Friday, December 21, 2012

AHS Teacher Holiday Luncheon 2012

Tacky Holiday Sweater Winner

This past Thursday (December 20, 2012), our faculty held it's annual Holiday Luncheon.  Our PTO spoiled us with more food than we could eat (those of you in education know this is extremely hard to accomplish!). The Faculty Fund Committee members planned several fun events and gave away great prizes, including Chik-fil-a, donuts, scarves, Italian dinner for 2, etc.  They also "Elfed" our administration which drew loud laughter and applause from all in attendance.  

One fun event to start off the luncheon activities was Musical Chairs.  As you will be able to see from the two videos below, our teachers are quite competitive!

Here is a slideshow of some pictures taken during our luncheon:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Book Twist to the Traditional Advent Calendar

My daughter, Sasha, came up with a great twist to the traditional advent calendar this year; The 25 Books of Christmas.

My grandson, Liam (who will be two years old in January), loves to read. He will even stop watching TV to go in his room and read a book.

Sasha shops at a great thrift store in Atlanta where she found practically new books for just fifty cents each.  She wrapped the books in plain brown paper, numbered them, and placed them under the tree.  Each evening when Liam is going through his bedtime routine, Sasha tells him what number book to get from under the tree (smart way to teach numbers).  Liam gets the book, opens it and then his mommy reads it to him.  He loves doing this each night.  I was recently able to Skype with them and we read a Grover ABCs book together. It was so much fun!

My daughter, Sasha, is an amazing mother and person.  I often say that even if she weren't my daughter she would be someone I would want to know.

My daughter, Sasha

My grandson, Liam

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Twitter Success! Yay!

Edward Osborne "E. O." Wilson
Wilson was the Joseph Pellegrino University Research Professor in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

Legendary Biologist E.O. Wilson Held Global Town Hall Today

I am so excited!  At the beginning of the school year I embarked on a rather lofty venture; introduce my teachers to the power of building a PLN (Professional Learning Network) with Twitter.  Little by little, as teachers make connections, the value of Twitter as a place for professionals to connect is being realized.  

Today, however, was what I want to see as a watershed moment.  Our International Baccalaureate Biology teacher, Mary Dalrymple, and our International Baccalaureate Director and English teacher, Davis Thompson, had their classes join in the live Town Hall Meeting today with Legendary Biologist E. O. Wilson.  A student in the class tweeted a question thinking that his would just be lost in the shuffle. Surprisingly, at the end of the Town Hall Meeting, E. O Wilson's last question was from our Auburn High School student!  The students and teachers were so excited about being mentioned.  It was the perfect opportunity to point out how Twitter can connect you to professionals you otherwise would never have the opportunity to connect, communicate, and learn with....all for FREE!  I mean, where else would you ever be able to converse with a Harvard Biologist other than on Twitter?!

I can go home tonight knowing that a valuable lesson about the power of Twitter has been learned and will be spread by word of mouth by our students and teachers.  This is hopefully the spark that lights the fire!  Keep your fingers crossed.

Supporting Teachers with Common Core: A #TLChat Recap

The #TLChat this past Monday, December 10, 2012 was a huge success!  With over 600 tweets and 182 participants involved, Monday night's TLChat LIVE! was a huge success!  The topic discussed was a timely one; Supporting Teachers with Common Core.

View the archived tweets from the December 10, 2012 TLChat Live! session here:

Join Teacher-Librarians from around the globe every 2nd Monday of the month at 8 PM Eastern US Time on Twitter.  Be sure to use the hashtag #tlchat in all your tweets during the chat.

Learn, Share, Grow with TLChat LIVE!

Some highlights form the chat included the sharing of a great number of resources, many of which have been archived on various Pinterest Boards.  Here are a few that were shared, although I think @AuntyTech's (aka:  Donna Baumbach) Pinterest Board is perhaps the most comprehensive:

Education guru, Kathy Schrock, joined in on the fun Monday night sharing her great Common Core Rubric Creation Tool and Common Core Checklist for grades K-6.

My Take Away

Now that the TLChat Live! is over, I am let to sort through the many resources shared and come up with an effective was to deliver this information to my teachers.  I have started by adding to the Auburn High School's Common Core Resources Pinterest Board, many of the resources shared during the Twitter chat.  

Starting in January, a concerted effort to orient teachers to the Common Core, specifically the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) for the state of Alabama will begin.  Auburn High School will begin with a special back to school professional development session lead by Central Office personnel, Karen Anderson.  This will be followed later in the month with Technology in Motion Regional representative, Tamara Sanders, leading the Auburn High School staff through the Alabama State Department CCRS Insight Tool (

The Insight Tool is amazing!  You can choose from three tabs: Math K-12, English Language Arts K-12 or Literacy in all Contents.  From there you can filter by Domain, Conceptual Category, and Grade Level.  Once you have filtered your search parameters, you have a neat set of columns that provide the CCRS Standard, Teacher Vocabulary word lists (great for a word wall), Standard ID, Evidence of Student Attainment, Skills Indicators, Knowledge Indicators, and Understanding Indicators, AMSTI resources, and direct links to ALEX lesson plan resources (example:

I will follow up these two great PD sessions with monthly, departmental Coffee Chat sessions that will focus on one new tool that can be used for a majority of CCRS standards: Google Drive.  I choose to focus on Google Drive as the one new tech tool to support CCRS at our school for several reasons.  

First, after extensive research on tech tools to support CCRS, the one technology that appeared repeatedly was Google docs/Drive.  Even the always amazing Richard Byrne (Free Technology For Teachers) has written a few articles about using Google Drive as the ultimate CCRS web 2.0 tool ( Richard is also offering a three hour webinar entitled:  Google Drive and the Common Core.  

Second, Auburn High School began using Moodle as our online learning management system three years ago.  Google and Moodle merged in 2009 and work as a perfect pair.  Google Docs/Drive is compatible across platforms (PC & Macs). The more I can get teachers to use Google Documents in conjunction with Moodle the less students will experience compatibility issues when accessing Moodle at home where they may not have access to Microsoft Office.  Teaching Coffee Chat sessions about Google and how to effectively use it with Moodle and CCRS will just be a continuation of PDs taught over the past three years.

Third, Auburn City Schools just went through and is continuing to feel residual effects of a nasty virus that completely crippled our school network.  This meant that teachers and students had no way to access the documents, lesson plans, projects, research papers, essays, etc that had been saved to the internal network drives.  Additionally, any flash drives, SD cards etc that were plugged into the school computers during this period of time were immediately corrupt with the same virus attacking the internal network servers, which then rendered those devices unusable and all data stored on them was lost.  I wasn't affected by this virus because I make and save all of my documents to my Google Drive account rather than the in house server networks. I started using Google Docs/Drive in 2006 and have not lost a single file or had any instances with viruses.  Here is the link to my Google Apps EDU Pinterest board:

I am so grateful for my awesome PLN of Super Teacher-Librarians who are willing to take the time to learn, share and grow together through the TL Chat Live! Twitter chat sessions.  I wouldn't be half the professional I am if it weren't for the wealth of knowledge so freely shared in my PLN.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hallelujah - DJ Scaife & Ed Graves

Email from Varsity & Elan Singers Teacher, Eron Smith, to Auburn High School Staff:

I needed to share this production with you.  This is a link to a project done by DJ at Berklee College of Music in Boston.  He was recently chosen as the only student from the school to perform for the great Harry Belafonte.  As a freshman, this is a great accomplishment. DJ is representing us well!  I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Thanks for letting me share!

Eron Smith

After the amazing performance DJ gave at our high school graduation last year, no one should be surprised at this success.  

We are all so proud of DJ!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Content Curation and the School Librarian

Very excited to be published in a special online exclusive feature article for Knowledge Quest magazine:  

A Special "THANK YOU" to Carolyn Starkey for asking me to be a part of this issue.

Knowledge Quest is published bimonthly September through June by the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association, Knowledge Quest is devoted to offering substantive information to assist building-level school librarians, supervisors, library educators, and other decision makers concerned with the development of school library programs and services. Articles address the integration of theory and practice in school librarianship and new developments in education, learning theory, and relevant disciplines.

Project Red Hosted by Auburn City Schools

Project RED's nation wide survey analyzed what’s working in technology-transformed schools & shows how technology saves money when properly implemented.

Auburn City School is hosting a group with Project RED as they learn ways Auburn City Schools incorporates technology into the classroom, including the 1:1 laptop initiative at Auburn Junior High School.

See the amazing educators I have the privilege to work with in Auburn City Schools:

Technology Coordinator, Danielle Schrimsher. presented to the group about DyKnow:

Matt York: Auburn High School Teacher of the Year 2012-13

Congratulations to Matt York
Social Studies Teacher
Auburn High School Teacher of the Year

Below are:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Movin' Forward with Moodle

Teachers at Auburn High School have steadily been moving forward with using Moodle as our Learning Management System.

Last week we had our first ever eLearning Day.  Students who did not need to take the PSAT were allowed to come to school late.  The trade off was they had to complete and turn in an eLearning Assignment their teachers had posted to Moodle. For some of our students and teachers this was a new experience.

Our teachers have become quite proficient in posting resources on their Moodle page and students have become adept at locating and printing out those resources. Now was the perfect opportunity to take the next step forward in using Moodle.  We held a Coffee Chat day to train teachers how to assign lessons through Moodle and set the completed work up to be turned in through Moodle.  We also announced to students through Moodle , FaceBook, Twitter and AHS Today (our morning student produced news program)  to come to the library if they needed assistance with the eLearning Day activity.

Now comes the next step in the to access and grade what was turned in. We will tackle this task tomorrow!  I'm so excited!

Here is my very plain instructions for how to find and grade assignments in Moodle if you just can't wait until the morning to learn this skill :

Monday, October 29, 2012

Keeping Wayward Wanderings on iPads at Bay

Here are some great tips for you to use if you are an iPad school:
(shared by Sandy Armstrong, Drake Middle School, Auburn, AL)

To keep kids in one app (or a webpage(s)) this is what you do (your IPad must be updated to IOS 6):

On IPad :
·       Click settings
·       Click General
·       Click Accessibility  (near bottom of page on right  hand side)
·       Click Guided Access (under Learning on the right hand side of the page)
·       Click On
·       Click Set Passcode
·       Type in a code
·       Type in code again
(You will not have to do that again……this is a one-time set up)

Click Home button to go to main screen

To keep a child working in one app (they can not go to a different unless you change it ):
·       Click app you want the child to work in
·       Click Home button 3 times quickly
·       Click start (in top right hand corner)

Now the child cant exit that app until you click the home button 3 times and put in the passcode.

To keep child in a website(s) (without the ability to type in other website or pick from bookmarks):
·       Click Safari
·       Open website you want the students to work in
·       In another tab, open same website again
·       Click Home button 3 times quickly
·       With your finger, draw a circle around the address bar and bookmark area (a gray area will show around it…make sure the gray area is not covering the 2 tabs of the open websites)
·       Click start (in top right hand corner)

Now your students can work on the webpage…if they click a link that takes them off of the page, then they can click a tab to take them back.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

QWRTY Meets Sexy

Recently, thanks to my amazing Twitter PLN, I discovered a great new typing practice program, Typing Karaoke.  Unlike other typing practice programs with boring, monotonous text to type, Typing Karaoke let's users choose from ten chart topping hits singles, including LMFAO's Sexy and I Know It.

I immediately shared this site with two of my friends.  Ms. Sonya Hutchinson, Business Technology teacher, and Ms. Amanda Henry, Customer Sales Representative and Assistant Training Coach for new hires.

After showing Typing Karaoke to Ms. Hutchinson, she is now using it as a fun typing practice and reward activity on Fridays with her students.  The kids love it and are competing to see who can garner the most points.

Ms. Henry trains new web chat sales consultants.

Improving new hire typing skills is essential to good customer service.  In the past trainees were required to spend "down time" practicing their typing skills with traditional boring typing programs, not exactly something they looked forward to doing.  Ms. Henry now allows her trainees to practice their skills with Typing Karaoke.  Since making this move, Ms. Henry's trainees have become more productive and excited about practicing their typing skills.

If you haven't tried Typing Karaoke, give it a whirl!  You'll be typing and singing in no time!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Of Mice And Men Multi-Genre Project

“As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.” 
― John SteinbeckOf Mice and Men

This week Mrs. Sally Acker, an English Teacher at my high school, assigned her students 10th grade classes an Of Mice and Men multi-genre project

One option students had was to create a Pinterest page related to the novel.  Here are two of the Pinterest pages that were created:

What creative ways have you used Pinterest in your course lessons?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Banned Books Week & Teen Read Week Fun!

We finally put the finishing touches on our October Bulletin Board!  Let us know what you think!

It's hard to see the pictures that we have over our monster's head, so here are a few: