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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Thanks for playground cleanup!

Thanks to the following parents (and students) who helped with our clean-up days just vefore the start of our school year:
Andy Carden
John Cullimore
Graham Davis
Mark Rasco
Britt Parker & Paxton
Mike & Alicia Smith & Bailey
James Pressley
Tony Roberson

But I don’t know what write about…


How many times do we hear this statement from students? Rick Shelton shared some insight into overcoming this problem with our 5th graders in a lesson on “expository writing” (which is writing that explains something). Shelton had this suggestion for the students:

  1. Make an “expert list.” This would be a list of topics where you are really good, have a good bit of knowledge, and you had a great interest.
  2. When you are asked to write an expository piece, pick something from your expert list.
  3. List three reasons why you like that subject. (“Because” is a pretty good starter.)
  4. Write a paragraph about your first reason. Write another paragraph focusing on the second reason, and then another paragraph focusing on the third reason.

For most people (whether they are 9, 29, 89) getting started is the hardest part about writing. This simple technique is one that we all can use.

Rick Shelton spent a day with us this past week and conducted lessons on writing with classes from grades 3-6. During the next several weeks, he will be returning to spend a day at each of our elementary schools and junior high. Rick’s ability to relate to students through humor that gets their attention, and practical writing techniques which hold their attention, has him in demand all across Alabama and neighboring states as well.

In addition to the work he does in countless schools, Rick is the author of Write Where You Are and Hoggle’s Christmas.

Monday, August 29, 2005

School dismissal

School will dismiss today at 2:00 due to predictions of bad weather.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The “Lightspan Network” is a resource available to you right now from any computer with Internet access. Internet access could be at your home, a friend’s house, school, a public library, or any business that might let your child use their computer. Here is how to get into the Lightspan Network:

  1. Go to www.lightspan.com

· The user name is Graham

· The password is Graham

· The district ID is Tall002

  1. To view all of the Tools and Resources for families within the Lightspan Network:

· Click “Families” on the left side of the screen

· Click “Tools and Resources”

· Choose one of the many features

  1. To access Learning Activities:

· Click on Families on the left side of the screen

· Click Learning Activities on the left side of the screen

· Choose Mathematics or Reading/Language Arts

· Click the grade range for the activity

· Select an activity from the list that appears. Find one that supports what your child is learning in school and play it together!

  1. To access the Site Guide for Families or Students:

· Click “Site Guides”

· Click “Families or Students”

Each section provides helpful hints and ideas for using the Lightspan Network.

Family Focus on Learning

Family involvement is one of the most important factors in increasing student achievement. The Lightspan Network provides exciting learning activities, projects, and homework help to challenge and stimulate your child’s thinking. You’ll find resources that help you create an educational environment at home that nurtures and supports your child’s learning.


Note: The first time your child wants to do one of the activities on the Lightspan Network, he or she will need your help on one item. The activities require a program called “Shockwave” which may or may not be loaded on your computer. The first time you select an activity, if you do not have Shockwave, you will see a message. You will have the opportunity to download and install Shockwave. Just follow the on-screen instructions (basically a few mouse clicks). Shockwave will take about 10 minutes to download and install. After that process is complete, your child will be able to do any of the activities in the Lightspan Network.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Now that's dedication!


A broken leg may stop some people, but not Lee Messer. Saturday afternoon, Mr. Messer could be seen cutting the grass in front of Ellis. (Note the crutches thrown in the back of the mower.) Now that's dedication!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Adequate Yearly Progress

We made AYP!
Part of President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" initiative is the concept of "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP). Each year, schools have goals which become more and more stringent each year. To make "Adequate Yearly Progress," a school must meet EVERY SINGLE GOAL. Missing even one goal means a school does not make "AYP." Furthermore, we are judged not just on our students as a whole. Each subgroup (white students, black students, paid lunch, free lunch, special education, etc.) must meet these goals.

While we are certainly proud of our students for their test scores, we never want to lose site of the real aim of being of why we are all in this business in the first place. School is about the joy of teaching and learning. If each of us does us (principal, teacher, parent, student) does our part to make learning the star, I hope the data will always take care of itself.



“Not everything that counts can be measured,
and not everything that can be measured, counts."
-Albert Einstein