2014-02-17 / State News

HEAD OF THE CLASS

A PROFILE OF SCHOOLS IN CHEROKEE COUNTY
ASSOCIATED PRESS


Tara Smith introduces the school district’s teacher forum to a new Learning Resource Center that the Cherokee County library hopes to launch by the end of February. The homework center will provide video editing software, technology supplies, and other helpful digital resources so county students can use technology to complete classroom assignments outside school. Tara Smith introduces the school district’s teacher forum to a new Learning Resource Center that the Cherokee County library hopes to launch by the end of February. The homework center will provide video editing software, technology supplies, and other helpful digital resources so county students can use technology to complete classroom assignments outside school. Snow day, huh? No problem Clemson professor uses Twitter

CLEMSON — With classes canceled for a second day because of winter weather, one Clemson University professor is taking her teaching to Twitter.

Assistant Professor Sarah Juliet Lauro says she’s holding a virtual discussion with her students about Graham Greene’s novel “The Comedians.”

This week, Lauro says her class would have been talking about the book in class. Instead, she says her students will be tweeting their observations about the reading.

For a film history class, Lauro says she assigned students to re-watch a scene from “Citizen Kane.” For both classes, Lauro created unique hashtags so the classes can track the discussions.

Lauro says the winter storm is giving her opportunities to get creative in her teaching. She says many of her students needed to sign up for Twitter to participate.

Media Women of South Carolina announces 2014 High School Communications Contest

High school students may enter work published in print or digitally for school or community newspapers, online or broadcast news, and yearbooks. Work must have been published between February 20, 2013 and March 1, 2014 for the MWSC contest.

Students who were high school seniors for the spring 2013 semester are still eligible to enter. This year’s national conference will be held Sept. 4-6 in Greenville.

The link to the contest, with easy to follow step by step directions is https://omnicontests4.com. For additional information contact: mediawomensc@gmail.com or call (864) 415-9881.

Teacher forum finds new digital learning tools for classroom

New opportunities for students, especially those offered through technological advances in the Cherokee County School District, were the topics of discussion in the latest meeting of Cherokee County’s teachers of the year, also known as the Cherokee County Teacher Forum.

Meeting on Monday, February 3, at B. D. Lee Elementary School, these teachers discussed several school, county, and regional programs that offer innovative learning choices for both students and teachers in the district.

This forum is a committee consisting of teachers of the year from all Cherokee County schools along with Superintendent Dr. Quincie L. Moore, and Director of Human Resources, Dr. Carl A. Carpenter, II. The forum seeks to promote high-quality teaching, celebrate success in education in our county, and support programs that benefit students in our county. This year’s Teacher Forum is led by 2012-2013 Cherokee County Teacher of the Year, Betsy Jolliff, who is assisted by the 2013-2014 Cherokee County Teacher of the Year, Robbin Smith.

For February’s meeting, “our presenters provided useful technology applications for each teacher in the room, regardless of grade level. The applications, programs, and helpful hints will definitely benefit our technology practices with our students,” explained Jolliff.

For students who lack internet access and other school supplies at home, doing homework can be a seemingly impossible task. Yet, Tara Smith, the Youth Services Coordinator for the Cherokee County library, presented to the forum on Monday an exciting new program aimed at helping these students. Called the Learning Resource Center, this program will offer computer access for internet use, research, and writing assignments, even if those students do not have a library card. Smith explained that the homework center “will have dedicated homework resources and technology for students ages 18 and under,” and will provide various supplies students may need to complete projects, including video editing software and other helpful digital resources.

Smith hopes to launch the program near the end of February and hopes to include Cherokee County teachers by offering them a website to post various assignment details for students who use the center to complete those assignments.

“I am very excited to be involved with the Teacher Forum,” said Smith. “We look forward to all the benefits our continued collaboration will bring for Cherokee County students.”

Also sharing technology resources for Cherokee County teachers were Andrea Pickens, a special services instructor at Blacksburg Middle School, and Jennifer Taylor, fourth grade teacher at Blacksburg Elementary. Pickens focused on math resources such as VMath, which focuses a student’s instruction just on the skills for which he or she may need extra help. Taylor shared with the Forum software that allows students to create book trailers, which are similar to movie trailers, in order to demonstrate comprehension.

Pickens explains that she thought the technology exchange was especially helpful since “teachers often learn best from other teachers to get new and fresh ideas.”

Technology Integrator Pam Oliver announced some exciting technology news for teachers, students, and parents. Teachers have begun creating class websites, which will be linked to each school’s web page and will allow parents to connect instantly to the web pages of their child’s instructors. Teachers have built the web pages, and now, Oliver and the rest of the district information technology employees are working to set up parent and student access to the sites. She also announced that the district has increased its internet bandwidth capabilities, which will increase the speed and data amount available for internet access in the district. As schools prepare for one-toone status, which will give each student individual access to a computer provided by the district, this increase in bandwidth will not only be necessary, it will also provide more digital learning opportunities for everyone.

Since so much information is shared visually, teachers have discovered the need to find space to store online instructional videos. Oliver suggested using KeepVid, a website that will allow teachers to store online video content for immediate access.

“Sharing information about computer updates, tips, and tricks is helpful for everyone since teaching has become so technology oriented. I chose to update members about how technology in our district has improved and will continue to improve because we really do have good ‘stuff’ going on,” said Oliver.

District Honor Roll teacher Amie Sullivan, from Alma Elementary, challenged teachers of the Forum to help with Cherokee County’s KNOW2 initiative and to volunteer in the development of a Junior Achievement program, which will begin in the district’s middle schools soon. She also explained Reach Out and Read, a reading program aimed at reaching children of poverty through doctors who provide services through Medicaid, and asked teachers of the Forum to share information about Reach Out and Read as it makes reading materials available to children of poverty and is a free service to physicians who participate.

Smith concluded, “Monday's meeting was one of the best and most informative meetings we have hadEthis year. We receivedEvaluable informationEfrom educators that we can all apply to ourEclassrooms in one formEor another. Having aErepresentative from one of our community partners speak to us about the upcoming events and exciting opportunitiesEthat will be available for our students was very hopeful.”E

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