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Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Resources for Teachers

Recently elementary reading coaches and the librarians at Ellis Jr. High and THS were give several copies of professional books for each school's professional library.

Check out these book titles:
Language may be a teacher’s most powerful tool. Every day the words, phrases, tone, and pace you use have the power to help students develop self-control, build their sense of belonging, and gain skills and knowledge.

This book, by an author with more than twenty years of experience teaching children and educators, will help you recognize the influence your words have on the children you teach. It will show you how to use language more skillfully, building a classroom where students feel safe, respected, appreciated, and excited about learning. Read an adapted excerpt by visiting:


Full of practical tips, real life anecdotes, and concrete examples, this warm and thought- provoking guide includes specific suggestions about language to adopt and language to avoid.

Topics include:

using language to help children envision success
open-ended questions that stretch children’s thinking
listening and using silence skillfully
the 3 Rs of teacher language: reinforcing, reminding, and redirecting
saying what you mean and meaning what you say
giving brief, concrete instructions
offering meaningful, specific encouragement

The sensible approach this book advocates is backed by research and proven through decades of successful practice in elementary classrooms nationwide. It offers ideas beginners can try immediately and a wealth of guidance and support for those farther along in the process of changing their language.
*************************************************************************************** Remember our Institute Speaker, Dr. Barbara Blackburn? Several copies of her two books, "Classroom Motivation from A to Z" and Classroom Instruction from A to Z" are now available in each school along with a copy of the study guides for these titles.
**************************************************************************************** Attention all 2nd through 5th grade teachers!

You should be receiving a copy of REAL WORLD COMPREHENSION PRACTICE.

A description of this teaching tool: Build students' reading comprehension of real-world texts. This series features 24 reproducible examples of nonfiction texts - such as a drive-through menu board or an Internet search screen - followed by a standardized test-based practice page and a creative practice page. Ideal for year-round practice or extra lessons prior to testing. 80 pages.

Enjoy these new materials and if you have an opportunity, thank Mr. Campbell and Kay Busby when you see them. Mr. Campbell gave the approval to spend the Federal Funds and Mrs. Busby helped order the items.

"Proactive Discipline for Reactive Students"- A Book Study Invitation

THS Principal Darren Douthitt will begin facilitating a book study on September 11, 2007, using the book “Proactive Discipline for Reactive Students.”

The book “Proactive Discipline for Reactive Students” approaches classroom management from the premise that effective discipline is not doing something to a student; but it encompasses everything that takes place in the classroom. This book deals with issues associated with differentiating between typical and atypical behavior, effectively communicating in the classroom, building and maintaining self-esteem, curriculum development, classroom structure, teacher/student relationships, and implementing specific interventions designed to teach both typical and atypical students the art of self-discipline!

“Proactive Discipline for Reactive Students” is a positive (proactive) rather than a negative (reactive) approach to classroom behavior management. When students misbehave, teachers often respond with “consequences”. Consequences are only designed to deal with the immediate problem, not teach the students positive alternative ways of behaving. In this book, Dr. Johnson discusses how to move from consequences to interventions by developing a classroom for proactive discipline. When this occurs, there is a lasting impact that changes student behavior patterns for a life time.

If you are interested in the book study, email Mr. Douthitt at ddouthitt@talladega-cs.net as soon as possible. Everyone is invited to participate in this activity. A schedule of events will be provided at a later date. The tentative plan is to meet once a week for about 10 weeks. Each session will last about an hour.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Newest e-mail scam

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We all know about being careful when it comes to e-mail attachments. Most of us have learned about "phishing," schemes designed to get us to give our credit card numbers, etc. to a site which pretends to be our bank (as just one example).

This summer, the "someone has sent you a greeting card" scheme appeared, designed to get you to go to site which would download software to your computer and copy your e-mail address book.

Here is the latest one: An e-mail welcoming you to a club. The e-mail gives you a user name and password, and I link to their site. Don't click that link! For more information and to see examples, go here.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Maintenance requests

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Our system for maintenance requests is now virtually paperless. Each of us has the ability to view all work requests for the entire school system. On the right-hand side of the screen, look for a link that says "Maintenance Requests." Clicking that link will allow you to view everything.

What can you tell from? If you have informed your principal of a maintenance problem in your classroom, you can look to see if it has been reported to maintenance. If it's not there, the principal (or whoever this task has been delegated to in your building) has not entered the request. Each principal has the capability to enter maintenance requests.

You can see the date the request was submitted. You can see if the request was assigned to a particular maintenance worker and on what date. You can see if the task has been marked completed by the assignment of a date in the "Completed" column. If the task has been marked as complete, but you know it is not complete, you can report that to your principal.

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Elementary student handbook is posted

Just so that you will be aware, the elementary student handbook is posted. Parents, or anyone can access it by going to TalladegaCitySchools.blogspot.com and clicking "Downloadable Links." You can also go directly to it by clicking here.

The advantage to having the document in digital form is that you can search for whatever you are looking for electronically rather than thumbing through the book. In addition, there may be sections that you want to copy/paste into other things you give to students or enlarge and display on your wall. With a digital copy, these are easy to do.


National Board Certification- Is it Right for YOU?

Attention Talladega City Teachers!
Please join me on August 22nd at the Talladega City Board of Education at 3:30 pm. for an information session on the National Board Certification process. I will be discussing the following:

· What is National Board Certification?
· Who can participate?
· What are the requirements?
· What are the advantages of being National Board Certified?
· How can I get funding?
· How can I receive support from the University of Montevallo In-service Center?

Register today on PD web for this session.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Following the Leader

School has been in session since August 9th for students and already our new Superintendent, Dr. Joanne Horton has been spotted in every school talking with students, having lunch in the lunchroom, and talking with employees across the district.
During Institute Day for teachers, Dr. Horton shared a simple, yet powerful acrostic using the word TALLADEGA that is worth sharing again.

T eam
A chievement

L isten/Communicate
L earn

A ttitude
D ata
E xpectations
G ood to Great
A dequate Yearly Progress


Destiny in Talladega City School Libraries

Talladega City School District librarians and additional employees received several days of training to learn how to manage and implement a new media management system. Destiny Media Manager is designed to help districts make sure that students get the learning resources they need. It’s one of the first browser-based solutions that allows teachers to search for, reserve and track all sorts of instructional media, including software, videos, activity kits, manipulatives and more.

“With the growing emphasis on visual and hands-on learning, districts need to stock all sorts of instructional materials,” said Follett Software President Tom Schenck. “But to get the most out of this expensive investment, teachers need to be able to find the materials they need and get them quickly. Destiny Media Manager helps make that happen.”

“Destiny Media Manager makes it easy for teachers to find and schedule instructional media, 24/7,” said Bob Gehle, program administrator for media services at the School District of Manatee County, Fla., one of the districts that beta-tested the product. “Administrators can better manage the collection, from anywhere.” “Plus, integrating Media Manager with Library Manager and Textbook Manager streamlines our administration functions, saving us time and money,” Gehle added.

Using barcode technology, Destiny keeps track of all relevant information for every media item -- a detailed description, where it is now, when it’s due back and who needs it next. Teachers can search for curriculum-related materials from anywhere and reserve the items. Some of the best features of the Destiny program include:

  • Administrators can look at usage statistics and inventory reports to make the most informed, efficient purchasing decisions.

  • Enhance instruction, student achievement and motivation: Encourages the incorporation of media into classroom instruction, so students learn more.

  • Share resources: Destiny’s centralized system lets districts share expensive instructional materials across the district, helping stretch the media budget.

  • Easy, fast and inexpensive to implement: Destiny’s web-based technology installs at the district and is available through browser-based computers. No dedicated terminals or site-based clients to buy and install.

  • Order more efficiently: Destiny’s usage reports let business managers plan purchases and budgets more accurately, eliminating over- and under-ordering and redundant orders.

John Locklin, the Technology Coordinator for the district, has been working diligently to get this system in place in every library for the new school year. Our librarians, additional employees, and Technology Coordinator are to be commended for their willingness to learn about and implement a program that will increase the efficiency of our media centers and change things for the better.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Card catalog right in your own home

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Would you like to find out if your child's library has a particular book, and if so, whether or not it is current checked out? Would you like to find out if another school in the school system has that book? Would you like to be able to tell at a glance such information as the reading level of the book and whether or not there is an Accelerated Reader test available for it?

How would you like to be able to access all of this information from your own home?

All of this is possible through a newly-installed program available in each of our school libraries. Too access the program, click the link on the right-hand side of the screen marked "School Libraries." This link only works from within our school system. On TalladegaCitySchools, there is a similar link which work from outside the school system.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thought provoking...

Our school system's technology committee meets again this afternoon. The outcome of this committee's work is a state-required technology plan followed by a plan at each school.

Virtually all of the technology we use today started as a hair-brained idea that nobody thought would never work, and it worked anyway because people with vision and people who knew how to work out details began to talk.

This clip from TeacherTube is thought-provoking. The major message I take from it is kids are going to use technology. Our choice is whether we will be at the front of the parade helping to shape the speed at which it moves at the direction it takes, or whether we will be on the sidelines watching the parade go by.

Television won’t be able to hold onto any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.
—Darryl F. Zanuck

Head of 20th Century-Fox, 1946

This "telephone" has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.
--Western Union internal memo, 1976

The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?
-David Samoff's assocaites response to his urgins for investment in radio in the 19020s.

There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
-Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Thanks to the wonderful leadership & organizational skills that our great principal, Mrs. Laros, instilled in her faculty before the 1st day of school, the 1st day and every day thereafter (so far) has run smoothly. Mrs. Laros asked for the faculty's input on what they thought would make the 1st week of school better, some offered their suggestions (while other's slept.)

On the first day, all teachers were busy reviewing classroom procedures and giving students the opportunity to be part of setting the rules.

Mrs.Gooden showing her precious Kindergarten how to stand in a straight line.

Ms.Gaskin showing her Kindergarten how "The Magic Fairy" keeps them quiet.

Mrs.Capers explains procedures to her 1st grade "angels".

Mr.Smith discussing 4th grade expectations.

Mr.Goodwin explains to his 5th grade students that "ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!"

Mr.Berry reminds his 6th grade students, "There will be NO SLACKING!"

We are all such a happy family here at Henderson because of our "GREAT LEADER." We care & appreciate all Mrs. Laros does. This makes us the "circle" that we are.

Posted by Mrs. Cristy Davis

Uniforms- A GOOD THING

Ever have parents or students complain about school uniform? Share this site, which features a demonstration of a student not in uniform and loaded with weapons.

Click and scroll to the bottom to access this short clip:


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New BBSST form

The BBSST form has changed slightly from last year. The new form can be accessed here. You can also get there by clicking on the link to "Downloadable Documents" at the right.

If you have copies of the old forms on hand, please throw those away so that the two do not get mixed up.


Short videos of technology use in classrooms

These short videos illustrate use of technology in the classroom. You will see use of digital whiteboards, document camera, and student response systems:

Identifying Similarities and Differences in a High School History Class

Summarizing and Note-Taking in a Primary Class

Incorporating Homework and Practice in a Primary Class

Using Nonlinguistic Representations in a Middle School Class

Using Nonlinguistic Representations in a High School English Class

Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback in a H.S. AP Math Class

Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback in a H.S. History Class

Using Questions, Cues and Advance Organizers in a Primary Class


Monday, August 13, 2007

The "Expert List"

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"But I don't know what to write about!" Ever hear that line from your students? The "Expert List" is an idea from Rick Shelton designed to make that problem go away. It works like this:
  1. Have the students head their paper "Expert List"
  2. Give them several minutes in which they will jot down every area in which they are an "expert." Their list can include things they do well, things they know a lot about, things they like, places they have been, people they know, etc. The list is unlimited.
  3. Once you call "time," the students should have a fairly lengthy list.
  4. The students put that list in a safe place in their binders.
  5. The next time they need to write about something and are stuck for a topic, they pull out the "Expert List." There is a whole list of great topics! It sounds so simple, it just might work!

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Adobe Acrobat Reader, Update on Accelerated Reader

I received an e-mail from John Locklin cautioning us not to upgrade Adobe Acrobat Reader to Version 8. This version is not working well with either SETS (the special education tracking program) or Accelerated Reader.

If one has already upgraded, the next step would be to uninstall it by going to Start>Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs. To install version 7, you can go here. Please read carefully. After you select your answer from the first several drop-down boxes, "Setp 2" will ask you which version you want to download. Version 8 is the default, and you don't want that one. You want 7.0.9.

Accelerated Reader
Reading Coaches are meeting this morning to begin the process of setting up current classes. Accelerated Reader will be up and going in all schools just as soon as that process is complete.

The first time you bring up Accelerated Reader, you will likely encounter a group of error messages. "Dismiss" each of them. There actually is no problem.

Be sure to check for any needed updates. This is especially true if you are setting up a new computer. There is link to click marked "Check Software Requirements" on this screen that will look at you computer, determine what updates you need, and provide links to those updates:


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Professional development credit

Over the last days, you have earned a considerable number of hours of professional development credit. Here is what will be happening over the next several days:

  1. We are working on "cleaning up" our database. Just as I had suspected, the state did not magically transfer to our database people who came to us from other systems. We are working on that so you will now show up as our employees. We will also get new employees added. Getting everyone in the database before we start awarding credit will keep us from doing every step twice.
  2. Using the sign-on sheets, the central office and principals will begin marking attendance in PDWeb.
  3. If the session had an evaluation attached to it, you will receive an e-mail prompting you to go click a link and do the evaluation. For example, our opening session from Monday does have an evaluation.
  4. Having an e-mail address in PDWeb is important. If you start to discover other people are getting e-mails about the evaluation and you are not, the first thing to do would be check your profile in PDWeb. (After logging into PDWeb, click "My Profile" and then click the "Contact Information" link.) That e-mail address enables notifications to be sent to you reminding you of workshops, letting you know about cancellations of workshops, evaluations, etc.)
  5. If you are wondering about the status of any training you have done, log into PDWeb and click on "My History." You will see there whether you have been given credit, whether your attendance has been marked yet, if you need to do an evaluation, or if you had been removed from the roll for some reason.
  6. Once you get all of our current people taken care of, we will work on removing those who had left the system. (Again, one would think that if the state is moving people into their new school system it would also move them out of their old one. Still some kinks to be worked out, I guess.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Salter Faculty Earning Degrees

Congratulations to the following faculty members for earning advanced degrees.

Mrs. Griffin: M.S. Add-on in Education Administration, University of Alabama

Mrs. Sims: M.S. in Elementary Education, University of Montevallo

Mrs. G. Smith: M.S. in Library Media, Jacksonville State University

Mr. Cobb: Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, University of Alabama

Congratulations! The faculty at Salter strives to provide the best education possible for our students through continuous learning. Several faculty members are pursuing other advanced degrees at this time to ensure that the children at Salter have the best education possible.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tips for starting the new year

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The first days of school are critical and establish the tone for the entire year. Here are some tips for making that first day go well. The author, Vicky Davis, is a well-known technology instructor in from Camilla, Georgia. For those who have listened to Harry Wong tapes in the past, most of these tips will sound familiar, but they are worth repeating.

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Agenda for Teacher Institute

Talladega City Schools

Teacher Institute

August 6, 2007

High School Gym

8:00 A.M.

Welcome and Invocation ( Mr. Darren Douthitt, Principal, Talladega High School)

Pledge of Allegiance

Talladega High School Jazz Band ( David McDaniel, Director)

Introduction of New Superintendent ( Mr. James Braswell, Chair, Talladega City BOE)

Remarks by Superintendent ( Dr. Joanne Horton)

Presentation of School Board Members

Mr. James Braswell

Mr. Joe Hare

Mrs. Mary McGhee

Mrs. Bonnie Miller

Mrs. Shirley Simmons-Simms

Talladega City Schools Foundation (Jeanne Rasco, President)

Presentation of administrators (Mr. Campbell)

Presentation of new employees Principals

Graham Elementary (Mrs. Dyer)

Henderson Elementary (Mrs. Laros)

Houston Elementary (Dr. Patterson)

Salter Elementary (Mr. Cobb)

R L Young Elementary (Mrs. Paris)

Ellis Jr High (Mr. Bailey)

Talladega High School (Mr. Douthitt)

Recognition of teachers/administrators with advanced degrees (Dr. Horton)

Special Awards

Introduction of Speaker (Pattie Thomas)

Closing Remarks (Dr. Horton)

We will educate and develop individuals to their fullest potential to become life-long learners who are successful, responsible, and productive members of a global society.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

STIClassroom & PDWeb

For anyone who is new to STIClassroom Web and PDWeb, or for those who simply need a refresher, help packets are available:
Both can be accessed from anywhere within the school system. The same is true of the driving instructions.

School driving directions

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more The question was asked at New Teacher Orientation about whether or not we had a map or driving directions on how to get to each school. This link will give you directions from the central office to each school and also a map showing the respective locations. The entire set is on a single page.

In addition to being able to click the link in this post, the file, which is labeled "School Driving Directions," is in the list of documents you will see when you click the "Downloadable Documents" link on the right.