Kathy Cox, teachers attend new curriculum workshop - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Kathy Cox, teachers attend new curriculum workshop

June 22, 2005

Plains- State School Superintendent Kathy Cox shared with teachers ways students can use the internet to help identify government leaders.

Nineteen middle and high school teachers from across the state participated in a workshop focusing on the Social Studies part of the new Georgia Performance Standards.

"Teachers feel like this finally is a document that they understand, that's reasonable, that allows students to go into depth," says Cox.

Cox says this is the first time the state has completely overhauled it's entire curriculum, a huge endeavor she and teachers agree will likely have some kinks to work out at first, but will be worth it.

"Teaching has basically just been along the lines of basic recall. Right now, we're trying to help these young folks become analytical thinkers," says Marilyn Cascio of Coffee High School.

All week, social studies educators will review the Georgia Performance Standards and develop sample tasks for students that will gauge whether they have mastered specific elements.

"Some of the tasks that we're coming up with, again, they're real world. They're hands on to get kids engaged, anything from debates, analyzing primary source documents, simulations, activities things like that," explains Cathy Powell of Statesboro High School.

The teachers have also come up with situations to challenge students like determining where to put a landfill and how to respond to a tsunami. Cox says testing experts fear new curriculum years will show dips in test scores, but she's confident that won't happen in Georgia.

"This curriculum that we're doing is going to be so much better, and it's going to be such a better road map for teachers. If we align the tests properly to the curriculum, then what the teachers have taught all year is what's going to be tested," says Cox.

It will be what's tested by teachers and hopefully what's learned by students.

The new curriculum will be rolled out in phases. Cox says it will take a total of six year to implement the entire Georgia Performance Standards in all grades.

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