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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alabama Ag in the Classroom Summer Institute

"Alabama Ag in the Classroom Summer Institute" is scheduled for June 16-18 at the Marriott at Capitol Hill in Prattville. Mandy Armbrester sent this information to me. After attending the workshop in 2007, she said it is the best workshop she has ever attended.

Teachers learn how to incorporate agriculture in their classrooms. Participants receive many books and materials to use. The three-day workshop includes field trips to farms. Priority is given to first year attendees. The workshop includes all materials, roundtrip mileage, lodging, meals, and a stipend. Best of all, it's free! If you have questions, you can contact Mandy Armbrester at Graham.

To download the registration form, click here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Calendar Options for 2009-2010

The Calendar Committee met this afternoon and drafted two options.


To view the calendars, click here.

At the bottom of the screen, you will see tabs that say "Option 1" and "Option 2." Click on the tabs to view each of the two calendar options. Your school's representative to the Calendar Committee will be organizing the voting during February. The Calendar Committee will meet again on February 19 and the winning calendar will be determined.

You will find that the major difference between the two calendars involves spring break. Option #1 has spring break where it has traditionally been. Option #2 moves spring break to after testing.

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JSU Teacher Hall of Fame District Winner

Mrs. Carrie Nabors, a kindergarten teacher at R. L. Young, is the Talladega City School District winner in the Jacksonville State University Teacher Hall of Fame Program. This is quite a high honor and Mrs. Nabors is an excellent choice. We are very proud and feel our school and District will be well represented.
Congratulations!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Congratulations Mrs. Clark!


Congratulations Mrs. Clark, 5th and 6th grade science teacher at C. L. Salter Elementary School, for being selected Talladega City Schools Teacher of the Year!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Free Online Professional Development through e-Learning

e-Learning is a free source of professional development. They offer a number of olnine courses, each providing 30 clock hours of professional development. Courses begin February 11 and end March 31. You are able to work at your own pace during this time.

To see a list of the courses being offered, click here. Clicking on any course will show you a description of the course.

If you decide that you would like to enroll in a course, here is what to do:
  1. Be sure your e-mail address in PDWeb is correct.
  2. Jot down the course number for the course you would like to take. For example, "Leading Schools in a Web 2.0 World" is EDU5505E.
  3. Go to PDWeb and "Search the PD Title Catalog." Enter the course number you jotted down.
  4. Click the "List" link in the box containing the course description.
  5. Click the "Enroll Now" button.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The White House Has a Blog


Our school system has used blogs for several years as a means of communication. The White House has now followed suite! The new White House blog is located here. If you use a RSS feed, you may add the following address to your feed: http://www.whitehouse.gov/feed/blog/

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Coverage

If anyone is looking for ways to watch the coverage of the inauguration ceremonies, here is a post listing multiple options.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tips for Success on the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing

Tips for Success on the
Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing
From workshop presented by Sally York

  1. Use blank paper to do your prewriting. You can then copy the finished product onto the paper you will be turning in.
  2. At the top of the blank paper, immediately write what mode you will be using and a few key words about what you are supposed to do.
  3. Read the prompt at least four times. You want to be sure you understand exactly what you are being asked to do.
  4. Create a graphic organizer on your blank paper
  5. Next, write your rough draft
  6. Use at least 5 paragraphs
    > Introduction—State the purpose and the audience. Have a good topic sentence. Include a hook (can be a question or exclamation)
    > A paragraph for each of 3 major points
    > A concluding paragraph—Recap what you have told the reader. Leave the reader with a thought, a challenge, or something to think about.
    >Each paragraph should have at least five sentences.
  7. When you have 25 minutes left, copy your rough draft onto the paper you will be turning in.
  8. On your final copy, do not write in the margins. Also, do not write below the bottom line. The scorers will not give you credit for anything you write in those areas.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mini-Grants from the Foundation

The Talladega City School Foundation is presently taking grant applications for mini-grants. Projects would be implemented during the coming year. The application is located here. You may save it on your computer.

Grants are to be used for educational opportunities beyond the basics.

You will find the application is constructed in such a way that you will enter your information in the gray boxes. You will simply tab from gray box to gray box.

Application deadline is February 27, 2009.


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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Help Us Plan Next Year's Calendar


The Calendar Committee will meet on January 26 to construct three calendar options upon which you will later vote. Your input is needed on several key points. Please click the link below and complete a short survey.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Some Recommended Sites for Upcoming Events

Thursday, January 08, 2009

PDWeb and Recertification

If your teaching certificate is up for renewal this year, please be sure that your professional development is up to date on PDWeb. Although I have not received anything in writing from the Alabama State Department of Education, I am being told that the only professional development that will be examined is that which is on PDWeb. A teacher must have 50 hours each five years to renew certification.

I would also suggest printing a copy of your professional development history and keeping that with other important papers. If the worst happened and PDWeb were to crash at the state level, having your own copy will come in very handy.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Inservice on Reader's Theatre and Movement



I spent the morning at Salter enjoying the Pat Yates inservice on Reader's Theatre. Since this concept is built into our reading series, it only makes sense to have a little help with how to do it better and how to interject some new ideas. From the smiles on faces, this seemed to be one you enjoyed, and it was certainly not a "sit and get."




I heard equally good things about Mary Foshee's work with grades K-2 at R. L. Young.



Pat Yates talked briefly about the joint production of To Kill a Mockingbird in which Mountain Brook High School and Fairfield High School joined forces. Here is a YouTube video featuring still shots and music (and yes, the music is actually those students singing) from that production.) Realize that YouTube is blocked from within our school system, so you can view the video from home.




Here is an article from The Washington Post on the performance. The production was also the subject of a PBS documentary and was featured on the Today Show. You may also read the Resolution from the Alabama State Board of Education.

These inservice activities were made possible by grants from the Talladega City Schools Foundation, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment on the Arts.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

What Really Makes a Difference in Classroom Instruction?

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.

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