally York

  1. Use blank paper to do your prewriting. You can then copy the finished product onto the paper you will be turning in.
  2. At the top of the blank paper, immediately write what mode you will be using and a few key words about what you are supposed to do.
  3. Read the prompt at least four times. You want to be sure you understand exactly what you are being asked to do.
  4. Create a graphic organizer on your blank paper
  5. Next, write your rough draft
  6. Use at least 5 paragraphs
    > Introduction—State the purpose and the audience. Have a good topic sentence. Include a hook (can be a question or exclamation)
    > A paragraph for each of 3 major points
    > A concluding paragraph—Recap what you have told the reader. Leave the reader with a thought, a challenge, or something to think about.
    >Each paragraph should have at least five sentences.
  7. When you have 25 minutes left, copy your rough draft onto the paper you will be turning in.
  8. On your final copy, do not write in the margins. Also, do not write below the bottom line. The scorers will not give you credit for anything you write in those areas.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Supporting our Newest!

Teaching should never be a lonely job, especially in the first year. Support for new teachers in Talladega City Schools has been given in several ways. Each new teacher was assigned a personal mentor selected by the principal. Mentors are chosen by their expertise and ability to assist others.

New teachers met before school began to become aquainted with the school system, receive information, complete forms, and receive a welcome from Central Office staff. A second meeting for new teachers occurred on January 2 at R. L. Young. It was a more personal gathering.

Ginger Paris, principal at R. L. Young, led the hour long session, allowing teachers to share concerns, obstacles, and accomplishments experienced during the first half of the school year. This type of open forum helps teachers know that everyone experiences difficulties. There should be no shame in admitting there are problems in a classroom. The mistake is not asking for help.

One teacher from Talladega High School shared how he had the students complete a survey of his teaching. This is risky for even veteran teachers! But the feedback he got will help improve his teaching and serve as inspiration. Everyone needs to evaluation their practice and who better to ask than the students you serve?

Teachers were given a book entitled, "Tools for Teaching" by Fred Jones. It is a good resource covering all types of issues that can occur in any classroom. They may have to save it until the summer, but it will serve as a reminder that we are proud they are a part of Talladega City Schools!

Saxon Consultant Comes to Town

January 2 was a busy Inservice Day! Although it was the first day back to school after the holidays, elementary teachers arrived at Raymond L. Young with smiling faces for a refresher presentation by Agatha Kent, a consultant for Saxon Math.

She discussed how the program should be implemented to insure success for the students. All components in each grade level were covered and tips were shared that might make organizing the daily lessons easier.

Many teachers were interested in the Problem-Solving Package which is a weak area for students across the district. I believe this component would increase our scores and be a welcomed addition to the existing program. I have shared my concerns with the Central Office.

Ms. Kent eagerly answered all questions posed by the audience and shared that the Saxon website would be a good place to visit. http://www.saxonpublishers.com/ Several handouts for each grade level were available. If you did not attend, please see a teacher from your school.

This was a presentation that teachers from several schools expressed an interest in attending.
Sometimes clarification after a program has been used helps in making adjustments and fine tuning. Thank you for your participation!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Professional Development Credit

I have entered into PDWeb attendance for the Makes Sense Strategies, Saxon Math, New Teacher Follow-Up and Special Education Follow-Up.

In your e-mail, you should receive a link that will take you to the evaluation for each workshop you attended. Once you complete the evaluation, the professional development credit will show up for you.

Mrs. Ludwig is getting me the sign-in sheets from the CPR training. Once I get that information, I will add that to PDWeb also.