Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University providing training to state’s teachers this summer

Students are not the only ones taking classes this summer at Georgia Southern University. Groups of teachers from across the state of Georgia are also advancing themselves through the University’s numerous learning opportunities. Teachers from southeast Georgia’s elementary, middle school, and high schools will be on campus this summer as part of a series of workshops designed not only to improve their skills, but also to share best practices as they prepare for the next school year.

Georgia Southern Writing Project (GSWP)

Writing teachers, English teachers, special education teachers, administrators, media specialists, and any teachers who want to build their teaching skills, are invited to be part of the GSWP Summer Institute. This year more than a dozen teachers participated, including a few returning ‘fellows” who came back to refresh their skills. This year the Institute meets for daylong sessions Monday through Thursday, June 4-29.

The institute’s objective is to bring teachers together to share ideas and practices for teachers of writing. GSWP is affiliated with the National Writing Project, which seeks to improve student achievement by improving the teaching of writing. Participants may apply to receive continuing education or graduate degree credits from the University.

GSWP workshops address issues that teachers face on a daily basis: reluctant learners, differentiated learning, writing across the curriculum, assessment and Georgia Performance Standards

‘Needless to say, one of the most important things that institute participants are required to do is write,” said Kathy Albertson, interim director of the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern and director of GSWP. ‘In addition to four pieces of formal writing, participants keep reflective journals and learning logs to satisfy their own writing interests and to “exercise their writing muscle.'”

The GWSP offers other opportunities, too: a youth writing project, the monthly Write Night, and a writing contest for students in grades 1-12. The GWSP publishes a newsletter, Apostrophe, and a journal of Summer Institute writing, Tapestry. For more information visit

Project SENSE

More than 40 teachers from 12 southeast Georgia counties will participate this summer in Project SENSE (Science Education Network for the Southeast), an outreach program of the Georgia Southern Museum. Project SENSE offers three weeklong workshops for area educators who teach at the Pre-K through the eighth-grade levels. Through the teachers who have participated, Project SENSE has touched the lives of more than 80,000 children since its inception in 1989.

Through Project SENSE, teachers learn to engage students as active learners in ‘hands-on, minds-on” science, and to help students reflect, discuss, and make sense of the science they’ve learned. The project also gives teachers access to comprehensive science activity kits that they can use in their own classrooms during the upcoming year. The lesson plans contained in the activity kits are student- and teacher-friendly and relevant to the lives of the learners.

Project SENSE is conducted by Georgia Southern University professors and practicing classroom teachers. The participants are divided into workshops according to grade level taught, and the lessons are correlated to state and national standards.

This summer’s Project SENSE workshops include teachers from Bryan, Emanuel, Wayne, Toombs, Bulloch, Effingham, Screven, Evans, Liberty, Vidalia City, Candler, and Long counties.

Project BESST

More than a dozen elementary and middle-school teachers will participate in Project BESST (Becoming Engaged in Social Studies Teaching), an outreach program that joined Project SENSE in 2005. Project BESST is funded by the federal Teacher Quality Grants program and a gift from the Greene-Sawtelle Foundation.

Project BESST delivers a hands-on, correlated social studies curriculum in the form of teacher workshops and classroom kits. Summer workshops focus on improving teacher content knowledge in social studies, introducing brain-based pedagogical approaches, and using Project BESST kits for maximum benefit.

Kits contain quality teaching materials in support of hands-on social studies learning, particularly those things that are expensive, cumbersome or difficult for schools to acquire. Teachers are supported throughout the year by a delivered, kit-based program. Teachers study best practices of instruction and learn to use CRCT-focused assessment tools. Content areas are developed to support newly revised GPS by grade level.

This summer’s Project BESST workshops include teachers from Bryan, Emanuel, Wayne, Toombs, Bulloch, Effingham, Screven, Evans, Liberty, Vidalia City, Candler, and Long counties. More information about Project SENSE and Project BESST is available at

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