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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Professional Development Day Monday (Elementary Schools)

Here is the schedule for our October 6th professional development day as it relates to the elementary schools. All of the activities, locations, and times are the same as the September 5th post. I have added the afternoon information for specialty areas.

The schedule for elementary school teachers is as follows:

8:15-11:00 Inservice at R. L. Young. Mary Foshee from the Children's Dance Foundation in Homewood will be our guest. The topic will be movement activities which general education teachers can do with students. Wear comfortable clothes. This will definitely be an audience participation activity!

11:00-12:30 Lunch on your own

  • Grade-Level Inservice--K-6 teachers will go to the same school as August 5th.
  • Physical Education Teachers--Meet at Salter. Coach Darby will facilitate.
  • Librarians--Meet in the Ellis library. The subject will be work on the policies and procedures manual.
  • Counselors--Meet in the testing room at Dixon. Cheryl Ford will facilitate. The topic will be updating the system guidance plan.
  • Special Education Teachers--I will be sending an e-mail to you individually on a professional development activity for that afternoon using Special Ed. Connect.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Bloom's Taxonomy

We are all familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy. If you are looking for an all-in-one sets of verbs, sample questions, and potential activities/products for each level in the hierarchy this site is a good one.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Trivial Pursuit or Essential Questions

This article, written by Jamie McKenzie, examines the differences between trivial questions which hold little meaning for students and those questions which involve critical thinking skills.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Talladega's Newest Blog

C. L. Salter Elementary has a new blog with new ideas! Check out this brand new blog, see pictures from the Science Night and read the "Principal's Principles." Click on the link here, or you may click on the link on the right-hand side of the screen.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Practicing Good Study Habits

Although your children spend hours in school every week, the time they spend at home doing school-related work is just as important. This report from the National Association of Elementary School Principals gives tips on practicing good study habits.



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Technology Course of Study is Available Electronically

The 2008 Technology Education Course of Study has been posted. You can access it from any school computer by clicking here.


Monday, September 22, 2008

C. L. Salter Science Extravaganza

A few more sights and sounds from the C. L. Salter Science Extravaganza:

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Science Extravaganza at C. L. Salter

C. L. Salter hosted a "Science Extravaganza" Tuesday at Salter was a huge success. Students, parents,

and teachers participated in many activities designed to enhance our understanding of science in our world. The students were able to make a choice of two activities that most interested them. Those who chose "Birds of Prey saw beautiful raptors such as the owl, falcon, and hawk.

The "Snake Lady" shared her slithering friends with a large crowd. She brought both poisonous and non-poisonous snakes with her. The McWane Center brought "Stardome," which allowed the students to observe constellations in the cafeteria. They also brought "Razzle Dazzle Chemistry," a demonstration of chemical changes. "Gak" was a large hit with students and adults alike. Those who chose this activity were able to make their Gak from scratch. We all look forward to next year's Science Extravaganza!

Thanks to Karen Clark for all her hard work and planning.

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Electing a U.S. President in Plain English

Teaching students about how the U.S. President is elected can be confusing. This short video explains the concept clearly.

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

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Renaissance Learning Dashboard

The last post contained several questions. This post is intended to allow teachers and administrators to be able to answer those questions quickly and easily.

To access a document that will walk you through the process, click here.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Acccelerated Reader Graphs

  • How is our school doing towards its goal of getting students answering questions with 85% accuracy?
  • How is my class doing towards its goal of getting students answering questions with 85% accuracy?
  • What percentage of my students has taken an AR test this week?

What if you could see a graph that would automatically answer these questions for you every time you log on to Accelerated Reader?

Stay tuned for a post that will show you how.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

PowerPoint Games

Incorporating content taught in class into games is an excellent way to maintain interest as you review material . Here are some sites that may be of interest:


Saturday, September 13, 2008

How Do I Get Them to Keep Their Hands off the Keyboard?

If you have ever worked with students in a computer lab, you have probably found that getting students to give you their undivided attention is a challenge. Many of them want to continue to do things on the computer.

This question came up on an ed tech listserv during the summer. Two of the best, and easiest, fixes readers responded with were:
  • Have the students turn off the monitor when you want their attention.
  • Have the students turn the mouse upside-down on the keyboard when you want their attention.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Teacher of the Year

This morning, I e-mailed to principals information related to this year's "Alabama Teacher of the Year" program. The application booklet and application can be downloaded by clicking here.

Technology has made the process easier than what applicants experienced in the past. I downloaded and experimented with the application. Even though the application is in pdf format, I was able to enter text directly on the screen. I was able to save it, close the document, and find all of my text still there when I re-opened the document. The document also checked spelling as I went along, underlining typos in red.

Schools may begin the process of selected their own "Teacher of the Year" at any time. Applications are due to the central office by 4:00 PM on January 7.

We have so many high-quality teachers in our system who are worthy of recognition. Good luck to each who aspires to be "Teacher of the Year" at the school, system, state, or national level.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reading With Pauses

When teaching students to read with fluently, the importance of pauses should not be overlooked...

Language is rhythmic. It contains regular phrases and pauses. A phrase is a word or group of words spoken as a unit in one breath. Pauses are periods of silence between words and phrases. The function of a pause is to separate ideas and hold attention. Reading aloud too many phrases without pauses confuses the listener. Learning to phrase well and use pauses successfully can significantly affect the student’s reading pace and interpretation.

Pauses are a vital part of our speech pattern and should not be neglected. Too often students fear using the pause, because they feel the listener may lose interest. This is rarely the case. The chances of losing a listener are greater when a student reads aloud too quickly, because the listener may not be able to keep up with the reader and absorb what is being said.

To demonstrate this point, ask your students how many times they’ve received a voice mail message where the person rushed through the entire phone number plus area code all in one breath. Was the student able to call back the phone number correctly the first time after hearing the message, or did they have to replay the message several times? Try it as a short exercise in the classroom. Quickly read an unfamiliar phone number aloud in one breath. Check how many students wrote down the number correctly. Now read a second unfamiliar number aloud and pause after the area code, the first three digits, the second two digits and the final two digits. Check how many students wrote the number correctly when you added the pauses. Pauses do make a significant difference in what a listener hears and comprehends.

Pauses also add dramatic effect to reading text and hold the listener’s attention. Think about some famous quotes that are regularly cited. Would they have had the same impact without the pause? Let your students be the judge. Here are two famous quotes from John F. Kennedy and Neil Armstrong. First read each statement from beginning to end, without pausing. Then repeat the same statement, adding the pause.

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy

“One small step for man—one giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong

Adding pauses to the above quotes makes these statements much more powerful and memorable to the listener.

A pause may only last a second, but it has a tremendous interpretative power!

Source: "How to Say It with Your Voice" by Jeffrey Jacobi

From Playbooks, Inc.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Quiz Blocking in Renaissance Learning

One of the questions that has been asked frequently since we moved to Renaissance Place is how teachers can prevent students from testing on books which are below their ZPD. The older version of Accelerated Reader allowed teachers to automate this procedure through "qioz blocking." This feature is not available on Renaissance Place. The rationale is explained in this article from Renaissance Learning.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Schedule for Professional Development Day (Elementary Schools)

Our next professional development day will be October 6. The schedule for elementary school teachers is as follows:

8:15-11:00 Inservice at R. L. Young. Mary Foshee from the Children's Dance Foundation in Homewood will be our guest. The topic will be movement activities that general education teachers can do with students. Wear comfortable clothes. This will definately be an audience participation activity!

11:00-12:30 Lunch on your own

12:30-3:00 Grade-Level Inservice. K-6 teachers will go to the same school as August 5th.

Additional information for special education teachers, counselors, and physial education teachers will come later.