Thursday, March 20, 2003

Letter from the Director

Dear Educator:

As we approach the mid-way point in the second semester, I wanted to take an opportunity to let you know about several upcoming events and opportunities that may be of interest to you.

As those of you who teach early childhood education know, the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest has been ongoing since January 21. With a March 21 deadline for submissions, you still have time to encourage your students to participate. This contest, now in its ninth year, is an excellent opportunity to inspire creativity in your students in both the language arts and fine arts areas.

For those of you who teach on the high school level, we offer PeachStar Classroom. You may have heard about PeachStar Classroom's physics and chemistry courses in previous issues of Pipeline and from our staff at various conferences across the state. Look for a follow-up article in the April issue that will offer feedback and pictures from participating classrooms around the state as well as information on how you can bring PeachStar Classroom into your school for the next academic year.

With the summer break only a few months away, it is time for those of you who would like to join PeachStar for our Educator In Residence program to begin planning ahead. This year we had made registering easier than ever by creating an easy-to-use online registration form that will be available in April.

The staff of PeachStar, as always, value your feedback about our programming and services.


C. Blaine Carpenter
Director, Education Services

Adventures in Georgia History

Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans Available February 3 on the Atlanta History Center?s Exclusive Curriculum Resource Page

The Atlanta History Center (AHC) is proud to announce the launch of a new web site dedicated to teachers and their students: the Curriculum Resources page. Housed within the Atlanta History Center's web site you will find a Curriculum Resources link that will take you directly to seven lesson plans. There you will find activities on a variety of subjects for students in grades 2-12. Each lesson comes with easy downloads of manuscripts, diagrams, photographs, and a wealth of primary source material. Also available in each lesson plan is a complete list of Georgia Quality Core Curriculum standards. The site was inspired by the AHC's seven permanent exhibition areas, the Civil War, folk art, the history of Atlanta, the pioneer farm, SE Native American culture, Swan House and the 1930s, and the Piedmont forest. A registration form appears on the site to allow you to register for our educators mailing list. The AHC hopes you will find this new site useful and asks that you contact the curriculum designer, whose email address you may find on the website, to share your thoughts and suggestions.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Program Acquisition

In 2001, PeachStar enlisted the help of Georgia educators for several weeks of program acquisition. During that initial process, more than 300 teachers helped PeachStar to evaluate programming across subjects on every grade level and enabled us to acquire enough programming to fill three satellite channels every school day throughout the year. This year, rather than having an annual session where teachers meet in Atlanta to assist us with program review, PeachStar has decided to make programming acquisition an ongoing process.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Extending Student Learning with Ready To Learn

By now you're familiar with Ready To Learn (RTL), public broadcasting's answer to the call to help all children start school with the skills they need to begin their adventures in learning. Did you know that in addition to the millions of children reached nationwide through the broadcasting of the kind of RTL programming you see each weekday on GPB, over 875,000 educators, childcare providers, and parents have participated in RTL-sponsored workshops on using television wisely. These workshops cover developing children's learning skills and preparing children to read.

A recent nationwide study conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. indicated that these workshops had lasting positive impact on the behavior of parents who attended and their children, including:

• Families read books together 35% more often;
• Families read books for 20% longer periods;
• Children watched 40% less TV;
• Children watched 25% more educational programs that prepared them for school;
• Parents discussed TV programs with children 50% more often; and
• Families made more frequent trips to the library and bookstore.

Here in Georgia, educators and childcare providers can count on the PeachStar Education Services Division of GPB to provide these trainings designed to help reinforce the goals of the Ready To Learn initiative. Laura Miller, GPB's RTL coordinator, travels across the state to share with educators and childcare providers important information they need to know to help their students get ready to learn.

First of all, Laura sets forth the four goals of Ready To Learn: to encourage adults to be selective about the programming children watch on TV; to encourage adults to watch television with children; to encourage adults to extend learning with books and activities that reinforce educational programming; and to show educators and caregivers how public television can be used as a learning tool.

Second, she outlines the services that RTL provides to educators and caregivers, including the broadcast of 12 hours of programming on GPTV; the broadcast of educational messages between programs; workshops and trainings for educators and caregivers; the distribution of the PBS Families magazine and over 300 free books to disadvantaged children each month.

Third, she explains why GPB has chosen to be part of the Ready To Learn initiative and why GPB is such a good venue for the RTL message. GPB's decision to air RTL programming exclusively for our young viewers makes us an obvious choice for educators who are looking for safe educational programming for their students. The GPB broadcast schedule allows for both repetition and variety of messages for children while engaging them in active learning.

Fourth, she explains what Smart TV is and why it's important for you as educators to be sure that your students are watching it. Smart TV is television that teaches as well as entertains. By recognizing and catering to the social, emotional, and cognitive development and skill levels of its audience, Smart TV like Ready To Learn meets the needs of young viewers in ways that traditional children's programming cannot. The benefits of programming like Ready To Learn are many. It inspires children to learn and read while encouraging creativity and developing critical thinking skills. RTL programs encourage children to participate in activities and respond with their own thoughts and feelings. By exposing young viewers to a variety of characters and situations, the programming helps children to appreciate themselves and other cultures and also demonstrates that there are many ways to problem solve without resorting to force or violence.

Fifth, she explains the concept of the Learning Triangle. The three components of the Learning Triangle are View, Read, and Do. When using Smart TV with your students you should plan what to watch (View), select books that highlight the program themes (Read), and plan activities that reinforce the program themes (Do). Each of the Ready To Learn programs that air on GPB have accompanying View and Do activities that can be found online at

Finally, Laura concludes the workshop by sharing additional resources like the PeachStar and PBSkids websites with participants and reminding them to Turn On the Learning by following these seven steps:

• Bring learning off the screen and into real life;
• Plan what to watch;
• Plan activities that reinforce program content;
• Extend learning with books;
• Select books that highlight program themes;
• Make connections; and
• Encourage children to read to you.

If are an early childhood educator, be sure to take advantage of all of the resources that Georgia Public Broadcasting and Ready To Learn have to offer you and your students. Watch GPTV with your students from 6 AM-6 PM weekdays and contact Laura Miller at for more information about RTL trainings in your area.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Challenging Learning with SciTrek

This January SciTrek launched a new exhibit that sends students right out of this world. At the kickoff of the Challenger Learning Center (CLC), guests had the opportunity to meet Sally Ride, the first female astronaut; meet Miles O'Brien, CNN's Space Correspondent; experience blastoff simulations; and jump in a moonwalk! Now that the center is open, though, the experiences it offers are far greater!

SciTrek's CLC, a learning experience and memorial to the Challenger 51-L astronauts, is one of 46 such centers worldwide. The CLC experience is centered around three main components:

(i) Teacher Preparation
(ii) The Mission
(iii) Post-Visit Activities

(i) Teacher Preparation. Before the class visit, teachers visit the CLC to participate in an actual mission and receive preparatory materials for use in the classroom prior to the fieldtrip. This advance preparation allows you as teachers to better facilitate your students experience at the CLC.

(ii) The Mission. The CLC uses state-of-the-art technology to simulate the conditions of a mission to space, both in the control room and in the space station. Students are assigned to one of eight teams forming the crew and given specific tasks to complete in order to have a successful mission. Half-way through the mission, the students will exchange places so that each student has an opportunity to experience a space mission from both the control room and space!

(iii) Post-Visit Activities. In order to ensure that the students get the most out of their visit, the CLC provides follow-up activities for the classroom. The learning the students get at the center is extended through further analysis on the data gathered during the mission, post-flight briefings conducted by the students, and student-run news conferences about the mission.

The Challenger Learning Center is SciTrek's most comprehensive educational program and it truly demonstrates hands-on learning. The Center already has 85 missions booked for the remainder of the school year. Atlanta City Schools, Paulding County Schools, and Gwinnett County Schools have agreed to pilot the program by sending a select number of students from their systems.

Thursday, March 6, 2003

Bringing Music Into Georgia Schools

Every March, students and teachers across the country commemorate Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM), a month-long celebration of the importance of music to the world of education. Research, like that conducted by The Arts Education Partnership, continues to demonstrate the link between the arts and academic performance. Studies such as these underscore the necessity for a strong fine arts curriculum, sparking partnerships between private corporations and educational agencies designed to enhance the quality of music education in public schools.

One such partnership, the MetLife Youth Music Project being undertaken by the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and MetLife, is reaching students here in Georgia. The students of the Capital Area Mosaic, a community center serving two public housing communities in Atlanta, will use the $10,000 grant from the project to study African drumming, world music, and creative movement.

In addition to partnership such as this, students in Georgia can rely on organizations such as the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA), whose mission is to advocate the advance of music education in the state of Georgia through the promotion of quality events and learning opportunities intended for teachers, including those surrounding MIOSM.

For 19 years, one of the highlights of MIOSM has been the World's Largest Concert (WLC), a showcase of various groups of accomplished young musicians broadcast worldwide. The theme of the 2003 WLC is "Connect With Music," and it examines music as a versatile tool that can be used not only as a supplement to core subject areas, but also as an important piece of the education puzzle in its own right. This year?s featured choir will be the Children?s Chorus of Washington, who will be accompanied by the American Youth Philharmonic. They will perform a mélange of pieces, including:

- "America the Beautiful," by Samuel Ward and Katharine Lee Bates
- "Una luna brilla," by Aline Shader
- "Turn the Beat Around," by Peter and Gerald Jackson
- "Mmangwane," a South African folksong
- "Where Do the Starts Go," by Sherri Porterfield and Amanda Walter
- "M.T.'s Sage Advice," by Linda Spevacek
- "The Picnic of the World," by Jacques Offenbach and John Forster

PeachStar continues our commitment to fine arts education by airing the World?s Largest Concert live for the INSERT year on March 13, 2003. The WLC website provides background information about MIOSM and WLC, as well as music selections, lesson plans, advocacy materials, rehearsal CD information, and a free downloadable WLC Teacher's Guide. Be sure to take part in this year's MIOSM activities and look for additional arts-related opportunities from PeachStar in the months ahead.

Seeing Is Believing: Microbes Become Larger Than Life!

Have you been looking for a way to teach your students about microbes, those tiny little organisms that have such a huge impact on our lives, but finding it difficult to illustrate the concept? SciTrek has the answer! A new exhibit, entitled "Microbes: Invisible Invaders, Amazing Allies," uncovers the world of these microscopic organisms, from those that sustain to those that threaten life.

As they make their way through the 5,000-square-foot exhibit, your students will learn what microbes are (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa), explore the history of infectious diseases, see how researchers and individuals fight infection worldwide. Child-friendly technology highlights the hands-on activities. In addition to interactive displays featuring virtual reality and 3-D animation, there are theatrical sets and special effects that help bring the world of microbes to life.

The "Microbes: Invisible Invaders?Amazing Allies" exhibit will be open until May 4, 2003. The cost for admission is $9.50 for adults and $7.50 for children age 3-12. For more information on how to schedule a class visit, contact Randee Schneider at 404-522-5500.

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Zoo Atlanta and GPB Explore Animals

Zoo Atlanta and Georgia Public Broadcasting are exploring animals with a new interactive web-based multimedia learning package for middle school educators and students. This educational resource provides a series of animal based learning adventures that focus on conservation, research, and ecology.

The first stage in this joint web project is called "Caring for Gorillas." The site employs text, pictures, videos, games and other materials to provide an in-depth look into the world of gorillas in captivity and in the wild. In addition, some of the games and videos from the website will soon be available to the Zoo visitor at the Willie B. Gorilla Conservation Center.

Also, for the month of March, Zoo Atlanta will be transmitting live images from the gorilla habitats on PeachStar Channel 430 Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10AM-12 PM.