Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of stories about Great Bend USD 428 Education Foundation minigrants awarded to teachers recently.
Fifth graders at Park Elementary School will learn principles of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) while creating their own toy company, thanks to the latest round of minigrants from the Great Bend USD 428 Education Foundation. Teachers submit grant applications for enrichment programs or materials that aren’t covered in the district budget.
In addition to educational kits, this year’s grants have included items intended to improve the health of students, such as the requests for stand-up desks in some Lincoln classrooms. Here are some the grants:
STEM in Action Design Challenge — With a $499 grant, Signe Cook’s fifth-grade Park student teams will form a toy company to create a solar powered toy in a competitive business realm. Students will identify materials, evaluate competitive products and designs, test and optimize a superior product, utilizing math, science and business skills.
Standing Up for Kids — Catherine Haberman at Lincoln Elementary said the $500 grant for stand-up desks will let students move more and have their work space at an appropriate level. They will have a healthier, more focused situation through which to keep minds active.
Technology in the Classroom — Cecilia Arias at Lincoln Elementary will receive a $300 grant for classroom headphones. While students are encouraged to grow in their technology skills, the noise from many electronic devices operating simultaneously in the classroom can be a distraction. The headphones will allow students to work independently and stay focused on learning.
Reading Phonics and Fluency Resource — The Lincoln MTSS Leadership Team with Miriam Buckley submitted this $1,500 grant application to help approximately 70 Lincoln students who require help with phonics skills and reading fluency. The school will buy a Phonics Lesson Library, which includes a set of decodable passages, word cards and manipulatives for each related skill.
Standing Desks — Karen Ekberg and Jessica Geist at Lincoln will receive $466 to buy two standing desks. Sixth-grade students, on a rotating basis, will utilize the standing desks which strengthen muscle groups in lower extremities. Benefits to the students include increased alertness and energy as well as improved balance and posture.
Swivl and Carrying Case — Stephanie Webster, Lincoln, won a $423 to purchase this technology tool for use in classroom instruction. The Swivl holds an iPad or phone and can be used to record a teacher’s lesson. The Swivl moves with the teacher for clear observation throughout the classroom. Teachers may record lessons, watch videos, and help identify instructional needs.
Touchtronics — Dara Touslee, Park, received this $425 grant. Touchtronic Letters and Numbers combine physical and digital worlds of learning. Kindergarten and some first-grade Park students will utilize the product with the iPad surface to learn with free apps relating to core curriculum games and activities. The combination of physical letters and numbers and a digital format serve to encourage retention.
Listening is the Key to Learning — Leah Yancey, Park, said the skill of listening is an important part of effective communication. Learners must focus on hearing the speaker and understanding the message. The $496 grant funds will enhance the listening center with a set of headphones, junction box, media player and books with CD sets for small-group use by kindergarten students at Park School.
Cosmosphere Field Trip — Sixth graders at Riley School will take a field trip to the Cosmosphere with this $360 grant to teachers Peggy Haag and Kara Svaty. They will view concrete examples of the solar system and deep space, including navigational technology and astronomical research. Information gained reinforces a study unit on water planet science which aligns with common core science standards. It helps prepare students for the seventh-grade science curriculum and also exposes the students to careers in science and math.