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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Picturing America

Back in March, this post appeared on TeachTalladega:



Great art speaks powerfully, inspires fresh thinking, and connects us to our past.
Picturing America is an initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities, brings masterpieces of American art into classrooms and libraries nationwide.

You can learn about the project here. Every school in America is eligible to receive a set of 20 high-quality reproductions of American masterpieces. You can view the set by clicking here. The material is free.

All of the frequently-asked questions are here.

You will obtain a full-color manual. A copy can also be downloaded from here.

The application is here. A friend of mine made her application recently. She said the process took all of 3 minutes. Check with your principal. While I was composing this post, one of our principals dropped by my office and indicated she had received a card about it and had already filled out an application.

What's the catch? The only catch is that when you apply, you have to promise you will use the material, not a lot of ask. The material is free.

What has happened since then? Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a very excited principal saying their school is being awarded this collection. As it turns out, that was not the only school in our system who will be receiving it. To see if your school is among the recipients, click here.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

PD in Your PJs

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more As the online delivery of technology training expands, weekly live web shows are being used to demonstrate to teachers how to apply the latest tools. That is the first sentence from an article about this "cutting edge" approach. You can read it here.

We have much the same opportunity available to us right now through our Talladega City Cyberschool. If one of your summer projects is to improve your skills with technology, this site takes you step-by-step through a variety of programs of your choice. You can do it anytime and from anywhere. Professional development, even from home, even in your pajamas. That's what we call PD in your PJs!

In addition, if you are wanting to learn Excel and are willing to invest a little time, e-mail me, and I will let you know about a site that is the best I have seen at teaching Excel in a way that is relevant to our needs in terms of analyzing data.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Embedding PhotoStory Presentations Using TeacherTube

As more of us become comfortable creating PhotoStory presentations, we may want to look at posting them so they can be viewed by others. In this example, I have taken a PhotoStory we used during District Accreditation and embedded it in this blog post.

I first went to TeacherTube, created a free account, and uploaded the video. The process is simple, although it took the computer several minutes to upload the video. Embedding the video simply involves copying a line of code from TeacherTube and pasting it in the blog post. That may sound Greek, but once you have been shown one time, it's easy.



The video will work best with a high-speed connection. You will find the video will start and stop every few seconds due to our filtering system. Once the video fully downloads once, you could play it from the beginning and have no problem with hesitations.

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Zora Ellis Academic Awards Banquet 2008




This years academic awards banquet was a great success, and the students really enjoyed being singled out in fornt of their family and peers. We would like to thank everyone who showed up for this event because it means so much to our students. We would like to wish all of our 8th grades good luck in high school, and let our 7th graders know that we expect great things out of them again next year. Congradulations to all of our students, and we hope to see an even bigger crowd next year.

Monday, May 19, 2008

What Could You Learn This Summer at Our Technology Workshops?

Maybe the best way to tell you is simply to show you!
Here are a few examples from elsewhere:
...and these from right here at home:
For more information, click here.

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The Blogging School

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more As I am writing this post, I am listening to a podcast of a session Tim Tyson conducted on blogging. In the podcast, he explains how and why he started blogs in his school as well as how teachers used them. For those who have had some involvement with posting to blogs, I think you are going to find this podcast well worth your time. You can listen by going here. Some of the content can be used to reinforce our existing ideas and other content will allow us to expand some of those ideas.

Speaking of expanding ideas, imagine sometime in the future, a parent checks his/her e-mail. If something new has been posted to the school's blog, the school system's blog, or the blog of any one of the student's teachers, that post rolls right off into the parent's e-mail. Wouldn't communication be easier?

The good news is that "sometime in the future" is right this minute. It's called RSS (Really Simple Syndication), it's free, and it's the magic that makes keeping up your favorite blogs very simple.

I had talked about the concept, and the free software I use with Outlook, here. You can watch a video of it by going here.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some Inspirations Thoughts

Several times during the year, I have mentioned a closing keynote I heard last summer given by Dr. Tim Tyson. If you watched the video of the keynote, enjoyed it, and are ready for more, here is a podcast of a presentation Dr. Tyson gave at the 2007 Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference: Leadership Applied: Building Powerful Learning Communities.

If you didn't watch the video, but would like to, go here and scroll to the bottom of the page and choose "Closing Keynote." Dr. Tyson will be the keynote speaker at AETC in June.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

A Star is Born!

The Ritz Theatre is sponsoring two workshops during the week of June 16-20. One is for students ages 5-6 and another for students ages 7-18. For full details, download the flyer by clicking here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Alabama Educational Technology Conference

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more The Alabama Educational Technology Conference will be held June 17-19 at the BJCC in Birmingham. The school system will pay for the lead technology person at each school and the first 10 teachers who complete the registration form and get it to Kay Busby.

If you are interested in attending:
  1. Download the registration by clicking here.
  2. Complete the form.
  3. Send the form to Kay Busby and be one of the first 10.
AETC is an excellent conference and the workshops are very practical. You can view the preliminary program here. The keynote is Dr. Tim Tyson. For more information and a link to the closing keynote that Dr. Tyson gave at last year's National Educational Computing Conference, click here. He is very dynamic.

In selecting sessions to attend, anything that Patrick Crispin does is excellent. As far as local people, I will be presenting the following workshops:
  • Get Organized With Outlook (one hour session)
  • Get Orgainzed With Outlook (three-hour hands-on workshop)
  • Your Own Blog in 10 Minutes or Less
  • Get Organized! Managing Digital Data With Ease
Pattie Thomas will be presenting "Powerful and Easy Presentations With Photostory"

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Summer Technology Training

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Janet Taylor will be offering two sessions this summer similar to what was offered last summer. Descriptions are below. To register, log in to PDWeb. Search the PD Catalog by entering UMTim for the PD Title Number and Multimedia Tech Camp for the PD Title. There are a limited numbr of slots, and Janet is opening this training to a wider geographic region than just our school system, so the earlier one registers the better.

Multimedia Tech Camp
Intermediate Computer Skills Required-Completely hands-on-Three consecutive days, 9-4 and the 4th day is 1/2 day-Projects aligned to Alabama's Courses of Study-Use digital cameras, movie clips, and computers to create multimedia presentations-Create lessons that incorporate the use of digital media including: digital storytelling, instructional videos, commercials, and much more-Learn to use Photo Story 3, PowerPoint and Movie Maker together to create a final product that will "wow" your audience... specifically your students-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 on the last day.

Multimedia Tech Camp for Teachers II
Participants will:-create a "how to" video for classroom use-examine Web 2.0 sites-illustrate the use of video editing software-determine components of a rubric to assess student multimedia project.

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StoryTown Professional Development This Summer

This summer, we are offering a professional development session on StoryTown open to all K-6 teachers. The training is being offered on two dates: June 10 and July 15. The exact same activities will occur on both dates, so you only need to pick one. Hopefully, one or the other will fit into your schedule.

Grades K-3 will come in the morning (8:00-11:00). Grades 4-6 will come in the afternoon (12:00-3:00).

The morning sessions (8:00-11:00) will be for teachers in grades K-3. The afternoon sessions (12:00-3:00) will be for teachers in grades 4-6. The stipend for this training is $75 for the 3 hours.

The location will be at R. L. Young. The exact rooms will use will be determined later according what area of the building is being cleaned at that particular time. Check TeachTalladega periodically for updates.

To sign up for the StoryTown, go to PDWeb. Click the “PD Titles” tab and then “Search the PD Catalog.” In the PD Titles box, enter 194-45. “Harcourt StoryTown” is the result you are looking for. Sign up for the appropriate session.

We have submitted our purchase order to Harcourt and they have processed our teacher materials. As soon as we get more information on when those will arrive, we will pass it along.

Once we get into the summer, TeachTalladega will be the most efficient way that we can keep teachers informed on this or any other activity. Please make reading it something you do periodically.

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Tales from a Teacher's Heart


Eye on Education publishes a monthly video series entitled "Tales from a Teacher's Heart." This month's video features Barbara Blackburn, our speaker from the fall inservice. The video can be viewed by going here.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

GoogleDocs in Plain English

Do you need a place to store your documents online. Are you collaborating on a document and need for multiple people to be able to edit the document? GoogleDocs is the answer. This short video will help.




Thanks to Lee and Sachi LeFever for producing this video and making it available through the Common Craft Show .

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Salter Loves Science!




The Fourth Grade held their annual Science Fair this past week at Salter. Above are the pictures of the winners. Congratulations go out to Trey, Jamarius, Elijah, Brett, Genesis, and Rudaisha. Great Job!

StoryTown Documents for Elementary Teachers


I have posted documents related to StoryTown in the "Downloadable Documents" section of TeachTalladega. The direct link to those documents is here.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wikis in Plain English

Other than sitting down together in the same room, how can a group share their ideas over time? One answer will be to use a wiki. I was reminded of this tool and the potential it holds while attending a session at the School Improvement Summit last week.

This short video explains the concept:



A special thanks to those at Common Craft who produced this and other outstanding instructional videos.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Pete's Power Point Station

Pete's Power Point Station is a real treasure trove of Power Point presentations for elementary teachers. Exploring all that is here will take some time, and there is certainly more there than you would ever use. The section on holidays looked particularly good. This site would be a good one to explore over the summer and identify those few Power Points you want to download, save, and use to enhance your lessons.

Career Day at R. L. Young: What I Want To Be When I Grow Up...


These K-6 students are dressed like the professional
they hope to become when they grow up. Standing on
these steps are our future farmers, beauty queens,
police officers, armed forces personnel, veterinarians,
doctors, dentists, nurses, lawyers, teachers, mayors, firemen,
mothers, fathers, dancers, professional ball players and waitresses.

Charisma is proud that her mother came to speak
to the first graders about her profession. She is an
instructor to adult MR consumers at the Burton Center.
I'm sure Charisma thinks she's a fantastic mother, also!


Mr. Gerald Bittle, Honda employee, shared his
knowledge of how to assemble a vehicle with our
first grade students. Thanks, Mr. Bittle!


Mr. Bittle, just like Mrs. Bittle, can't talk without
his hands!


Mr. Wilcox, FCI employee, shared with the first
graders about his job as a guard at a Federal Prison.
I'm sure Mr. Wilcox is a wonderful daddy to Tommy
and Jessica, too! These children were so captivated
by their presentations. The teachers and our
counselor, Mrs. Deese, were so proud of their
behavior. So, the question of the day is..."What
Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?"

Mrs. Dayna Layfield, Caitlyn's mom, poses
for a picture with her daughter after speaking
to Mrs. Hobbs' class about her job as a
realtor with Bluebird Real Estate. Thanks,
Mrs. Layfield!
Mr. Jim Hazel, Jessica's dad, poses for a picture
with his daughter after speaking to Mrs. Nabors'
class about his job as Grounds Supervisor at
Shocco Springs Conference Center. That's a big
place to be in charge of and it always looks so
pretty. Thanks, Mr. Hazel!

Janet Taylor Visits Graham





After conducting technology workshops this year, instructor Janet Taylor visited Susie Pressley's fifth graders in Graham's computer lab. Mrs. Pressley has been sharing the knowledge she learned from these workshops with her students. The students have been busy creating their own power point presentations under Ms. Pressley's direction. This class has even been providing instruction to other classes in the school. This experience is a wonderful example of technology in action!Way to go Mrs. Pressley's class!!!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Did You Know?

The Alabama School Improvement Summit is being held in Montgomery. One of the eye-opening videos our team has seen is actually a repeat of something we had posted on TalladegaCitySchools back in July.

Being a school system that is "Moving forward to meet the demands of a changing world," this video is one well worth watching again and again.

Originally composed by Colorado High School teacher Karl Fisch, the message has been adapted and shared with with countless people around the world. It is one you will not soon forget.


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One of Our Students Needs Your Help

From Bradley Ward at Zora Ellis:

I wanted to let you know that recently some students here at Zora Ellis entered a poster contest through the SHADE Foundation. One of our students, Kacie G., won 1st place in the State of Alabama, and is now currently competing in the national competition! I am getting pictures together that we have taken of her recieving her prizes and I will be posting them on the blog soon.

The reason I am telling you this is because she needs our systems help to win the competition. The posters are voted for online until the end of May 2008. Her poster is number 25 out of the 43 in the contest. We need as many votes as possible for her to win a trip for 4 to Disney World and the school will win a $7000 weatherbug tracking system. We are really pulling for her, but we need everyone's help.

To vote all you have to do is go to shadefoundation.org, click on vote now for posters, scroll through the posters to the bottom of the page( Kacie #25), click vote, select the correct option for voting (the one for the entire classroom voting is the top right option. all students can vote from the same computer but it takes a while), and submit. The students who vote will be entered for a drawing for one of two IPOD Nanos to be given away this summer.

I have been putting my email address in for all my students because I have dealt with all of these people several times and they know how to contact me. Please let other schools know, and hopefully our girl will win the competition.

Also, if you know anyone interested in the SunWise Program or the SHADE Foundation please tell them to email me and I will be glad to give them more information. I use them in my classroom and the students seem to really enjoy them.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Graham's 4th Grade Visits Vulcan



Ms. Pinson's class observes limestone, coal, and iron ore which are the raw materials used for making iron and steel.




A model of Vulcan's leg that you can see inside the museum.




Vulcan overlooks Birmingham from atop Red Mountain.



Ms. Hollingsworth's and Ms. Pinson's classes enjoyed our trip to Vulcan. We learned a lot about the Birmingham steel industry. We would like to thank Honda for providing us with the opportunity.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Teacher Appreciation Week

Whose Child Is This?

"Whose child is this?" I asked one day
Seeing a little one out at play.
"Mine", said the parent with a tender smile
"Mine to keep a little while.
To bathe his/her hands and comb his/her hair,
To tell him/her what he/she is to wear,
To prepare him/her that he/she may always be good,
And each day do the things he/she should".

"Whose child is this?" I asked again,
As the door opened and someone came in.
"Mine", said the teacher with the same tender smile.
"Mine, to keep just for a little while.
To teach him/her how to be gentle and kind,
To train and direct his/her dear little mind,
To help him/her live by every rule,
And get the best he/she can from school".

"Whose child is this?" I asked once more,
Just as the little one entered the door.
"Ours", said the parent and the teacher as they smiled.
And each took the hand of the little child.
"Ours to love and train together.
Ours this blessed task forever."

Author Unknown



During this "Teacher Appreciation Week," here is a short video combining some thoughts on the art of teaching and the importance of teachers to our world.

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When I Grow Up I Want To Be A .....


To be or not to be, that is the question this week
at R. L. Young. May 5-9, 2008 is "Career Week."
All the students are asking "What do you want to
be when you grow up?" Mrs. Alisa Hurst, AIB
teacher and mother to Hayden and Hunter, answered
that question this morning in Mrs. Armstrong's class.
She shared with us her educational journey on the path
to becoming a teacher to the visually impaired. She
showed to us a cane, books written in braille, a braille
writer and her degrees. Her presentation was wonderful
and well received by the students. Thank you Mrs. Hurst!
We loved your visit!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Spring Concert & Spaghetti Supper: Tuesday, May 6

Make plans to attend the Talladega City Band's Annual Spring Concert on Tuesday, May 6, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. The concert will be held at the T.H.S. Gym and will include performances by the 7th & 8th grade bands of Zora Ellis Junior High, the Zora Ellis Emeralds Winter Guard, the Dega Darlins Winter Guard, the T.H.S. Jazz Ambassadors, and the T.H.S. Symphonic Band.
Over the past four years, the bands of the Talladega City Schools have been praised for their entertaining and informative concerts. This year's concert will include, among other songs, George Gershwin’s Someone to Watch over Me, featuring T.H.S. senior band student and three-year All-State vocalist, Laci Brawell, a Japanese march entitled March Bou-Shu, an English musical suite, King Across the Water, and Shake A Tail Feather, the song famously rendered by Ray Charles in the hit movie, “The Blues Brothers.”
- Admission is $3.00 per person -
SPAGHETTI SUPPER: a benefit Spaghetti Dinner will be held in the THS Cafeteria prior to the concert, 5:00-6:30. Plates are $6.00 and will include spaghetti, salad, bread, dessert, and a drink. Carry-outs are available. Tickets can be purchased from ZEJH or THS Band members, or, you may reserve a ticket by emailing Juanita Ardis at jardis45@hotmail.com.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Technology Training

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Janet Taylor will be offering two sessions this summer similar to what was offered last summer. Descriptions are below. To register, log in to PDWeb. Search the PD Catalog by entering UMTim for the PD Title Number and Multimedia Tech Camp for the PD Title. There are a limited numbr of slots, and Janet is opening this training to a wider geographic region than just our school system, so the earlier one registers the better.

Multimedia Tech Camp
Intermediate Computer Skills Required-July 7-10. 9:00-4:00 on July 7, 8, 9. 9:10-12:00 on July 10.
The workshop is completely hands-on. Participants will use digital cameras, movie clips, and computers to create multimedia presentations. You will create lessons that incorporate the use of digital media including: digital storytelling, instructional videos, commercials, and much more-You will learn how to use Photo Story 3, PowerPoint and Movie Maker together to create a final product that will "wow" your audience... specifically your students. 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 on the last day.

Multimedia Tech Camp for Teachers II
July 29-30, 8:30-3:30
Participants will:-create a "how to" video for classroom use-examine Web 2.0 sites-illustrate the use of video editing software-determine components of a rubric to assess student multimedia project.

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Reading Resources for Lower Elementary Grades

Listed here are several resources that you can use to build reading fluency in the lower grades. Each uses your computer and can be used in conjunction with an LCD projector to do activities with a large group. The nice thing about these presentations is that you can start them, and you are free to move on to other things. The slides change themselves:

Fluency Phrases for 1st Grade—This is a PowerPoint presentation which will flash common phrases on the screen every few seconds.

Fluency Phrases for 2nd Grade—This presentation is the same as the last except it is appropriate for 2nd grade. The slides change every 3 seconds. If you feel is timing is too fast or slow, there is a way to change how long each slide remains on the screen.

Fry List—This is a PowerPoint which flashes common phrases every few seconds. You can start it and not have to touch the computer until the whole thing is done.

Fry Phrases-Very Large List—This is a PowerPoint which flashes phrases every 1 second. There are 242 slides in this presentation. If you wanted to break the presentation into a number of smaller presentations, you can easily create a new slideshow and copy/paste a portion of the slides. You can also slow the timing so that each slide stays on the screen longer.

As an added bonus:
How the Brain Learns to Read—This PowerPoint is a book review of Dr. David Sousa’s work. The PowerPoint is extremely well done and includes speaker notes which are independent of the text on screen.

Thanks to Dr. Hal Horton, principal of Highland Park Elementary School in Muscles Shoals, for sharing these resources.

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