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The Alabama Best Practices Center (ABPC) is a place where educators can turn for assistance, inspiration and information about teaching and student achievement.

Our purpose is to help teachers and administrators develop the competence, commitment, and courage to do whatever it takes to improve student learning.

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Tap a Rich Vein of Resources about Powerful Lesson Planning
October 21, 2016
By Cathy Gassenheimer
Remember the scene from the movie, The Jerk, when Steve Martin gets so excited about the arrival of new phone books? I always get that same sense of anticipation when the newest issue of Educational Leadership lands on my desk. I guess you can call me The Nerd!
Unlike Steve's character, I’m not excited because I’ll see my name in print, but rather because I get to read the ideas of prominent education thought leaders – and other insightful writers I'm about to "meet" for the first time.
EL's October issue didn’t disappoint. In fact, I found so many useful learnings wrapped inside the cover of this issue, that I decided to blog about it!

Among the goodies . . .

Those of you who are ASCD members know that each issue of Educational Leadership has a theme. The October 2016 issue is themed Powerful Lesson Planning, and features articles written by Susan Brookhart, Marilyn Burns, and many others. The issue also contains a monthly treat: columns by Carol Ann Tomlinson and Doug Fisher & Nancy Frey.
In my summaries, I've linked the titles of articles available to non-members.Read More
Great Things Happen When Educators Discover the Power of Twitter
October 17, 2016
By Alyson Carpenter, NBCT
Instructional Partner
Professional Learning Specialist
Athens City (AL) Schools
Twitter has quickly become the go-to place for educators to congregate and collaborate! Many teachers and school leaders who once used Twitter only to check on what their favorite movie star was up to or get the latest news have found a much more powerful way to utilize the social media tool-- for professional learning and collaboration.
As a “teacher of teachers,” I am finding that my conversations about using Twitter for professional growth need to be both personalized and personal in order for usage to take root.


Because skill levels vary greatly, to really share the power of Twitter, session time should be spent focused on the “What” and the “Why,” and personalized to each specific group of learners. Once teachers see a purpose for learning to use Twitter, they are usually ready to dive in.


Only when educators see the power of Twitter as a tool they can use for collaboration and learning will they be interested in the “How” of tweeting. Using a “hook” is a great way to begin a session and make the learning personal.

(Keep reading to check out my Twitter presentation tool – something you can take and adapt to your particular needs!)Read More
September Recap: A Powerful Month of Professional Learning Across Alabama
October 10, 2016
By Cathy Gassenheimer
It’s not often that grown-ups get to spend almost an entire month learning with and from others. But recently that’s exactly what I got to do!
In late August and September, we launched a High Poverty Schools Network in Birmingham, held the school year's first series of Key Leaders Network meetings and Powerful Conversations Network meetings, and then concluded the month with four back-to-back regional Instructional Partners Network retreats.
It is both fun and challenging to design the professional learning for the ABPC Networks. Fortunately, our senior consultant Jackie Walsh, a truly gifted author and facilitator, did a lot of the heavy lifting!
Those of you who are involved in one or more of our Networks know that one of our driving beliefs is: The knowledge is in the room. Accordingly each professional learning design factors in lots of discussion, reflection, and sharing among participants as we all surface the knowledge together.

The new High Poverty Schools Network

In collaboration with Dr. Boyd Rogan of UAB’s Inservice Center, and Melissa Shields, the ALSDE Regional Support Coordinator, we launched a High Poverty Schools Network for 10 schools from Birmingham City.

Relying on thought leaders like Eric Jensen, Crystal Kuykendall, Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, and Karin Chenoweth, school teams of four worked together to develop next action steps to ensure that students received the type of teaching and support needed to excel.Read More
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