Denim Column

About The Author

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Alabama, United States
Instructional Partner, National Board Certified Teacher in Literacy, Graduate School Student, Social Media Promoter for VocabularySpellingCity, Promethean ActivInstructor and Social Media Council member, Avid Twitterer @WhiteheadsClass, 1st Vice President for ALNBCT Network Board of Directors, Certified ALEX Trainer

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Change Ahead


The 2012-2014 school year is here!  My professional days begin August 12, and students return on August 19.  However, this is a year of change for me.

For the past 16 years, I have been a classroom teacher in a rural school in Northeast Alabama.  This year, I have transferred to a much larger school within my district-new location, new commute, new people.  Also, I will have a whole new position.  I will be an instructional coach working with teachers instead of kids.  The position also requires that I visit the middle school one day a week.  Another huge change for me.

Although the year will be a year of many transitions, I am looking forward to many great experiences.  Throughout the year, I will share my successes, my questions, my excitements, my goals.  

What changes are you making professionally this year?
~Cara
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

On the 8th Day, God Created Teachers

I read the following story on Facebook and knew I had to share it with my readers.  It is a great reminder as we go back to school.  I wish I knew the author where I could give proper credit, but I found it at {here}.  



On the 6th day, God created men and women. On the 7th day, he rested. Not so much to recuperate, but rather to prepare himself for the work he was going to do on the next day. For it was on that day - the 8th day - that God created the FIRST TEACHER.

This TEACHER, though taken from among men and women, had several significant modifications. In general, God made the TEACHER more durable than other men and women. The TEACHER was made to arise at a very early hour and to go to bed no earlier than 11:30 PM with no rest in between.

The TEACHER had to be able to withstand being locked up in an air-tight classroom for six hours with thirty-five "monsters" on a rainy Monday. And the TEACHER had to be fit to correct 103 papers over Easter vacation. Yes, God made the TEACHER tough... but gentle, too. The TEACHER was equipped with soft hands to wipe away the tears of the neglected and lonely student... those of the sixteen-year old girl who was not asked to the prom.

And into the TEACHER God poured a generous amount of patience. Patience when a student asks to repeat the directions the TEACHER has just repeated for someone else. Patience when the kids forget their lunch money for the fourth day in a row. Patience when one-third of the class fails the test. Patience when the text books haven't arrived yet, and the semester starts tomorrow.

And God gave the TEACHER a heart slightly bigger than the average human heart. For the Teacher's heart had to be big enough to love the kid who screams, "I hate this class - it's boring!" and to love the kid who runs out of the classroom at the end of the period without so much as a "goodbye," let alone a "thank you."

And lastly, God gave the TEACHER an abundant supply of HOPE. For God knew that the TEACHER would always be hoping. Hoping that the kids would someday learn how to spell... hoping not to have lunchroom duty... hoping that Friday would come... hoping for a free day... hoping for deliverance.

When God finished creating the TEACHER, he stepped back and admired the work of His hands. And God saw that the TEACHER was good. Very Good! And God smiled, for when he looked at the TEACHER, he saw into the future.

He knew that the future is in the hands of the TEACHERS. And because God loves TEACHERS so much... on the 9th day God created... SNOW DAYS!
~Cara
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Friday, August 9, 2013

ALEX: Alabama Learning Exchange


ALEX (Alabama Learning Exchange) is a FREE one-stop resource for educators.  Developed by the Alabama Department of Education, this site provides exceptional resources for educators all over the world.  Although the site was developed by the state of Alabama, please be aware that it is to be used by all teachers regardless of their location.

Recently, I had to opportunity to become a certified ALEX trainer.  During my training, I was reminded of the many facets of the site.  The site includes the following areas:

  1. Courses of Study-This section is state specific.  One will find the College and Career Ready Standards (Alabama added additional standards to the Common Core standards.) for language arts and math for all grade levels.  It also includes all the courses of study for each subject and grade level.  It is very easy to select and print the standards one needs.
  2. Learning Assets-In this section, one will find activities to use before, during, or after a lesson.  They are not complete lessons.  These have been developed by teachers and approved by the ALEX team.  It is easy to search for specific content areas, grade levels, etc.
  3. Lesson Plans-Here, one will find complete lessons developed by teachers.
  4. Search-This section will search the entire site for lesson plans, learning assets, and podcasts that meet a specific topic and grade level.  It also searches Thinkfinity lessons.
  5. Personal Workspace-Sign up for a free account to create your Personal Workspace.  This area of the site will allow one to bookmark lessons, submit resources and plans, and create teacher webpages.
  6. Professional Learning-Find links to grants and trainings and Alabama Department of Education programs.  There is a section devoted to technology tools where one will be provided step-by-step handouts created by teachers and schools of basic programs.  Also, find download links to needed plug ins.  
  7. Podcast Treasury-A wide variety of podcasts created by teachers and students to use in your classroom.  There also also free podcasts developed by content partners.
  8. Alexville-This section is divided into various ALEX communities.  It is a great place to connect with other educators.
As educators, we are all looking for FREE resources, lesson plans, and ideas to use to enhance our students' curriculum.  It is great to have everything needed in one place.  Please take time to browse ALEX, and let me know what you think.


~Cara
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