Gainesville NIE Just another WordPress weblog Wed, 01 Feb 2012 20:20:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Give Them the Keys Wed, 01 Feb 2012 20:20:01 +0000 nieweek2012.jpg
A 128 page teacher’s guide – Using the newspaper as a primary resource students learn how to navigate varied test features, understand and relate to current events, learn how to make informed decisions and practice valuable reading and writing skills.

View Full Teacher’s Guide here: Give Them the Keys
9 units, 33 complete reproducible lesson plans

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Cyberspace Safety Fri, 07 Oct 2011 21:12:11 +0000 cyberspacesafety

A 4 page teacher’s guide – companion to “Born to be Wired” in the Parade Magazine e-edition Sunday 10/09/2011. Cyberspace is the world of computers. You can navigate through Cyberspace safely but you need to know a few rules.

View Full Teacher’s Guide here: Born to be Wired

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Teachers take tour of neighborhoods Wed, 17 Aug 2011 19:22:27 +0000 meetteach

“The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round,” sang Howard Bishop Middle School teachers on Tuesday.

Howard Bishop Middle School Bus Tour to Meet Students
The wheels on their school bus took them to area apartment complexes so teachers could pass out drinks, snacks and information about the upcoming “Meet the Teacher” event.

Principal Mike Gamble said the hourlong bus tour helps spread the word about the annual open house, held at all area schools on Thursday and Friday.

“It also helps build relationships both ways,” he said. “For teachers, it lets them see the influences the kids coming into their classrooms are going to have and the kids get to see what teachers are like in real life.”

Teachers stopped at Tree Trail Apartments, Eden Park and the Lamplighter mobile home park.

“Hey!” said Christie McGann as she hugged former student DeShala Hardy. “How was your summer?”

DeShala starts seventh grade at Howard Bishop this year.

“I’m just ready to go back to school,” she said.

Although her children won’t attend Howard Bishop, Carolyn Fields was pleasantly surprised to see the school bus pull up at Tree Trail.

“All the teachers coming to meet the students, that’s good,” she said as Gamble spoke to her.

Toni Brooks, a 13-year-old seventh-grader, was walking outside her apartment complex when teachers started yelling her name out of the bus window.

“It’s kind of surprising because I didn’t expect to see my teachers,” she said laughing.

Gamble explained over the bus intercom that the Gainesville Police Department’s Black on Black Crime Task Force patrols some of the complexes during the summer.

“It’s a tough place to live,” said Buddy Kamman, assistant principal. “I used to live at the Lamplighter so I know first-hand.”

Kamman said he hopes the teachers grasp a better understanding of their students.

“I want them to have some empathy for the kids, not sympathy, and help bridge that gap between student and teacher,” he said. “Once that happens, a lot of good things can happen.”

Meet the Teacher on Thursday, Friday
Alachua County Public Schools teachers will open their classrooms for meet-and-greets on Thursday and Friday. For a full list, go to

Contact Jackie Alexander at or 338-3166.

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Educators are willing to pay to enhance learning Tue, 16 Aug 2011 20:36:30 +0000 gvilleteachers

In the LeFave household, there’s a budget for electricity, groceries — and Maria LeFave’s ninth-grade classroom at Eastside High School.

LeFave said she spends about $800 of her own money each year equipping her classroom with books and supplies. Her husband, Rick, disagrees.

“Let’s say $1,000, at least,” he said. “I do the budget.”
Teachers across the county head back into the classroom today for pre-planning, bringing many materials they paid for out of their own pockets.

According to a 2010 National School Supply and Equipment Association study, teachers spent $3.1 billion in educational products during the 2009-2010 school year.

During the 2007-2008 school year, the study says, teachers spent on average about $936 on materials for their classrooms.

LeFave said that when she taught in the 1990s, the materials budget per teacher was $250. According to school district budget documents, teachers have a $180 stipend for the upcoming school year.

Without spending her own money, LeFave said she wouldn’t have enough books for her students.

“You’ve got to have reading materials and they have to be interesting,” she said. “(The $180 stipend) doesn’t provide things I want to make education fun.”

Even the 2,000-page copy limit isn’t enough, LeFave said.

She isn’t alone. Lauren Brochu, a Wiles Elementary School third-grade teacher, said she spent at least $200 last week on materials, including whiteboards at Target for each of her students.

“You want so much for the kids, but we have to realize there’s only so much you can buy,” she said.

Brochu also tutors after school and works as a Mary Kay consultant to supplement her paycheck, but some of it goes back into her classroom.

“Dollar Tree is my friend,” she said, laughing.

The district’s Teacher’s Lab helps offset some costs. Teachers can cut out letters for bulletin boards, create buttons and get graphic design help at the center, said manager David Stanley. Teachers can also charge the expenses to their school accounts, but “honestly, a lot of them prefer to pay cash,” Stanley said.

Brochu spent Thursday creating an Olympic-themed bulletin board.

“There’s a lot of pressure with their first year of the FCAT, so I’m saying we’re athletes in training for the championship game,” she said.

Other teachers use DonorsChoose,org, a donation website, to raise money for supplies. Melissa Julien, an exceptional student education pre-kindergarten teacher, hopes to raise more than $500 for a classroom rug. So far, she’s raised nearly $350.

“The budget is nearly nonexistent,” she wrote in her donation plea. “The students ‘make do’ with everything else, but I would love a new carpet to enhance our classroom community and to help my sweet pre-kindergartners learn.”

Clarissa Lawrence teaches at Sweetwater Branch Academy’s elementary school, which is in its second year. For the inaugural year, she spent $500 before the start of school.

“If you really need it, you’ll probably have to get it yourself,” Lawrence said.

She said teachers don’t waste their money filling up an empty classroom.

“My instinct is to think of the child first,” she said. “It’s not frivolous or cute things. It’s things that will benefit student learning.”

Contact Jackie Alexander at or 338-3166.

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Down economy affecting parents’ approach to tax holiday Thu, 11 Aug 2011 20:48:56 +0000 tax

Retailers are gearing up for what is expected to be the biggest shopping weekend of the year before the winter holidays as parents and students stock up for school during the tax holiday on clothes and school supplies.

The Florida Legislature approved the tax holiday for the second straight year after a three-year hiatus. No state or local sales taxes will be collected on approved items from 12:01 a.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday. That’s a savings of 6.75 percent in Alachua County — 6 percent state and 0.75 percent local option. Store sales offer even larger savings as retailers compete for the weekend business, with some also expanding hours of operation.

The tax holiday shifts the biggest school shopping weekend up a week from the weekend before school starts, said Scott Boyer, store manager at JCPenney at The Oaks Mall.

Students return to Alachua County public schools on Aug. 22, as do University of Florida and Santa Fe College students.

“We call it an all-hands-on-deck day where we have everybody working,” Boyer said. “This weekend will make or break the month.”

Boyer said back-to-school sales are flat so far compared with last year after being up for most of the year. He suspects that more people are aware of the tax holiday in its second year and have been holding out for this weekend, while concerns about the economy after the debt debate also might play a factor.

The Target in Butler Plaza has seen school shopping pick up over the past few weeks and expects a weekend rush from parents of K-12 students who want to beat the back-to-college rush when dorms open Wednesday, said store team leader Brian Jablonski.

“That’s when the floodgates open for us,” he said.

College traffic outweighs K-12 traffic at his store, he said.

Nationwide, college families are expected to spend two-thirds of an estimated $66.8 billion in back-to-school shopping this year, since college shoppers buy bigger items such as dorm furnishings and electronics, according to a survey conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation.

Per-family spending is expected to go down from $606.40 last year to $603.63 for K-12 and from $835.73 to $808.71 for college over economic concerns, the survey shows.

Shoppers are purchasing more store-brand or generic items, doing more comparison shopping online and hunting for sales, while 43.7 percent said the economy is forcing them to spend less in general.

Of three families who spoke Wednesday afternoon to The Sun in the school clothes area at JCPenney, all said they would shop again over the weekend.

Shannon Valentine, 33, of Horseshoe Beach, said she’ll spend less this year for her three kids.

“We’re trying to hit the sales racks and the clearance stuff as much as possible,” she said. “Money-wise, right now it’s pretty tight for my family.”

Kelly Hunt, 26, of High Springs, said she’ll spend more because another of her four children is starting school this year.

Without a school uniform policy in Union County, she said she has found clothes for $5 or less on clearance as stores mark down summer clothes to make room for uniforms.

Mary Helen Griffis, 73, of Starke, was buying uniform clothes for her grandson, who is moving from Putnam County to Bradford County.

She said she would shop over the weekend after first learning of the tax holiday Wednesday at the store.

Retailers say they are prepared to offer more clothes this year that fit the Alachua County school uniform policy, since the School Board last year enacted the policy after many stores already had ordered their fall lineup.

Last year, JCPenney had 1,200 square feet devoted to uniforms, young men’s and juniors clothes in one area, Boyer said. This year, the store has more than 2,000 square feet for just uniforms.

Jablonski said Target decided to carry uniform clothes year-round this year.

Some stores are holding special events. Belk will have a kids fashion show from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. Target will have 10 motor coaches traveling between the store and the UF campus from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Aug. 19.

Dragonfly Graphics is getting into the act this year with a tent sale at its print shop at 319 SW Third Ave. with six-packs of blank polo shirts for $50 and samples of approved high school and middle school spirit shirts available at

Marketing Director Aimee Anderson said Dragonfly Graphics is getting word-of-mouth business, with several schools referring people, since Dragonfly donates 25 percent of the net income on spirit shirts back to the respective schools.

By Anthony Clark
Business editor

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Remembering 9/11 Thu, 11 Aug 2011 20:35:59 +0000 remembering911

On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamist extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Often referred to simply as 9/11, the attacks resulted in extensive death and destruction, triggering major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism. Nearly 3,000 people were killed during the attacks including more than 400 police officers and firefighters and 266 passengers and crew on the four planes. This was the most deadly terrorist attack in U.S. history.

View Full Teacher’s Guide here: Remembering 9/11, 10 Year Anniversary

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Cereal Bowl Science Tue, 02 Aug 2011 18:48:41 +0000 cerealbowlscience_300x210

Cereal Bowl Science – Five Modules explore the science behind everyday activities, challenging students to observe, predict, experiment, find a solution and communicate results.

View full Teacher’s Guide here: Cereal Bowl Science

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NIE Week Mon, 01 Aug 2011 18:50:09 +0000 nieweek_300x210

CIVICS/SOCIAL STUDIES – The NAA Foundation celebrates NIE Week annually. This Teacher Guide is full of lesson plans on using the newspaper in teaching students Civic Engagement. In addition this link Celebrate the Power of Newspapers will take you to even more lessons and interactive material provided free by the NAA Foundation.

View full Teacher’s Guide here: Lessons in Civics, Math, and Fine Arts for NIE Week 2011

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Community Connections with Geography and the Newspaper – Level One Sat, 30 Jul 2011 18:53:16 +0000 communityconnections_300x210

This tab blends mapping skills with discussion of the various communities to which everyone belongs.


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Community Connections with Geography and the Newspaper – Level Two Thu, 28 Jul 2011 18:55:35 +0000 commconn_level2

This tab looks at community identity and geography’s effect on local economies and life styles.


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