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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Multimedia Tech Camp--Only 2 seats left!

Only 2 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."

Workshop for social studies teachers

An "Educator’s Open House" for Social Studies teachers being conducted by the Alabama Archives and History Dept. For information, go here. To register, go here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Status on PDWeb

Over the last few days, PDWeb has not been functioning consistently. I talked with the one of the people in Montgomery who actually lays hands on the server, and he explained the problem and anticipated fix. Long story short, do not depend on it being up today.

Next week, you should be able to get in and register for workshops, etc. If you were doing a PDP online, you can key that in from home next week, and it will be available for your principal to view online if he or she is reviewing those during the summer.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Author's Day at Graham Elementary

Students at Graham Elementary School enjoyed being authors and illustrators again this year. PTO purchased a bare book for each child. Students wrote on various topics, such as a zoo trip or describing themselves using each letter of the alphabet.

There were narratives of all kinds and even poetry books. This six-week long event culminated with Author's Day on May 21, 2007.

Students were given the opportunity to read books written by authors from other classrooms. Teachers displayed the books in the lunchroom and parents came to read the books that night. Parents purchased deli sandwiches and enjoyed a picnic on the back playground as well.

Story provided by Ruth Hollingsworth, fourth grade teacher

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blood Drive at R. L. Young

Just a reminder that R.L. Young Elementary will be hosting a blood drive for Matthew Bittle, stepson of Joy Bittle on Friday, May 25th from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm. in the auditorium.

What Makes Writers?

There are many components that are involved in creating children who love to write. These components were spotted recently at Northside Hal Henderson's Young Authors' Day.
A school must have teachers who believe all children are writers, even in kindergarten. These teachers must model writing and stress its importance.

Students must believe they are writers and be willing to roll up their sleeves and produce work in which they are proud to share with others.
Parents must be willing to participate in celebrations of young writers, such as the Young Authors' Day.

Everyone in the school must recognize that what they do makes a difference in the way students view themselves. School is important, writing is important, and they are important.

When all the components are in place, students begin to understand that writing and reading go hand in hand. The better a writer you are, the better a reader you will become. Congratulations to all Hal Henderson teachers, staff, students, parents!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mystery Woman Clues

Facts to Know

1. She has taught early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school age students.

2. She has served as an educational consultant for three publishing companies.

3. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

4. She is on the faculty of Winthrop University.

5. She believes achievement is more than a test score.

6. She is a huge believer in teachers.


United Streaming Video

Back in March, you probably read this post on United Streaming Video. With summer approaching, some of you may want to explore that site and identify videos that you wld like to use with your classes, either in whole or in part, next year.

Not only is the site free, but you can organize videos for re-use. You could go about this a couple of way:

Organize videos by topic
  1. When you login, click the link at the top which says "My Content."
  2. Think about how you would organize materials in a metal filing cabinet. You will want to apply the same organizational system here.
  3. Click on "Add Folder" and enter a title. That title might be the name of a course you teach.
  4. You can create folders within a folder. To do this, click on the name of the folder. It will open. You may then click "Add Folder."
  5. The "Add Content" button will allow you to search video clips and add them to the folders you have created.

Organize videos by months
If you have a good idea of what topics you will cover during each month of the year, you may wish to organize your videos accordingly.
  1. Follow the steps above to create folders each with the name of a different month.
  2. Inside each folder, you can create sub folders. You may label them with the subject name, unit name, or any other naming scheme you wish.
  3. You may then open a sub folder and begin to add content.

The idea behind saving items in the "My Content" folder is that you never have to search for them again. Once placed in your organizational system, they are there for you to use year after year.

Supporting Our Own

One of the perks of being in a small district is that we have the opportunity to know and support each other through hard times. Talladega City Schools is blessed with a dynamic teacher of 23 years, Mrs. Joy Bittle. Her stepson, Matthew, has been diagnosed with meningococcal, a bacterial disease that can often lead to blindness, loss of hearing, brain damage, or even death. Although he is improving, there is still a need for blood.

Joy is known throughout the district for her sense of humor, devotion to children, and her generosity to others. Now you have an opportunity to help Joy and Matthew Bittle by participating in an honorary blood drive on May 25th, at 3:30 pm outside Raymond L. Young.

So roll up your sleeve and help a colleague.

Monday, May 21, 2007

PDWeb (STIPD) possible down times

This just received from Montgomery:

STIPD is currently being modified to improve functionality. During the next 48 hours you may experience brief periods when you will be unable to log in. If a blank page is displayed please try again later. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Gerry L. Moses
Education Specialist
Alabama Department of Education
Technology Initiatives Section
P O Box 302101
5351 Gordon Persons Building
Montgomery, AL 36130-2101

Phone: 334-242-9594
Fax: 334-353-5886

Jenice Riley Memorial Scholarship

The Jenice Riley Memorial Scholarship is offered to several elementary teachers each year as a means to enhance their teaching and help students learn the importance of civic responsibility and citizenship.

This $1,000 Scholarship is named and given in honor of Jenice Riley, the late daughter of Governor Bob and Patsy Riley, whose kind heart and enthusiasm for teaching is a model for all Alabama classrooms.

Scholarship recipients will be honored at the Alabama Humanities Awards Luncheon in September 2007. Application deadline has been extended to June 1. For an application and additional information, click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fun in the Sun Across the District

Celebrating is an important part of the end of a school year. Across the district, schools took advantage of the sunshine to have a little fun with their students after the completion of testing by means of various types of field days.
Interesting types of activities were seen from school to school in the system such as this scooter ride. Looks like fun for someone young at R. L. Young!

Are you brave enough for this activity?

Central Office Staff visited and some even joined in the fun.

Don't worry, Dr. Buck was not permanently stuck to the velcro wall.

Field Days could not occur without the cooperation and participation of teachers, volunteers, such as retired teacher Joanne Duncan, and parents who give their time, donations, and talents so that students can have a much deserved day of fun. Mr. Berry, a teacher at Hal Henderson, bravely manned the dunking booth and brought in lots of funds! That's dedication for sure...

Everyone pitched in to make a fun day for all!

Ellis students, teachers, and administrators met at the baseball field for a 7th/8th grade ballgame. I wonder who won?

Many schools even had a special shirt to wear for the event, such a the ones these Houston teachers are wearing.

As you will notice, the fun was not limited to just the children! Central Office staff members, teachers, staff, retired employees, parents, and administrators even joined in...

Mr. Cobb, principal at Salter, is always a good sport.

Look at the smiles on the faces of everyone.

Even with the excitement, students were on their best behavior.
These guys need to ask Dr. Buck how to work these velcro coats that will allow you to stick to the wall!

Field Day is much more fun with refreshments! Parents and community businesses, such as Pepsi, donated to help with the costs.

Talladega High and Ellis Junior High students lended a hand in making the day fun at Hal Henderson. Elementary children look up to upperclassmen and these young teens are good role models!

This was certainly a memory-making day in the Talladega City School District for everyone!

Tiny Seeds and Plans for the Future

When children are young, tiny seeds are planted which helps them blossom into productive citizens. Kindergarten teachers are responsible for the planting of many of those seeds and beginning the educational process. These teachers often have children in their classrooms who have never been in a structured situation. Yet many leave in May with reading and math skills firmly planted. The rewards are plenty due to the effort of these brave teachers!

Not only do they instruct, kindergarten teachers help children see that school is a fun place to be! They set the tone for their educational future. This might look like play, but kindergarten is serious business in schools today. The curriculum is no longer just learning letters, numbers, and sounds, but is now chocked full of skills that set the foundation to which all other teachers must build.

For example, during the past two weeks, kindergarteners at R. L. Young have been learning about Community Helpers. Community Helpers are very important people. Saluting these helpers allows children to understand that a city does not run by itself.

This study also fosters the belief that when they grow up, they will have very important jobs. Check out Mrs. Lamberth's class, they already know what they want to be when they grow up! Can you guess their occupations?

Our district is blessed with strong kindergarten teachers that make a difference for students. It takes much patience and skill to help children adjust to "big school" and all the rules, procedures, and things to learn. We appreciate their efforts!

Take a good look, for these are our next community workers. And thank a kindergarten teacher for the seeds they plant every day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Graham's AR Field Trip

Our AR Field Trip Was FUN!!!

Students read books, took tests, and earned points. With 75 points, a student earned a trip to the Playstation Amusement Park in Trussville, as a reward for a year of independent reading. Our Accelerated Reader program got off to a slow start this year because of a switch from a site-based program to a web-based program. The 100 point club turned into the 75 point club.
Eighty-six students in grades first through sixth, earned a field trip to spend the day riding go-carts, skating, playing lazer-tag, putt-putt, and arcade games.

The teachers had a great time, too!

All agreed, this may need to become an annual event. THANKS to our PTO for footing the bill!

Special Olympics-TCS Well Represented

State Special Olympic Summer Games were held May 11-13, this past weekend at Troy University. Talladega City Schools Athletes competed against over 1,200 athletes from schools from all over the State of Alabama.

The following athletes brought home medals:

Softball Throw

Nikki - 2nd place – silver medal

Marquis – 1st place – gold medal

Devan – 1st place – gold medal

Holli – 1st place – gold medal

100 Meter Dash

Marquis – 1st place – gold medal

Nikki – 4th place Standing

Long Jump
Ebone’ – 1st place – gold medal

100 Meter Race Walk

Ebone’ – 1st place – gold medal

Devan – 2nd place – silver medal

Holli P – 3rd place – bronze medal
Thanks to all students and adults for representing Talladega City Schools in style. We are proud of you!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Let's keep the Public in Public Education

The term “public” must remain in the American tradition of public education. This nation has expected and has enjoyed a successful tradition in public education. Yet, we must always strive to improve the state of public education and to ameliorate any of its shortcomings.

We are a diverse nation, a diverse county, and a diverse region. There should not be any standard that “one size fits all”. There is strength in diversity. With diversity, comes the need for adaptation and change. A wise person once said that the only institution unresponsive to change is the cemetery.

The question arises as to what change should occur and by what process it should be attempted. Furthermore, as change occurs, or is proposed, one must have a clear understanding of where we are and where we want to be. We all reminisce about the “good ole days” but from what vantage point? Too often educational change is governed by short term fixes and political convenience without regard to the authentic facts. For example, we read where the drop out rate in many of our schools is ten or twenty percent. Anything above zero percent is too high; however, the average dropout rate for the last century was over fifty percent. More children are currently enrolled with greater diversities than ever before. Historically, if the child never came to school or never attended above the sixth grade, he or she was never considered a drop out.

Our graduation rates are compared to other developed nations without much consideration to who can go to high school. Some countries require admission tests to enter high school. We allow anyone, and rightfully so, who can get in the door to attend and have the opportunity to achieve a diploma. Currently, Alabama has some of the highest standards for graduation in the country.

Some say that college admission scores and student achievement scores have fallen. Yet little is said about the larger percentage of students with greater demographic multiplicity taking these examinations. Research has shown that test scores have not decreased when corrected for demographic variance. Many of our disabled students did not have the opportunity to attend school as they do now. Under No Child Left Behind, they will be measured by the same standard as all other students. No longer do schools have the ability to determine who takes the test. All must be accounted for and scores properly reported.

An ad appeared in a London newspaper in 1900 for an expedition to the Antarctic. It read,” men wanted for hazardous journey, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, and safe return doubtful”. More than enough people signed on for the adventure. We are having greater difficulty in obtaining a sufficient number of highly qualified teachers for our classrooms. Seasoned teachers and administrators know that teaching is not an easy job but are dedicated to providing the best for our children. Yet, legal quagmires often prevent us from getting the most competent candidates and seriously limit our ability to remove those that are less qualified. Our current tenure laws do not allow boards of education to make the best decisions for the children they are charged to educate. Yes, there does need to be some oversight on major decisions but not to the extreme of taking months to handle simple disciplinary issues or weeks to affect the transfer of a staff member to better serve our students and to correct for demographic variations in school populations.

This region is ripe for progress. Being located between Birmingham, Atlanta, Huntsville, and Montgomery, we are at a geographic advantage. Additionally, we have some nationally and historically recognized institutions in this area such as AIDB and Talladega College. A fine Community College system including CACC and the easy access to major four year institutions allow for the efficient training of our population. The presence of Honda and the Talladega Superspeedway provide additional economic advantages plus name recognition for the Talladega region. Railroads and water resources enhance our situation.

The remaining job is to structure our public educational institutions to continue to meet the needs of the future. A famous hockey player was asked how he managed to do so well at his game. His response was, “most players skate to where the puck is, I skate to where it is going to be.

Working together, we can continue to mold public educational institutions as we “skate to where the puck is going to be”.


Monday, May 14, 2007

We had added a link which will take you straight to the "HowtoMaster" site. Presently, all elementary and junior high teachers can access this site, and we are looking into adding additional accounts so that THS may use it also.

These last two weeks of school are hectic for everyone. When things slow down and you are able to take on things that will be of lasting value, this particular site is a good candidate.

John Porter, recently-appointed superintendent for the Oklahoma City Schools, said, "There's not enough time in the day: Our enemy is time, and technology is the only way [to combat that]."

With this website, you have the capability to learn Word, Excel, or PowerPoint at your own pace and from any computer that has an internet connection. By using the opportunities at our fingertips, we can use technology to turn time into a friend.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Workshops at AETC

If you are going to the Alabama Educational Technology Conference (AETC), I will be presenting three workshops there, and invite any of our teachers to attend:

  • Turning Outlook into a Lean, Mean, Productivity Machine—Outlook is a powerful, yet underutilized, tool which is already available to most of us. We will examine the capabilities of Outlook to serve as your calendar and to-do list. An important element of the session is how Outlook will synchronize with many types of SmartPhones, allowing you to have your calendar, a very complete address book, all of your outstanding tasks, and a wealth of resource information all on your phone. (June 13, 11:00, East Hall Room I/J)
  • Your Own Blog in 10 Minutes of Less—Participants will see how to compose a blog from scratch. You will learn not only how to compose posts, but how to include links in posts, include pictures, and invite other people to be member of your blog. We will also examine several blogs already in existence that you can use as examples as you create your own. (June 14, 9:15, East Hall Room N)
  • It’s About Time for Technology—This workshop focuses on organizational and time management practices that utilize the computer. We examine how to organize files, backup the computer easily, improve our use of e-mail, and expand your use of Google. (June 14, 12:30, East Hall Room N)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Hoops, Hops, and Hearts!

Heart disease is the # 1 killer; stroke is the #3 killer, and a leading cause of serious disability. Overweight and diabetes are increasing at an alarming rate among our nation's youth. More than 9 million children are overweight and 23 percent get no exercise. In Talladega City Schools, two of our employees have been involved for many years in an annual event to help children serve the community and learn about fitness, too.

Janice Rigdon (Adaptive Physical Education teacher) and Cheryl Ford (District Test Coordinator and counselor for Graham School) coordinate "Jumprope for Heart and Hoops for Heart", an annual event that benefits the American Heart Association. This year fifty-three students in
grades 3-6 participated and will make a difference in Talladega County. Each year students manage to raise around $1,000, but this year they exceeded their mark by raising $1,700!

Through this event, students have an opportunity to serve the community, learn about fitness, and fund lifesaving heart and stroke research and educational programs, plus they have FUN!
Each school that participates receives an educational kit that focuses on children and physical inactivity. These heart-healthy lessons extend into the classroom. The event also helps physical education standards to be met.

Grades 5th and 6th participated in "Hoops for Heart" and 3rd and 4th raised money through "Jumprope for Heart." Although these students will receive small prizes for their efforts, they are getting so much more out of the experience. They are learning that children can make the world a healthier place for everyone.