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GSO to GO Newsletter - September 2009

General Information

What is the Purpose of the State’s Curriculum?

As required by the Quality Basic Education Act of 1985, Georgia must maintain a curriculum that specifies what students are expected to know in each subject and grade. Additionally, the state’s standardized tests, the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) for grades 1-8 and the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) for Grade 11, must be aligned with that curriculum.  The state’s curriculum is a guideline for instruction that helps teachers, students and parents know what topics must be covered and mastered for a particular course.  The curriculum establishes the minimum standards, and does not prohibit systems, schools, or teachers from adding material to it. Some systems may have curricula of their own, but they must include everything that the state requires.  For other answers to commonly asked questions about the GPS, visit the Georgia Performance Standards page and then click on Frequently Asked Questions under Support Materials.

Now Playing, More GSO Social Studies Videos

A new video series has been added to the GSO video library.  The Social Studies Video Dictionary targets middle school students.  Bill Cranshaw, Social Studies Program Manager, elaborates on the idea of this project by stating, “The concept is to produce a visual and auditory resource for teachers and students to help them understand and visualize various people, places, events, or items in the GPS.”  Why did the Social Studies Department chose to start this video project with middle school grades?  Cranshaw answers, "This will be the first exposure for many students to the world outside of the United States."  He is excited that fifty video topics have been selected for the Video Dictionary with plans to expand beyond middle school.  The Video Dictionary segments can also be used to support high school world history.  Watch the first 18 videos that have been added to the GSO Video Library.  Teachers can view or download any of the videos to their computer for use in PowerPoint or as stand-alone segments.  More videos coming soon!

Thinkfinity Adds New Digital Resources

GSO partner Thinkfinity has so much to offer teachers, so why not start off the school year with FREE engaging lessons and materials for your students. Thinkfinity continues to add lessons, interactives, podcasts and webinars.  Science NetLinks, a Thinkfinity consortium partner, has assembled a collection of middle and high school resources that examine the chemistry and engineering behind petroleum products and energy.  The highlight of the collection is the new interactive, Oil Refining: A Closer Look. After an introductory movie providing background on how petroleum developed over millions of years, students are taken into an oil refinery where they process crude oil into more usable forms, such as gasoline for cars or asphalt for roof shingles.  Energize your students and explore the science of energy today!

Engage Students with Learner.Org Interactives

The Georgia Department of Education and are Partners in (Annenberg Media) offers a wide range of professional development and instructional programming across the curriculum. In addition to an extensive video catalog that is available to all Georgia educators 24 hours a day, has 21 interactives to expand student learning on various concepts.  "Interactives" provides educators and students with strategies, content, and activities that can enhance and improve students' skills in a variety of curricular areas. Your students ever wonder how Hollywood films are made?  The Arts interactive, for example, is on Cinema. Students get to write their own dialogue for a scene by putting themselves in the producer’s shoes by managing the production of a film.  In this interactive, students learn about screenwriting, directing, producing, acting and the editing process.

Fine Arts GPS Available for Review

During the 2008-2009 school year, fine arts committees were created for each of the four content areas of fine arts education including dance, music, theatre arts and visual arts to draft the Georgia Performance Standards for Fine Arts Education. The National Standards for Arts Education as referenced in the National Standards for Arts Education, Copyright (c) 1994 by MENC: The National Association for Music Education, other states’ fine arts curriculum standards and the Regional Educational Laboratory-South East SERVE Center all contributed to the resource and research base. Committee members were recommended by school district leadership and other experts in the field of fine arts education. Demographically and geographically, members represented a cross-section of Georgia and included members from business, community, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten through grade 12 education, post-secondary education and state and national fine arts associations.
Fine Arts Georgia Performance Standards were drafted during the spring and summer of 2009. The drafts for GPS dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts were presented to the State Board of Education on August 13, 2009, and will be posted for 60 days for public review and comment. The draft standards will be accessible for review and comment through October 12, 2009 on the Fine Arts page on GeorgiaStandards.Org.

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

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.

Thinkfinity's Integration Framework is ISTE NETS Aligned

Aligned to ISTE's 2008 Refreshed NETS-T standards, Verizon Thinkfinity's Integration Framework lies at the heart of the Thinkfinity professional development program.  It is aimed at helping educators integrate Verizon Thinkfinity resources into the curriculum to enhance 21st century teaching and learning.  To learn more about the Thinkfinity Integration Framework, register for a FREE 90-minute webinar for educators, "Integrating Verizon Thinkfinity's Resources Into Your Classroom."  There is a complete list of Verizon Thinkfinity webinars by type (General Audience, Educator and Trainer).

Free Britannica Online Web Training

Britannica Online subscribers are invited to participate in online Britannica training sessions.  This is a complimentary service provided to see what's new with Britannica Online and learn different ways to use it in your school or library!  K-12, Academic, and Public Librarians will all enjoy these 1-hour online presentations that they can attend without having to leave the school or library.  Access the Britannica Online training schedule for the list of sessions and when you complete the introductory webinar, you can sign-up for the one hour Creating Workspaces & Putting Videos into PowerPoint webinar.  From the comfort of your computer, you can learn how the Britannica Workspace feature is a versatile tool that can be used in many different ways and learn how to put videos available to you on Britannica Online into PowerPoint slideshows.  There is also a 14 minute overview video that demonstrates how to better utilize the many Britannica resources with your students.

Celebrating September

GSO Science Unit “Falls” into Second Grade

The dog days of summer are finally behind us and now we look forward to a successful and productive school year.  Celebrate this month by reminding your students that September 22 is the autumn equinox.  This is when night and day are practically the same length in the northern hemisphere.  Here is an animation to share with your class that illustrates the Earth’s tilt in relation to the Sun, and as a result, the reason why we have seasons.
Second grade teachers can reference science standard S2E2, which has students investigating the positions of the sun, moon and the Earth.  GeorgiaStandards.Org also has a three week science unit framework titled Night Sky Organizer: Changing Moon/Moving Sun for second grade that expands on S2E2 through performance tasks and teacher commentary.  The unit even supports other curriculum standards along with enduring understandings, essential questions and many relevant websites and books to support the teaching of standard S2E2.

Labor Day (September 7)

According to the September 2009 Annenberg Media Update, the first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882.  The observance, organized by the Central Labor Union in New York as a day of rest for working persons, was later moved to the first Monday in September.  While most other countries celebrate labor day on May 1 of each year, U.S. President Grover Cleveland supported a September date to avoid associations with the Chicago Haymarket riot in May of 1886. He signed a bill into law making the September Labor Day observance a federal holiday in 1894.  Annenberg has many video resources about the holiday.  Here are a few resources available on Annenberg’s for Labor Day:

  • "Industrializing America," Unit 14 of America's History in the Making, looks at how industrialization required new labor markets and spawned the rise of the labor movement.
  • A Biography of America, Unit 17, "Capital and Labor" takes a look at historic labor developments in the U.S.
  • For a look at how industrialization changed society -- drawing women into the labor force and, later, the labor movement -- see "The Lowell System: Women in a New Industrial Society," Program 3 of Primary Sources.

September in Georgia History

Did you know that The New Georgia Encyclopedia (NGE) website contains close to 2,000 articles and more than 5,000 multimedia items on the history, culture and life of Georgia? Teachers can discuss the many events that made history in Georgia during the month of September.  Students can learn that the biggest battle ever fought in this state, the Battle of Chickamauga, took place between September 18th and 20th of 1863.  Booker T. Washington delivered his famous Atlanta Compromise speech in 1895 on the opening of the Cotton States and International Exposition.  It was also in the September of 1990 that the International Olympic Committee awarded Atlanta to host the 1996 Olympics.  Do you want more Georgia facts? Then visit the September in Georgia History page or The New Georgia Encyclopedia.

September EDSITEment Calendar of Holidays and Special Events

The September calendar on EDSITEment is available and offers another month of comprehensive activities based on subject areas that include Art & Culture, Literature & Language Arts, Foreign Language and History & Social Studies.  The calendar references every day of September and many of the days list multiple entries.  EDSITEment also has many outstanding September entries.  For example, on September 3, the American War for Independence ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783.  High school social studies teachers can also link to standards SSUSH3 and SSUSH4 from GeorgiaStandards.Org.  September 5th, 1774 marks when the first Continental Congress met in the city of brotherly love.  EDSITEment offers excellent social studies activities to support discussion and group-based projects for middle school as well.

GSO to GO Downloads

September Calendar Word Template (DOC)

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