GPB Education's Top Moments Of 2020
I think I speak for just about all of us when I say I'll be glad when 2020 is behind us. But despite the craziness of this "unprecedented time," there were many moments of triumph and causes for celebration. As we at GPB Education plan for the year ahead, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite resources and moments from 2020.
1. Two NETA Award Nominations
We kicked off the new decade with two nominations from the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA). Our "Live Exploration: Georgia Tech's Flowers Invention Studio" was nominated for the category EDUCATION - LIVE VIRTUAL LEARNING EVENTS, and GPB Education was nominated for OVERALL EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION.
2. Georgia Home Classroom
In response to school closures, we quickly adapted to support teachers and students who were learning remotely. We launched the Georgia Home Classroom, a partnership with the Georgia Department of Education, in March 2020. During Phase 1 of the Georgia Home Classroom, we curated hundreds of free digital learning materials for PreK-12. All resources are aligned to the Georgia Standards of Excellence and designed for an at-home learning environment. It has now evolved to include a PBS KIDS Digital Backpack, daily activity calendars for kids, K-12 remote learning plans, and so much more! Check it out at gpb.org/learn.
3. Professional Learning Goes 100% Virtual
While our two-person team of trainers loves going out to schools to deliver face-to-face professional development, they were able to pivot to web PD to reach hundreds of Georgia educators at once. All trainings have been archived and are available here to view at any time. We continue to develop high-quality teacher trainings on GPB and PBS LearningMedia resources, so be sure to request a personalized session!
Tracey Wiley (North Georgia): email@example.com
Mike Kuenlen (South Georgia): firstname.lastname@example.org
4. GPB-TV Supports At-Home Learning
Because of internet limitations at home, we adjusted GPB's broadcast TV schedule to support PreK-12 students. All educational programming comes with standards-aligned learning resources.
5. Let's Learn GA!
A later addition to the Georgia Home Classroom, Let's Learn GA! is a new series that provides K-5 video lessons that were created by Georgia teachers. Lessons cover English language arts, fine arts, mathematics, physical health and wellness, science, and social studies. We're adding video lessons regularly, so check back for more. And because we're still producing new lessons, we encourage any Georgia teacher with great video lesson ideas to be a part of this production and submit their ideas here!
6. Family and Community Learning (FCL) Workshops
Over the past two years, our Early Childhood Education Team has built a community away from home and school where families learn to work with each other, build relationships, and engage in fun-filled activities. In the past, FCL workshops were exclusively offered to Clayton County families. But due to COVID-19, we began delivering the workshops virtually which allowed us to open this opportunity to people statewide.
7. 27 GPB Exhibits in Google Arts & Culture
In an effort to further support teachers, we have taken materials from our virtual field trips and arranged them in Google Arts & Culture exhibits. Teachers and students can use these exhibits to explore the geography of Georgia, learn about important groups and figures in the state's history, and so much more.
8. NEW Game: Make That Paper!
One of our favorite new resources is "Make That Paper: Careers in Forestry," an online game designed to help high school students learn about the forestry industry and career employability skills. In the game, students are managers in three varied forestry career pathways, hiring personnel, solving industry-related problems, and making sound business decisions.
Play at gpb.org/MTP.
9. Helping Kids Understand PPE
A lot of people were introduced to new terms and ideas in 2020, and personal protective equipment, or PPE, is definitely on that list. To better help students (and adults) understand the importance of PPE, we produced a special episode of Things Explained that explained the purpose of PPE and how it's used in the medical field when treating sick patients.
10. Hosted Summer Learning Series
This year, our Summer Learning Series was offered virtually and included a week-long focus on Reading Literacy (May 2020), Social Emotional Learning (June 2020) and STEM (July 2020). With a goal to help curb summer learning loss, our Summer Learning Series incorporated hands-on activities and provided standards-aligned resources to the 350+ families that participated in the series.
11. Celebrated Young Writers
Our annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest for students in grades K-3 kicked off in January. By the time we hosted our postponed virtual awards ceremony, our daily lives looked very different. First, second, and third place and STEAM winners in each grade level were carefully selected from the hundreds of submissions we received this year. We celebrated these young authors with a virtual ceremony and special guest appearance from children's storyteller Mama Koku. All of the 2020 stories can be read here.
12. Getting Ready Guides for K-3 Grades
As part of Georgia Home Classroom, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has identified key skills for children getting ready for kindergarten through third grade. These skills will help families understand what children have already learned and can expect to learn when they get back to school.
The guides are available in English and Spanish. Check them out here!
13. We Had Courageous Conversations
A lot of necessary, difficult, and courageous conversations were had this year in response to racial injustice and police brutality. To support teachers navigate how to talk to students about these topics, we hosted a virtual series on having courageous conversations in the classroom. We were inspired by the large attendance, despite the fact that these webinars were hosted over the summer. Because of the series' success, we partnered with PBS American Portrait, a national storytelling project that invites us all to share our voices. Participants were encouraged to discuss how our stories can help us build empathy and community, invite courageous conversations in our schools and classrooms, and inspire our students to create their own unique American portraits. You can watch all archived webinars from the American Portrait series here.
14. WE WON AN EMMY!
For the second year in a row, GPB Education was awarded a Southeast Regional EMMY in the Children/Youth category for our program, "Robotics in Georgia: To Houston and Beyond." The special program follows three top robotics teams from Georgia as they make their way to compete in the FIRST LEGO League international competition in Houston, Texas. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the 2018-2019 FLL season’s “Into Orbit” theme challenged students to collaborate to design, build, code, and test robots for missions and work together to solve problems related to human space travel. Using STEM concepts, students develop critical thinking and presentation skills and learn to overcome the same challenges that face scientists today. Watch the show here.
15. Voting Rights Were Explained
In preparation for the 2020 election, GPB Education produced a special episode of Things Explained on the history of Georgia's voting rights. Who can vote today looked a lot different from those who could vote when the United States was first founded. This video covers the history of voting rights, including women's suffrage, Black disenfranchisement, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the various methods American voters can cast their ballots today. Watch the episode here.
16. Released New Lesson Plans
One of our most popular resources is our collection of Georgia virtual field trips. To further support teachers, we are creating thorough lesson plans for each virtual field trip. So far, we have released lesson plans for Indian Mounds, Creek Nation, and Cherokee Nation virtual field trips, and we have more that will be released in the coming months! Check them out at gpb.org/vft.
17. We Reduced, Reused, and Recycled
We hosted our sixth live exploration in December 2020. This time, we explored the state's recycling industry, saw how new items are made from recycled materials, and stressed the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling as a way to cut back on pollution and protect wildlife. Watch the full program at gpb.org/recycle.
18. Understanding Runoff Elections
It's felt like all eyes have been on Georgia this election season. With two senate races in runoff elections, we produced a special episode of Peach State Politics that explains why these types of elections happen and why voter turnout tends to be less than general elections. Watch the episode here.
What a year! While we are excited to say farewell to 2020, we are even more excited to create and share new resources with Georgia educators and students in 2021. Stay up to date on all of our upcoming projects by following us on Twitter and Facebook.