Monday, October 29, 2012

On Friday of last week, I was privileged to see a Senior, Tyler Whitley, conduct his own IEP meeting using Notes on his iPad.  It was amazing to see a student  use technology to help him stay organized. This is an efficient and effective way to use technology to advance personal skills. Great job Tyler!

Tyler's mom stated," The iPad had helped Tyler tremendously!"

Mrs. Busby added, "Tyler is great with the iPad and with technology!"

From the iPad of Teddie Butcher...

I introduced Pinterest for the first time to my Interior Design class today. I was showing them how to create folders, re-pin to their bulletin boards, how to double click on the picture to bring up the person’s blog that originally pinned, etc. My student have made design booklets the old fashion way, where they found magazines pictures to represent color theory (primary, secondary, intermediate colors as well as analogous, complimentary and accented neutral), mounted them on paper, titled them and wrote a brief description of how the picture matches the color theory criteria.  WELL, I wanted to expose them to the new technology of creating the booklets by saving pictures that meet the criteria on Pinterest and creating a bulletin board on their Pinterest account for each of the design theories we will be covering this year in class. We will be returning to the library next week to continue working on their Pinterest folders if you would like to come and observe. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Friday! Hope everyone has had a great week at HHS! Mrs. Hogan and I wanted to share that you can use Skype on your iPad as a communication tool in the Fun Fact Friday! Enjoy...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Vision without a Plan is a Hallucination

At Hoover High School, we have been riding the wave of excitement of putting iPads in the hands of all of our teachers and our senior class in August. Teachers are trying new apps and integrating technology into their instruction. Students are using apps to be more organized and can be seen using iPads in a variety of ways, enhancing their learning. In my opinion, morale is high and teachers are collaborating and working together more than ever.

We have to ask ourselves the following questions: How do we sustain this excitement and make this more than just a shiny new tool? How to we ensure that all stakeholders know and understand the vision that we have for the Engaged Learning Initiative? How do we ensure that this initiative is about improving our instruction with the use of technology?

This week I attended the International Society for Technology in Education’s Leadership Forum 2012 (isteLF12), in Indianapolis, Indiana. Educational leaders who are working to integrate technology into the classroom from all over the world attended this conference. The conference was led by outstanding administrators such as Chris Lehmann (@chrislehmann). Chris is the founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy, a progressive science and technology high school in Philadelphia, PA. The Science Leadership Academy is an inquiry-driven, project-based, 1:1 laptop school that is considered to be one of the pioneers of the School 2.0 movement nationally and internationally.

As you can tell by the description of Chris, he is a revolutionary leader. Here are just a few of the profound things that Chris discussed at isteLF12.

- With the current accountability systems in place in schools, all of the amazing things that kids are doing do not matter unless they perform well on standardized tests.

- Teachers are struggling with the question: Is school relevant? Am I relevant?

- Schools can teach us how to learn. Schools can teach us how to live. This MATTERS to EVERYONE!

- What is a modern school? What does it look like?

- Technology unlocks the human potential of our students and our teachers

- We have to change the way our teachers talk about our students.

- Schools must be inquiry driven.

- Seek out more complex answers and seek out areas of discomfort in kids thinking and push them to new levels.

- We have to seek more complex answers from our students. The world is seeking complex answers. We are not preparing the students for the tests, but for the world.

- We have to optimize person to person time through technology.

- We have to talk and listen to learn. This enables more collaboration.

- We have to unlock passion. Schools should be places of passion (and we are not talking about PDA in the hallway!)

- Kids ask, “Why should I learn this?” and we respond “You are going to need this someday”. We have to make curriculum and learning relevant now, in the present to get students to learn.

- Dare kids to do things that matter.

So when we look at this list of things that are important to students and to learning, the question emerges, “How do we get there?” According to Chris, these things have to be in place:

Vision- What do we believe? What do we want?
Model- We have to model what
Build systems and structures of support
Common language of curriculum, teaching, and learning
Care for the teachers so that they will care for the students


I heard one of the speakers at the conference say that a vision without a plan is a hallucination. The great things that are going at Hoover High School cannot be a hallucination. We have to keep our vision strong and find ways to model, build systems of support, share a common language, and care for each other. We can do this, we can be one school. We are Hoover!

Follow Chris Lehmann on Twitter: @chrislehmann

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

From the iPad of Carrie Busby....

Hunter White is a second-year peer helper, and he was caught in action yesterday during his peer helping assignment at Deer Valley.  Hunter has worked with elementary kids since last year, and he does a good job with these kids.  He might be embarrassed that I sent this picture, but I thought you would be as proud as I am to see our kids out doing good things in the community.

From the iPad of Susan Norris....

During our summer training, we had a very brief discussion about Twitter and its uses for education. Someone shared this website today and I thought I would pass it along to all of you!

This is one of the best formatted charts I have seen with good information on current tech buzz words. Ed Chat Cheat Sheet-

I learned a ton from this site. Might be a good one to bookmark. 100 iPad tricks-


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

From the iPad of Ron Dodson...

We appreciate everyone’s patience and perseverance as we have worked our way through one of the largest and fastest paced technology initiatives ever implemented in the history of Hoover City Schools.  We’ve seen and heard many exciting things in classrooms across the district, and we’ve also met our fair share of both anticipated and unanticipated obstacles along the way.  One lesson that we’ve learned is that teachers are about four times more likely to break their iPad than high school students.  

One of the obstacles related specifically to the iPad has been the management of and accounting for application and media content purchases through the iTunes store.  We have struggled with this because Apple bases their entire business model on a personal consumer approach, but what has been enormously successful for them as a global corporation has proven perniciously problematic for public agencies who are spending taxpayer dollars.  The key problem is that the Apple iTunes store charges state sales tax (4%) on every transaction, and as a public entity, we should not use public funds to pay taxes which re-direct those funds to other public purposes.  This has been a pickle of a problem, however, after many weeks of consultation and consideration, we are finally ready to issue the following instructions for iPad content purchases.

Teacher iPads-  This is the first year that our district has offered schools the option of using purchasing cards (p-cards) for teacher instructional supply fund transactions.  The p-card works essentially the same as a debit card, but the user is not allowed to use the p-card to pay sales tax.  After much deliberation, we have received permission from the state to allow purchases involving sales tax to the Apple iTunes store only.  It is very important for all to understand that this exception is being approved by the state for this specific problem only because the state officials recognize the dilemma which more and more schools are facing across the state in dealing with the iTunes store.  Some schools agreed to pilot the p-cards this year, and others decided to hold off until next year to watch and learn.  The directions that follow differentiate for both situations-
             Schools that did issue p-cards this year:  Technology coaches will provide training to teachers to set up a separate iTunes account for each teacher using their individual p-cards as the fund source for the account.  Purchases made from this account will be charged directly to the teacher’s instructional supply fund account at the local school level.  Teachers will need to provide receipts to school bookkeepers and follow any other verification protocols required by school administration.  It should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway, that the purchases made using the teacher p-card account must be educational in nature.  Teachers can continue to maintain a personal iTunes account to make purchases of a personal nature, and technology coaches will include the management of these two different types of accounts on the same iPad in their training. 
             Schools that did not issue p-cards this year:  If the principal wants to do so, a single p-card can be created in the name of the principal, and technology coaches can provide the same training as described above but based on the single p-card number to be used by all teachers in the same school (each teacher has a separate iTunes account, but they use the same p-card as the payment type).  The authorization and verification process for this system will be necessarily more complex than the one described above because multiple adults will be using the same purchasing account, and it will be up to the school bookkeeper to assign each purchase to the appropriate individual’s instructional supply fund account.  In the same manner described above, teachers can maintain both a personal iTunes account along with the school’s p-card iTunes account on the same device. 

Student iPads (high schools only)-  Student devices should all have an application called AirWatch installed on them which allows the district to manage content on the district-owned devices.  Applications and media content can be purchased in mass quantities and distributed to individual devices, but this process requires manpower to actually assign and manage content on each individual student device.  An additional aide position is being created which will be shared between the two high schools and based in the media centers to coordinate efforts related to student content purchases and manage iPad repairs across the district.  Each high school will be tasked with creating a committee to develop a budget and approve student application and media content purchases.  We anticipate that this process will supplement, and might eventually even replace, our traditional textbook purchasing process; in the current timeframe however, these will remain separate but parallel processes.  More details on this process will be developed soon as the high school committees get geared up and the new aide is hired and trained. 

Nook application and media content purchases appear to be going smoothly using procedures already established by the district’s finance and local school bookkeeping offices.  District funding to support these purchases is being processed soon and will be made available to principals by the first of November.

Thank you all again for your patience.  The processes described above are not perfect, and I’m sure we will face some more experiential speed bumps along the way.  But there is no other place that I would rather be than here in Hoover City Schools at this point in our history.   Students are winning, and that is a good thing. 

Ron Dodson, Ph.D.
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction
Hoover City Schools

Monday, October 22, 2012

From the iPad of Mrs. Taylor....

My Marine Science class used photos to make Pic Collages (app) about ocean life. These are great for visual learners. The students in the photo below are using the presentations and our classroom clickers to compete a quiz.

The kids were really excited about learning the different types of jellyfish this way and they came up with some beautiful-looking books.  Kelly Etheredge and I came up with this one together, so I am especially excited that our collaboration along with the iPad has led to such a great learning tool.  We are going to be adding to it with the more groups of animals as we progress throughout this semester. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun Fact Friday!!! Maybe Mrs. Hogan will forgive me for showing you an reenactment of her losing her phone this week. Although this was obviously staged, I wish I could have videoed the real event :)

Fun Fact Friday:

From the iPad of Mr. Turner...

My students are giving me homework this weekend. Check it out!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Inspiration- From the iPad of Susan Norris...

Hey guys!  As many of you know, last year my family added to new precious children.  Paul and Matthew were adopted from Uganda, and they are in the 6th grade here at Brock’s Gap intermediate School.  Needless to say, I have learned a TON about ESL and how difficult it is for children to start school with such a language deficit.

I just wanted to share with you all a conversation that my son Paul and I had the other day.  He was working on homework and it was just the two of us sitting at the kitchen table.  I asked him some questions about school – here and Uganda.  Then I said tell me one thing you like and dislike about your school here and your old school in Uganda.  He had lots to say about Uganda – good and bad.  But then he started talking about school here.  Here is what he shared with me……

(Imagine his accent and broken English as you read)
“Mom, in Uganda, the teacher comes in class and teaches to EVERYONE.  Most of time, I do not understand.  But here in America, my teachers teach to ME (and he pointed right at his chest).  They like for me to learn.”

It just made me cry.  As a parent, I was so thankful for his team of teachers that were making a difference in his life.  As a teacher, I sat back and really evaluated myself.  The questions I kept asking myself were……

Do my students think this about me?

Do I really care if each student in my class is learning or am I just teaching to the masses?

We are so blessed to work here at HHS.  I have the most incredible colleagues, the most supportive administration, and the GREATEST students and parents.  Hope this challenges you like it did me.

Tweets from around HHS:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Everyone has heard the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink". This is true, but the there are many other factors involved in this decision- one being how thirsty the horse is. Last night HCS technology department scheduled a session of #HCSLRN- a Tweetchat for the teachers and staff members in our district. Attendance had been low at the last session, so I decided to offer an iTune card to our teachers at HHS if they tweeted during the chat with the hash tag #HCSLRN. Turns out, our teachers respond well to extrinsic rewards and love iTunes cards :)

The tweet chat started at 9:00 (although Keith Fulmer tried to cheat and get some tweets in early). The discussion started with everyone tweeting about the presidential debate (on TV) and successes that they had experienced in the past week or two with technology. We had several teachers tweet in that this was their first tweet and many had not participated in a Tweet Chat before. Once everyone got accustomed to the format, the tweeting picked up.

Many topics were discussed in the hour and many instructional ideas and apps were shared. It was fun to sit back and just watch the wheels start turning and the collaboration was awesome. Questions were posed, ideas were shared, peer-to-peer PD was offered, it was a SUCCESS! As I watched our teachers interact, you could almost feel their excitement. At times, you could also feel some stress and feelings of being somewhat overwhelmed and reserved about personal abilities, but that is to be expected. There was a high level of trust and respect displayed for all levels of learners and that is the ultimate goal.


We even had students from both high schools tweet in and give their opinions of the Engaged Learning Initiative. Jordan Laporta from HHS and Houston Pearce from SPHS shared with the group.

We cannot force our teachers into the technology world and we would never want to. We will lead, really we will walk beside them, as they explore all the possibilities out there. We cannot make them "drink" but they seem pretty "thirsty", so I think if we point them in the direction of the water, they will make thier own path and find it themselves with guidance and support.

Thanks #HCSLRN! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

From the iPad of Brad Coltrane...

I’m having my students keep records of their responses to our reading this year using their iPads.  Every student is required to keep a reading log in some format that can be shared with classmates. Some are doing some pretty cool things with blogs, video, both.  A few examples.

I know I should be tweeting this, since email is so last decade, but the kids are really running with it.

Brad Coltrane
IB Coordinator
Hoover High School

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Monday Hoover High and blog readers! It is going to be a great week at HHS!

Marley Stephens, Counselor at HHS, made a great video to share with the students in our middle schools about the importance of the EXPLORE test that they will be taking soon. Great job Mrs. Stephens!

From the iPad of Janet Ort...

WOW!  Look at these notes.  We are studying Earth Systems.  I am using the Grand Canyon and Little River canyon in Alabama as a centralizing idea for geologic processes.  This is a great example of integrated learning facilitated by the iPad.  I did say they could add pictures to their notes, but never thought about this! 

Wanted to also share the photo taken at the ballgame in support of Breast Cancer Awareness taken by our talented math teacher Mrs. Debbie Henley! Go Bucs!

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's Friday and time again for Fun Fact Friday. We have had several teachers, students, and staff members wondering how you upload video that you have taken on your iPad into You Tube in order to share it with others. This Fun Fact Friday featuring some Hoover coaches who often make highlight films thought you would find this helpful!

Fun Fact Friday:

Mr. Knowles wins at Bluff Park Art Show!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

HCS Uses Moodle for Teachers and Administrators to complete ISTE Nets Certification...

The Hoover City Schools technology department is using Moodle to allow teachers to collaboratively complete the ISET Nets Certification, which increases not only our ability to collaborate, but our capacity to learn new strategies, apps, and ideas from each other while gaining certification. Here is just an example of how sharing about using Pinterest in the classroom turned into a collaborative chat. It is not reall clear, but shows how one teacher sharing her idea has created a new and information conversation.

From the iPad of William Richardson and Todd Schaeffer...

Coach Schaeffer is teaching the class US History Tthrough Film this year. One teaching tool we are using is blogging. We have been documenting the films we are using through this blog. The blog is private for the class to use as a resource, but below is a sample of the postings we are making. Great tool for students!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bucs Unite to Fight Bullying in School!

How cool!  Kids are tweeting their posters about cyberbullying.  Mrs. Moncus’ students have made some really good posters.  So glad to see our students take the lead in stopping cyberbullying.

Involve your students, too. ##hhsbucsunite

Judy Kehr

Student Tweets:

I am always looking for great organizational tips. This past weekend while at HHS for the SAT, I flipped through the October/November edition of Working Mother magazine. The magazine had an interesting article entitled "Appy-y Helpers" with some apps that could be useful to teachers with busy lives. I have shared some of these below.

Weather Clock Free- Wake up on time and know what to wear for the weather with this double-featured app. The background reflects real-time outdoor conditions, while rise-and-shine sounds awaken you (Free @

Voice Secretary- Voice-record you own reminders and have them recited at a set time. You can also email audio messages, back up files and repeat schedules. It's a virtual assistant in your phone ($4.00

Remember the Milk- If you are highly dependent on lists to get through the day, this app's for you. Prioritize, set time estimates and get reminders via email. Never forget anything again (free,

Sticky Note with Alarms and Bump Sharing: Email notes, customize their look, and view them without unlocking your screen.  "Bump" devices to share stickers to your iPhone or iTouch ($1.00 for Bump Function,

Checkbook: It's time for check records to go digital. Manage finances, reconcile transactions, save recurring expenses, and export to MS Excel easily. Secure everything with a password and back up your data online ($2.00,

Cozi Family Organizer: Keep your entire family on tract by storing every one's activities in one spot. Email important reminders, send text to-dos, even create a monthly e-newsletter (free, sign up and download app at

Grocery Gadget Free- Shopping List: Scan bar codes to check off your grocery like. Also, cut time by two-cart shopping with someone. All updates are synced across devices, avoiding dupe items between you (Free,

Goby: Find cool things to do with the family on weekends and holidays.Log in once and receive location-based recommendations, complete with directions and contact information (free,

* from Working Mother, October/November 2012  $12.00 for online subscription

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mrs. Hogan had a great idea- not that this surprises us one bit! We are going to pick a day each week where every hour on the hour we praise a student and take their photo using Twitter. We will use the hash tags #HHSiBucs and #bucspraise. We will collect these Tweets and put them together at the end of the semester and year as Hoover Student Highlights. Here are a couple of our first #bucspraise Want to praise a student- use the hast tag #bucspraise! Tweets:

HHS Techaneers Started Today! This is a time during 5th period when students and teachers can go to the library and get assistance with thier technological devices. We started with our SGA, SCO, Student Ambassadors, and Peer Helpers but will be using IT students starting in November as well. The technology department and the library staff will also be of assistance. Any problems that cannot be solved will be recorded and sent to the tech department. Go Techaneers!!

From the iPad of Isabeth Gannon...

My students are using the new learning areas in the library for more than technology. We still see the value in reading books and print on our appropriate reading levels. Students are doing a great job and improving reading skills daily!!

HHS Club Site of the Week = Finance Academy

Monday, October 8, 2012

From the iPad of Martin Rushano...

From the iPad of Jill Westerlund...

For those with an inventory of ExamView test banks, this might make your day!   

Here is how you can use Edmodo to distribute study guides and tests via a link.  You must have a Dropbox account to make this work.

1.       Copy the test folder (created by Examview) and the .htm test file to the PUBLIC folder in your Dropbox account

2.      Right click the .htm test file, choose Dropbox, Copy public link  [SHOWN BELOW]

3.       Open your Edmodo class and paste the link as  a note or assignment and students can then access the assessment on their iPad or device.


NOTE:  I tried similar with Google Docs and it would not work.   

Tgif J J

Jill Westerlund

Tweets from around HHS:

Friday, October 5, 2012

This might be the last time that I post a Fun Fact Friday due to the content of this video, but it has been fun J (Mr. Craig and Mr. Hulin have been hitting the gym lately). Watch the video to learn about the new Hoover Techaneers and visit us in the library starting Tuesday during 5th period!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

From the iPad of Mrs. Moncus...

Please check out my class blog  and read about the fun we had using our computers, iPad, and cell phones to tweet (or is twit?) and post flyers about National Bullying Prevention Month.  Plus we also used to see Twitter Maps.  If you have not seen this you have to try it.  It only takes about 2 minutes.  The steps are on my blog. J

Just sharing… thanks a bunch!
Glenith N. Moncus, EdS, NBCT

*Blog is not also listed on right side under related blogs*

Tweets from around HHS: