2006 Initiative Grants

The following Initiative Grants were funded by Winnetka Public Schools Foundation!

Crow Island

Problem of the Day (POD) Booklets for 3rd and 4th Graders- Betsy Steele

Mrs. Steele created 2 booklets per grade level, each containing approximately 80 math problems, to be used by Crow Island teachers. The problems followed the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ standards and were aligned to district curriculum. The booklets have been shared with 3rd and 4th grade teachers throughout the district.

Crow Island Math Club- Grade 4- Betsy Steele

Mrs. Steele created a math club and new lessons to enhance math curriculum at Crow Island School for 4th graders. The weekly lessons were designed to reinforce and enrich concepts covered in the 4th grade curriculum, and the Math Club (similar to the existing 3rd grade math club) met at lunch time and worked to further reinforce those concepts.

Supporting Teachers to Integrate Drama into 4th Grade Studies-Fourth Grade Team

Building on past experiences, the 4th grade teachers at Crow Island participated in a summer workshop with a drama specialist to learn how to integrate drama throughout the curriculum. The teachers wrote curriculum that supported this goal and built a small reference library of drama resources for teachers.

Traveling Insectorium, Part II (with HW) – Jean Bierner

Second graders study the life cycles of plants and animals and investigate insect characteristics and life cycles, in general. The Insectorium, purchased in 2005 with Teacher Initiative Grant Funds, has offered an ideal way for students to observe and explore the world of insects. Careful observations are easy because the insects are encased in clear acrylic or in museum quality display mounts. The second part of this grant provided funds to enlarge the collection and provide a more professional storage solution to keep the specimens safe.

Hubbard Woods

Traveling Insectorium, Part II (with CI) – Jean Bierner

Second graders study the life cycles of plants and animals and investigate insect characteristics and life cycles, in general. The Insectorium, purchased in 2005 with Teacher Initiative Grant Funds, has offered an ideal way for students to observe and explore the world of insects. Careful observations are easy because the insects are encased in clear acrylic or in museum quality display mounts. The second part of this grant provided funds to enlarge the collection and provide a more professional storage solution to keep the specimens safe.

Classroom Libraries That Work: Creating a More Productive Reading Environment- Jay Dillon and Elizabeth Seiffer

Research shows that children make more prominent reading gains when they are reading material that is matched to their reading levels. In addition, varied levels of texts help teachers differentiate instruction within a classroom. Mr. Dillon and Mrs. Seiffer used the work of Fountas and Pinnell to create such libraries in their classrooms. In addition, they shared their experience and observations gained through the creation of these libraries with teachers throughout the district.

Greeley

The Greeley School Froebel Block Project- Stacey Wellman

Froebel Blocks are special blocks that offer opportunities for children to engage in problem solving and mathematical thinking in a spatial way. Funds were used to purchase blocks and provide professional in-service to teachers, classroom in-service experiences, and a Froebel Block night for parents. Curriculum was written and shared across the district and blocks were purchased for Crow Island and Hubbard Woods to enrich and extend learning in all three elementary schools.

Becoming a True Word Scientist, Year 2- Ginny Hiltz

"Word Science" is the study and understanding of how words are formed. Reading and writing focus on creativity and comprehension. The goal of this project was to bridge the two and support the writing development of students. Teachers created a targeted scope of writing fundamentals based on current research. In 20015, teachers created lessons to integrate the proper use of grammar into creative environments, such as writer’s workshops, in order to create well-rounded writers. After a year of teaching, the second grade team and the special education team identified areas in need of revision and enhancement and funds were provided so that Ms. Hiltz could adapt the curriculum to meet the identified needs.

Skokie

Art + Writing = Creative Book Making- Lea Lazarus

Mrs. Lazarus worked with Mrs. Gundlach to accomplish the following goals with all 6th grade art students: to integrate the fine arts of writing and 2-dimensional art, to use one theme to create a body of work that includes many different art forms, to teach children to problem solve in a creative and structural way, and to inspire students to do their best and create a sense of pride in a body of work. After studying various authors, poets and artists, students created a handmade book and shared it at a presentation at the end of each quarter.

BOSU Balance Trainers- Skokie School Kinetic Wellness Department

The KW Department at Skokie School purchased 24 BOSU Balance Trainers and integrated them into their curriculum in various ways. They were used as a stand-alone teaching station, as strength stations in the fitness room, and/or as part of a circuit. The BOSU allows students to engage in strength, cardio-vascular, and plyometric workouts without impact. It encourages joint stability for reduction of injuries. The BOSU trainer provides limitless opportunity for challenging athletes and students of every level.

Reflecting and Writing Through Picture Books- Sharon Gernady

Ms. Gernady purchased 50 picture books to enhance the Language Arts curriculum for 5th grade students. The goal of the project was to provide students with a venue for extended classroom discussion and writing during Language Arts time through use of picture books. Active reading strategies such as inferences, connections, and predictions are a major part of the 5th grade curriculum. Carrying these strategies into oral and written pieces can be challenging for many students. However, when reflecting on a story shared through a picture book, students are more apt to write a lengthier response, which in turn generates an increase of in-depth classroom discussions. The picture books are available to all classroom teachers and support staff for use with all students.

Skokie/Washburne Drama Club Pilot Program- Susan Antman, Kirsty Collins, Amy Markos

In response to the demonstrated interest of parents and students, and in line with their own professional interests, the drama teachers at Skokie and Washburne created a 3-month, tuition-free, pilot program for the 5th-8th grade Drama Club. The funds were used to compensate teachers for writing and delivering the curriculum, as well as providing materials for the culminating production event. The goal of the pilot program was to “set the stage” and give teachers the important data needed to organize a popular, tuition-based, program in the years to follow.

Washburne

Skokie/Washburne Drama Club Pilot Program- Susan Antman, Kirsty Collins, Amy Markos

In response to demonstrated interest of parents and students and in line with their own professional interests, the drama teachers at Skokie and Washburne will create a 3-month, tuition-free pilot program for a 5th-8th grade Drama Club. The funds will be used to compensate teachers for writing and delivering the curriculum, as well as to provide materials for the culminating production event. It is their hope that the pilot program will “set the stage” and give them important data needed to organize a popular tuition-based program in the years to follow.

Renew Froguts.Com Subscription- Linda Bachta

The seventh grade science curriculum covers anatomy and physiology and, as a result, students dissect frogs, squid and cow eyes. These experiences are supported and supplemented with computer software via the froguts.com website. A continued subscription to this website allows for high quality reinforcement and review of the dissections, and anatomy and physiology covered in those dissections.

Teaching Middle School Students About Electronic Circuits- Tim Hall

Mr. Hall would like his 7th and 8th grade industrial arts students to be able to successfully put together a variety of simple electronic parts to create a circuit that will perform a specific task. Students will be able to identify the various parts that make up the circuit and be able to explain what each part does. Funds will be used to purchase Electronic Educational Kits and related materials.

Visual Learning Enhances the English Curriculum- The Washburne English Department

As students develop their skills throughout the writing process, it is very helpful for them to see examples of effective introductions, smooth transitions from topic to topic, successful use of quotations, and interesting sentence variation. Funds from this grant were used to purchase a portable and lightweight document camera and projector for each English classroom, thereby benefiting all the students at Washburne. This equipment allowed teachers to share student work with the entire class.

New Interactive Washburne Website- Lynne Versen

Ms. Versen rebuilt the Washburne website, better enabling students teachers and parents to used it as a tool for information about the school and the curriculum. The website was also designed to serve as an education portal to the Internet, with links to educational resources that teachers found helpful. Funds were used to compensate Ms. Versen for her time and to purchase materials that made the creation of the website possible.

Author Visit- James Howe- Julie Halpern-Cordell

James Howe has written several children’s books that realistically and humorously deal with life in middle school. The Misfits and Totally Joe focus on bullying, self-identity, and friendship. Funds from this grant were used to enable a visit by Mr. Howe. Students prepared for his visit by reading The Misfits and followed up with letters to him about their own experiences with bullying. The day of the visit, Howe met with the whole school in 2 morning sessions and spent afternoon sessions with two groups of students who had written to him previously. In addition, he had a lunch session with teachers.

Bored? Play Board Games- Julie Halpern-Cordell

Funds from this grant were used to acquire a new selection of board games to keep in the Resource Center throughout the school year. This game purchase was a response to Ms. Halpern-Codell's belief that if students enjoy being in the RC for social activities, they will come back when they are in need of academic assistance or a book suggestion. Board games also provide a wonderful venue for socializing, fun and an avenue to practice math, logic, spelling, and other skills.

Audio Books for Grown Ups- Julie Halpern Cordell

With Foundation funds, Ms. Halpern-Cordell purchased a collection of audiobooks for teachers. The collection contains books that deal with the curriculum, as well as those that teachers would like to discuss with their students. Teachers helped in the selection of titles that were of interest and are tied to the curriculum. These books are available to all teachers.

Funding for Equipment and Technological Support Materials for Fitness Assessments and Student Portfolios- Washburne Kinetic Wellness Department

The KW department at Washburne purchased equipment and software that enables them to better record and share students' state of health and fitness. These changes in methodology of collecting and communicating fitness data enhanced the hands-on experience of the KW curriculum, and have benefited students at Washburne. All students have access to these tools and progress reports are readily available to all parents.

Return to main Grants page, or Past Grants page, or for Foundation-initiated programs that have become integral to the curriculum, see the Programs page.