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Monday, December 29, 2008


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Friday, December 19, 2008

Proclamation Honoring Regan Gaskin

On Friday, December 12, 2008, Governor Bob Riley signed a proclamation honoring Zora Ellis 8th grader, Regan Gaskin, for her work on her project, Operation: I'm Already There. Regan has been able to raise the money to purchase almost 300 teddy bears and voice recorders for the two National Guard units to deploy since she started her project in July. The Zora Ellis Builder's Club raised almost $250.00 for the project, by having a Patriotic Day.

Anyone wishing to help support Regan's project can give their tax deductible contributions to the Talladega Chapter of the American Red Cross. Shown in the picture with Regan and Governor Riley are Pat Miller, Executive Director for Talladega County American Red Cross and Regan's mother, Susan Gaskin, Salter Elementary kindergarten teacher.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

January 5 Schedule

The schedule for our January 5 professional development day was posted earlier this month. If you missed it or need to view it again, click here.


State Superintendent's Visual Arts Exhibit

Each year, the Alabama State Department of Education sponsors the "State Superintendent's Visual Arts Exhibit." Pictured here are the 6 pieces that will represent Talladega City Schools in that exhibit. When posting student names, we do not use last names to protect the privacy of our students. The work posted here may be viewed by others not only in Talladega, but also in other parts of the United States or other parts of the world.


Monday, December 15, 2008

The New Rules of Copyright

Policies and procedures must be written to meet the demands of a changing world. In an increasingly digital world, teaching students about copyright protection becomes more challenging. "Creative Commons" was created to simplify the concept. This article from Tech & Learning magazine explains the concept. This is a must-read for media specialists and teachers who are serious about keeping their students up to speed with giving credit where credit is due as use material they find online.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Improve Your Google Search With a Time Line

A typical Google search yields results for articles published yesterday or years ago. Sometimes the timeliness of the information is important. Perhaps you are looking for research on cancer, yet you are only interested in information published in the last year.

Google has a "timeline" feature which allows you to organize and filter your results chronologically. When you perform your Google search, enter your search term followed by view:timeline

For example, if you wanted to view articles related to "chocolate" using the time line function, I would enter in the Google search window the following:

chocolate view:timeline

The link I have provided will take you to the results of that search. Filter the time period by clicking on the graph at the top of the page, and you see your results.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Alabama Plans Featured in District Administration

District Administration has picked up on another Alabama story. We will all be hearing much more about First Choice and the nuts-and-bolts changes that will happen at the district and school level to implement it. To read the District Administration story, click here.


ARMT Blueprint

The "ARMT Blueprint" provides in a single document a list of all of the content standards and the number of questions per standard. The document also tells for each standard what type of questions are used (multiple choice, open-ended, etc.) and tells how many questions of each type. That last phrase sets this document apart from information in the Item Specifications.

Speaking of Item Specifications, hopefully all teachers are using that document as a means of familiarizing themselves and students with what is being tested on the ARMT. The entire set of can be accessed by clicking here.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

ARMT Open-Ended Response Guide

Each principal is being given a CD-ROM containing guides to help you prepare students for open-ended questions on the ARMT. I have uploaded the contents of all of the CDs to make access easier for you.

You may download the guides for your grade to your computer. If you are asked for a password, simply click "cancel." You do not need a password to access these documents.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How Do I Use PowerPoint to Teach?

Anyone who has ever heard Patrick Crispen will tell you the practicality of his message makes your time with him well spent. He is also extremely gracious in not only allowing, but encouraging, other people to download his PowerPoints and use them.

This PowerPoint gives a wealth of direction on what to put in (and not put in) a good PowerPoint presentation. "Good" is defined as one that helps students remember what you are trying to get them to remember.

The presentation also goes into how to help students take notes effectively. (No, it's not the same-old-same-old you heard when you were in school. Trust me on this one.) It even shows how to take your notes from the PowerPoint slides and transform them into notes you can (edit and then) give to the students. No, it's not that type of handout you are thinking about where you see a little screen shot of each slide and have the blank lines you can write in. This is totally different and far better.

From our meeting with elementary principals and reading coaches the other day, they can tell you that according to Robert Marzano, summarizing and note taking is #2 on the list of nine essential classroom strategies that research shows really makes a difference, so this is pretty timely.

What's #1? What are the other eight? Glad you asked.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Renaissance Place Available from Home

You may now access Renaissance Place from home. I have added a link on the right-hand side of the blog that will take you there.

To this point, you could only access the program form inside the school system. John Locklin has worked his magic so that you can examine data, student points, etc. from anywhere.

Students will not be able to take Accelerated Reader tests from home. I am sure we all know the problems that would be caused if students were able to do that.


Calendar Changes

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more The Board of Education made changes to the 2008-2009 school calendar at last night's meeting:

April 24 is now a holiday.
April 27 is now a professional development day (No students).

May 1 is now a school day.
May 4 is now a school day.

You can view the complete calendar, including the updates, by clicking here.


Note About the Post Which Follows This

The post just below this one is an experiment we are trying. Principals only should be using this form. Later, it will be open for discussion if any school personnel will be able to submit information straight to Maintenance.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Presenting at AETC

Presenter applications are currently being taken for the Alabama Educational Technology Conference. The deadline to submit applications is December 19. This year’s AETC theme, Passport to the Future, opens the door for a broad spectrum of proposal topics.

You may submit a proposal online by clicking here: www.aetc.cc and choosing the appropriate link on the left-hand side of the screen.

Last summer, one of our own presented and had an audience of 200 (It wasn't me, although I wish it was!).

I would be glad to talk individually with anyone who is interested in submitting a proposal. I have programs from previous years so that you can see what kinds of things are being presenting and what kinds of descriptions are being used.

Having been involved with this event for quite a few years now, I can tell you that participants come to this event with holes in their knowledge base, and these holes often occur at a fairly low level. (I include myself in that statement.) The person who has found a simple, workable, solution to a common problem will have no problem attracting an audience waiting to hear the answer.


Friday, December 05, 2008

What Did You Learn in School Today?

Good teachers know how to bring "closure" to a lesson or a school day. In ENGAGING Teens In Their Own Learning: 8 Keys to Student Success, Paul Vermette talk about using "out slips" to summarize what they have learned. For an explanation of this idea, click here.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Schedule for January 5 Professional Development

Here is the schedule for our January 5th professional development day as it relates to the elementary schools. The schedule for elementary school teachers is as follows:


Grades Pre-K through 2

R. L. Young Auditorium

Mary Foshee from the Children's Dance Foundation will return. The topic will be movement activities which general education teachers can do with students. With a Pre-K through 2 audience, Mary will focus on activities particularly appropriate for that grade level. Wear comfortable clothes. This will definitely be an audience participation activity! (You will not need to sign up on PDWeb. I will take care of signing you up and printing the roster.)

Grades 3 through 6

C. L. Salter Lunchroom

Pat Yates will be our guest. The inservice will focus on Reader's Theatre. (You will not need to sign up on PDWeb. I will take care of signing you up and printing the roster.)

Certified personnel other than classroom teachers (principals, reading coaches, librarians, counselors, special education teachers) will select one inservice or the other. You will sign up on PDWeb to do that. Search for PDTitle 194-56. Sign up for the appropriate session. Click here to go to PDWeb and take care of that right now.

11:15-12:30 Lunch on your own

Grade-Level Inservice--Pre-K through 6 teachers will go to the same school as August 5th and October 6th (You will not need to sign up on PDWeb. I will take care of signing you up and printing the roster.):

Pre-K & Kindergarten- Raymond L. Young

1st Grade- Graham

2nd Grade- C. L. Salter

3rd & 4th Grade- Houston

5th & 6th Grade- Hal Henderson

Principals and Reading Coaches--Take responsibility for facilitating the inservice at your school. (You will not need to sign up on PDWeb. I will take care of signing you up and printing the roster.)

Physical Education Teachers--Meet at Salter. Coach Darby will facilitate. (You will not need to sign up on PDWeb. I will take care of signing you up and printing the roster.)

Librarians--Stay at your school and meet with the grade level teachers. (Example: R. L. Young librarian will meet with meet at Young with kindergarten teachers.) This will give librarians a picture of what is being discussed and how your program can fit. (You will not need to sign up on PDWeb. I will take care of signing you up and printing the roster.)

Counselors--Stay at one of your schools and meet with the grade level teachers. This will give librarians a picture of what is being discussed and how your program can fit. You will sign up on PDWeb. Search for PDTitle 194-51. Sign up for the appropriate session. Click here to go to PDWeb and take care of that right now.

Special Education Teachers--You will meet with a group of regular education teachers. Collaborative teachers may choose between 2nd grade (Salter), 3rd & 4th grade (Houston), 5th & 6th grade (Graham). Speech and self-contained teachers may choose between any of the grade levels. You will sign up on PDWeb. Search for PDTitle 194-51. Sign up for the appropriate session. Click here to go to PDWeb and take care of that right now.


Wed Search Strategies in Plain English

The Common Craft Show provides a wealth of short, understandable videos related to technology. This one gives tips on searching the web and would be understandable from upper elementary school students and beyond.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lee v. Macon Training

Every certified employee must complete must be trained in Positive Behavioral Support as a result of the Lee v. Macon court decree. Those who have been in our system prior to this year have completed this training.

For those who have not previously completed Lee v. Macon training, here is what you will need to do:

  1. See your principal for a study guide. This study guide will include the questions you will need to answer, material that will provide more than ample information to help you answer the questions, and a certificate of completion.
  2. View the online training modules on Positive Behavioral Support. You may view the modules, by clicking here.
  3. Answer a two of two essay questions, one from each set. Each answer should be one page singled spaced.
  4. Complete the certificate.
  5. Submit your completed essay to your principals. Keep a copy for yourself.
  6. Have your principal sign your certificate of completion. Secure a copy for yourself.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Just Over 100 Audition for Robin Hood

Just over 100 students in grades K-9 auditioned this evening for part in the Missoula Children's Theatre production of Robin Hood. Congratulations to all our students who put their best foot forward!

Rehearsals will be held each night this week. The students will present two shows at the Ritz on Saturday. The first performance is at 3:00 PM and the second is at 6:30 PM. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for students.

Two actors will be working with the students. Their bios are as follows:

Katelyn Vawter is a recent graduate of the University of Memphis with a BFA in theatre performance and a minor in English literature. Favorite show credits include: “Poppy” in NOISES OFF; “Henrietta Iscariot” in THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT; and “ensemble/dancer” in THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.

Kerri Heidcamp hails from St. Charles, Illinois. She recently graduated from Miami University with a BA in theatre performance and a minor in history. She also graduated from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City where she majored in musical theatre. Her favorite show credits include: “Meredith” in FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS; “Liz Imbrie” in HIGH SOCIETY; “Helena” in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM; and “Miss Hannigan” in ANNIE. When not performing, Kerri loves traveling, white water rafting, swimming – basically anything that has to do with water, watching movies and reading.

During the day, the two actors will be conducting workshops at for the 3rd grade classes at each of the elementary schools in the school system.


Saxon Common Assessments

According to the Pacing Guides, the following Saxon Common Assessments are due:

3rd Grade--Test 5 (After Lesson 60)

4th Grade--Test 5 (After Lesson 55)

5th Grade--Benchmark 2 (After Lesson 60)

For 6th Grade, the next assessment will be due just before we get out for Christmas. (After Lesson 65)

If anyone needs a copy of the schedule, it can accessed by clicking here.