Sunday, December 30, 2012

Extending Your Reach Using Social Media

Our annual conference's theme is "Extending Your Reach." In addition to the many ways that we can positively impact the students, parents, teachers, and community members in our lives, we can extend our professional reach through the use of social media. Join fellow NBCTs, Cara Whitehead and Farrah  Kilgo who will share their expertise and strategies for learning, leading, and collaborating with others through social media.

Two avid social media users and NBCTs will share various ideas on how educators can use social media to extend his/her professional reach. You will explore how to share ideas, collaborate with others, contribute thoughts, and enhance your curriculum through sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Edmodo, and blogging.

This presentation is sure to bring you some great strategies for using social media. If you have not registered, take a minute to do so now. January 26, 2013, is just around the corner. We look forward to seeing you at Spain Park High School in Hoover, Alabama then.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I've Got an iPad! Now What?!?

We continue giving you another sneak peek into one of this year's annual conference breakout sessions. Our annual conference is scheduled for January 26th at Spain Park High School in Hoover, Alabama. We know that you will want to make sure to join Lara McClendon (NBCT) in her session, "I've Got an iPad! Now What!?!"
"I've Got an iPad! Now What!?!" You have the latest powerful educational gadget! We have all heard what great devices iPads are. Our schools are handing them out, and telling us "Go forth and teach better". But do you know what to do with it?

This is an opportunity to get you started. I will share information for the beginning iPad user as well as tips and resources for more experienced users. We will learn from each other the apps that work in class, and some tips to manage one, two or a class set.

BYOI: bring your own iPad :) and I can help you get your device set up and personalized to benefit you the most.
If you haven't registered yet, do not delay. The deadline is quickly approaching and you do not want to miss out on the opportunity to join us on this exciting professional learning day.

photo credit: waferbaby via photopin cc

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Social Media: All the Eggs in One Basket

We are fortunate that Dr. Frank Buck will be presenting two different sessions for the Alabama NBCT Network Conference on January 26, 2013. In addition to The (Almost) Paperless Teacher, Dr. Buck will be presenting Social Media: All the Eggs in One Basket. We know that no one will want to miss the opportunity to discover ways that educators can effectively and efficiently stay connected in our digital world. Be sure to mark your calendars and take time to register now.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Do You Love It or Hate It?

There are many hot topics that spur controversy and debate. Join Ellen Stubblefield and Kelley Feagin as they lead "Love It or Hate It?" at our annual Alabama NBCT Network Conference.

What side will you choose?
This session is a debate, a discussion, a conversation about current topics and issues in education. A topic or issue will be announced and people will move to one side of the room if they love that topic or to the other side if they hate that topic. Then they will discuss with their groups why they love it or hate it. After several minutes to confer with like-minded educators, a spokesperson from each group will present their side's viewpoint. 

You do not want to miss this session. It is not too late to register for this year's annual conference. We look forward to seeing you on January 26, 2012 at Spain Park High School.

photo credit: I, Timmy via photopin cc

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The (Almost) Paperless Teacher

Our annual conference, which will be held at Spain Park High School on January 26, 2012 from 8:00-3:30, will soon be upon us. We are fortunate to have Dr. Frank Buck, the get-organized guru, presenting two different sessions. Here is a preview of one of the sessions that he will be presenting, The (Almost) Paperless Teacher. WE are sure that on one will want to miss the opportunity to learn ways to use digital told effectively and efficiently. Be sure to mark you calendar now.

Be sure to take a couple of minutes to register now.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Call for Proposals

The Alabama NBCT Network Conference is scheduled for January 26, 2013. It will be held at Spain Park High School. Because of the overwhelming request to lengthen the conference day, it will be held from 8:30 am until 3:30 pm.

We have already confirmed that Dr. Ron Thorpe, the president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards will be our keynote speaker. Dr. Tommy Bice, Alabama State Superintendent will be speaking at our General Session during our lunch. We have also confirmed Dr. Frank Buck, the educator's organizational guru, and Michelle Accardi, the Director of State Policies and Advocacy through NBPTS, to bring us outstanding sessions.

Now we would like to hear from you. We know that NBCTs from Alabama are outstanding educators and leaders. We would like for you to submit proposals for consideration for this year's program. If you are interested, please submit the following information to by Tuesday, November 27, 2012.
  • Session Title
  • Session description for the program
  • Objectives for your presentation
  • An outline of the material/activities in which you will lead the participants
We look forward to receiving your proposals. 

If you haven't registered, take advantage of the Early Bird registration by October 15th. We look forward to seeing you there.

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NBCTs: Opening the World to Our Students

I received certification in Early Childhood in 2005, after 3 years of re-takes, portfolios, assessments, and  reflections. (oh my!)  Of course I wanted to be one of the ones who earned it the first year, but now I realize how much more I grew as an educator by taking 3 years to complete my journey.  It gives me the opportunity to mentor and encourage candidates not to give up as they go through the National Board process.

We have been working on acrostics in my first grade class this week, which led me to think of one for NBCT.  These thoughts I’d like to share with you:

N = Nationwide connection
I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent our state a few years back at the NBPTS Hill Day in Washington D.C.  At that time I was able to see how awesome it is to belong to such an incredible group of educators.  If America was a human body, I feel that National Board teachers are the heart of the body. When we work together as a network – our heartbeat gets stronger to affect and influence the rest of our country’s educational needs.  Join and support your fellow NBCTs!
B = Bragging about what you do in your classroom
If you stay in your classroom and “do your own thing” alone NO ONE knows what incredible learning takes place.  All teachers must let parents, colleagues, and media outlets share in your teaching.  Look for ways to invite others into your class and with all the technology we have today – look for ways to publicize your activities.  Support, both financially and physically, will open your classroom to the world!
C = Connecting to Congress and state law makers – Advocacy is such an important part of what we do.  I know it’s a little intimidating to contact some of these lawmakers at first. I’ve been there!  But once you learn how to reach them and what to say, you find out that they are people doing a job.  Because of you sharing your passion for teaching and what you need and why you need it – you help them do a better job as well.  It’s so exciting to have that lawmaker come to your class, read to your students, and get to know them. It’s well worth a few butterflies!
T = Teacher to Teacher   I have encouraged mentor teaching since working on my graduate degree in1986.  It’s so important to have a buddy. As said earlier on our blog, “ Ask someone to try it with you. Whether this is someone in your school or someone online, collaboration can minimize fear because you are not alone. You can discuss ways to improve ideas and celebrate classroom victories together.” Encourage your colleagues to achieve National Board Certification.  Encourage your NBCT teachers to come to conferences such as our state network conference in January. You will enjoy the journey together.

Because of National Board Certification, I have had articles about my classroom in newspapers, met congressmen and had them read to my class, had the commander of the International Space Station speak to my whole school, taught workshops for Promethean and ATEC, served as a presenter for Space Exploration Education Conferences at NASA, become Teacher of the Year for my school, skyped with classes across the ocean and mentored by  a National Teacher of the Year, Betsy Rogers.  It opens the world to our students through us.  Let’s continue to “extend our reach”!

~By Suzanne Roper Lisenby, NBCT 2005

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Be Prepared to Let Go to Grow

I was recently selected as an “Emerging Leader” with ASCD (formerly the Association for Curriculum and Development), and attended a leadership conference with both new and experienced leaders within the organization. The theme of the conference was “Revolutionizing the Way we Learn”, which includes revolutionizing our relationships, practices and processes, and our innovations and designs (as noted by ASCD Executive Director, Dr. Gene Carter).

One phrase from Dr. Carter’s opening keynote that really stuck with me was that as educators and educational leaders, we must “be prepared to let go to grow.” This phrase caused me to reflect upon the things I have had to let go of over my career as an educator, which I have listed below:

  • I let go of a job I was familiar with to enter the field of education (without ANY experience or educational coursework).
  • I let go of working in solitude to become part of a collaborative science department.
  • I let go of my traditional, teacher-centered practices to implement inquiry-based, student-centered methods.
  • I let go of my comfortable classroom teacher role to move into a leadership role with the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative.

As I reflected about the things I have let go of, I began to realize how much each of them has helped me grow:
  • I entered the field of education and found a career that I truly love.
  • I became part of a collaborative science department and learned how to work with others as a team.
  • I implemented inquiry-based practices and found a better way to help ALL of my students improve their scientific literacy as they gained critical thinking skills.
  • I moved into a leadership role and learned how to help other teachers transform their practices to better meet the needs of their students.

Now that I am serving in a variety of leadership roles, I understand that in order to continue to grow I must continue to let go of things that could hold me back. So how can I help other educators learn to let go so that they too can grow?

I believe that the ability to reflect is an important part of this growing process. I learned how to be more reflective of my practices as an educator while completing my National Board Certification. Proposition 4 of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Core Propositions states that teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.

If you are not ready to jump into the National Board Certification process, but are interested in becoming more reflective, here are a few ideas to help you get started (adapted from

  • Set time aside specifically for thinking about your professional practice, your growth needs, and your students’ needs.
  • Take action upon your focused thoughts about professional practice. Do not continue in a course of action that you realize is not working.
  • Know your strengths and be cognizant of your weaknesses. Take planned steps to improve in those weak areas.
  • Seek feedback from many sources, such as other teachers, students, parents, and administrators. Be open to constructive criticism.
  • Share your experience with the understanding that it can benefit others who may be able to learn from them.
As the new school year begins, I encourage you to take the time to be a reflective educator/ educational leader. What do YOU need to let go of to grow?

~Amy Fowler Murphy, Ed.S., NBCT
Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative

photo credit: Brandon Doran via photo pin cc

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Let's Extend Our Reach

The smell of Clorox, Lysol, squeaky, clean shoes, fresh haircuts, quiet chatter, hugs and grasps from tiny hands, and all my students have pencils!  It must be the start of a new school year.  I usually set goals for myself at the beginning of the school year.  The goals I set normally do not extend beyond my classroom.  I focus on student achievement, benchmarks, and ensuring I expose my students to all types of literature and technology.

I have a different goal I would like to achieve this year.  Our theme for the 2013 Alabama National Board Certified Teacher Conference is “Extending Our Reach."  My goal is for Alabama NBCTs to become a unified voice in our state advocating for students and teachers.  If you are like me, throughout the school year, you develop tunnel vision focusing on your students and their academic growth.  This is a phenomenal task that is priority number one, but what if you chose to extend your reach beyond your classroom.  

Join a twitter chat (see here to ger started), invite a community member to come into your classroom, partner with a class in another city, state, or country, showcase the learning that happens in your classroom at a conference, submit your action research to an educational journal, or write a letter to your state representative detailing your student’s academic growth led by you an NBCT.  

There are many exciting events happening in our classrooms daily.  We are our biggest advocates. If we don’t share how we shape student learning everyday, then who will tell our stories?  I challenge you to capture and showcase these awesome learning opportunities.  Extend Our Reach. 

Please join Alabama National Board Certified Teachers Network on Saturday, January 26, 2013.  The conference will be held at Spain Park High School located in Hoover, Alabama with registration beginning at 8:30 am.

~Akina Canty, President of Alabama NBCT Network

photo credit: a little ingenuity(: via photo pin cc

Monday, July 30, 2012

“That’s One Small Step for Teachers, One Giant Leap for Students.”

Okay, so the original quote from Neil Armstrong was, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." I cannot imagine the bravery it took to take the first step on the moon. Armstrong’s words strike a cord with me as a teacher. Improving the learning environment just takes one step. Trying something new can be scary. What if you fail? What if you feel you are not prepared for what you will face? What if others tell you that the idea will never work with your students? But only those who are brave enough to try, experience things few others have.

Using a classroom blog was that “first step” for me. Our tech coach mentioned the blogging resource called kidblog. ( ) I decided to try it with my class since it was the last few weeks of school. I thought it would be a tool for students to practice writing in a digital format. I never imagined that through the blog, my second graders would pose critical thinking questions to their classmates, share educational conversations, learn other technical skills, and inspire my reluctant writers. It opened my eyes to what students can do. This one “step” caused such a leap in my students’ learning that I was ready for more.

So are you ready to take that step? Here are some tips:

  • Remember it’s a SMALL step. Find one area to change in your teaching this year.What is something you can do differently that will increase learning in your room?
  • Find others who are innovative. I highly recommend Twitter for this. Twitter is a place to connect to the most passionate teachers around the world. Follow their tweets, click their links, ask questions and try something new.
  • Realize it’s okay if it takes time. New ideas evolve and change. Rarely do we get it right the first time. We learn as our students learn.
  • Ask someone to try it with you. Whether this is someone in your school or someone online, collaboration can minimize fear because you are not alone. You can discuss ways to improve ideas and celebrate classroom victories together.

This is the year to try it. Be brave! Take that step and see where your students leap.

~Carol McLaughlin, NBCT  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Look Back at our Annual Conference

As we look forward to our upcoming conference on January 26, 2012, it's always important to look back and reflect on what we've learned and how we've all grown as educators in the past year. Below you will find videos sharing what they've learned and shared through the Alabama NBCT Network.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 Conference Photos

We are glad that so many of you joined us for the 2012 Alabama NBCT Network Conference. We think all in attendance will agree that it was an amazing day for growing professionally, challenging yourself to new ideas, and networking with others from across the state. We look forward to you joining us for Alabama's first Hill Day where we start education and building relationships between legislators and educators.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Closing Survey

Thank you so much for joining us for the 2012 Alabama NBCT Network Conference. Please take a few minutes to complete the Closing Survey.

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's Almost Here

We began talking about the 2012 Alabama NBCT Network Conference months ago and now the time has arrived. We are so excited to be able to connect and reconnect with one another. There are a few last minute reminders that we want to give you so that you can get the most out of this day of professional development.

  1. Since many of our speakers will be arriving on Friday evening, we have arranged a TweetUp/MeetUp at Jackson's Bistro in Homewood, Alabama on the 27th (you don't have to be on Twitter to attend). We will begin at 6:30 pm. This will be a time where we will have a casual setting to get to know one another and network. It's a great opportunity to build partnerships and converse with like-minded educators. We hope you will join us for what's sure to be great fun.
  2. On Saturday, we don't want for you to miss any of our exciting speakers. Please be sure to arrive on time. Registration begins at 8:30am and our opening sessions will begin promptly at 9:00 am. 
  3. If you have not registered, please be sure to print your registration form, fill it out and bring it with you. This will expedite the registration process. On-site registration must be paid in cash or check only.
  4. We are moving towards a more paperless conference this year. If you would like a copy of the schedule and the break-out sessions, feel free to print them off of this blog (on the "Our Annual Conference" tab). There will be large versions of these hanging on the wall at the conference. Also, student ambassadors will be there to direct you.  Many of the presenters will be offering a digital version of their presentations or hand-outs that will be published on our blog.
  5. Come with an open-mind and a willingness to join in the conversations. We want for these sessions to be engaging and full of conversations, not just a day of "sit and get."
  6. Bring your own device to take notes and participate in the day's events whether that's a laptop, tablet, smartphone or good old-fashioned pen and paper. If you are on Twitter, be sure to add #alnbctnetwork to all of your tweets so that those following the conference virtually will get the benefit of all the great conversations we'll have at the conference.
  7. LexAmi will be there with books authored by NBCTs as well as books on the topics most requested by you on the interest survey that we sent out several months ago. They will also be having a book signing with Dr. Frank Buck and Julie D. Ramsay after lunch.
  8. Starbucks will be donating coffee for our event. JCEA and JCAFT will be providing water and snacks throughout our conference day.
We look forward to seeing all of you very soon! If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tips and Tricks for Maintaining a Non-Traditional Classroom

Coming to the Alabama NBCT Conference...
 Be sure to join us on January 28th for this exciting session. Haven't registered yet? Don't delay. Register now.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Going Digital

This year we are moving many of our practices from paper to a digital version. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to attend our January 28th conference at Spain Park High School.

  1. One of the biggest changes you will notice is that you will not be handed a stack of papers when you check into the conference. We realize that after a conference is concluded, you rarely have any use for a schedule or a list of breakout sessions. Therefore, the breakout session schedule will be posted as large posters throughout Spain Park High School for your reference. Student ambassadors will be present to direct you to the different locations within the school. If you would still like to have your own copy of these pages, we've made them available to you as links which can be found here. (NOTE: These files are on Dropbox;some schools systems block Dropbox because it's a file sharing site. You should be able to pull them up from home. If you have problems downloading these files, please feel free to email us at
  2. There are many NBCTs and educators from across the country that have expressed an interest in participating in our conference virtually.One way that we are going to do this is through Twitter. If you are new to Twitter, this is a perfect opportunity to join the professional conversations. While you attend, you can tweet about what you are learning, resources and ideas shared by presenters, and your thoughts. By adding #alnbctbetwork to your tweets, anyone who is following our conference will get the benefit of all the learning that will be happening that day. This a is a great way to give back to the learning community and get involved with those from across the country. New to Twitter? A tutorial can be found here.
  3. More and more presenters are going digital. We encourage all of you to bring your digital device to the conference whether it be a smart phone, tablet, iPad, laptop, or netbook. This is a great way to take notes, look at resources when they are being discussed, interact with others at the conference about the topics, and add new contacts to your personal learning network. Most presenters now create a digital version of their hand-outs instead of paper copies. If you feel more comfortable using paper to take notes, please feel do that. 
We look forward to seeing all of you soon. If you have not registered, please do so as soon as possible. Seats are limited.

Monday, January 2, 2012

What are your goals for 2012?

Are you interested in becoming more productive? Are you overwhelmed with all of the digital content coming your way? Do you want to be more organized? Are you looking for a some new tools to embed into the learning in your classroom? Are you simply wanting some inspiration? Do you want to re-ignite your passion for teaching?

Whatever your goals are for 2012, let us help you meet them. Join us on January 28, 2012 at Spain Park High School for the annual Alabama NBCT Network Conference. This day will be an exciting day of professional development. For the low cost of $35, you not only hear passionate keynotes and presenters, but you also get lunch and the screening of the film MITCHELL20. Be sure to register soon as seats are limited.