Brandi Caldwell, NBCT '02

Springville, AL
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Creating PLE's (Professional Learning Environments) with TLC (Tender Loving Care or Time-Saving, Long-Term Collaboration)

Many teachers, particularly at the secondary level, do not feel a sense of community or a sense of collaboration. Because of this teachers experience a stunt in their professional growth. This may be because of solitude (self-imposed or otherwise), time constraints, burnout, uncooperative colleagues, ineffective staff development opportunities, or any number of other factors. Although the current trend towards learning communities which promotes consistent, workday collaborative time is ideal; many districts and administrations have found it difficult to make this happen or have not seen the value in it. This should not make teachers feel like they cannot be a part of a professional learning environment that involves their colleagues within the school, the district, and the world.
Capitalizing on the above obstacles many teachers might face when trying to find true professional growth opportunities, I will provide ten steps towards effective group and personal professional learning environments. The first step will be the most basic with the greatest technology comfort level and each step will advance towards a more technologically proficient user.

Presenter Bio

If I tagged my life story, these would be the top six:
1. South
My Bachelor’s Degree is from Samford University and my Master’s Degree is from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I grew up in Mississippi but moved to Alabama with my husband. I am a proud Southern Girl!
2. Family
I have a wonderful family including my husband, a math teacher and coach, and my two sons Trey (7) and Brady (5 months). I am currently taking some time off from teaching to be with my kids.
3. Writing
I have taught some combination of English, theatre, and speech for the past eleven years. My students often remember the large amount of writing they do in my class. Technology has really made that writing process evolve during my teaching career.
4. Innovator
I love computers and have always tinkered with them. Although I don’t have formal technology training, I used my hands-on knowledge to develop a twenty-computer lab from donated equipment in my last school. I also began blogging in my classroom and have been doing it for two years.
5. Leader
In 2002 I became a Nationally Board Certified Teacher. Through the years I have done numerous presentations and in-service meetings. In 2006 I became a 21st Century Fellow with the Alabama Best Practices Center Technology Initiative. Both of these honors opened doors for me and helped me to grow as a teacher leader.
6. Passion
I am passionate about my God, my family, my career, and my values. I teach my students passion in their work and their writing. I seek to show my students that high school can be fun, challenging, creative, innovative, interesting, and exciting.

Get the unabridged version of my life story at

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