Saturday, March 30, 2002

Bringing History to Life: The New Georgia Stories Website

Remember when PeachStar launched its new Georgia Stories website in May 2001? Well now it's even better! For the past year you have been able to use this site for a number of resources related to Georgia history, including:

* primary source materials for each study topic from the Georgia Stories series
* annotated links to relevant websites
* student study questions, activities, and vocabulary
* teacher versions of the study questions, including background information and QCC standard correlations
* suggestions for further reading
* student study tips
* suggestions for class or family field trips

PeachStar staff have continued working to develop the site into an even greater teaching and learning resource. Nearly all of the existing study topics have been expanded to include higher-level study questions based on Bloom's Taxonomy (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation). Study topics have also been correlated to the Georgia Quality Core Curriculum to facilitate the teaching of Georgia history according to state standards.

As any good historian can tell you, primary sources are imperative to understanding the context and flavor of historical events. That's why PeachStar staff have gone to archives, historical societies, and libraries all around the state collecting primary source material for use on the Georgia Stories website. Just recently, PeachStar was granted permission to use the Henry P. Slaughter Collection housed in the Atlanta University Center's Robert W. Woodruff Library. This collection contributes immensely to the materials on slavery in Georgia Stories website's primary source repository.

In addition to making improvements to our primary sources and study topics, PeachStar has also greatly expanded the Field Trip section of the website. There are now 74 field trip links to historically significant sites around the state. This feature allows your students to take virtual historic tours all across the state; eventually, we plan to have at least one site per county! Click on Field Trips on the Georgia Stories homepage to get started!

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Ready To Learn and GPB

Comprehensive school readiness continues at GPB
Georgia Public Broadcasting has again received a grant to continue participation in the PBS Ready To Learn Service. Begun back in 1993 with Georgia Public Broadcasting as one of four pilot sites, the Ready To Learn Service is public broadcasting's response to our nation's urgent goal of ensuring that children begin school ready to learn.

GPB, with its nine-station network, reaches every county in the state of Georgia in addition to a significant audience in neighboring states. This enables GPB to provide the Ready To Learn Service to children, parents, teachers, and caregivers statewide, including the metro Atlanta area.

The Ready To learn Services provided by GPB include:

* A daily line-up of uninterrupted, commercial-free children's programming from six in the morning to six in the evening
* The First Book Program - the distribution of 300 books each month to children and families who otherwise not own books
* The distribution of PBS Families, a bi-annual magazine designed to extend the learning of Ready To Learn programming through suggested activities, which encourage reading and program interaction (available in both Spanish and English)
* Workshops for parents as well as early childhood professionals and caregivers, which teach how to extend the learning of the Ready To Learn programming
* Creation of community partnerships with organizations like public libraries, Head Start, childcare providers, and other community organizations to further the goal of preparing children for success in learning

According to the 1991 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Survey, one out of every three children in America enters school unprepared for learning. The cause behind this statistic is poor language skills and/or inadequate attention span. These children lack proper educational, social, and emotional development. GPB with the PBS Ready To Learn Service is taking a critical step in bridging the learning gap by giving parents, teachers, and caregivers the tools with which to interact with children and make television an active learning experience. The programming and specially produced messages between shows are aimed at helping children develop skills that will help them be successful in school. Whether it is learning the alphabet, learning to negotiate, or learning to complete a task, the Ready To Learn programming is there to meet the educational need.

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Learning With Music: Music In Our Schools Month

For more than 25 years, the National Association for Music Education (MENC), an organization dedicated to advancing music education, has sponsored music-related activities in schools throughout the month of March. In 1990, the celebration grew into what we now know as Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM). The chief event in the MIOSM celebration is the World's Largest Concert, a broadcast featuring student-performed multicultural music that reaches more than 8 million people around the world! The theme of the 2002 World's Largest Concert is "Music Pass It On!." All of the music selected for this year's program will represent the musical cultures of past and future Olympic host countries including the following:

* Japan 1998
* Australia 2000
* The United States 2002
* Greece 2004
* Italy 2006
* China 2008

The music, including pieces featuring different languages chosen to promote world peace and unity, will be performed by three youth symphonies at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, March 14, 2002. According to MENC President Mel Clayton, this year's World's Largest Concert helps to demonstrate that "[m]usic is a needed and effective tool in not only teaching and learning about people of all cultures, but in providing a link, a connection between all people."

More and more research shows that music is an important piece of the educational puzzle for children of all ages, not only as an artistic outlet, but also as an aid to basic learning skills. One recent study demonstrates a clear link between music and arts education and math and reading skills in first-grade students (Gardiner 1998). Studies cited by MENC claim that "music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and science."

The country's leadership, too, is beginning to acknowledge the significance of music education as a factor in children's success in school. The 2001 Education Appropriations Act allocated over twenty-eight millions dollars for arts education, with two million dollars specifically designated for the creation of "model professional development for music educators." This budget, with its implications of growing support from Capitol Hill, marks a great step forward for the musical community.

You and your students can begin bringing music into the learning experience with "Music...Pass It On." Tune in to PeachStar's Channel 410 at 1 PM, Fri., 03/15 and 9 PM, Fri., 03/29 and on Channel 420 at 1 PM, Fri., 03/15 and 5 PM, Fri., 03/22 and join the millions of other music lovers around the world in this commemoration of music education. Copies of the scores to be played as well as a complete teacher's guide with sample lessons may be ordered directly through MENC.

Friday, March 15, 2002

Picture This: Youth Art Month

Youth Art Month (YAM) is sponsored each March by the Georgia Art Educators Association (GAEA) in order to "emphasize the value of art and art education for all children and to encourage support for quality school art programs." The purposes of Youth Art Month reach across several platforms:

* To direct attention to the value of art education's benefits in the areas of divergent and critical thinking; multicultural awareness; and technical, communication, and expressive skills
* To increase community, business, and governmental support for art education
* To recognize the necessity of art for higher quality of life
* To expand existing art programs in schools and stimulate new ones
* To increase community understanding and interest in art and art education
* To provide additional opportunities for individuals of all ages to participate in creative art learning
* To encourage commitment to the arts by students, community organizations, and individuals everywhere
* To recognize art education as a viable component of the total education curriculum

The theme for the 2002 Youth Art Month celebration in Georgia is "Picture This." In keeping with this theme, artwork from students across the state will be displayed at the Capitol Art Exhibit sponsored by the Georgia Secretary of State's Office. Additionally, GAEA is organizing local photographers around the state to come into schools and teach students about the art of photography. To arrange for a photographer to visit your school, or for more information, contact Ms. Kirby Meng, Georgia YAM Chair at (770) 210-8564, or

Saturday, March 9, 2002

Johnny Isakson Speaks for Technology in Education

On January 8, 2002, President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, a large-scale reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) enacted in 1965. This bill, strongly supported by Georgia Congressman Johnny Isakson, has its foundation in four broad principles: stronger accountability for results; increased flexibility and local control; expanded options for parents; and emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work.

Congressman Isakson was kind enough to take a few moments to share some of his insights into this legislation with PeachStar viewers. According to Isakson, the bill places great emphasis on technology in education. The technology used by Georgia Public Broadcasting and Peachstar, Isakson says, is "on the leading edge of where the greatest advances in public education are going to be in the next decade." Be sure to take a few moments to share with your students what one of Georgia's congressmen has to say about education in Georgia.

Friday, March 8, 2002

Cobb County Takes the Lead in Alcohol and Drug Awareness

For the third year in a row, PeachStar is pleased to bring the Cobb County Alcohol/Drug Awareness Conference into classrooms across the state. The 2002 program, hosted by Kennesaw Mountain High School and sponsored by the judges of the Cobb State Court, will be held on March 28. Unlike last year's program, which targeted middle school students, this year's conference will address high school students specifically, offering key information about drug and alcohol use through several different platforms:

* Keynote speaker Rudy Ruettiger, former Notre Dame football player - Mr. Ruettiger will motivate the students about the importance of making good decisions dealing with alcohol/drugs.
* Inmate Forum - This portion of the program will allow students across the state to ask questions of currently serving inmates online at The inmates will discuss how drugs and alcohols contributed to the behaviors that led them to prison.*
* Public Safety Exhibits - Exhibits will address such topics as public safety special operations, including STEP, COPS and DUI Task Force Units.
* Alcohol/Drug Game Show - Seniors and Juniors from the host school will compete against each other in a Game Show format, with Alcohol/Drug based questions.
* Legal Consequence Panels - Representatives from the criminal justice system will be on hand to answer questions in a roundtable format. *
* Peer to Peer Presentation - A speaker will share a personal story of an alcohol related accident. Video Presentation - The video "War Against Broken Hearts - One Family's Story" will be followed by roundtable discussion.*
* Teen Driving Legal Update with D.U.I. Presentation - Judges will discuss some of the recent changes in the Teen Driving Law. A driving demonstration featuring "fatal vision" goggles will also be highlighted.
* Court System Panel - Representatives will discuss the workings of the Cobb County State Court.*
* Opening and Closing Conference Speakers - Cobb Commission Chairman Bill Byrne will open the conference, while Cobb Public Safety Director James Arrowood will close the event.
* Grim Reaper Presentation - The Grim Reaper will roam the halls of the host school taking "victims" during the event.

At the end of the conference, these "victims" will be involved in a presentation, which symbolizes the number of individuals killed in the United States in an alcohol/drug related accident, during a five (5) hour period of time.

Be sure to tune into this special presentation with your students and take advantage of the opportunity to open up discussion on the critical issue of drug and alcohol use. The Cobb County Alcohol/Drug Awareness Conference for High Schools will air live on Channel 420 from 9 AM-3 PM on March 28.

Thursday, March 7, 2002

Free Resources for Georgia Teachers

Free Teacher's Guides are now available online for Georgia teachers. Guides are available for the language arts programs Miller Shorts and Shakespeare Shorts. Miller Shorts is a four-part series highlighting four of Arthur Miller's most influential works: All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, and View From a Bridge. Shakespeare Shorts looks in-depth at several of Shakespeare's works, including: Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Macbeth. Download your free copy of the guides in PDF format at Go to Search by title and type in either Miller Shorts or Shakespeare Shorts.

Friday, March 1, 2002

Letter form PeachStar Education Services Director

Dear Educator:

PeachStar was created in 1994 to provide quality educational programming to Georgia's public schools. Until recently, PeachStar's programs were solely delivered by a large statewide satellite network. In October of 2001, PeachStar was proud to launch its video streaming website. In addition to its satellite service, PeachStar now offers an extensive library of videos and video segments that are delivered via the Internet.

Recently, PeachStar Education Services has been contacting each media specialist, via phone, in your county to introduce a new addition to PeachStar's programs and services - video streaming. During the phone call, each media specialist is given his or her school's user ID and password and a brief phone tour of the video streaming website.

Currently, the video repository contains 10,000 QCC-correlated videos and video segments. PeachStar's video streaming site is a free resource for Georgia public schools. Each user is able to stream videos and video segments directly from the computer or download them onto a CD, zip disk, or the computer.

The Technology Coordinators and Media Specialists for each county have been notified of this service and have been given a list of technical requirements. If you have any questions or if your school has not yet received its username and password, contact Sara Dempsey at (404) 685-2538.


C. Blaine Carpenter, Ph.D.
Director, Education Services