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.