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GSO to GO Newsletter - April 2010

General Information

K-12 Common Core State Standards Released

On March 10, 2010 the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers released the first public draft of the K-12 standards as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, co-chaired by Governor Sonny Perdue. The standards provide a consistent framework to prepare students for college and the workforce.

 “Common education standards and assessments aligned to those standards are in the best interest of both Georgia and the nation,” said Governor Perdue. “They will allow for an authentic, credible scoreboard that tells us how we are doing compared to students in other states.”

The standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that upon graduating high school they will be able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The standards are:

  • Aligned with college and work expectations;
  • Clear, understandable and consistent;
  • Rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
  • Built upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
  • Informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
  • Evidence- and research-based

“Georgia has developed rigorous standards that are as good as any in the nation,” said State School Superintendent Kathy Cox. “The Common Core will allow us to accurately compare our students’ achievement with our neighboring states.”

Currently every state operates with different standards making it impossible to accurately compare data nationally or internationally. The Common Core State Standards is a state-led initiative that reflects the knowledge and skills students need to be successful in college and in the global economy. Governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia have committed to helping develop these standards.

Parents, teachers, students and the public will have clear expectations for their state’s education program when the standards are adopted. They will be able to accurately compare progress nationally and internationally. It will also allow textbooks, digital media, and curricula to be aligned with internationally benchmarked standards. States may choose to include additional standards beyond the common core as long as the common core represents at least 85 percent of the state’s standards in English-language arts and mathematics.

“In the 21st century, Georgia is competing on a national and international stage,” said State School Board Chair Wanda Barrs. “It only makes sense that all states have common standards to strive for and compare themselves against.”

More Information:


More information can be found at www.corestandards.org.

See how the Common Core State Standards compare to Georgia Performance Standards:

GeorgiaStandards.Org Update: New GPS

The new K-5 Modern Language Standards has been posted on GeorgiaStandards.Org.  The Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) for K-5 Modern Languages (Five Day Model) develop students’ skills in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, writing and cultural competence.  In addition, students will be able to view, absorb, and evaluate material from non-print sources.

The GPS are based on Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century and the ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language).  The GPS are organized in outline form, integrating the national standards and the three modes of communication:  interpretive (INT), Interpersonal (IP) and presentational (P), as well as Cultural Perspectives, Practices and Products (CU) and Connections, Comparisons, and Communities (CCC). Also included are assessment recommendations and a list of suggested skills and topics for each level. For more information, please visit the Modern Languages K-5 Standards page.

New CTAE Middle School Instructional Resources

The Middle School Career, Technical and Agricultural Education Instructional Resources are the first phase of many updates to be posted of new units and revisions. The middle school resource units include a variety of activities and teaching strategies to accommodate all learners. Early in the planning process for this project, math was identified as an area of need to be integrated with CTAE concepts or principles. Teacher teams worked hard to ensure that relevant math activities were included. Every unit has embedded math activities that that reinforce math GPS through application alongside CTAE program content.

The lesson plans are designed in a simple, straight-forward, step-by-step manner with callouts for supplementary files. The units and lessons can easily be adapted to other formats as desired by the teacher or as may be required by the local school system. Units were identified and sequenced by the teacher development teams. Units of instruction are made up of several components including: an annotation, teaching times, GPS, enduring understandings, essential questions, knowledge and skill objectives, vocabulary, and 1-10 lesson plans. The instructional resources development project is an on-going, resource sharing process.  Acess the CTAE middle school instructional resources.

Lexile Framework for Reading in Action

The Lexile Framework for Reading in Action is intended to assist Georgia educators in their efforts to apply the Lexile Framework for Reading as a tool to differentiate instruction in the classroom. There is a two-fold purpose to this approach.

First, the attempt is to draw an explicit connection between the Lexile Framework for Reading and specific, real strategies and practices that can be used in most classrooms. To that end, a significant number of well-established strategies and task suggestions are presented and described. The strategies and tasks presented here are long-standing, well-established strategies and practices that have been developed and refined over a long period of time. These strategies and task suggestions complement the instructional use of the Lexile Framework for Reading across the major content areas. Second, and perhaps most importantly, is the aim to link strategies and tasks to Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) and to preview possible task suggestions that can be further implemented using the Lexile Framework for Reading in conjunction with multiple web resources.

The Online Assessment System

The Online Assessment System (OAS) enables students in Georgia's public schools to access tests that consist of the same kinds of questions as appear on two of Georgia's end-of-year assessments, the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) and the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT). The Online Assessment System is available throughout the school year so that teachers can integrate testing on CRCT and GHSGT subjects with their teaching of those subjects.

The OAS provides immediate feedback regarding individual student and group performance on two types of tests, called Student Tests (which are created by the OAS) and Teacher-Created Tests. Students and parents have complete access to Student Tests. Teachers are able to use the OAS to create and assign Teacher-Created Tests. A teacher must assign a Teacher-Created Test to a student in order for the student to access that test.
The OAS can be used for a variety of purposes. Students can gain valuable experience in becoming self-assessors, learning to evaluate their own work and educational progress. Parents can see the kinds of questions their children will be asked to answer on the end-of-year CRCT or GHSGT assessments and monitor their children’s progress. Teachers can create customized tests as they complete instructional units or sequences of instruction. These tests can then be administered to individual students and/or groups of students to diagnose strengths and weaknesses, and to provide opportunities for enrichment and remediation. The OAS contains a large number of test items in reading for students in grades one through eight, in English/language arts and mathematics for students in grades one through eight and high school, and in science and social studies for students in grades three through eight and high school.

School systems assign personal login IDs and passwords to students and teachers at their schools for use at www.georgiaoas.org. These personal logins and passwords are necessary to access Teacher-Created Tests or to share results obtained on Student Tests. Parents and others without personal login IDs, however, can log on to the OAS using the generic login IDs and passwords for each grade, as given below.


To see Student Tests for this grade:


Use this login:


Use this password:

1st grade



2nd grade



3rd grade



 4th grade



5th grade



6th grade



7th grade



8th grade



High School



Plant the Seed for Caring with Georgia Read More

National Arbor Day is on April 30, 2010.  Why not celebrate Arbor Day in your classroom with Georgia's First Lady, Mary Perdue?  How you ask?  Well, this month GSO to GO is featuring the Georgia Read More video with Ms. Perdue reading the book, Miss Twiggley's Tree.  Miss Twiggley, who lives in a tree, is shy and afraid of the world around her.  She manages to put aside her fears by providing shelter and aid to her neighbors who confront a flood. The theme of thinking of others in a time of an emergency is also addressed in this book that is written and illustrated by Dorothea Warren Fox.  With this resource, you can lead a class discussion in the importance of caring for a willow tree or each other.  A vocabulary list from his classic story can also be downloaded.

> Watch Miss Twiggley’s Tree Video read by Mary Perdue

Math Resource for Parents

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) is offering a free and fully downloadable signature publication for parents of school-age children through IlluminationsIlluminations is designed to provide standards-based resources and provide materials that support the vision for school mathematics set forth in Principles and Standards for School MathematicsA Family's Guide: Fostering Your Child's Success in School Mathematics is a great download that you can share with the parents of your students.  There is also a supplement titled Families Ask that goes along with the Family Guide.  On page 10 of the Family Guide, there are twenty questions and comments that parents can use to support math homework.  Illuminations is part of Verizon Thinkfinity.

Continuing Education

Using US Documents in the Classroom - Summer Workshops 2010

The National Archives and Records Administration preserves and makes available to the public the permanently valuable records of the United States Government.  Millions of records can be accessed in the formats such as documents, maps, drawings, photographs, films and sound recordings that have captured the American experience of government since 1774.  Starting in June 2010, Summer Workshops for Educators on Using Historical Documents in the Classroom will allow teachers to be immersed in the study of government records such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at various summer workshops for educators.  The staff of the National Archives and Records Administration will show teachers how to use historical documents in the classroom.  Participants will learn how to do research in historical records, create classroom material from records, and present documents in ways that sharpen students' skills and enthusiasm for history, social studies, and the humanities. Workshops are offered in many US cities. Workshop overview, location details and how to apply can be accessed from this page.

Congress in the Classroom

The Georgia Performance Standards emphasize the importance of learning about the United States Congress through the K-12 Social Studies curriculum.  In third grade, Georgia students learn the names of the legislative branch which includes Congress (SS3CG1).  Fourth grade then expands on government studies by analyzing the challenges first faced by Early America (SS4H5).  More specifically, fourth graders identify the three branches of the U. S. government as outlined by the Constitution; describe what they do, how they relate to each others’ checks and balances and separation of power, and how they relate to the states.  Then in high school, American Government/Civics students explain the differences between the House of Representatives and the Senate with emphasis on terms of office, powers, organization, leadership, and representation of each house (SSCG9).
Teachers teaching U.S. history, government, civics, political science, or social studies will be interested in Congress in the Classroom.  This award-winning education program is developed and sponsored by The Dirksen Congressional CenterCongress in the Classroom is dedicated to the exchange of ideas and information on teaching about Congress.  The 2010 program will feature a broad overview of Congress with special attention to the mid-year elections of 2010.  This educational event will be held Monday, July 26 through Thursday, July 29, at Embassy Suites, East Peoria, Illinois.  Access the online application here, but hurry the deadline is April 15.  Congress in the Classroom is endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies.

> Related GPS Tags:  SS3CG1, SS4H5, SSCG9

All the World's a Stage

Teachers of grades 4-12 have the opportunity to earn five Professional Learning Units (PLUs) by registering for No Fear Shakespeare, a class which is accredited by the Georgia Department of Education.

Learn the newest techniques behind making Shakespeare fun for your students in a casual, relaxed environment. Teachers of grades 4 - 5 will become acquainted with Shakespeare's stories and explore innovative ways of introducing them to young students. Teachers of grades 6 - 12 will have the opportunity to blow off the dust of the pages and look at Shakespeare's material differently, making the work more relevant to today's older students. Georgia Shakespeare's professional staff will help make sure your student's eyes don't glaze over at the mere mention of the "bard," ensuring that they achieve the building blocks necessary for future education.

When: Monday thru Friday, June 7th – 18th, 2008
Cost: $200
Time: 9:00 - 2:00 Daily
Where: Conant Performing Arts Center
Contact: Allen O'Reilly, at 404-504-3401 or email Allen at allen@gashakespeare.org

Sixth Annual Teacher Conservation Workshop

The Teacher Conservation Workshop is a weeklong workshop (June 21-25, 2010) that uses the forest as a window to environmental education.  Activities are led by foresters, biologists, educators, and industry professionals.  This interdisciplinary workshop focuses on the environmental, economical and social benefits of Georgia’s forestry and wildlife communities. Sessions take place mostly outdoors in the forest and in manufacturing facilities and will demonstrate the cycle of growing trees and managing for wildlife.

The Teacher Conservation Workshop is recommended for Georgia educators working with grades 5-12, informal educators, and senior or graduate pre-service educators may apply. This workshop is an introductory course for non-forestry and non-wildlife educators and requires a commitment to spend the entire week in this educational setting. Moderate physical exertion will be required to attend the sessions and field trips. These facilities and operations we visit may be very hot, unpleasant smelling and we may be exposed to insects.

Registration is $35 per person, and includes all teaching materials, food, lodging and transportation during the workshop. Transportation to and from Charlie Elliott Wildlife Conference Center in Mansfield is the responsibility of the individual.

Workshop is limited to the first qualified 30 participants. A waiting list will be kept in case of cancellations.  More information and the application are located on the Georgia Forestry Association website.

Learning Celebrations and Teaching Ideas

April in Georgia History

April is a month full of history for Georgia and The New Georgia Encyclopedia has many articles celebrating these important events.

April EDSITEment Calendar of Special Events

The April calendar from EDSITEment has holidays, special events, lesson plans and websites for teachers.

School Library Media Month

School library media centers have much to celebrate in April 2010. School Library Media Month, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and National Library Week (April 11-17) both occur this month. The American Association of School Libraries even has public service announcements that you can use as part of your school’s broadcast system during the month of April. The recordings are of award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson.  She is this year’s School Library Month Spokesperson. The PSAs are available as audio (mp3) and video (mp4) in durations of 15, 20, 25, 30 and 60 seconds. The Public Service Announcements are available in general, parent and 25th anniversary focuses.  Here are some more ideas and tips to celebrate at your media center.  There’s also a wonderful video posted on YouTube titled What Does a Teacher Librarian Really Do? Ask a TL! that gives everyone a glimpse at what media/library specialists do every day.  And don’t forget to celebrate Georgia's Virtual Library's 15th birthday at the GALILEO Scrapbook.

Earth Day 2010

April 22 marks the day that millions of people and governments in 175 nations observe Earth Day.  Are your students curious on how this worldly event came to be? Visit History Highlights at Envirolink, an environmental organization tracking environmental information since 1991.  Also, check with Education World to see what Earth Day classroom activities you can do with your students. Last but not least, EarthDay.net has useful environmental fact sheets for teachers to use as a handy reference with students for Earth Day.  And if you ever wanted to measure your students' environmental footprint, then the Zerofootprint KidsCalculator will come in handy.

April is Math Education Month

The American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics announce that the theme for Mathematics Awareness Month, April 2010, is Mathematics and Sports.  Georgia teachers can start by visit the math standards and frameworks pages on GeorgiaStandards.Org for the official source of the Georgia Performance Standards and curriculum. The Georgia Department of Education has a few professional learning videos to go along with the Mathematics and Sports theme.  In the high school course Mathematics I teachers can reference the Just Jogging Learning Task video from day 2, sessions 8 from the Mathematics I: Algebra/Geometry/Statistics series.  Mathematics I teachers can also watch the Just Jogging Learning Task taught by Emily Willis of Star’s Mill High School to students.  Eighth grade math teachers can watch the Inequalities, Basketball, and Sales webcast that is presented by professor Judy O’Neal of North Georgia College & State University.
You can also prepare your students for everything math with creative lesson ideas, activities and printables by pointing your browser to TeacherVision Math.  There are also many math teaching and learning links available through Federal Resources for Educational Excellence to keep your students computing.  Math teachers can make April official by downloading a Mathematics and Sports poster for their classroom.

National Poetry Month

In 1996 the Academy of American Poets declared April National Poetry Month. In honor of the event, you can sign-up for a new poem to be sent to your e-mail inbox every day in April. A poetry celebration is not complete without Shel Silverstein. Visit his website to watch exclusive Shel Silverstein animations, play games and read poetry. Keep your students in the know about poetry by bookmarking the Glossary of Poetic Terms and The Life and Works of Famous American Poets on all your classroom computers.

GSO to GO Downloads and Links

> April 2010 Calendar Word Template (DOC)

> Listen to the GSO ot GO Voices Podcast
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