Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Clifford Fosters School-Readiness and Character Development

Everyday, GPB shares the Clifford the Big Red Dog Series with pre-school aged children in Georgia as part of the PBS Ready To Learn Program. Clifford imparts not only entertainment, but also important social and academic knowledge in the form of Clifford's Big Ideas and the integration of specific subject area skills.

Clifford, as a Ready To Learn program, offers children a foundation of academic knowledge. Ready To Learn, in conjunction with the United States Department of Education, has identified nine subject areas to guide child development in preparation for school-readiness. These areas include: social and emotional skills; critical thinking and problem solving skills; language and literacy skills; physical and motor skills; cognitive skills; science and discovery skills; life skills; understanding and appreciating diversity; and music and art appreciation and performance skills. Each of these skill areas carries with it specific goals developed by the National Educational Goals Panel's Technical Planning Subgroup on School-Readiness. Every episode of Cliffordaddresses one of these educational goals. For example, the goals associated with cognitive skills include classifying objects, recognizing similarities and differences, and understanding spatial relationships.

In addition to its academic instruction, Clifford also offers character education. Every episode of Clifford presents one of Clifford's Big Ideas, a set of ten positive character traits, through the vehicle of storytelling. Additionally, each episode concludes with a one-minute spot where Clifford and his friends reinforce one of the following Big Ideas:

* Be a Good Friend
* Be Kind
* Be Truthful
* Be Responsible
* Believe in Yourself
* Have Respect
* Help Others
* Play Fair
* Share
* Work Together

Children who watch Clifford learn about the social and emotional challenges they must face as they grow up. Clifford and his friends offer a model of these ten character traits children need in order to master those challenges. Each of these ten Big Ideas incorporates important developmental issues such as communication, conflict resolution, consequence, appreciation of diversity, self-confidence, teamwork, and cooperation.

Use Clifford the Big Red Dog in your classroom and visit the website for activities that you and your students can do together.

TeacherSource: Resources at Your Fingertips

Everyone knows that PBS produces and broadcasts fine educational programming. Few, though, know about the great teacher resource available in the form of the PBS website. In addition to program information, pbskids, and Adult Learning Service resources, the PBS website offers TeacherSource, a site devoted entirely to the needs of educators.

TeacherSource offers lesson plans, online games, experiments, teaching strategies, primary sources, video archives, and photographs to address the needs of the following subject areas:

* Arts and Literature
* Health and Fitness
* Math
* Science and Technology
* Social Studies
* Early Childhood

Additionally, the website offers downloadable PDF files of student activities and answers. You can search the lesson plans by grade level and subject area; best of all, these lesson plans meet general and specific classroom needs even without the video components offered by PBS programming. Visit today to find out more about what TeacherSource has to offer your classroom.

Friday, November 2, 2001

Playing It Safe: The Code of Ethics for Educators

PeachStar Education Services and the Professional Standards Commission (PSC) are partnering to develop an instructional video about the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators. The video, set to begin production in Fall 2001, will feature a brief statement from Dr. F.D. Toth, the Executive Secretary of the PSC, regarding professionalism as educators; an introduction to the Code; the history of the Code?s creation; an explanation of the ten standards that constitute the Code; and look at several key problem areas.

According to the Professional Practices Section of the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators, the code "protects the health, safety and general welfare of students and educators, ensures the citizens of Georgia a degree of accountability within the education profession, and defines unethical conduct justifying disciplinary sanction." As mentioned above, the Code of Ethics centers around ten standards designed to ensure ethically appropriate behavior:

* Criminal Acts - An educator should aide by federal, state, and local laws and statues.
* Abuse of Students - An educator should always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both inside and outside the classroom.
* Alcohol or Drugs - An educator should refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs during the course of professional practice.
* Misrepresentation or Falsification - An educator should exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice.
* Public Funds and Property - An educator entrusted with public funds and property should honor that trust with a high level of honesty, accuracy, and responsibility.
* Improper Remunerative Conduct - An educator should maintain integrity with students, colleagues, parents, patrons, or businesses when accepting gifts, gratuities, favors, and additional compensation.
* Confidential Information - An educator should comply with the state and federal laws and local school policies relating to the confidentiality of student records, unless disclosure is required or permitted by law.
* Abandonment of Contract - An educator should fulfill all of the terms and obligations detailed in the contract with the local board of education or education agency for the duration of the contract.
* Failure to Make a Required Report- An educator should file reports of a breach of one or more of the standards in the Code of Ethics, child abuse, or any other required report.
* Professional Conduct- An educator should demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards.

Each of these standards carries with it a detailed proscription for unethical conduct that may be found in the complete text of the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators located at the Georgia PSC's website.

PeachStar and PSC feel that working with Georgia educators to come to a better understanding of their ethical obligations both inside and outside of the classroom will help to ensure students a safer, more secure environment in which to learn.

Thursday, November 1, 2001

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Educators:

As we approach the Thanksgiving season, I want to take a moment to urge each of you to spend some time with your students sharing and giving thanks. Thanksgiving 2001, in the wake of the tragic events that befell our great nation in September, is an especially important opportunity for all Americans to reevaluate our lives and rediscover the joy of living. Over the last two months, Americans have put aside our differences and come together in a great show of solidarity and support for the victims and their families. One of the many things I am thankful for this year is our ability as Americans to bravely face adversity and unite under a common will to live free.

One of the most important and difficult tasks you face as educators is the responsibility of helping your students to cope with the ups and downs of living in a world where every moment holds the possibility of breaking news. Your ability to transform adversity into an opportunity for learning and growth is what will make you stand out in the eyes of your students during this difficult period of recovery. You may want to consider the theme packet on Patriotism PeachStar will be airing for use in your classroom to help address this difficult topic; see notice on page X for details.

All of us here at Georgia Public Broadcasting hope that you will make the most of the upcoming holiday season by infusing your classroom with the spirit of Thanksgiving and encouraging your students to appreciate all of the gifts that life has to offer.

Warm regards,

James M. Lyle,
Executive Director

PeachStar Partners to Infuse Arts into Georgia Middle School Curriculum

PeachStar Education Services, the Georgia Council for the Arts, and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) are collaborating on a project to infuse the arts into all aspects of classroom learning. The multifaceted project includes a 30-minute television program made with the help of SCAD's video and photography resources and scheduled to air over the PeachStar satellite network to schools across the state as well as on Georgia Public Television. Additionally, the project includes a website with the supporting curriculum materials and activities for teachers and students and a traveling exhibit of key pieces from the state collection of art featured in the program.

The video, entitled "SmARTistic: Experiencing Academics Through the Arts," begins with an introduction by Marie Barnes, First Lady of Georgia, and features interactions with the following Georgia artists:

* Bill Alexander
* Patricia Alexander
* Benny Andrews
* Barbara Brozik
* Robert Clements
* Glenn Dair
* Cheryl Goldsleger
* Kerry Moore
* Edward Moulthrop
* Ayokunle Odeleye
* Rocio Rodriguez
* Pamela Ross
* Ben Smith

"SmARTistic" offers a thorough examination of the featured pieces of art and a strong focus on art's tie to mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts topics. "SmARTistic" will air in Georgia classrooms via PeachStar's channel 420 every Friday in November (except for 11/23) and on into December.

In Spring of 2002, Georgia Council for the Arts is planning a tour around the state that will make some of the state collection?s most intriguing pieces available to be seen in person by Georgia learners of all ages.

This project draws upon the state's rich cultural heritage to create an exciting arts-based curriculum to improve student achievement in the critical areas of math, science, language arts, technology, and social studies. Infusing the academic curriculum with art and technology creates a dynamic learning environment in which students can draw on their natural talents and love of creative exploration to master core competencies.

While this program will be interesting and available to learners of all ages, the curriculum for this project will be targeted at the middle grades level. Success in middle school is vital to continued success in high school and adulthood. Research shows that these students are developing the capacity to think abstractly and critically, and projects such as this one will foster this capacity. This project will allow middle grades students to explore their abstract thinking skills in an engaging way.

Additionally, this effort will give teachers an effective way to introduce students to the arts within the existing curriculum framework.

For more information on this project, contact Denise Wingate, Project Manager, Community Education, PeachStar Education Services Division at