JCHS Instructional News

News & Celebrations- James Clemens High School Faculty

Issue #16 / March 9, 2014

Hello Jets!

There are LOTS of reasons to celebrate this week as the JETS are flying high as usual!

Raise your hand if you LOVED hearing from the World Languages Department each morning this week! ✋ It was also pretty spectacular to read about each of these fantastic educators in the brochure they created for Curriculum Night. Check it out here: JCHS World Languages Department

In case you have been far far away and haven't heard, there is a HUGE event happening at JC next week. :) Check out the picture below to see all of the classes participating in the Brain Health Expo-- WOW! Kudos to Mrs. McRae for an exceptional and ambitious Flight Plan that includes so many JC crew members! Our philosophy of collaboration is very evident in the length of the list! The Madison City 4th graders are in for a real treat as they visit JCHS this week! (More info can be found at the bottom of this newsletter with the event dates and details.)

In other exciting news, our very own Mrs. Lilavois has been selected as a "Champion Teacher" with ck-12.org. She will be working with them to provide training for other teachers, share blogs, etc. Way to go, Mrs. L--You're leading the way for educators on a national level!!

Last but not least, Congratulations to our ROTC team. Two of our JC ROTC students have been accepted at West Point. Colonel Taylor and Sargent Major McCray do amazing work with the ROTC students. The relationships, community building, and leadership opportunities we've spoken about lately are evident every day in ROTC. (Read the full article by clicking HERE to visit the Madison Record.)

I'm sure there is more that I am not aware of happening around campus! If you know of celebrations around JC, please don't keep them a secret!

Have a great week!


Learning From Each Other: JCHS Flight School Learning Walks

Sharing Feedback With Fellow Pilots

The video below shows all of the comments and ideas generated on our Graffiti Wall (Here's What / So What / Now What Reflections) from the Learning Walks during last week's Flight School sessions. Enjoy and feel free to come by and check out the completed board to see how all of these comments flow together!
Flipagram - March 08, 2014


A Sneak Peek: JCHS Brain Health Expo...

Downstairs D-Pod has been a flurry of activity and is looking great! Click the button below the pics to see the flyer and learn more!

Strategy Spotlight: BRAIN Breaks!

Physical Activity & Cognitive Performance

Speaking of the BRAIN, have you all heard of the "brain break" concept?

You are probably creating brain breaks for your students already but you may not be using the exact term. Just over the course of a week, I've seen these making a difference in classrooms around JC. For example, Mrs. Riddle asked her class to stand and stretch during a lesson transition, and Coach Groves asked his class to spend 90 seconds moving to a YouTube brain break video. I also heard there were some simulations of trench warfare and a few dance moves going on in Coach Smith's history classes!

The Academy classes have created stations to demonstrate how the brain functions during physical activity for our upcoming Brain Health Expo-- and I look forward to learning more about this idea from them this week! (Examples include a dance party station and hopscotch station that should provide tons of fun for all who visit!)

WHY should we provide brain breaks?

✓ The average attention span of a teenager is 15-20 minutes long

✓ The average middle-/high-school class period is 45-90 minutes long

✓ The challenge is to keep students engaged throughout the entire


WHAT exactly are brain breaks?

✓ A short mental break, taken at regular intervals during instruction, and

used to achieve optimal learning2.

✓ Brain breaks are best when they are physical

★ Blood and oxygen moves to the brain

✓ Brain breaks are limited to five minutes or less

✓ Brain breaks allow the brain to refocus on learning

WHEN should we use them?

✓ Brain break whenever you feel class engagement is lacking

✓ Plan for brain breaks between segments of your lesson

✓ At least every 20-30 minutes


Several JETS pilots tweeted the photo shown here a few weeks ago. The red area shows the brain "turning on" after physical activity. There is a great deal of research to support the effects of movement on learning. (Plus, it only takes a minute or two and can be just plain fun for students and teachers alike!)


To find some brain breaks that might work in your class, check out this great flyer: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4AMtpGa3mkLVVc4MFdPYUxOZ1U/edit?usp=sharing This site has some YouTube videos with examples as well: http://curriculum.austinisd.org/pe_health/resources/BrainBreaks/index.html

I have started a collection that will contain varied types of breaks. Some are silly, and some are simple-- many styles for different teacher and class personalities. I will add to the set as I run across more. Please share if you find any or let me know if you'd like to be added as a collaborator for this Pinterest board:


Happy Brain Health Week! :)

Black History Month at JCHS

In case you missed this awesome video last week...

JC students, teachers, and administrators come together in this moving presentation of Freedom Plow by Langston Hughes. Thanks to the following Pilots who along with our JETS students were part of making this video great and heartfelt: Mr. Ruffin, Mr. Whitt, Mrs. Nichols, Mr. Hodges, Sargent Major McRae, Colonel Taylor

Freedom Plow - Langston Hughes

What Educators are TWEETING about around James Clemens, Madison City, and Alabama

Don't have a Twitter Account? No problem! You can still see the tweets by clicking the buttons below!
💙✈️#ProudToBeAJET on Twitter! ✈️💙

JCHS PRIDE- Students & Teachers Sharing What Makes Us #proudtobeajet

#JCHSfaculty on Twitter!

JCHS Faculty Sharing

#MCSlearn on Twitter!

Madison City Schools Sharing & Networking

What are educators talking about in Alabama?

Check out #ALedchat to find out!

In-Flight Movie

This Week's Theme: Creating a Common Language

This video is funny and adorable. The confusion shown between the two kiddos here is funny because we all can relate and have experienced misconceptions when trying to get our point across to students--and even when communicating as adults! This video could be a conversations starter for us as we continue our pursuit of a "Common Language" at JCHS!


Want to use video clips as Thinking Prompts with your lessons?

This resource from Dr. Jim Knight may be helpful: http://www.corwin.com/highimpactinstruction/chapters/Attributes_of_Effective_Thinking.pdf If you're interested in viewing more examples, visit this Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/alysoncarpenter/videos-thinking-prompts/

Disclaimer: Pinned videos don't always signify endorsements. We often pin first and view later!

Spinach Spanish Trigon Health Insurance ad


Alyson Carpenter, Instructional Partner

James Clemens High School

Madison City Schools

Madison, AL

Go JETS! ✈️

Alyson Carpenter's Vimeo Channel

You might see clips from your classes here! :)

Alyson Carpenter's Pinterest Boards!

Items are often pinned for later viewing. Pinned items are not necessarily endorsed.

Upcoming Flight Plans:

Brain Health Expo- Kickoff with Guest Speaker

Tuesday, March 11th, 5-7pm

11306 County Line Rd

Madison, AL

Doors open in D wing for activities at 5 p.m., and keynote speaker, Dr. Adam Hott will speak at 6 p.m. in the JCHS auditorium. ALL of the Madison City Schools 4th graders will be visiting during the week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday!

Backmapping Meeting- Algebra Teachers

Monday, March 10th, 8:30am-3:30pm

211 Celtic Dr

Madison, AL

Teachers who were invited to this event will meet at the Madison City Schools Central Office.

JCHS Curriculum Night

Monday, March 17th, 5-7pm

11306 County Line Rd

Madison, AL

Join us and learn more about the outstanding opportunities for students at James Clemens High School!