Delta County teachers will receive 24 grants this school year totaling $10,000 from the Arch Coal Foundation's Innovative Teaching Grants Program, according to Jim Miller, general manager of Arch Coal's Mountain Coal Company and its West Elk mine.
"Again this year, our area's teachers came up with some amazing ideas to increase learning and benefit their students," said Miller.
"I'm impressed with the wide variety of applications we received, covering all grade levels at our local schools. They demonstrate the experience, professionalism and imagination of our teachers."
This is the sixth year for the Innovative Teaching Grants Program, which is funded by the Arch Coal Foundation. Last school year, Delta County teachers completed more than 20 innovative classroom projects. Again in the 2012-2013 school year, the program's judges selected a wide range of projects extending from elementary through high school.
A full listing of project descriptions follows:
Kreszenze (Kriss) Allen, Paonia Junior-Senior High School, will use her grant to organize a Day of Writing Inspiration featuring professional writers in a variety of genres.
Tammie Benson, PES, will purchase a variety of grade-level materials that will allow students to select books of their choice to aid in their learning about the history of their state in a fun and collaborative manner.
A grant awarded to Wendy Bodwell and Gingy Molacek, Paonia Junior-Senior High School, will be used to purchase materials to increase balance, coordination, rhythm and fine motor skills in music and special education students.
DMS teacher Dan Dunham's project is the culmination of a two-year effort to build and transport a drift boat, which will be used to learn about the ecology of local rivers. Dunham will use his grant to purchase materials for his students to build a boat trailer, which will teach them the fundamentals of welding, reading blueprints, engineering design, drafting and construction.
Brandy Girard, DMS, plans to purchase Amazon Kindles for her classroom. Her goal is to determine if she can capture the attention of computer users and encourage low-interest book readers to become more engaged in reading by using modern eReader technology.
Motion and force are two of the most crucial concepts in physical science. Ben Graves, PHS, will use his grant to purchase frictionless dynamic tracks and associated carts to help his students design experiments using digital probes and computer-based data analysis software.
Joey Hancock, DMS, will use his grant to support learning needs of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Through video streaming, students in special education classrooms will be able to see the teacher in a real-time setting that is more supportive of their unique needs. At the same time, these classroom presentations can be recorded and replayed later for students who were absent, keeping their learning on pace with their peers.
Hailey Hancock, DMS, plans to extend her research, which began last year using a video camera that allowed students to create documentaries and news broadcasts related to their social studies curriculum. She hopes to have more students complete documentaries for National History Day, as well as produce a "film festival" at DMS.
Stephanie Hanson, Cedaredge Elementary School, continues her research into language therapy with this year's grant. New iPad2 wireless technology and applications will allow her not only to work with large groups at once, but also to create personalized therapy materials and transmit them to individual students on other computers or iPads.
Carl Hughes, Garnet Mesa Elementary School, wants to provide Myanmar students who are learning English individualized instruction to become better communicators and to speed their learning curves. As an example, Hughes will use an iPad to take photos of objects that can then be made into flash cards. Students will then record their own voices reading or identifying the objects, which will allow them additional practice of their new language.
Carlyn Luna, Hotchkiss K-8, will encourage her students to research amusement park rides and build a mini roller coaster to better understand Newton's laws. Her grant will provide the testing equipment necessary for the students' scientific exploration. The judges asked that the equipment be shared across all Delta schools.
Jennifer Magner, DMS, will test her theory that netbooks can be used with seventh and eighth grade science students to enrich advanced students' abilities.
Nicole Melby, CES, plans to test technology available through an iPad to determine whether it assists a wide variety of students, including English language learners, to become more proficient in a variety of subject areas.
The increase in the number of English language learners in Angela Morgan's CHS classroom has posed some unique challenges. Through the use of an iPad2, Morgan's students will be able to guide their own learning in an independent setting while gaining the necessary skills for academic success.
Kathryn Oxford, Hotchkiss K-8, plans to use her grant to recruit community members who will volunteer their time to help the school's elementary students become better readers, writers and mathematicians.
Margot Richardson, PHS, plans to pair her high school students with elementary school "reading buddies" to increase confidence and fluency in the students in her Spanish classes. Her grant will purchase her students' favorite children's classics in Spanish. Once her students have mastered reading the texts in Spanish, they will read the books to their elementary school buddies in Spanish, while the younger students will read the same text back in English.
Kelly Rienks, CES, will provide both upper-level students and her first-graders opportunities to improve reading comprehension and language fluency through the use of technology. Rienks' goal is to use iPods not only to provide better reading experiences for her students, but also a greater variety and level of reading materials.
Jamie Roeber, HHS, plans to provide airbrushing kits, paint and other necessary supplies needed to undertake community improvement projects that will improve their artistic abilities.
Joe Siennicki, Garnet Mesa Elementary, applied for a grant to fund an innovative project that will introduce fourth- and fifth-grade students to opera through a variety of musical activities, as well as through story writing. The grant will help underwrite a visit by the Central City Opera.
When Jodi Simpson, PES, purchases LEGO, K'NEX and magnetic building systems, it won't be all fun and games in her classroom. Students will assemble the types of projects encountered in the working world while honing their communications, problem-solving, engineering and team-building skills, as well as exploring their creativity.
After reading some of the "classics" written especially for their educational level, Becky Thatcher's students at HHS will re-create the novels in blank books, including their own artwork. These student-generated books will then be shared with elementary school students, who may gain an appreciation for the classics.
Lincoln Elementary School has 30 students in its English language learners (ELL) program, with native languages ranging from Spanish to Karen to Vietnamese. Ruth Thompson believes her kindergarten and first graders can learn English much faster if an iPad is used to share subject matter, both visually and audibly.
With the purchase of two netbooks, Jessica Varner, DMS, plans to change the dynamics of her science classroom — both by allowing high-level learners to study at a more advanced pace, as well as allowing less proficient learners to use the tablets to boost their abilities.
Debbie Yeager, Delta Opportunity School, plans for her students to partner with the Delta Parks Department in a hands-on effort to measure and monitor water temperature, speed, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and other components of water quality, as well as in clean-up projects.blog comments powered by Disqus