January 2018
CSRA Regional Educational Service Agency
4683 Augusta Highway SE
Dearing, Georgia 30808
706-556-6225, Fax 706-556-8891

CSRA RESA dedicates our new writing website to all teachers who must each day find ways to mold students into writers. This task is not easy, not quick, and not prescriptive. Each child brings his or her background, experiences, passion, and voice into expressing written thought. Every teacher, regardless of content expertise, must promote the thinking, the skills, the strategies, the reading, and the opportunity behind the art of writing.

Throughout this website, teachers can explore ideas to assist them in their writing instruction. They will find standards and glossaries, model learning targets, sample rubrics, sample prompts, extended lessons, and focused power lessons.

Our writing consultants will add new materials throughout this next year. We welcome your feedback and guidance as we build this writing resource. Our goal is to have a one-stop writing resource.

Professional Learning Courses
Upcoming courses at CSRA RESA

    • January 9 - ELA PLC Grades 4-12 Session 5
    • January 10 - Number Talks Training Grades 3-5
    • January 11 - Number Talks Training Grades 6-8
    • January 16 - Math PLC & In-depth Reading Strategies
    • January 23 - GPB Chemistry Matters Digital Series

      To register for these and other courses, please click here.

the Teacher's Voice
Ms. Jennifer Gurley
Third Grade Teacher
Westmont Elementary School

For a long time, I thought technology was mainly about word processing and gaming. Then technology became a buzz word of sorts and I felt like I was falling behind the curve. I knew there had to be more to technology in the classroom that would actually enhance student learning. As I researched I began to develop my own philosophy about technology in the classroom. It is my goal to use technology to create and explore. I use technology to offer opportunities unavailable without it. Of course I use technology for word processing and gaming. They are both valuable but what else can we do? I am always asking what else?

Google literally changed my life as a teacher. Drive, docs, sheets, calendar, gmail, and forms all work so seamlessly together to help me stay productive and efficient. I keep all of my important documents in google and have access to them all the time just by opening my phone! I also value the reports generated through our adaptive programs used by the students and use the data collected to make a variety of instructional decisions. Technology also drastically changed the way I communicate with parents. I am able to share videos and pictures in moments, send polls and questionnaires and talk back and forth at times that work best for them. Since I began using technology to increase my parent communication, their participation has improved dramatically which always positively impacts student performance.

In my classroom, my school has provided me with eight laptops. In addition, I received two separate grants and purchased seven mini iPads. Students use these tools throughout the day. I use adaptive programs like Mobymax, Noredink and Prodigy to fill in learning gaps and compact learning. Students also work through online learning modules I have created based on learning units. These modules include online articles, video field trips and interactive websites to enhance the learning being provided in the classroom. My favorite way to use technology however, is to present new learning. My students use a variety of tools to present their learning in new and innovative ways. They love using the options technology provides and are so motivated to create truly spectacular projects that include images, videos, and graphs that go along with their text!

Our fairy tale project was one of my favorites! Students making choices on a Google form of essential fairy tale components was such a cool way to keep each student on track which can be so hard to do with a class full of students! I think the trickiest part about technology is how quickly it is changing! It always seems like there is something new and better (I do warn parents of this at open house. I always let them know that programs may change as our needs in the classroom change). I follow quite a few Pinterest boards and Facebook pages that focus on technology. Choosing the right program is a large part of the planning process. I have to think of what exactly the students are communicating and how they can best communicate it. For instance, this year my students wrote an informational report about an amusement park they had not been to. They used internet pages, articles, photos and YouTube videos to collect their information. I then wanted them to use a technology tool to publish their writing. They could use a simple word processor, of course, but I knew they would like to do something more exciting. Adobe Spark allowed students to write very large portions of text but also include the photographs and video clips they loved. In addition, the spark page required students to break their report into parts which I instructed them to do by paragraphs. This helped them write a well-organized informational report!

Native American reports, however, were better suited for a glog. Students used a great deal of internet resources to research a particular Native American group. Next, they created a digital poster. These digital posters, made on Glogster, allow for shorter bursts of text, internet links and other features great for a small report. Not only were the reports great for the students who created them, but we also took time to explore each other’s reports and learn from our peers!

Most teachers that like technology find themselves in a constant learning curve with technology use in the classroom because it is ever-changing. It takes time to figure out best practices, the best tool for the activity, etc. Do you take time and allow time in the learning process for students to reflect on their learning with regard to technology use?

The biggest thing I tell everyone is that the students know more than you do and that’s awesome! I do not teach my students how to use a program. I want them to use their critical thinking (and collaboration) skills to figure things out and solve problems. Unlike curriculum, teachers do not need to be an expert in technology to use it in the classroom. The technology is just a tool. Students have such a unique perspective about technology. As adults we grew alongside technology. We were always asking “What can technology do?” and we still are. Our students, however, ask “What can’t technology do?” They believe it can do anything and their expectations often come true!

hat being said, the only way to get better is to use it. Find a colleague that also wants to learn. Pick different tools and play and then share your findings! Start with one tool that sounds the most interesting, such as: Google forms, Adobe Spark, Glogster, Piktochart, Canva, or Tellagami. Try one project with it and then another. Once you’re successful two or three times then you can try another! Keep a chart in your planner with all the tools you use and even hear about. Jot down its main features and any ideas that immediately pop in your head. I promise, one day you will be planning a project trying to remember the name of that site you heard way back when...

During October this year, students planned a Halloween party. They used their math skills to stick to a budget. They used the iPads to research prices and present their party plans. Parties included food, games and costumes!

Another favorite project was our author study report. Last year, I shared Glogster with my students for the first time. They were so excited that they could add voice recordings, videos, links, pictures and clip art. I had partners recording themselves reading their favorite book by the author and adding clips from interviews. They were so well put together and the students went so much deeper than I expected. Partners and groups are always best when you’re just getting started.

Finally, expect to put a little time up front to reap a tremendous reward in the future. It was challenging to learn all the new google programs in the beginning, but it has saved me hours of work now. New learning programs can be hard to navigate but my students are beginning to make huge gains because of the gaps they fill. Once you observe student motivation and the critical thinking skills they use to create projects using technology, you won’t want to turn back!

submitted by Jennifer Gurley

Students working on projects individually and collaboratively
in Ms.Gurley's class.


Writing Competition 2017-2018

Students in grades K-12 in all Georgia public schools are eligible to participate. From creative to academic to technical writing, anything goes!

On February 22, 2018, teachers and students will participate in Digital Learning Day. The purpose of the day is to highlight great teaching practices and to showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes. @OfficialDLDay

To learn more, find ideas on how to participate, and
view partners, click here.
School Library Media Specialist Announcement

Georgia Library Media Association
is accepting proposals for their Summer Institute conference
to be held June 11-12, 2018.

The form to submit your proposal is available on the website at this link or for more information, visit GLMA website at
Calling ALL Instructional Coaches,
Curriculum Directors, and Teacher Leaders!

CSRA RESA is excited to announce a unique opportunity for school and district leaders who focus on providing job-embedded professional learning to faculty members within districts and schools!

Facilitated by CSRA RESA’s dynamite professional learning consultants, these “train the trainer” professional learning pathways will provide participants with a variety of research-based strategies and materials, as well as opportunities to discuss ways of facilitating the information within a district or school professional learning session.

What is being offered for Instructional Coaches, Curriculum Directors, and Teacher Leaders?

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