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Education Worth Sharing

June 2011

If you are not finished with student classes just yet, then you soon will be.  By now you are lining up professional development courses to complete this summer and finalizing vacation plans. During your break we invite you to tune into the premiere of “Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel” June 30 on GPB at 8 p.m. It’s the most ambitious documentary about the author yet. (More in On-Air and Online.)

We asked for input on creative summer projects that help you stay fresh and relevant for students and got this inspiring response from Sarah Barfield of Shirley Hills Elementary School.

"Each summer my goal is to read as many “hot books” as I can.  I listen to the students talk about the books they’re reading, which ones they want to read, and what they’re recommending to their friends… If there is a series or a particularly interesting title that I haven’t added to our school’s collection, I add it to my “fall wish list” for the media center. 

"I made a book trailer [using Microsoft Photostory 3] for Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven, and I shared it with my 4th and 5th grade classes in April.  It was an instant hit, and all the kids were begging to read the book as soon as the video was over."
Sarah Barfield, Media Specialist

Sarah plans to make more digital book trailers this summer about some of the “hot books” her students recommended.

We would like to commend each of you in your diligent, creative efforts to make learning engaging and fun for your students.  Congratulations to all of our Georgia Educators on completing another school year!  We hope you continue to check in at for updated education news, blogs, and resource pages to keep you informed all summer long.


On-air and Online

Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel Premieres June 30 on GPB.  –  This GPB original documentary delves into Margaret Mitchell’s complex life and the legacy of her enduring book Gone with the Wind.

Margaret Mitchell

For extras, visit the companion website that features video clips and a teacher guide provided by the Atlanta History Center.


Ridley Celebrates

Professor Ridley Celebrates

Congratulations to these Georgia educators who were selected to take part in prestigious programs by Siemens.

Willie Haynes, the Career Academy Coordinator and technology instructor at Hubert Middle School has been selected to be a 2011 Siemens STEM Institute Fellow! Haynes joins 50 educators from across the state at Discovery Communicationsheadquarters to experience a week-long professional development. Fellows will be exposed to leading scientists, thought-leaders, personalities and innovators whose work acrossSTEM disciplines shape and define our world today.

Two Georgia teachers were chosen to take part in the Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) program.   Jen Forsyth from Woodstock High School and Diana Kennen of Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology will attend a two-week professional development program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Along with 20 other teachers, they will engage with top scientists and researchers on short-term research projects about current topics of national interest that are related to ongoing research at the laboratory.


Tech Tip of the Month

discovery education networkDid you know that you don’t have to miss popular Discovery Education Network (DEN) webinars? That is because they are archived on the DEN Blog Network site. Spend the summer catching up on the webinars you couldn’t attend. And bookmark the link for future reference.


Explore What's New

boy with leaf  
New to Science Central:
EcoSense for Living is a new half hour series that investigates ways to live an environmentally friendly life. From green jobs to green shopping and buildings, it shows students how to conserve.

In case you missed it: Discovery Education joined forces with the White House to present a live discussion on Osama bin Laden. Ben Rhodes, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor spoke and took student questions. Watch an archive of the webinar here.



Education Policy Fellowship - This is a professional development program that provides emerging leaders in education and related fields with the knowledge and networks to advance the core issues of education policy. The deadline to apply is June 3, 2011.

Technology and Tools to Promote Teaching and Learning - Georgia Virtual School is offering a free professional learning opportunity on Thursday, June 16th at the Kennesaw State Continuing Education Center, focusing on 21st century skills. Register here.

Library of Congress Teacher in Residence Program - Applications now available to serve as Teacher-in-Residence during the 2011-12 school year. The deadline to apply is June 17, 2011.

PBS/NASA Global Climate Change Education for High School Course Preview - PBS TeacherLine is looking for 40 teachers to evaluate a new online graduation course:STEM417: Global Climate Change Education for High SchoolFind out more.

Wanted: Teachers to Evaluate a New Biology Game – Immune Attack is a 3rd person game where players activate proteins and locate cytokines using a ray gun. Fifth –Twelfth grade teachers are needed to test and evaluate the game. Register here to participate.



As summer break is settling in, we know many of you continue to develop lesson plans and find creative, engaging ways to educate your students.  We'd love to hear from you about your special summer projects!  Share them with us at

[object Object] Find us on Facebook and keep up with State and National education news, hot topics, professional development opportunities, Technology Thursdays, surveys, and more.

[object Object] Follow us on Twitter and find out what educators like you are doing to make education relevant and learning interesting



Partners and Promotions


sparkles logo

As part of the Georgia Weigh’s In initiative with Georgia Public Broadcasting and other fantastic organizations promoting health and wellness resources for Georgia’s children and adults, Sparkles and Starlite Family Fun Centers is offering, Free Family Fitness and Fun all summer.

Beginning June 2, and every Thursday night until August 11 from 6:30-9:30 pm, families can come to any of our 5 family fun centers throughout the Atlanta area for a night of FREE roller skating! We are offering Georgia family’s quality healthy time together. Together, we can begin to a healthy regime to get families on the road to a healthy lifestyle.


Prevent the "Summer Slide"

The article below is a segment from a letter from Deputy State Superintendent Martha Reichrath, Ph.D.  Many of you have seen this from your principals or media specialists, but we thought it was worth mentioning again.

As the end of the school year approaches, we all become concerned with the “summer slide”. The summer slide is an alarming trend in which students who do not read on a regular basis during the break fall behind in reading achievement. The Georgia Department of Education has launched READ GA to help prevent this ‘summer slide’ and to keep our students reading and learning.

According to a recent Harvard research study, if students are encouraged to utilize summer hours to read between five and eight books that interest them and that are on their Lexile level, the effects will be the same as going to summer school. Let’s make sure our students have a good book in their hands when they are not in the classroom.

The Lexile “Find a Book GA” website can help identify books that students are interested in and are able to read. This tool can be found at or The Georgia Department of Education’s Lexile initiative information can be found at

The end of the school year is a busy time, but it is important to do all we can to make sure young people continue to learn and challenge themselves. We appreciate you joining our efforts to help students “Find-a-Book” and increase their reading skills.

Martha R. Reichrath, Ph.D.
Deputy State Superintendent
Georgia Department of Education
Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment




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