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Monday, June 30, 2008

A Vision of K-12 Students Today


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works

What classroom strategies really make a difference? Robert Marzano answered that question in his classic book Classroom Instruction That Works. Marzano discusses nine instructional strategies that make the most difference in student achievement. Do you know what they are?
If you have not read the book, you can get the "Cliff Notes" version by clicking here.
This post is intended not only to bring to your attention this 2001 work, but to introduce you to a 2007 book which builds upon Marzano's work.
Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works takes the nine strategies used in the original work and provides practical ways for teachers to implement them using technology. The author of this later work, Howard Pitler, is a former principal of a technology magnet high school. A little more than a decade ago when I first became involved with an internet discussion group for school administrators, Howard was one who regularly posted, and did so in a manner that was always thoughtful and helpful.

I bought a copy of Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works, and like every other book in my office, I am glad to loan it to anyone interested in reading it. The only thing I ask is that I eventually get it back.


Your 6-Minute Introduction to Excel

We live in a "data-driven" world, and need tools that make handling data easy. Excel is that program. Unfortunately, all-too-few people know much about the program.

This video lasts a little of 6 minutes and gives a good example of how to use Excel to do some simple calculations. It serves as an excellent starting point.

If you are serious about learning the program and want to see exmaples that are school related, School Data Tutorials is exceptional.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

AETC -We Missed You!

The Talladega City School System was well represented with administrators, teachers, and staff at the recent Alabama Educational Technology Conference held on June 17th through June 20th at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center. Several Talladega folks did presentations during the conference. I'd like to share my powerpoint about Photostory in case you want to try this FREE downloaded program for yourself. There are several examples of what you can do with the program on the district website under downloadable documents.

My powerpoint can be viewed at:

It is always exciting to walk away from a conference with new information to make our school system even better!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Change in Location for July 15 Workshop

There is a change in location for the StoryTown workshop to be held July 15. The workshop will be held in the Graham Annex in Jody Parker's room.

The reason for the change is that my wife and I will both be at a workshop and Mrs. Thomas will be on vacation. It always helps to have someone there to "troubleshoot."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

PDWeb Has Been Updated

The attendance from the June 10 StoryTown workshops has been marked in PDWeb. You can go to your training history and complete the evaluation. Your professional development credit will then show up in PDWeb.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

StoryTown Workshop

Thanks to the elementary teachers who attended the StoryTown workshop today. Davonia had great things to say about our teachers.

Virtually every elementary teacher in our school system signed up either for today's workshop or the one on July 15. I think that says a great deal about our teaching force. Those people who think teachers do nothing during the summer would have a rude awakening to see how many cars were at R. L. Young for those workshops today!

The StoryTown materials are starting to arrive. Many more boxes are still to come. Reading is an adoption like no other, and this particular reading adoption is like none ever before it. Since the last reading adoption, small-group instruction, assessment, and the role of technology have all grown tremendously in importance. The resources that this program is bringing are like none you have had before; hence, the number of boxes in which it is packaged will be greater than what we have seen in the past.

We have asked principals to designate a place in their buildings where all of the materials will be placed and to wait until it is all received and inventoried before releasing it to classrooms.

Thanks to Mrs. Thomas for the use of the school and her help in getting things set up. Thanks to our maintenance department for their quick action when the air was not working well. You can now hang meat in the auditorium! Also, thanks to Davonia for doing whatever needed to be done to make sure things were right for our teachers. Knowing that all of our materials would not be here for this June workshop, she and I made several trips to a rather warm warehouse to pull sample teacher editions to have on hand.

Finally, there are 17 seats still available for the full-day Get Organized! workshop sponsored by the University of Montevallo Regional Inservice Center. Montevallo is providing copies of the book free to everyone who attends. To register, go to PDWeb and search the PD catalog for Get Organized.

I hope your summer is off to a great start. Continue to check back here for news on all fronts.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Gulf Coast Writing Conference

This information comes from Rebecca Richardson, Director of the University of Montevallo Regional Inservice Center:

This is a reminder that June 15th is the deadline for submitting paperwork for scholarships to attend the Gulf Coast Writing Conference in Destin. We have 8 scholarships remaining and I hate for them to go to waste. If you have teachers who would like to attend (or if you would like to attend), please go to the Inservice website (www.montevallo.edu/ic), click on “Current Workshops” on the left-hand side of the page, scroll down for information and download the registration form, scholarship form and housing request and fax them in as soon as possible. The scholarship form comes to our office.

Blogs Take Off With Dega Band

Those who have worked with blogs realize how easy they are to update. The THS Band is using blogs to help students communicate with each other.

Summertime is busy for band students. With full band rehearsals, sectional rehearsals, band camp, uniforms to fit, and equipment to keep in tip-top shape, keeping everyone informed can be a challenge.

Each section in the band has established its own blog. For example, this blog for the Dega Darlins not only keeps them informed of information they need to know, but it also has links down the left-hand side which take the reader to blogs for the other sections of the band.

Gone are the days when staying informed meant keeping up with pieces of paper (and hoping none were passed out on the very day you weren't there). With blogs, everything you need to know is posted in reverse chronological order. It's not going to get lost. You can view it from anywhere. If you are absent, you don't miss the handout. This just may work!

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Resources for 1st Grade Teachers

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more This page contains PowerPoint presentations developed by 1st grade teacher Jill Perkins. Once you double-click, the presentation runs on its own and changes slides automatically every few seconds. You can also download them to save to your computer.

This page of forms and assessments may be of interest. All of the items are downloadable in both Word and pdf form.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sharing Bookmarks Through Del.icio.us

Suppose you were interested in fishing and were interested in good internet sites to give you pointers. Have valuable would it be to sit at the computer of someone else who was an avid fisherman and who had already saved tons of great sites in his Favorites?

Suppose you are a math teacher. How valuable would it be to see what other math teachers had saved in their Favorites? Suppose you didn't actually have to sit down at a person's computer and do this, but could view what they have saved from hundreds of miles away?

That is the beauty of del.icio.us. I have talked about it here and here and provided a video which explains it here. In addition to being a great place for you to sites and then be able to view them from any computer, you can also view someone else's bookmarks, provided they have chosen to allow this to happen.

I am composing this post simply because I happened to stumble upon just such a set of bookmarks at this address. The person sharing these bookmarks is a technology teacher, so naturally they are going to be heavily technology oriented.

We are all familiar with how to use Favorites and realize what I time-saver that feature can be. Del.icio.us takes that basic idea and expands it. It's a tool well worth the precious little time it takes to learn it.


Monday, June 02, 2008

What are You Reading This Summer?

This five-minute podcast is interesting and well worth the time. Ironically, the book talks begins by talking about RSS. I was guided to this link from e-mail that rolled off my RSS feed this morning.