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GSO to GO Newsletter - November 2009

General Information

Georgia Teacher Wins National Award and $25,000

Fulton County middle school teacher won the "Oscar of Teaching", which includes a $25,000 prize he can spend however he wishes.  Greg Ott, a Language Arts teacher at Northwestern Middle School in Milton, is one of 54 educators nationwide to be named a Milken Family Foundation Educator of the Year.  Neither Ott, his colleagues, nor his students knew he had been nominated for the award, until it was announced at an assembly.  State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox made the surprise announcement with Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Family Foundation.  "Greg Ott represents the very best in our teaching profession," Superintendent Cox said.  "He engages his students by being creative, interactive, and entertaining, but his high expectations are unwavering.  Best of all, he gets outstanding results from all of his students."
About Greg Ott

Greg Ott is a dedicated and passionate 7th grade language arts teacher who goes to great lengths to engage his students. In the words of one colleague, “Teaching is in his blood!” Mr. Ott is the teacher who arrives early and leaves late and did not miss one day of teaching in his first five years. Mr. Ott’s school website is a token of mastery and his commitment and creativity to connect students, parents, and educators to what transpires in his classroom. Mr. Ott has an inclusion classroom and is great at meeting the individual needs of his students. For instance, he was able to coach a student with Asperger's syndrome to success by anticipating his needs and giving him the special attention he needed.

About the Milken Family Foundation

The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards provide recognition and unrestricted financial awards of $25,000 each to exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and specialists who are furthering excellence in our nation’s schools. This year, alone, over $1 million in Milken Awards will be presented to up to 55 of America’s finest secondary educators. New Milken Educators also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to participate in the Milken National Education Conference focused on solutions to America’s pressing challenges in education today.

“Highly effective educators are the human capital that will equip America’s youth in this increasingly competitive global economy," said Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. "By shining a national spotlight on these exceptional people, the Milken Educator Awards send a powerful message of the critical role that talented teachers play in preparing young people for a bright future.”

Superintendent Cox said: "For 23 years, the Milken Family Foundation has put a bright spotlight on the outstanding educators in Georgia and across the nation. The recognition and the money that comes with it is a way to emphasize the importance that educators have in preserving the future of our country. I am grateful to the Milken family for their commitment to education!"

Potential nominees for the award are gathered by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and presented to a blue ribbon panel of judges that includes members of GaDOE, the education community, and other stakeholders. The finalists were sent to the Milken Family Foundation, which chose the winner.

View photos of Gregg Ott receiving the Milken Family Foundation Educator of the Year.

Attain Balanced Assessment Through Virtual Math Manipulatives
K-12 teachers can incorporate additional math activities to the GPS by stimulating critical thinking and
in-depth learning with students.  The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) is a National Science Foundation supported project that has developed a library of uniquely interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives and concept tutorials.  The NLVM website is based on sound research which notes that learning and understanding mathematics, at every level, requires student engagement.  As a result, there is a need for good computer-based mathematical manipulatives and interactive learning tools.  The NLVM is a resource from which teachers may freely draw to enrich their mathematics classrooms.  Access NLVM on GSO by following these breadcrumbs: GeorgiaStandards.Org > Resources & Videos > Browse Resources > Teacher Tools for Integrating Technology.
CTAE Recruitment Videos

New videos for Career, Technical and Agricultural Education have been added to GSO.  CTAE Middle School Curriculum Coordinator, Dr. John Pritchett, stated, "the addition of our CTAE Videos to the GeorgiaStandards.Org website provides all teachers and administrators another opportunity to explore review, and learn more about the many career and technical education opportunities available to all students." These videos can be used by Georgia secondary schools as recruitment tools for the Business & Computer Science and Marketing Sales & Services program concentrations.  There is also an excellent promotional video that features all the CTAE student organizations.  GaDOE's CTAE Division  is excited that middle school and high school students along with their parents may review the videos to learn more about Georgia's Career, Technical & Agricultural Education programs, Career Pathways and Programs of Study.  These videos according to Dr. Pritchett, "can be used to help students decide what they want to do after they graduate from high school." You can find these CTAE videos under the Resources & Videos tab on GSO.

Former Chief Justice of Georgia Supreme Court Featured on Georgia Read More

Former Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears of the Georgia Supreme Court reads the book Julius to a small group of students.  They gather around Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears in the Georgia Supreme Court and are mesmerized as they listen to her read a delightful story about pig.  The author of Julius is Angela Johnson and the pictures are drawn by Dav Pilkey.   As with most of Georgia Read More featured books, there is a vocabulary list that accompanies Julius.  The verdict is in…students are sure to go hog wild about the Julius Georgia Read More video, so make the time for them to watch it.  You can also see what else is playing at the Georgia Read More Program Videos page.

The Georgia Department of Education has implemented a literacy program aimed at third grade students called the "Georgia Read More" program. The concentrated efforts of the Library Media Services Department have resulted in this award winning series. This program encourages children to read, supports 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 and some of the videos are also available in Spanish.  Included with most books are a Lexile score and links to author websites.

Continuing Education

Training Resources On GeorgiaStandards.Org

Did you know that there is a dedicated section of GeorgiaStandards.Org on trainingTraining can be found under its main tab from any GSO page.  It is comprised of resource materials provided by the Georgia Department of Education to assist Georgia school systems with the full implementation of the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). The GSO training area offers access to Elluminate webinars (live and pre-recorded), GPS Registration & Training and a direct link to all of Georgia's Educational Technology Centers (ETCs). Here are some links that include PowerPoint presentations, participant's guides and facilitator's guides that may be useful to your area of teaching:

Celebrating November

November in Georgia History

The New Georgia Encyclopedia (NGE) features some interesting events that occurred during November in Georgia.  Using NGE, teachers can have students research the name of the ship that carried James Edward Oglethorpe, one of Georgia’s first colonists, from England in November of 1732.  By teaching about Oglethorpe, second (SS2H1) and eighth (SS8H2) grade teachers are covering two essential social studies performance standards.  Do your students want to learn more about James Oglethorpe?  Then have them research information about the Encounter and Exchange in a New Colony.

November EDSITEment Calendar of Holidays and Special Events

Make time to look at EDSITEment's November 2009 calendar because it is stuffed with relevant links to activities, ideas and websites that can be utilized for instruction this month.  On November 1, 1986 the First National War Monument for Native Americans was dedicated.  Teachers at the elementary level can use the Not 'Indians,' Many Tribes: Native American Diversity lesson plan to develop better awareness between the terms “Indians” and “Native Americans.” November 11, 1918 marks the day that the United States entered World War I.  Here is a great lesson plan that US History and Civics teachers may want to use titled United States Entry into World War I:  A Documentary Chronology.  ELA teachers may want to start reading Moby Dick with their classes on November 14, since it was the day Herman Melville published (1851) this literary classic.  Mark Abraham Lincoln’s re-election on November 6, 1860 with Abraham Lincoln, the 1860 Election, and the Future of the American Union and Slavery and Abraham Lincoln and Wartime Politics.  And November 22, 1963 is the day that President Kennedy was assassinated. The American President website provides in-depth information on John Fitzgerald Kennedy that includes essays on JFK, audio of presidential speeches and transcripts of secret White House recordings.

National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

November is National American Indian Heritage Month.  There are many sites promoting awareness and appreciation to the traditions and culture of American Indians and Alaskan Natives.  This National American Indian Heritage Month website is an excellent starting point to access information and images on their history through publications, parks and other links.  In addition, Education World has 12 social studies activities to celebrate Native American heritage.  Last but not least, Learner.Org features "Alaska: The Last Frontier?" which is Program 5, from the "Human Geography: People, Places, and Change" video series. This web-based video traces the history of settlement in Alaska and exploitation of the region's natural resources, and the struggle of the people of Kenai Peninsula to reclaim their history and preserve their language and culture.

Geography Awareness Week

Since 1987, the third week in November has been promoted by many organizations as Geography Awareness Week (GAW).  One of your first stops for this event should be Google for Educators. A page has been set-up with interactive quizzes and details on multimedia content in Google Earth that includes daily themes to be used for GAW.  Be aware that some of the content on this page set-up by Google will require you to install the Google Earth program on your computer.  For instructions on how to get going with Google Earth, you can download the Google Earth User guideGeorgiaStandards.Org also features the Where We Live Matters video that can be watched by educators teaching geography.

Additional November Links and Downloads

Elementary teachers will want to print the November Calendar and Thanksgiving Holiday worksheet Word formatted editable documents or this month from Education WorldEducation World offers more resources through a month of fun that links to interactive puzzles, learning games and crafts.  Students can test their knowledge of America’s first residents with the Native Americans Online Quiz or if your class is planning loomwork or a lane stitch project, then the Interactive Beadwork Designer is a great online activity for them.  And here is a writing prompt for Thanksgiving and a list of great K-8 activities from the Education Place.

GSO to GO Downloads and Links

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

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