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Saturday, March 17, 2007

E-mail hoaxes

We probably all get e-mail hoaxes from time to time. Friday, I received two copies of the same one, both sent from within the school system. I also received a copy of the same one a couple of weeks ago. That time, it had been floating around the State Dept. of Education and found itself sent to quite a few school systems.

For a little information on determining what is a hoax and what is not, you can go here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Alabama Educational Technology Conference

Any teacher who would like to attend the Alabama Educational Technology Conference, June 12th-15th, may do so. Information is available here. You will soon be able to register for this event online. Check back at this same link later.

If you would like to attend:
  1. Fill out a professional leave form (We have done this for a number of years even if it's not during school time. It gives proof that you are on official school business. In addition, this procedure will help us keep a tally of how many teachers are signing up.)
  2. Register on your own and pay your registration.The registration form is here.
  3. After the conference, complete a travel form. Attach receipts for your registration and complete the mileage section. You will be reimbursed for your expenses. (We are having teachers register and then get reimbursed because of the number of cases in the past where a teacher has registered for a workshop, the school system has paid that registration, and then the teacher did not attend.) The travel form is one of the "Downloadable Documents."
  4. After the workshop, go on PDWeb and enter the workshop as a new training request. Your principal would then approve it.

Mid-South Reading & Writing Conference

Any teacher who would like at attend the Mid-South Reading & Writing Conference may do so with the central office paying for your registration. If you would like to attend:
  1. Fill out a professional leave form (We have done this for a number of years even if it's not during school time. It gives proof that you are on official school business. In addition, this procedure will help us keep a tally of how many teachers are signing up.
  2. Register on your own and pay your registration.The registration form is here.
  3. After the conference, complete a travel form. Attach receipts for your registration and complete the mileage section. You will be reimbursed for your expenses. (We are having teachers register and then get reimbursed because of the number of cases in the past where a teacher has registered for a workshop, the school system has paid that registration, and then the teacher did not attend.) The travel form is one of the "Downloadable Documents."
  4. After the workshop, go on PDWeb and enter the workshop as a new training request. Your principal would then approve it.

Salter Employees Tip Their Hats to Dr. Seuss and Reading!



As you enter Salter Elementary, you are warmly greeted with a beautiful bulletin board honoring Dr. Seuss and all employees of the school. Jenni Griffin cleverly found a way to promote reading, recognize administration, faculty, and staff, AND make the school a happier place to be.

On the display, all employees had a hat which listed their favorite book. The principal, Mr. Cobb's favorite...Junie B. Jones and the Yucky, Blucky Fruitcake. I wonder how many students will be checking this book out!



As students walk by, they naturally read whatever is in sight. The message on the board is clear, books are important to every adult at the school and should be important to students. I bet the books listed on the board may even stand a better chance of being read because some grownup has given their stamp of approval.

It is great to see everyone at Salter working together and taking opportunities, like Dr. Seuss' birthday, to motivate children to read!

A Surprise for YOU!

Ever wish you could show a video about a topic you were covering, but didn’t have time to search? Thanks to Rhonda Nunn, first grade teacher at Young, you can go to one location, Discovery Learning, Unitedstreaming! Mrs. Nunn shared this site with the central office and it was discovered that all teachers have free access. All you need is a code to establish an account.

This site gives access to more than 4,500 standards-based video titles, offers 50,000 chaptered video segments, thousands of images, complimentary professional development resources, supplemental instructor guides, articles, songs, sound effects, speeches, quizzes, events, lesson plans, and clip art.

All subject matter materials are correlated to national standards. The site will especially be useful if you have your computer connected to the TV, use an LCD projector or smart board. When putting this site to the test the topic “planets” was entered in the search line and 204 hits appeared! Another helpful tool is that the material is labeled by grade level making the selection process easier.

To take advantage of this teacher-dream site, follow these simple directions:
1. Get code from your principal or librarian.
2. Go to http://www.unitedstreaming.com/
3. On right side of screen, locate new user and put in code.
4. When you enter the code, you will be allowed to create a username and password.
5. You are going to LOVE it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Don't Forget Your Item Specifications!

What are the item specifications?
The item specs are practice items for the ARMT using the exact format, including open ended items.

How do I get there?
On right side of this screen, click "Downloadable Documents."
Click "Curriculum."
Select "ARMT Item Specifications."
Find your grade and subject area.
Download and copy.
If you are asked for a password, simply click "Cancel."


Why use item specs?
By using the format of the ARMT tests, students will be better prepared. The items were created by the State Department to serve as a tool just for you!

High School Heroes

Mary Paramore is a retired English teacher who taught for many years at Enterprise High School. From time to time, her editorials have been published in the Birmingham News. I have always thought the depth of her thought and expertise with the written word to be true credits to the teaching profession. Of all that she has written, probably nothing is as touching as the editorial from this past Sunday's Birmingham News. She begins as follows:

More than 2,000 years ago, Plato recorded for posterity these words spoken by his teacher Socrates: "a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong - acting the part of a good man or of a bad.

Those words give definition for all time to the greatness of soul which lies within the good man and woman. On the first day of March 2007, the teachers, administrators and students of Enterprise High School performed acts which illustrate for all time that they, too, are the possessors of that greatness of soul.

The read the article in its entirety, click here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Calendar for 2007-2008

The Board approved the proposed calendar for the coming school year at last night's meeting. You may view the calendar, save it, and/or print it by going here.

You will also see dates for grading periods, report cards, and kindergarten registration there as well.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Three Letters from Teddy

If you have never read the story of "Three Letters of Teddy," it's a great one in terms of illustrating the difference a single teacher can make in the life of a child. Thanks to Dr. Riley for sending this link to a video presentation of the story of Teddy Stoddard and Mrs. Thompson, the teacher who changed his life.

Data Meetings Can be Fun!

Smiling faces, collaborating, planning, sharing, dreaming, and supporting are all words that come to mind when describing a recently observed data meeting at Graham Elementary School. Reading coach, Jody Parker, Principal Melissa Dyer, and teachers from 2nd and 3rd grade accomplished plenty in the two hour session.


For school improvement to occur, the classroom teachers must be involved. Data meetings help make this happen! Looking at data, such as the Balanced Scorecard and Dibels mid-semester scores alone does little to generate discussion, but reviewing between consecutive grades offers an opportunity for open communication about weaknesses and provides time for teachers to brainstorm about remedying gaps in learning. No one understands better a teacher's frustration from a student not progressing than a colleague, especially one who has previously taught the child.

Testing time adds stress to an already full plate, but discussing tools, such as Alabama Coach Reading and Math, during the data meetings allows teachers to share how they are using the materials and if they aren't, what they can do to start. There is strength in numbers and the beauty of the teaching profession is that it a team effort. This effort was apparent in this Graham bunch.



Just as children like a small group setting, data meetings offer time for teachers to voice concerns or ideas that they might not be willing to share in a large faculty meeting. As new materials were discussed such as Read Naturally and Comprehension Toolkits, teachers had an opportunity to learn about their co-workers implementation plans. This congenial group listened and learned from each other.



Not only was data discussed, but this time frame offered an opportunity to talk about Accelerated Reader testing and trips, Young Author's Day, and reflect on a recent author visit. These types of activities keep the school alive and the students interested. Plus, these fun happenings provide a whole lot of learning!

A walkthrough of the school probably would not have revealed as much as this data meeting. I'm glad ARI Principal Coach Tricia Corbett and the Alabama State Department made the suggestion.

Everyone at Hal Celebrates Read Across America!


The saying "One for all and all for one" fits Hal Henderson to a T, especially when it comes to celebrating! Throughout the school one could spot teachers, support staff, and even the administrator decked out in honor of Read Across America and Dr. Seuss' birthday.


Individual classrooms had activities planned around Dr. Seuss books. The librarian, Susan Haney made sure plenty of these famous books were available to teachers. T-shirts were ordered and personalized with the school's name.

The lunchroom staff welcomed students to a breakfast featuring GREEN EGGS AND HAM and some were even brave enough to give it a try.

Read Across America and Dr. Seuss' birthday are wonderful things to celebrate, but more importantly, when a school faculty and staff share a common bond and work together to reach goals for student improvement, which is evidenced at Hal Henderson, that's real cause for CELEBRATION!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Henderson's March Supper Club Huge Success




















Hal Henderson met on Tuesday, March 6, 2007, at Stampede Steakhouse for their second Supper Club celebration. This month our numbers grew to 70 people in attendance. We were very pleased to have approximately 12-15 parents join our celebration. 24 students were nominated and all but four faculty and staff members were present as well. The Supper Club started in February at Parigi's and we are looking forward to next month. We truly appreciate Parigi's and Stampede hosting this special event. We are also thankful for the community support provided in our effort to motivate our students; involve parents; and recognize improvement in student behavior, academics, and attitude.








Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Faye Gibbons Visits Graham







Faye Gibbons visited Graham students to share a few of her books about what life was like growing up in the mountains of North Georgia.
Mrs. Gibbons grew up in the Georgia Mountains hearing stories told by family members. They were very poor with no running water, no electricity, and no television. She started to school when she was nine years old. This was when she discovered a world of new stories in books.





Today she makes up her own stories to entertain young readers. Most are based on her real life experiences. She dreamed of getting an education and moving far away from the Georgia Mountains to interesting and exciting places. Her stories reflect her belief in the importance of family and the power of dreams. These are only a few of the books based on the stories she heard during her childhood.


Mrs. Gibbons talked to the students about the effect reading has had on her life and where her dreams have taken her. She also took them through the steps of getting a book published. The students will now begin writing their own books. They will go through all the steps of writing, editing, rewriting, and publishing before our Young Author's Day on May 7th, when we will have a Catfish Dinner and Open House to share our books with parents and grandparents.

Graham Elementary Celebrates with Dr. Seuss

Graham Elementary celebrated Dr. Seuss' Read Across America by having a Round-Robin-Read-A-Thon. Teachers dressed as the "Cat in the Hat", one of Dr. Seuss' main characters.

Judge Hank Fannin brought his fiddle and engaged the students in a reading sing-a-long.



Mrs. Yvonne Lewis, a parent of one of our kindergarten students, presented a dramatic reading activity with one of Dr. Seuss' books.


Andrea Montgomery had children at Graham for over 20 years. She presented her book to the students in sign language.

Fourth graders enjoy the book Hunches and Bunches by Dr. Seuss read by Principal Melissa Dyer.

After the read-a-thon, each classroom continued this day with their own special reading activities. Graham PTO also provided refreshments to the whole school which was the "icing on the cake" to Dr. Seuss 2007.



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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Birmingham News article on our blogs

Friday's issue of the Birmingham News carried a very nice article about our use of blogs on the Talladega City Schools. The article can also be viewed online here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Montevallo Inservice Region- Strong Interest in National Board Certification


The University of Montevallo Inservice Region teachers are very interested in the National Board Certification Process! A large group gathered on campus February 28th to discuss how the process works and learn about funding sources to help with the costs.


In this open forum style meeting, the participants shared what they knew about National Board Certification and the Alabama State Department grant. They discovered some new information such as the National Board Ongoing Learning Group, established by the inservice center, to support candidates during the process. Members of this group receive mentors, a day of professional leave to work on the portfolio, monthly meetings, and a National Board Certification Workbook. The best thing about this group is the collaboration and support among the candidates and mentors.
It is not too late to begin working on the Alabama State Department Grant.
You can download the application by visiting:
The deadline to apply for the grant is March 12.
If you are applying for the grant and would like to have a reader for the "Five Core Proposition" Essay, I will be happy to help. Please email by attachment to pthomas1628@charter.net.

If teachers want to pay for the process for the school year 2007-2008, they would do the following:

A fee of $65.00 is due upon registering.

If paying a lump sum, the payment of $2,500 is due by January 31, 2008.

If using the extended payment plan, candidates may make payments until March 15, 2007, which is the due date for the total amount.

To receive more information about National Board Certification, visit http://www.nbpts.org/ or call 1-800-22-TEACH.

Early Dismissal Due to Weather

Talladega City Schools will dismiss early today due to the threat of severe weather.

Please note the following dismissal schedule:

All Elementary schools will dismiss at 12:00 pm.

Talladega High School will dismiss at 12:30 pm.

Ellis Junior High will dismiss at 12:45 pm.

Thanks for checking the blog for this information!