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GSO to GO Newsletter - October 2009

General Information

New Teacher Tools Save Time & Money

On September 8, 2009, State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox launched two online teacher tools that will save educators and school systems time and money.  "These resources were developed without spending any taxpayer dollars and will help our teachers provide a world-class education to all of our students," Superintendent Cox said.  "Time and money are precious commodities, especially in these times, and these teacher tools will help save both."  At an event at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Cobb County, Superintendent Cox announced expanded state partnerships with Georgia Public Broadcasting/PBS TeacherLine and Verizon's Thinkfinity.  "We have partnered with two outstanding organizations to bring high-quality resources to our classroom teachers," Superintendent Cox said.  "We will continue to look for opportunities to provide valuable tools to our educators at little or no cost to the taxpayers of Georgia.”

PBS TeacherLine

PBS TeacherLine is an online tool that offers low-cost, high-quality professional development classes to teachers so they can improve their abilities and earn the Professional Learning Units -- or PLUs -- they need to maintain their certification.  "The Georgia Department of Education has reviewed PBS TeacherLine's English language arts and mathematics classes and given them our stamp of approval," Superintendent Cox said.  "These classes are well-aligned with our state standards and the high expectations we have for teachers in Georgia."  Marilyn Stansbury, director of education for Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), said this is just the beginning of this partnership. "We will continue to work together to find ways we can provide high-quality, low-cost professional development opportunities for Georgia teachers," Ms. Stansbury said.  "We are excited to launch this new partnership with the Georgia Department of Education and the state's educators."  Superintendent Cox said school systems can use federal Title 1 or stimulus funds to pay for educators to take TeacherLine classes.  Learn more about PBS TeacherLine by visiting GPB Education and click on the "PBS TeacherLine" logo in the lower right portion of that webpage.  Read about the online solutions for teacher professional development at TeacherLine Southeast.  You can also view the list of GaDOE-endorsed classes.

Verizon Thinkfinity

Verizon Thinkfinity is a free, online tool that provides more than 55,000 lesson plans, activities and other resources for classroom teachers.  The content has been developed in coordination with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Council for Economic Education, the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and many other highly-regarded groups."Many of the resources in Verizon Thinkfinity are directly linked to the Georgia Performance Standards and can help teachers develop rigorous and relevant lessons for their students quickly and easily," Superintendent Cox said.  "Verizon is an outstanding corporate partner for education across the nation, especially here in Georgia. "Verizon began its partnership with Georgia last school year when it donated $50,000 that helped train more than 16,000 teachers on how to use Thinkfinity.  On Tuesday, Julie Smith, vice president for external affairs, southeast, presented Superintendent Cox with another $50,000 check from Verizon to continue and expand its partnership.  Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston said the website is a great tool for school and home.  “Whether it’s an English teacher looking for resources to spark a love of reading in a student, or a parent seeking a convenient and user-friendly educational activity to stimulate the mind of a young child, will help them quickly and easily find the information needed to improve student achievement,” said Patrick Gaston, president of the Verizon Foundation.  Teachers can access Thinkfinity resources directly tied to the Georgia Performance Standards at GeorgiaStandards.Org.

High School Science: Best Practice GPS Videos

The Science Department recently added a best practice video series that exemplifies the teaching of some science high school Georgia Performance Standards.  The videos have been prepared by segment, which means educators can select to watch one, some or all the segments of a particular video.  For example, you want to reference the Binary Ionic Compounds video because you are about to teach the SC1 standard (Students will analyze the nature of matter and its classifications) in Chemistry along with elements c. and d.  You have the choice to watch the Binary Ionic Compounds video by selecting any of the following segments:

Here are some of the other videos that you can watch from this science series: Acids and Bases, Owl Lab, Homeostasis, Nature of Sound and Energy.

GALILEO: Access Hundreds of Online Databases

Conducting online research or utilizing reference materials (i.e., dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, electronic information, almanac, atlas, magazines, newspapers) are information literacy skills that are found throughout the elementary, middle and high school levels of the Georgia Performance Standards.  In Georgia, students start using research skills in the second grade with standard ELA2W1 of element t (uses a variety of resources <encyclopedia, Internet, books> to research and share information on a topic).  This is where the GALILEO initiative can assist Georgia educators teach these essential 21st learning skills by providing equitable access to information.  Through collaboration and resource sharing, GALILEO seeks to provide equal access to information for all Georgia citizens.  GALILEO stands for GeorgiA LIbrary LEarning Online, an initiative of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. A World Wide Web-based virtual library, GALILEO provides access to multiple information resources, including secured access to licensed products. Participating institutions, such as your school, may access hundreds of databases that index thousands of periodicals and scholarly journals. Did you know that over 2,000 journal titles are provided in full-text? Other resources include encyclopedias, business directories, and government publications.  Want to get started with GALILEO today?  Based on levels, teachers should take a look at these GALILEO interfaces that are designed by grade bands:

Learner.Org Ecosystem Simulation Lab

The study of ecosystems is an important concept in the K-12 science Georgia Performance Standards.  In fourth grade, students are responsible to describe the roles of organisms and the flow of energy within an ecosystem through standard S4L1 and its elements.  Ecosystems appear another seventeen times in the GPS between grades 7 – 12.  Want your students to discover how ecosystems are a complex and delicate balancing game?  The addition or removal of one species affects many other species with which it might compete for, or provide food.  In the Interactive Ecology Lab students get a chance to "build their own" ecosystem, and explore the effects of these interrelationships.  Once you are on the simulator page, you will notice how includes a downloadable (Word) data table for students to keep a record of their data as they conduct their simulations.  Lessons and challenges are also included in this engaging interactive.

Related GPS: S7CS5, SB4, SBO5, SBO6, SEC1, SEC3, SEC4, SEV1, SEV2, SEV3

Modern Languages K-5 Standards Available for Review

The State of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) have an established history of encouraging school districts to offer world language instruction in the elementary grades. From 1992 through 2006, the Georgia Elementary School Foreign Languages (ESFL) Model Program provided state grant funding to local school districts who were willing to implement high-quality elementary world language programs.  The Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) for K-5 Modern Languages, Five-Day Model, continues that tradition. Once finalized, these standards will replace the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) standards that were written for the ESFL Model Program and will guide local school districts in providing standards-based, proficiency-focused world language instruction.  You can review the DRAFT copy of the Georgia Performance Standards for K-5 Modern Languages. The proposed GPS are posted in a PDF format on GeorgiaStandards.Org for a 60-day period of public review. After reviewing the standards, stakeholders can provide feedback by filling out an online survey.

Health Education Standards Available for Review

The draft of the new Georgia Performance Standards for Health Education was approved by the State Board of Education and will be posted for 60 days for public review and comment on GeorgiaStandards.Org. The draft of the standards and survey will be accessible for review and comment from September 14, 2009 through November 13, 2009.

Print Ready GPS For Your Classroom

As is usually the case, another great idea has been recently suggested to the Georgia Department of Education from our Georgia teachers.  We are pleased to announce that K-8 core subject standards are now available on the GeorgiaStandards.Org (GSO) website in print ready format for posting. The printable and classroom friendly GPS may be found on GSO under the Georgia Performance Standards tab in the Support Materials - GPS by Grade Level, K-8 section. Teachers may print these in varied sizes - regular, legal, or 11x17.  Please be sure to share this information with your elementary and middle school principals and school staff.

Change The World Challenge

There are many environmental issues that we face locally and globally.  Siemens, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Discovery Education have teamed up to challenge students to offer solutions through the We Can Change the World Challenge that is now open for grades K – 8.  Read all about the rules, challenge description, contest criteria, suggested timeline and prizes.  The following are the grade ranges for this contest; K – 2, 3 – 5 and 6 – 8.  Over $100,000 in grants, prizes and much more!  The deadline is January 31, 2010.

Science Teachers Can Win $3,000

The Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards promote the innovative use of data-collection technology using a computer, graphing calculator or other handheld in the science classroom. Science teachers are encouraged to apply for one of seven $3,000 awards.  The winning teachers enjoy $1,000 in cash, $1,000 in Vernier products and up to $1,000 toward expenses to attend the annual NSTA National Convention.  Start planning your 2010 entry now. The deadline for receipt of applications by NSTA for the 2010 awards is November 30, 2009.  Read more about eligibility, previous winners and to download the application by visiting the Vernier Technology Awards page.

Georgia Read More

The Georgia Department of Education has implemented a literacy program aimed at third grade called the "Georgia Read More" program. Through the concentrated efforts of the Library Media Services Department have resulted in this award winning series, this program encourages children to read, parent-child interaction, and promotes literacy and libraries. Simply select from the many videos of dignitaries and celebrities reading a children’s book aloud to a group of students. Each video supplies a link to a vocabulary list that accompanies the story. Also included with most of the books that are in the Georgia Read More program are a Lexile score and links to author websites.

Continuing Education

Online GALILEO Training

Earlier in this GSO to GO issue, you read what a tremendous resource that GALILEO can be in the research process for students.  So why not learn about the many things that GALILEO can offer?  There are many upcoming online training sessions by GALILEO and there are orientations to users by GALILEO community (Scholar, Library, High School, Teen, and Kids). These sessions will help you get an overview of GALILEO and can be a great refresher for anyone who feels rusty. Find more information about sessions for all GALILEO communities by visiting the GALILEO training page.

Professional Learning and Best Practices Videos on GSO

There are now over 700 professional learning and best practices videos available for Georgia educators on GeorgiaStandards.Org.  Videos on GSO are available for all content areas and grade levels.  If you are a middle school math teacher, you will want to view the webcast video series on utilizing manipulatives with the Georgia Performance Standards.  Judy O’Neal, a math professor at North Georgia College and State University, does an outstanding presentation demonstrating an active and engaging performance-based math curriculum for sixth, seventh and eighth grade teachers.  Elementary, middle and high school math teachers will also find the Georgia Classroom Instructional video series instrumental in teaching the GPS.  You can watch over 50 teachers implementing a performance-based approach to conducting performance tasks with students.

GaETC 2009 – The Challenge of Change

The Georgia Educational Technology Conference (GaETC) will be held on November 4-6, 2009 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.  Converge with the thousands of other Georgia educators who will travel to Atlanta to experience high-quality professional learning.  The GaETC also provides educators the opportunity to learn about the latest in educational technology and offers a forum for discussion among professionals concerned with technology in education.  The conference will include over 200 concurrent presentations, nationally known speakers and presenters along with 200 commercial exhibits that will showcase the latest trends and products in educational technology.  Here are links to current information regarding lodging and shuttles and the conference schedule that can be accessed from the GaETC website.  Here are the directions to the GaETC.  PLU credit may apply by attending the GAETC, refer to the Professional Learning Units page or contact your school district for more information.

Celebrating October

Nature Walk

The change of another season is upon us once again.  The great American novelist and short story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne once said the following about fall, "I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.  So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.”  Isn’t that great inspiration for a nature walk with your students?  During the autumn months have students work in small groups to go on a nature walk to explore the changing of the season. This field trip nature walk activity includes a printable worksheet with directions.

October in Georgia History

The New Georgia Encyclopedia (NGE) features a gallery for Lindbergh Day in Atlanta which took place on October 11-12, 1927.  There you will see some rare photos that capture Charles Lindbergh’s historical forty-eight-state tour in the Spirit of St. Louis, the first plane that crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a non-stop flight.  Teachers can also discuss other significant state facts that are featured on NGE in October, such as what William Bartram discovered along the Altamaha River and what was passed by Governor Alfred Colquitt in October 1879.  Your students can also research what fort was being used by the military in 1918 that was located just outside of Columbus.  Teachers can have students investigate what two people won the Nobel Peace Prize from Georgia, which also set the record for the most Nobel Peace Prizes from one state.  This and more is featured in October in Georgia History on the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

October EDSITEment Calendar of Holidays and Special Events

The October calendar on EDSITEment is loaded with comprehensive activities based on Art & Culture, Literature & Language Arts, Foreign Language and History & Social Studies.
EDSITEment features daily links by website feature (W) or lesson plan (LP).  October 1, 1908 marks the day that Henry Ford introduced the Model T, and EDSITEment poses the question of, “Was There An Industrial Revolution?”  Find out with your students by accessing this lesson plan.  U.S. History teachers can also reference SSUSH16c on Henry Ford, mass production and the automobile.  For October 6, you can help your students learn about the impact Thomas Edison had on the film industry, by clicking on Thomas Edison's Inventions in the 1900s and Today. High school teachers can combine the Thomas Edison link with this Cinema Interactive by Other notable dates from the EDSITEment Calendar for October teaching ideas, includes Other Worlds: The Voyage of Columbus , On This Day with Lewis and Clark and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Get Smart About Credit Day

Now more than ever, stressing the importance of personal finance and establishing financial goals early in life is critical.  October 15 is Get Smart About Credit Day a program designed to connect bankers with students and young adults to help them to develop a stronger understanding of credit and how to use it responsibly.  If time permits, you can also head on over to where the award-winning economics teacher Marc Johnson is featured in the video Learning, Earning, Saving which is about salaries, wages, millionaires, compound interest and the stock market. also offers the Math in Daily Life Interactive for high school students that address savings, credit and the important topic of credit cards.  CTAE teachers can also reference the following Georgia Performance Standards: BCS-BI-7, FCS-CA-8, FCS-CF-11, FCS-CF-3.

A Perfect 10!

The tenth day of the ten month calls for a celebration of the Metric System. Measure in by visiting the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics website for some great links on information and activities on the Metric System.  And don’t forget about the “Interactive” Metric Conversions by that teaches students how to do conversions.  You can also review metric system basics with the video and web-based content of The Metric System with your class, in the third session of Learning Math: Measurement.  Want to practice the Metric System and bake cookies at the same time?  The Cooking by Numbers “Interactive” by is also worth a glance with your students.

Mole Day

Chemistry teachers along with their students can observe Mole Day on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m.  Mole Day was created to commemorate Avogadro’s Number (6.02 X 10^23).  Watch the “The Mole” Program 11 of “The World of Chemistry” from to find out more about Avogadro’s number.  In the "The Mechanical Universe...and Beyond" video instructional series, Program 49 covers Avogadro’s number and its role in the development of atomic theory.  What a great way to teach standard SC2 element c!

National Chemistry Week (October 18-24)

National Chemistry Week is a community based program of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and occurs annually in the fourth week of October.  The 2009 theme is "Chemistry--It's Elemental!" a celebration of the Periodic Table of Elements. has its popular series The World of Chemistry which provides a sound overview of major chemistry concepts.  The Reactions in Chemistry workshop shows excellent high school teachers engaging their students in hands-on, real-world based lessons.  Elementary teachers can review chemical properties of matter with Essential Science for Teachers: Physical Science: see Session 4, "Chemical Changes and Conservation of Matter."

GSO to GO Downloads and Links

October Calendar Word Template (DOC)
> Listen to the GSO to GO Voices Podcast

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