Alabama Supercomputer Authority

More on ALEX!! The Teacher-to-Teacher section has been completed!! Forums and listservs are available!!

Forums - ALEX users can post questions, respond to discussion topics and share teaching strategies and advice. General and discipline-specific forums are available. Topics currently available for discussion:

Current Issues in Education - Let us hear from you. Ask questions, suggest topics, give your opinion.
Professional Development - What kinds of professional development do teachers need? What constitutes quality in professional development? How could the professional development presently being offered be improved?
Use of Technology in Education - Use this forum to discuss ideas, activities, suggestions, etc. that will help teachers make better use of technology to improve learning.
Classroom Management - Wouldn't it be nice if classrooms just managed themselves? Since they don't, share tips and tricks that have worked for you to make life at school just a little easier.
Homework - Is it worthwhile? How do you motivate students to complete homework? What types of homework are most beneficial?
Reading in the Content Areas- Share activities and techniques you use to improve reading skills across the curriculum.
Higher Order Thinking Skills - The Alabama Courses of Study say we all need to teach students to think. What specific methods and practices do you use in your subject area?
Help the "Newbies" - Share your experience and expertise with new teachers. What advice do you wish someone had shared with you when you began your career?
Character Education - Diligence. . . Perseverence. . . Compassion . . . Cheerfulness. Does teaching "patience" make you impatient? Share your best ideas for teaching about any of the specific character traits.
Project-based Learning - What are the benefits of using this model in your classroom? What types of projects have you implemented in your teaching? Share ideas and management tips.

Listservs - subscribe to a job-specific listserv. Post questions, opinions, projects, good news, challenges you face, and receive a daily email compilation of postings. Listservs are available for the following educators:

Career/Technical Teachers Foreign Language Teachers Middle School Social Studies Teachers
District Curriculum Coordinators High School English Teachers Middle School Principals
Elementary Art Teachers High School Math Teachers School Technology Coordinators
Elementary Computer Teachers High School Science Teachers Secondary Art Teachers
Elementary (Intermediate) Teachers High School Social Studies Teachers Secondary Computer Teachers
Elementary Music Teachers High School Principals Secondary Music Teachers
Elementary Physical Education Teachers Kindergarten Teachers Secondary Physical Education Teachers
Elementary (Primary) Teachers Media Specialists Secondary Special Education Teachers
Elementary Special Education Teachers Middle School English Teachers Secondary Guidance Counselors
Elementary Guidance Counselors Middle School Math Teachers
Elementary Principals Middle School Science Teachers

Research and Technology
American children regardless of their age, income, or ethnicity, greatly increased their use of the Internet from home, school, or library over the past two years. Almost two-thirds of American children between the ages of 2 and 17 logged onto the Internet during 2002, and the biggest gain occurred among African-American children, according to "Connected to the Future," a new report from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). However, these increases have not erased the historical disparities between under-served and more advantaged children regarding Internet access.

FINDING THE BALANCE The CoSN web site features an article by James Bosco, "Toward a Balanced Appraisal of Educational Technology in U.S. Schools." Bosco presents a frank assessment of the current status of educational technology in U.S. schools. He describes seven challenges that pose quite significant obstacles of a political, organizational and structural nature, detailing what needs to be done to achieve the promise of information and communications technology(ICT) to create powerful and compelling learning environments. Read the entire article at

Education and the Internet

INSECTS ON THE WEB The web site is designed, researched and produced by Dexter Sear at I/0 Vision from Hawaii. This site aims to help you really see insects for the miniature marvels they represent and to understand how intertwined our cultures have become with these alien creatures.

TRYING OUT TRACKSTAR Teachers can use this free online tool from HPR*TEC to create interactive lessons from existing Internet resources. Without any knowledge of HTML or any authoring program, you can organize and annotate websites (URLs) for your students' use. The resource list remains visible allowing the user to easily stay on track. To learn more, start by going through the Tutorial to learn how to find a track or to create a track.

Biography: The Story of a Life As we begin the final push towards the end of the school year, MarcoPolo is featuring activities and lessons to help students examine their own life experiences, as well as those of famous personalities. MarcoPolo has selected several dynamic lessons to help your class celebrate Biographer's Day on May 16, the anniversary of the day in 1763 when Samuel Johnson met James Boswell, history's most famous biographer. Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785) and Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) are regarded as great models of biographical writing. Use the warm-up activities to encourage your students to gather, evaluate and synthesize biographical data from a variety of sources. Then, scroll down for links to additional lessons and Partner-reviewed Web sites.

INTERNET RESOURCES FOR TEACHING AND SHARING eThemes is an extensive database of content-rich, age-appropriate resources organized around specific themes. These resources are created for educators to use in their classrooms. Although only teachers approved by the eMINTS Program may make resource requests, all educators are encouraged to search the extensive database of existing eThemes. Currently, there are more than 500 eThemes on a variety of topics. The search function allows you to search by keyword, grade level or the Show-Me Standards.

Memorial Day originated in 1868, when Union General John A. Logan designated a day in which the graves of Civil War soldiers would be decorated. Known as Decoration Day, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day within twenty years, becoming a holiday dedicated to the memory of all war dead. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday in May. Education World celebrates this special holiday with activities, music, and Web-based ideas to help the children in your classroom understand Memorial Day's significance. also provides information for teaching about this holiday.

NEW CLASSROOM SOLUTIONS WEBSITE FOR HANDHELDS K12 Handhelds has launched a new Classroom Solutions web page. This page provides lots of ideas and things you may need to think about if you are implementing a handheld program with a group of students. Included are policy considerations, classroom rule suggestions, and setup and management pointers.

NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY The purpose of NASA's Earth Observatory is to provide a freely-accessible publication on the Internet where the public can obtain new satellite imagery and scientific information about our home planet. The focus is on Earth's climate and environmental change. Any and all materials published on the Earth Observatory are freely available for re-publication or re-use, except where copyright is indicated.

TECHNOLOGICAL LITERACY WEBSITE The International Technology Education Association (ITEA) and the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC) are creating ICON, The National Digital Library for Technological Literacy, so that K-12 classroom teachers and college and university faculty will be able to locate digital resources concerned with technological literacy content and pedagogy. This library can be searched by technology concepts, grade levels, or key words.

US EPA ENVIRONMENTAL EXPLORERS CLUB - Explore your environment and learn about neat things you can do to protect it. Includes both student and teacher areas and a multitude of activities.

FIFTEEN NEW LEARNING RESOURCES in arts, language arts, science, & social studies have been added to the FREE website. FREE makes it easy for teachers, parents, & students to find learning resources from more than 40 federal organizations. The 15 new resources are described below.

Drop Me Off in Harlem is a multimedia exploration of the Harlem Renaissance (1920s- 1930s). Students can hear Langston Hughes read his poems, listen to Duke Ellington direct his orchestra, or watch "Shorty" George Snowden dance the Lindy Hop. An interactive map displays important cultural, social, & political establishments. Lesson ideas & learning activities facilitate an arts-integrated approach to the study of key works & themes that emerged.
What Is Jazz? presents audio excerpts from four lectures by Billy Taylor at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1995. Taylor -- a noted jazz pianist, historian, & educator -- discusses jazz from its roots in the African-American slavery experience, through the early days of ragtime, & onward through swing, bop, & progressive jazz. Excerpts can be sorted by artist or jazz style. They're organized around questions, such as: Where was jazz born? How did swing become bebop? How is bebop influencing today's jazz artists? Where do ideas for improvisation come from?

Language Arts
Piers Plowman Electronic Archive offers a hypertext archive of the three versions of the William Langland's 14th-century allegorical poem "Piers Plowman." The poem was reproduced by scribes & early editors, & the surviving 54 manuscripts are full of errors -- some the result of incompetence, others the product of sophisticated re-writing. This electronic edition differs from most printed editions in that it does not suppress editorial disagreement among the manuscripts. It embraces the provisional nature of scholarly editing & proposes a set of solutions to editorial problems without suggesting they will have the final authority.

Exploring Earth: Investigations provides more than 75 earth science investigations. Each investigation is organized around a question: What stories do rocks tell? Could Mars support life? How can one volcano change the world? Photos & text (& sometimes video) help students answer each question. Among the topics: earth's layers, rocks, volcanoes & plate tectonics, earthquakes & mountains, surface & ground water, wind & currents, atmosphere & weather, climate change, oceans, our moon & solar system, & earth's history.
Red Rock Adventures: A Teacher's Guide to Canyon Country Outdoor Education provides 100 science activities for Grades 1-6. Topics include the water cycle, air & weather, rocks, seasonal changes in plants & animals, habitats, ecosystems, biodiversity, geological features & geographical concepts, & microorganisms of the desert & wetlands. The guide also outlines 18 one-day field trips. While best suited to the high desert of southeastern Utah, many field trips can be adapted for other sites.
Watershed Ecology introduces basic watershed ecology concepts. It examines physical forces that shape watershed ecosystems, plants & animals that inhabit watersheds, typical watershed structures, & how watersheds function -- at different geographic scales & over time.

Social Studies
Archeology for Interpreters: A Guide to the Knowledge of the Resource can help students learn about archeological methods & how archeological interpretations are made. It is organized around questions that include: What is archeology? What do archeologists do? How do archeologists determine how old things are?
Cowpens National Battlefield commemorates a battle at the "cow pens" in South Carolina (January 1781) that helped turn the tide of war in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. Coming on the heels of a patriot victory at nearby Kings Mountain (October 1780), it was the second successive staggering defeat for British forces under General Cornwallis. Nine months later (October 1781), Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown, Virginia.
Effigy Mounds National Monument On-Line Teacher's Guide offers 40 lesson ideas in archeology, art, language arts, math, science, social studies, & other subject areas. The website also provides articles on the history, geology, & ecology of the mounds.
Eisenhower Home Virtual Tour walks students through the only place President Eisenhower & his wife ever called home. In 1950, as they approached retirement, the Eisenhowers purchased a farm adjoining Gettysburg National Military Park. During his Presidency, President & Mrs. Eisenhower used the farm as a weekend retreat, a refuge in time of illness, & a comfortable meeting place for world leaders.
Grant-Kohrs Ranch commemorates America's frontier cattle era. The ranch -- located north of Yellowstone in Deer Lodge, Montana -- is among the best surviving examples of an economic strategy based on the western cattle industry of the 1850s-1970s. A German immigrant, Conrad Kohrs, purchased the ranch in 1866 & began by supplying to mining camp butcher shops. In 1874 he inaugurated rail shipment to Chicago's Union Stock Yard. He upgraded the bloodlines of his stock by introducing purebred Shorthorn & Hereford cattle, which were better suited to the northern climate & put weight on faster than the rangy Texas Longhorns. He located & moved cattle among rangeland in four states & two Canadian provinces. This website tells his story. It includes information about cowboys, cattle drives, & the winter of 1886.
Helping Your Child Become a Responsible Citizen defines "strong character" & how parents can help children develop it. The booklet includes chapters on "dealing with media pressures" & working with schools, lists of books & magazines that can support character development, & 18 activities.
Revolutionary War Timeline describes 125 battles, incidents, & other developments during the Revolutionary War. Descriptions are brief (often one sentence) & presented chronologically over the nine-year war. Many include links to additional resources.
Rise & Fall of Jim Crow accompanies a PBS series examining the century of segregation following the Civil War (1863-1954). "Jim Crow," a name taken from a popular 19th-century minstrel song, came to personify government-sanctioned racial oppression & segregation in the U.S. This website describes pivotal developments during that time -- the Emancipation Proclamation, the Compromise of 1877, the Brown v. Board of Education decision, & others. It tells of actions taken by Presidents, Congress, & the Supreme Court, as well as organizations that opposed & supported Jim Crow. Interactive maps show Jim Crow laws across the U.S. (& over time), as well as migration patterns, population changes, & more. Individuals who endured Jim Crow tell their stories. A 20-minute video, narrated by Ozzie Davis, recounts the 1919 Elaine, Arkansas, riot & its aftermath.
Ships/Piers, San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park presents photos & stories of six of the park's collection of schooners, ferryboats, tugs, & other traditional & significant small boats.

Vocational Education
A Career Afloat: Gateway to Maritime Employment describes jobs in the maritime industry, ways to get training for various career paths in the industry, & employment opportunities. Links to maritime museum websites are included.

News You Can Use
Positive Action for Teen Health (PATH) is a national initiative working at the federal, state, and local level to close the gap between the promise of science and the unacceptably high rates of adolescent depression and suicide. There are now effective and inexpensive tools for the early detection of teen mental illness and there are also proven treatments. Yet, only a third of adolescents at risk are identified and in treatment. PATH was established to combat this national problem. Their goal is to ensure that every American teen receives a mental health check-up before graduating from high school. PATH is committed to raising awareness of the challenge of adolescent suicide and depression and to helping policymakers and communities implement effective solutions. They are focused on how universal screening, such as the Columbia University TeenScreen® Program, can become the first step in improving teen mental health. All materials, training, and technical assistance are available free of charge.

The Google Viewer displays the pages found as a result of your Google search as a continuous scrolling slide show. You can view your search results without using your keyboard or mouse and you can adjust the speed with which the images move across your screen. Each image of a page's contents is accompanied by a short "snippet" describing that page.

CELEBRATE NATIONAL TEACHER DAY Behind every one of us, there’s at least one special teacher. More than 47 million children in public schools today will one day point to a particular caring and talented teacher who inspired, challenged, nurtured and coaxed the very best out of them. Every day, but especially on May 6, National Teacher Day, we honor and recognize the lasting contributions of all those dedicated teachers with celebrations nationwide. Read about the origins of National Teacher Day and get information on how to host your own local celebration.

"MY TEACHER IS THE BEST" ESSAY CONTEST Have you ever had a teacher who changed your life? would like to know what you think makes a good teacher and why. Students are invited to write about their favorite teacher and why he or she is so special. Top prizewinners will receive two new laptop computers -- one for the student and one for their favorite teacher! Contest is open to 6th/7th/8th graders in public schools. Deadline: May 31, 2003 For contest rules, entry forms, and more information visit:

THE COST OF TEACHER TURNOVER What does it cost school districts to replace teachers leaving the profession? A new study of teacher turnover in Texas estimates that once all the elements of wages, benefits, organizational costs related to termination, recruitment and hiring, substitute salaries, learning curve loss, and training are added up, it costs $56,115 to replace a teacher who leaves the system. Statewide, the authors estimated that teacher turnover costs Texas schools from $329 million per year to $1.59 billion -- and recommended addressing the issue by implementing strategies designed to increase teacher retention, including induction and mentoring programs.

THE CONDITION OF EDUCATION IN RURAL AMERICA Pulling Together: R & D Resources for Rural Schools brings together a collection of research and development resources, developed by the nation's ten regional educational laboratories, to assist rural educators in providing a high quality education for all children. The site now features an updated version of "The Rural Circumstance," a Web-based document that speaks to the educational challenges of rural America. Graphs and statistics have all been made current, and the text now includes information on NCLB, as well as other significant conditions in rural education. View "The Rural Circumstance" online at

HELP YOUR STUDENTS STAMP OUT BULLYING For detailed information on what you can do, please visit the University of Colorado's Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. Additonal sites that might be useful:

NEA: National Bullying Awareness Campaign (NBAC)
Maine Project Against Bullying
Stop Bullying Now!
Dealing with Bullies
Education World Special Theme: Bullying

NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY PLAN To assist decision makers across the nation in charting a course to effectively use technology for education, the Office of Educational Technology with the U.S. Department of Education is facilitating the process of creating a National Education Technology Plan in accord with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. As part of the process of developing a new National Education Technology Plan, broad-based input and feedback is desired and being actively pursued. Please visit for more information and up-to-date details on the process and related resources as they become available.

ACTION ALERT: ERIC The U.S. Department of Education has issued a draft plan for a "New ERIC" system. Unless this plan is modified, all 16 Clearinghouses and their services will be eliminated and there will be a dramatic change in the content of the ERIC database. NOTE: The public has an opportunity to comment until May 9, 2003. The plan for the "New ERIC" makes the following changes:

* Closes all 16 ERIC Clearinghouses
* Eliminates customized reference and referral services
* Terminates AskERIC and clearinghouse question-answering services
* Ends all networking and outreach activities, including ERIC-sponsored Listservs
* Shuts down Clearinghouse Web sites currently visited by more than 22.5 million unique visitors a year
* Eliminates ERIC Digests, books, and other synthesis publications
* Has the effect of reducing coverage of the journal literature from 1100 journals to an estimated 400
* Restricts consumer access to information, limiting ERIC database coverage to "approved lists" of journals and document contributors

If the proposed changes do not reflect your vision of ERIC, ask Secretary Paige and your Congressional delegation to change the plan to reinstate all 16 ERIC Clearinghouses with their information services and user-friendly products and Web sites, and to continue comprehensive coverage of the education literature. Please make your views known by May 9 to:
Secretary of Education Rod Paige Fax: 202-401-0596 (on letterhead. please) Email:
Alabama Senators:
Congressional Representative:
The draft Statement Of Work is located at:
For additional up-to-date information on ERIC, please visit this Web site: ERIC Reauthorization News