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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Multimedia Tech Camp--July 10-13

Only 11 seats remain in the Multimedia Tech Camp. Janet Taylor will be teaching this totally hands-on workshop in the Career Tech Building at THS. Those who attended last year will agree this was good training that they could apply in their classrooms as well as projects in their personal lives. The workshop provides 21 hours of professional development credit.

To register, go to PDWeb and search for MultiMedia Tech Camp.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION AT HAL HENDERSON






















Kindergarten registration is underway and going well. We were very excited about Allison Edwards and Brenda Stockdale of Eastside Headstart bringing six sweet children to tour Hal Henderson and meet the kindergarten teachers. The children were well behaved and seemed very excited to be coming to our school in the Fall. Mrs. Kemp and Mrs. Bishop are assisting with kindergarten registration. Packets are given to parents that include a registration form, media release form, home language survey, health history form, school parent compact, Hal Henderson brochure, and Kindergarten Readiness information for parents.
On April 19, 2007, Westside Headstart came for a visit and tour. We were very proud to see approximately twelve parents and children on that day. Mrs. Sims, Reading Specialist, met with the parents and students giving them information regarding our school and readiness activities to for home. The same packets were given out on this day as well.
The transition from Headstart to Kindergarten is an exciting and scary moment for five and six year olds. Parents are usually both excited and sad for their "little ones".

Professional Development from Your Computer

The school system has purchased a professional development package for elementary and middle school teachers (high school to come as funds are available). This package will allow you to take professional development courses via the internet either at school or at home. For the most part, the courses relate to learning the more common software packages, such as PowerPoint, Word, and Excel.

Click on this link to download an information sheet. This sheet tells you how to log in. It also shows you what courses are available. To enroll in a course, simply print the sheet, select your course, and send the form to John Locklin. He will enroll you in the course. Once that happens, when you log in, you will see your course. You can take more than one at one time, but you may want to start with one so that you do not overwhelm yourself.

We wanted to get this opportunity up and going before school let out for the summer so tat you would have this program.

You will receive professional development credit for the courses you take. In the fall, once you have had an opportunity to complete some coursework, I will give you instructions on how to get what you do here to appear on your PDWeb training history.

District SACS Accreditation

Probably all of us have at one time or another have participated in a SACS accreditation. We may have done so as a teacher, parent, student, or combinations of each. All Talladega City Schools are accredited, which should serve as a point of pride for our school system. The fact that we are all accredited opens for us an opportunity which has only existed since 2002. That opportunity is “District SACS Accreditation.” The first three districts (Fulton County, GA; Cobb County, GA; and Volusia County, FL) achieved this goal in 2004. An additional 15 school district accreditation status in 2005, and another 57 earned theirs in 2006.

As of the beginning of this school year, only two Alabama school systems had achieved District SACS Accreditation. They are Russell County and Alexander City. A total of 28, however, were at some point in the process. Talladega City Schools was among those 28.

District Accreditation means that rather than each school hosting a SACS review team every five years, the school district hosts a visit every five years. Rather than every school compiling documents, the school district compiles one document. The process is designed to cut paperwork, cut expense, and transform a system of schools into a true school system.

We will host the District SACS Accreditation visit from February 24-27, 2008. The team will spend a great deal of time talking to various groups of people about our vision, our plans, where we are strong, and where we would like to be better. From what they see and hear from us and our written documentation, they will be looking for three things:

  • Do we meet the seven SACS Standards?
  • Do we have a plan for continuous school improvement?
  • Do we, as a school system, have a method of monitoring ourselves to insure that we are following our plan, continually updating that plan, and moving in a direction of quality education for all stakeholders?

As we prepare for our SACS visit, we want and need the input of many people. The first such area is helping identify examples of how we meet each of the seven standards. Each of us will see things and think of things which others miss.

If you click on this link, it will take you to a document showing you the seven standards and their indicators. (If you are asked for a password, simply click "Cancel.") We need your input on what evidence you see that we meet those indicators. As you have input, simply add a comment right on this blog post. Over the course of the next few months, we will focus more on one standard or another. The end result will be a narrative in which we have all played a part.

We already have a plan for continuous school improvement. Each school has a School Improvement Plan, and the school system has an LEA Improvement Plan. As we update these plans, we will be keeping in mind that these are the documents we will be presenting to our visiting team.

You will see posts regularly between now and our visit asking for your input and giving you information as we proceed together on this journey.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Graduation- Almost Here!


Graduation is almost here for many seniors at Talladega High School! This exciting, yet formal ceremony will be held at Mary Dumas Stadium on Cedar Street beginning at 7:00 pm on May 24.

The guest speaker will be Kim Oliver, 2006 National Teacher of the Year. She is an early-career teacher with six years of experience. Ms. Oliver has a Master of Education Degree and is National Board Certified. She was introduced recently to the nation by President George W. Bush at a ceremony at the White House after being named the 2006 National Teacher of the Year. This milestone for Ms. Oliver is also one for Maryland as she is the first Maryland Teacher of the Year in the history of the state’s participation in the program to attain this title.

Talladega City Schools and THS are proud of their seniors and look forward to helping them celebrate this joyous occasion. Mark your calendars and join us!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Through the Wind and Rain…The Sun Shines



Below are excerpts from the book entitled Through the Wind and Rain…The Sun Shines written by Joy Bittle’s first grade students at Raymond L. Young, after the tornado killed 8 high school students at Enterprise High School.

“I am sorry a tornado killed people in the high school. I know you are sad, too. And also I am glad nobody else got killed. I am very sorry.” Erika Wilson

“I hope you fill better and I hope you have a good time at your new school. I am sorry that your old school got torn down by a tornado. Sorry.” Love, Riley

Often when tragedy occurs, it is easy to believe that it does not affect children like it does adults. Take the Enterprise High School disaster, for example. Children hear adults talking, view it online, get the facts from radio, or catch the news on television. It is almost impossible for a child to escape this type of news.

In education, teachers can use such events as an opportunity for children to express their feelings, do a kind deed, and learn to appreciate the gifts they have each day. It is an opportunity to sharpen the writing skills of even the youngest authors, too..

How can teachers orchestrate such a feat? First, allow students to talk openly about the event. Have them think about what they would say if they could see the victims’ families or the people involved. Give students the freedom to put those thoughts on paper and concentrate on what they want to say, not the spelling or punctuation. Those tasks will soon follow. To begin polishing the writing, have students first proof their own work, assign student partners to look for errors, and lastly have students share their writing with the teacher. Of course, the artwork is like icing on the cake. It brings the writing to life.

If you think back to your own days in school, the memories are probably of activities such as this, creating a keepsake that made you a better writer, but also that brought smiles to the faces of those in need.

I know the Enterprise High School faculty, staff, and students will appreciate the efforts of this talented group. Great idea, Mrs. Bittle and first grade children!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lee v. Macon Credit has been awarded

If you are a first-year teacher or new to Alabama and had to complete the Lee v. Macon questions, I have awarded 3 hours of professional development credit to you. (That's the standard the State Dept. instructs us to give.) When you go to PDWeb, you will see that listed in your training history.

If you receive anything in your e-mail telling you that you are enrolled in a workshop on Lee v. Macon, simply ignore it. That was just part of the mechanics of getting that credit into your record.

"Multimedia Tech Camp" Offered this summer

Janet Taylor will be presenting this outstanding workshop. If you talk to those who attended last year, I think you will find it was well worth their time and that they came away with skills they could use.

The workshop will run for 3 1/2 days beginning July 10 and running through Jul y 13. It will be held in Mr. Hale's room in the Career Tech building at Talladega High School.
During the camp, you will be working with digital cameras, movie clips, and computers to create multimedia presentations. You will learn how to use ceate lessons including digital storytelling, instructional videos, commercials, and much more. You will learn how to use Photo Story 3 and Movie Maker together to create a final product that will "wow" your audience... specifically your students. You will learn picture and video editing along with tips & tricks to enhance aesthetics-Presentation skills will be discussed, demonstrated and examined. Participants will also make a presentation to the class.

We are offering stipends of $115 per day for the workshop.

For an example of what you will learn to do at this workshop, go to the page of Downloadable Documents and download "Faces of Talladega."

To sign up, go to PDWeb. The PDTitle Number is UMTim and the title is "Multimedia Tech Camp." Space is limited to 20.

Field Trip Request Form

The paperwork involved in taking a field trip just got easier.

I have added a Field Trip Request Form to the other downloadable documents. Once you have used this once, you won't go back to the pencil and paper method. Here is what you need to know:

To this point, when you have taken a field trip, you have generated four documents:
  1. Field Trip Transportation Report Form (where you request the bus)
  2. Field Trip Request Form (where you show how your trip relates to the curriculum)
  3. Leave Request (where you request professional leave to take the field trip)
  4. Field Trip Parental Permission Form (the permission form you duplicate and send home with the student)

As of yesterday, the "Field Trip Request Form" no longer exists. You will no longer have to turn it in. That brings the number of forms down to three.

Downloadable Field Trip Form
  1. You will notice that when you download this document, all three forms you need are there, one right after the other.
  2. The second thing to notice is that the document was created as a Microsoft Word "form," which means it's only going to let you type in the gray blanks.
  3. You will move from one blank to the next by simply hitting "Tab."
  4. Now for the best part: As you fill in information on the first page, that information is automatically entered anywhere else it is needed. You will have very little to enter on the other two forms. Hit "Print" and all three pages come out.
You can always get to this form by going to the Downloadable Documents. You can also download the form and save it to you computer if you wish.

Monday, April 09, 2007

For Math Teachers

This post would be of interest to math teachers beginning in 5th grade and going through high school algebra and geometry. This link will take you to a page of PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets that I think you will find helpful. They were composed by Karen Ferrell, math teacher at Northwest High School in the Northwest Independent School District (Texas).

The page includes a short description of each item. You can download any or all of them to your computer. The ones I thought would be especially useful were:
  • Plotting Points-Fill in a chart with "x" and "y" values and watch the points automatically plot themselves.
  • Graphing Equations-Much like the one above, plot points and watch the parabola materialize.
  • Quadrilateral Predications-As soon as students know the basic geometric shapes up through parallelogram and rhombus, they will enjoy this.
  • Jeopardy Game-This one can be used by any teacher, any grade level, any subject. I would first save this one as a template. You can them create a jeopardy game by editing the slides with names of categories, questions, and answers. You can save that game and use it every year. By saving your original template, you can create a new game for every unit. Great to use to review for tests.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Calendar for 2007-2008

You may download the calendar for the upcoming school year from here. You may also click on the link at the right labeled "School System Calendar." That calendar has been updated with dates for 2007-2008.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Talladega City Schools Grant Application

An electronic copy of the Talladega City Schools Foundation application can be downloaded from here. The deadline for submitting applications is 10:00 A.M. on April 25.

Nominations for State Committees

The Alabama State Department of Education needs input regarding the nomination of teachers to serve on the AAA standards committee, Alabama Science Assessments alignment study committee, and Alabama Science Assessments standards setting committee. The standards setting committee will meet for 3 days in June, the alignment study committee will meet for 2 days in early August, and the standards setting commitee will meet for 3 days in June 2008.

Our school system can nominate one teacher from each of the following areas:
AAA Committee
  • Elementary special ed. teacher of students with significant cognitive disabilities
  • Elementary regular ed. reading teacher
  • Elementary regular ed. math teacher
  • Middle school special ed. teacher of students with significant cognitive disabilities
    Middle school regular ed. reading teacher
    Middle school regular ed. math teacher
  • High school special ed. teacher of students with significant cognitive disabilities
  • High school regular ed. reading teacher
  • High school regular ed. math teacher

Alabama Science Assessments
  • 5th grade science teacher
  • 5th grade special ed. teacher (science)
  • 7th grade science teacher
  • 7th grade special ed. teacher (science)
If you are interested in being considered for one of these committees, e-mail me (buck@talladega-cs.net), and let me know which committee you are interested in and which position you would hold. The deadline to get nominations to me is April 12.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mrs. Barksdale's Class enjoyed a visit from "Conrad" the Boa Constrictor




Mrs. Barksdale's class experienced a real treat on Friday, March 30. After reading about Boa Constrictors in a fluency passage, Mrs. Laros arranged for her husband, Shane, to bring one of their family pets to school. Conrad, a Dumerils Boa, brought the reading passage to life. Following reasearch on the internet, the children prepared interview questions for the special visitor. Each child had a chance to touch and pet Conrad. The beautiful brown and cream colored reptile did not seem to mind at all!!!! Actually, he enjoyed his day out of the aquarium. Conrad slowly twined himself around Mr. Laros' arm as if it were a tree in the rain forest. What a great experience for the childen to be that close to a boa constrictor! Way to go ---- our little brave first graders!