Friday, March 22, 2013

It is Friday!!! The Friday before spring break for Hoover City Schools! YEA!! I think we are all in need of some time to recharge for the final 9 weeks of the 2013 school year! Mrs. Hogan and I are as you will see in our Fun Fact Friday video! We are excited about how our students are using technology and are focusing on this use in our videos this month. Have a great spring break!

Fun Fact Friday Video:

Also, please take some time to check our Mrs. Hogan's educational blog. She is a great blog writer and I love to learn from her.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Students can use iPads for 24/7 learning!

From the iPad of Travis Glass and Meredith Shockey... 

Dear Dr. Sutherland,

Hello from Cape Town, South Africa. Our trip is going very well and we are going to take a moment to fill you in on our week and the things we have accomplished. First and foremost, we have been using the iPads at many times during our trip. We have been able to use them in preparation for our family camp day with the Capricorn Community Church this week. The iPads have really aided us in staying organized and efficient with our information and plans. We have also been able to keep up with assignments and school work along with staying in contact with our fellow classmates on what is being discussed in class. This eases the process of missing class and makes trips like this possible. We have also had a chance to tour many different areas and destinations around Cape Town. We have been to The Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain, Green market, Boulders Beach, Hout Bay and Green Point Stadium. We are having so much fun and hope that the school week great. 
   Travis Glass and Meredith Shockey

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stepping out of our comfort zone again!

We started the Alabama Education Chat (#ALedchat) last fall, and we've had terrific success with connecting educators across the state and country. We learn so much from you in this building, and we've loved sharing what we're doing as well as hearing what others are doing. It was scary to try the chat, because thoughts like, "What if no one shows up?" or "Do they want to hear what we have to say/ask?" would creep in. (They still do!) We still want to grow our state chat, and now we've stepped way outside the box.

We are going to try to connect all the state chats (#MDedchat, #IAedchat, #gaed, #CAedchat,  #edchatRI, #edchatMA, etc.) with a quarterly Twitter chat called #USedchat.  We've set the date for April 22 at 8pmCST, and we've been tweeting some of the education leaders that are on Twitter. We're excited and nervous all at once!

We, along with the help of Mr. Lloyd and the broadcasting crew, created a video that explains a little more about the "why" and the topics for the first national chat. You can watch it here:

We hope you'll watch the video, join the chat on April 22, and invite your friends to join us. Thanks in advance for your support. We need it out there on the limb! :)

- Jennifer and Holly

Response from Ms. Butcher (Too Funny!)...

1)      Just read the email Jennifer sent out and watched the youTube video regarding being a part of the twitter group #ALedchat (good job)!
2)      Jennifer said her husband called her Farrah Fawcett yesterday-“she must have had a hair and make-up artist before filming” the video
3)      So now I know why Carrie was hired-to finish out the Hoover Angels-Farrah Fawcett=Jennifer Hogan, Kate Jackson= Holly Sutherland and now Jaclyn Smith=Carrie Busby
4)      I thought this was funny–look at the technology skills involved in this email. (watching a YouTube video, searching the Internet, using snipping tools, copying and renaming files, enlarging a picture and adding a title). Yay for me and my increasing technology use daily!!!

Hoover's Angels   

Teddie Butcher
Family and Consumer Science
Hoover High School

From the iPad of Judy Kehr...

Click on the above link to access a quick reference card for the iPad and more resources for using technology.  It is a great resource from:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hope everyone is having a great week. We are busy with the graduation exam at HHS and everyone is already started the count down to spring break :) Have a great week!

From the iPad of Ron Dodson...


As the end of our pilot year in the Engaged Learning Initiative draws nearer, we are trying to glean lessons of what we’ve learned as educators in these virtually extended classrooms and apply that knowledge to our instructional plans for 2013-14.  We all owe a debt of gratitude to the pilot teachers who stepped first into the breach and have shared their successes and struggles so generously.  Thank you!

We also owe a huge debt to the few, the proud… our technology staff.  Our network resources and the devices connecting to that network have quadrupled over the course of one year, and we will potentially double that number again by this time next year.  There are still some potholes in our information highway, but this crew has performed near-miracles in keeping the roads open and the traffic flowing through this unprecedented transition.  Thank you!

Finally, I share a blog post that was distributed by ASCD Smartbrief this morning.  It struck me hard when I realized that we are perhaps teaching ‘the last backpack generation’.  For all of our teachers who will carry our profession and our children through this changing time…  Thank you! 

Ron Dodson, Ph.D.
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction
Hoover City Schools
2810 Metropolitan Way
Hoover, AL  35243

(205) 439-1053       

The best of friends meet but to part and go upon their way:
Yet only part to meet again upon another day.

By Zachary Walker on March 6th, 2013 | Comments(8)
This is the last generation of students who will carry backpacks to school.
For teachers and parents, the realization that education will look very different from our own experience is a major paradigm shift. Never in the history of education has the delivery of instruction been so drastically altered so incredibly quickly. As I work with teachers across the country and read the literature surrounding the revolution that we are undergoing in education, I am excited about the possibilities of mobile learning but also concerned about the reluctance I see from teachers. Although the potential for educational technology is limitless, teachers must embrace the idea that mobile learning is not only here to stay but that it is important and powerful. Mobile learning is not about tools; mobile learning is about teaching. Here are three reminders that serve teachers well as they prepare today’s students to achieve in tomorrow’s world.
1) There is freedom in being willing to fail in front of students.
When a student struggles with an algebra problem, throws up his hands in disgust and walks away, we often ask him to come back, take a deep breath, slow down and relax. However, I often see teachers in classrooms or at workshops who throw their hands up in disgust and walk away when technology does not work perfectly the first time. When we let go of that fear of failure and are willing to say, “Well, that didn’t work, let’s try another way,” we model persistence and resilience for our students. And, really, what better lessons can we teach our students? In addition, we realize that we teachers have the freedom to fail again and again on our way to great success in the classroom. As Henry C. Link said, “While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.”
2) Creativity is key — think beyond the bells, standards and academic calendar.
One of the biggest challenges for teachers is being creative. Often, when working with teachers, I will show a digital tool and ask the audience to come up with as many different ways as possible that they could use the resource in class. Or I will show an application that was designed for entertainment and ask them to come up with a way they could use that app in their content area. Teachers tend to struggle with this exercise because, somewhere along the way, we forgot how to be creative. Our job as teachers and facilitators of learning is to engage students by utilizing the digital resources they use already. For example, it is easy to think of using a Fast Food Calorie app for studying nutrition in health class. It takes creativity to see that social studies teachers can use that same app with Google Earth to start a conversation about obesity in inner cities and the effects the obesity epidemic has on other areas of our culture such as learning, work and health care.
3) Your class is your co-teacher.
Finally, and this was one of my biggest breakthroughs in the classroom: We don’t have to work so hard. For example, before every new unit begins, we can challenge students to find one app or Web resource each about the topic we are about to study. The students can then make a 30-second video on their mobile device explaining how the app or resource works and justifying how it helps them learn. Since they are doing this before the unit begins, they come to class with background knowledge and we have also compiled a list of apps and resources they use to study. In addition, each teacher has created a library of resources for use in the unit.
Again, it is never about the tools, it is always about the teaching. Once we realize it is OK to fail, that creativity is valued and encouraged, and that the Last Backpack Generation is full of co-teachers, we can truly embrace the educational revolution of mobile technology. Now go get crazy in the classroom!
Zachary Walker is a K-12 certified special educator and technology consultant. Zachary was a recipient of the 2012 Think College Emerging Scholar Award for his research on the impact of technology on both students and teachers. He can be reached at or at @lastbackpack on Twitter.

From the iPad of Kellye Self...

Sent using ShareThis

I have a subscription to this magazine. I like the brevity of the articles. This one popped up in the daily digest today, and I thought my English department colleagues might find it useful. I know we struggle sometimes to get students to read something lengthy, but this one is short and relevant so I thought I'd share it.

Kellye Self
Hoover High School

Tweets from Around HHS: 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy Friday! Hope everyone has had a great week! We have had an awesome week of celebrating students. From championships to players of the year to student successes on academic teams and in performing arts- we are truly excelling at Hoover High School. We wanted to focus some of the great students at Hoover and how they are using technology with our Fun Fact Friday. This week, Hannah Eans and Sarah Mitchell host as Mrs. Hogan and I. It was a lot of fun to work with these great young ladies as well as hear from our outstanding students highlighted in the video. Have a great weekend!!

Fun Fact Friday Video:

From The Library @ HHS...
March Madness has struck the Summer Reading book selection committee at HHS!

March 12 through 15 – Discuss the 32 books Mr. Hulin announced as the options for summer reading books and explain that students and teachers will be voting over the next few weeks to determine the final four books.  Students will choose 1 of the 4 books to read over the summer.  Students may vote starting today.  They will need to log into edmodo (using the app, safari, internet explorer, etc. on iPads, smart phones, other personal devices, or the teacher’s desktop) and join the HHS Final Four group using group code:
The ballot will feature the 32 books selected by teachers as summer reading options.  This first round will narrow down the books to 16.  The Sweet 16 will be announced on March 18th (over the intercom after AHSGE testing has ended for the day).  Instructions for the next round of voting will be sent out at that time.  We are attaching a bracket that you can use with your class to keep up with the results. 
If you have a 9th or 10th grade advisory, you may send up to 6 students (with hall passes) at a time to the library computer labs to vote during advisory time on the voting days.  Keep in mind that everyone will not need to vote on the first day (they have till the 15th, so spread them out over the voting days to keep congestion down in the library labs).  
Tweets from around HHS:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

From the iPad of Janet Ort...

Team Cahaba & Advanced Env students will be headed to the Antarctic while participating in an in school field trip 5th period on Thursday.  Please allow them to attend this event.  We have set up this distance learning opportunity through Dr. James McClintock UAB marine ecologist and author of Lost Antarctic.  The students will be discussing scientific data about ocean acidification, sea level rise, impacts on biodiversity, ocean warming, as evidenced by 20 years of UAB data. They will also have an opportunity to look at what it takes to be a field scientist and survive in extreme conditions.  If there are any students you think would benefit from this experience, or if you are interested (!), let me know.  We will be in my room E161.

Janet L. Ort,  MPA, MEd, NBCT
Hoover High School
AP/IB Environmental Sciences, Environmental Science, Enviromental Research
Environmental Competitions Sponsor
NOAA Climate Stewards Program Participant  2012-Present

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Daily I am reminded of why I am an educator. Some days more than others and some days are more motivating than others, but the best days are when students make unsolicited positive comments about projects or initiatives that you are involved in. This happens almost daily with the Engaged Learning Initiative at Hoover High School.  During the month of March, our Fun Fact Friday will highlight students and how they are using technology to enhance their learning and it has been awesome to hear their stories. We cannot wait to share those Friday.

We have grade level Facebook pages, enews, Twitter, iNow, Edmodo, a school website, and now we have Instagram. Please find a way to connect with HHS! Follow us on Instagram to see photos of things happening around HHS @ hooverhighschool

From the iPad of Marie Parker...

Technology/IPad Reflection
      Now that I have observed my small number of 11th and 12th graders functioning with their IPads, I am not nearly as apprehensive about leaving my comfort zone and entering the electronic teaching world with my 10th graders next year.  Teaching with technology will become just as individualized for  teachers at HHS, as it has proven to be in the past, just with a different set of tools.   I can almost 
chuckle about the major technological advances as I think back to my first year of  teaching at W. A. Berry High School with green chalk boards, chalk holders and overhead projectors, just to name a few dinosaurs of the past.  Wow ! We have come a long way from those days. 
     Recently, four of the chemistry teachers including myself along with Mrs. Aust, Mrs. Kelley and Mr. Walding,  joined forces with two teachers from Vestavia High.  This meeting brought much more to light than anticipated. So much learning and sharing took place.   The Vestavia ladies showed us that it is possible  to project student IPad work without the use of the adapters we were given this year.  
Anytime one less step is deleted in making the technology useful, the more willing teachers will be to want to learn how to work with the technology. 
      Also, it will be very important for teachers to take small steps in using and individualizing the technology  for their classrooms.  Patience is a MUST!  We need to be patient with one another, whether we are teachers, students or administrators.  Hoover's motto in the past has been "Learning for Life".  That is just what we are doing at HHS, especially in the CHEMISTRY world.  
Marie S. Parker
Chemistry Teacher
Hoover High School

Tweets from around HHS: 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

From the iPad of Jennifer Hogan...

Thank you to everyone who sent names of juniors or seniors who are iPad-savvy! Last night we hosted the Parent Technology Night for parents of rising freshmen, and it was a huge success. We had 7 students here last night who shared how they are using their iPads at school. The parents were divided into small groups so they could rotate through the stations and hear each student’s presentation, and the parents were extremely complimentary of our students. The students who presented last night were Sunny Thodupunuri, Zach Wilson, Katie Render, Peyton White, Ayanna Wyatt, Chris Davenport, and Eric Kim. They shared with the parents how they use Readability, CloudOn, Edmodo, Dropbox, WEPA printing, Overdrive, Kindle, and Notability while the parents took lots of notes and asked lots of questions.  

Also, thank you to everyone who tweeted during the tech night, and thanks to Dana Latta and the rest of the library staff for  help with the posters and signs for last night.

You all are terrific! Have a great day!

Jennifer Hogan, Ed.S.
9th Grade Principal
Hoover High School

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy Friday Hoover friends and friends everywhere! It has been a great week at HHS topped off by technology tours from our Central Office staff and members of our school board. I think they were impressed by the use of technology in our building to enhance learning and transform our teaching strategies! Great job HHS Bucs! This week we will once again feature some of the outstanding teachers at HHS with our Fun Fact Friday! Enjoy!

FFF Video: 

#ALedchat topic for Monday night: Learning First, Tools Second: Examining learning in a tech driven world.

Original Post from the iPad of Jeff Johnson....

These are the 14 girls I teach ACCESS Physics to in Marion, Alabama. They have been working with substandard equipment all year. They were getting behind so I felt a responsibility to them to go have a work day with them. When I arrived I discovered that the computers they had to work with were very substandard, did not have the appropriate software on them and many would not even load the software. This was so unfair to these intelligent young women. We worked from 9 AM to 1:30 PM that day to get caught up. They were so intent on getting caught up they would  not take a break.

They really left a mark on me. I was really down driving back to Birmingham, AL. The next day I spoke with a wonderful woman from my church about the Marion girls, and as it turns out, she owns a computer recycling business. She is donating newly refurbished computers with all of the necessary software to these girls. Also, a Samford professor who also attends my church, is sending his tech people to Marion once or twice a year to make sure the computers are serviced and updated. YAAAAA for our side!

And Now...

Hello my friends. Here is a picture of my morning at Francis Marion High School. Elise Warren (from Technical Knockout) and I delivering the much much needed technology to the students at Francis Marion High School. The Technology teacher was out of town, but we did a conference call with her to let her know we had delivered the computers. She was hysterical and these kids were SO excited to get this technology. This was definitely a top 5 day in my insignificant little life. All of these kids are seniors. I am so proud for them. I will see you tomorrow at HHS. It was a very emotional day,but in a good way. 


From the iPad of Judy Kehr...

When you get to this site, click on the About > Info for 1st Timers link.  It looks like a great activity for those of you who are using blogging in your classes.  A new challenge is just starting this month!

The Student Blogging Challenge runs twice yearly.  A new Challenge starts March and September, each year.  It is made up of a series of 10 weekly tasks all designed to improve blogging and commenting skills while connecting students with a global audience.  The Challenge is open to both class blogs and to individual student bloggers from all over the world and of all ages – blogs don’t need to be hosted by Edublogs to participate!*  Participants can complete as many of the tasks as they like and in any order.

Judy Kehr
IT Academy and Business Instructor
Hoover High School

Sorry... This was Thursday. Forgot to Post :)

We had another technology tour today for members of our central office staff and our school board. It is always a joy to see our students excited about how they are using technology to enhance their learning. During the tour one of the ambassadors commented "We are so ahead of the game for college". It is comments like this that remind me of why we implemented this new initiative in the first place. Students are learning in new and innovative ways that they once thought impossible!

From the iPad of Jennifer Hogan...

The planning for the Freshmen iPad Parent Night is underway. I emailed the HHS faculty and asked them to send me the names of two juniors or seniors who are skilled iPad users. I met with those students Monday.

The design is that we will use the library and divide the parents into groups. Two students will be assigned to each group to present an app that they use. For example, they will share about Notability, Edmodo, and Dropbox definitely. We may need another app to be showcased, depending on number of attendees and sizes of groups.  We also have printing kiosks in our library and lunchroom, so a library student aide will demonstrate how students can send a document to the kiosk from home or school for printing.

We are going to have a running slide show of pictures of students and teachers in classrooms using iPads. We will broadcast this on the large screens in the library. We will also set up a large screen near the entrance to the library and show the twitter stream with our school hashtag displayed. 

We are excited to provide our parents with this learning opportunity!

Tweets from around HHS:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

We had a great visit with some of our central office staff and school board members today. Our teachers were outstanding as usual and student ambassadors showed off the amazing things happening at HHS. Here are some of the Tweets from around HHS today: 

Fromt the iPad of Judy Kehr...

Mobile Devices for Teaching
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 3PM Eastern Time

In This Session
Successful practices for teaching with the iPad will be highlighted and iPad apps will be presented that target each cognitive level of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. Both formative and summative assessment utilizing the iPad, and synchronous and asynchronous collaboration between teacher and student and student to student, will also be addressed. The presentation will also provide some specific hardware and software solutions for screencasting and projecting.
To Participate in the Live Session
- Login at at the scheduled time.
- There is no pre-registration for this event.
- This webinar will be recorded and archived in this community for viewing at anytime.
Here are some helpful tips for the best webinar experience
- Being hardwired is best, not wireless
- Test your system for best quality:
- Close Skype and any other applications that use internet bandwidth
- Close any unnecessary applications
About the Presenter
The program is presented by Kathy Schrock, a well-known and popular educator who has been a school district Director of Technology, an instructional technology specialist, an adjunct education professor, and a middle school, academic, museum, and public library librarian.
This program is sponsored by Follett Software Company.
Follow us on Twitter @edWebnet to learn about upcoming webinars and special events!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Notes from NASSP 2013...

How Removing Barriers Leads to Transformational Change
WM. E. Hay Composite High School, Stettler, Alberta Canada

WE. Hay is a high school that is seeking ways to make learning more accessible and teaching more effective. The leaders of this high school presented some great information at NASSP and I wanted to share some of the ideas and strategies that were shared. 

- Removing time from the equation was important. Can we 
  standardize the amount of time it takes to learn?
- Does time equal learning or is this based on the industrialized 
- The school utilizes some flex during which students can make a 
  more active role in their learning.
- The school's mixed grade level advisory stays the same over the 
  4 years of High School.
- When considering changing something at the school, the question 
  that is always asked is, "Are changes meaningful and 
- Principal quote, "High Schools are not broken, just becoming 
- Are we really making connections with our students?
- The high school has longer blocks of time based on requests by 
  the students and these are not math and science normally.
- Teachers feel more validated when administrators give them the 
  freedom to share ideas.
- The school has a project week when students have longer blocks 
  of time in each class.
- The school is focused on building relationships and 
  personalizing education.
- The school develops an IEP for all students. (This is equal to 
  our 4 year plan).
- The school pairs student with older students based on 
- The school believes that teachers do not teach in isolation, 
  the staff collaboration is essential.
* Love this idea! Advisory collaboration- a teacher pairs with 
  another teacher and they take turns going to 
- The school has their academy students prepare a portfolio to 
  present to community members in their field of interest.
- They novice teachers are on a 2 day cycle with a veteran 
  teacher. They stay a day behind so that when a new concept is 
  being introduced, the veteran teacher can provide suggestions 
  to the novice teacher for the following day.
- The school has a student support program similar to our ER.
- This school has English and PE classes that are a combo class 
  with either a fine art of math
  Ex. Drama/English, PE/Math, etc...

More notes to come from other outstanding speakers and presenters!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Due to being in Washington DC for NASSP 2013, I was not able to post the Fun Fact Friday video. Jennifer Hogan and I are continuing to feature awesome teachers around HHS!

Using iPads to review for ACT during advisory- THIS IS AWESOME!

From the iPad of Cindy Bond...

All junior advisory teachers are encouraged to participate in an ACT improvement initiative for our students that can begin immediately after completing the advisory lessons sent out by Mrs. Busby this morning.  This initiative will last through Friday April 12th and can be accessed by all HHS students using iPads and the student’s personal PrepMe account through Family Connection.  This email includes a step by step process for students to access their full length ACT PrepMe account.  Unless a student is working on some other school related activity, has been given permission by you to do something else, or there is another school sanctioned event that they are a part of, they should all be working on their Prep Me accounts throughout the entire advisory period.  What we have heard from most of our students is that they do not have the time to study for the ACT and that they do not know what to study.  This month long initiative will answer both issues as it will give time during the school day focused on the individual ACT study needs of the student. 

Please remind your juniors that they should register for the upcoming April ACT by March 8th to avoid the late registration fee.  To register students go to  Students that qualify for free or reduced lunch are also eligible to receive two fee waivers throughout high school for the ACT.  Eligible students can stop by the College and Career room to pick up the fee waiver.

Using iPds, students will need to download an app like Puffin Free or iSwifter as seen below in order to use Flash media.

Students will then enter through one of these programs and use instead of Safari as their Internet browser.  In the navigation bar students will go to and then enter the email and password they selected under returning user.  Please encourage students to try several password choices before they immediately say they cannot remember their password and sending them to the guidance office.