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East Hall High instructor shows others the way

Videotape of Barrett's class part of state education project

POSTED: February 21, 2008 5:01 a.m.
ROBIN MICHENER NATHAN /The Times

East Hall High School biology teacher Heather Barrett, right, speaks to Terri Hayes, a science specialist with the Georgia Department of Education, while Ranjit Tripathi with Georgia Public Broadcasting tapes down microphone wires to prepare for Barrett's third-period biology class to be recorded for a program on teaching.

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GAINESVILLE — For two hours Thursday, East Hall High School biology teacher Heather Barrett’s classroom doubled as a production studio.

Barrett presented a lesson on adaptation to her honors biology students as part of a Georgia Department of Education project to post online examples of standards-driven instruction in all subject areas.

The videos will appear later in the year at www.georgiastandards.org.

"A lot of teachers don’t have the opportunity to go to other schools and watch and ... see what a standards-based classroom is," said Barrett, who is in her eighth year of teaching, all at East Hall.

The state is in the middle of rolling out its new curriculum, the Georgia Performance Standards, which is replacing the Quality Core Curriculum.

Georgia is completing its science rollout this year in early elementary grades, as well as eighth grade. Next year, the state will usher in a high school math curriculum that integrates all subject areas, such as algebra and geometry.

Barrett, an East Hall graduate, said she was approached in December by Terri Hayes, a science specialist with the state, to go through a videotaping session.

"We had been working together all year and last year, so she’s very well aware of my classroom and things that go on and the things I’m trying to implement," she said.

Barrett is sold on standards-based teaching.

"That’s where the kids are going to learn. That’s where they are going to make connections with past knowledge," she said. "The bottom line is being able to critically think."

She admitted to a case of nerves early in the day.

But the taping "went very well," Barrett said.

"The kids — I had prepared them. I didn’t rehearse it with them or go through the lesson before today, but I did make sure they had that background knowledge and ... everything they needed to master the standard for today."

The taping did prevent the class from taking its daily break during the 90-minute period for lunch.

Principal Jeff Cooper remedied that by buying pizza and drinks for the class, Barrett said.



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