2009 Initiative Grants
The following Initiative Grants were funded by Winnetka Public Schools Foundation!
Crow Island & Greeley
Social Studies Unit: The History of Winnetka
With the District-wide Social Studies review complete, a second grade teacher from Crow Island and Greeley will collaborate to research and revise the second grade unit on the history of our Winnetka Community. The unit will then be shared with all District 36 2nd grade staff.
Greeley Theatre Project
The goal of this project is to create and support a theater program at GR as the space is integrated into the curriculum, as well as establish a partnership with the New Trier High School Theatre department. Funds will be used to enhance the Greeley Theatre in order to allow all classrooms to have daily access to a space for storytelling, plays, dance and drama. Students will be encouraged to learn verbal self-confidence, awareness of their own ideas and imagination, enhancement of listening skills and social emotional awareness of others as they use the theater to share what they have learned.
The Greeley social worker will create a grief guide for teachers that provides accurate and informative information regarding grief and loss in children. It would also describe the many faces of grief as well as offer practical suggestions to support children in the classroom during times of loss and crisis. Funds will be used for curriculum writing as well as to purchase picture books for students and related resources for parents and teachers.
Kindle, Kindle, Little Star
These electronic books will be used to help 2nd – 4th grade students whose fluency rate is not at the same level as their peers. Children can read or listen to books. A built in dictionary that helps students pronounce unknown words is one feature that will be helpful as children work to improve their fluency. In addition, kindles will help children of different reading abilities to read the same book. CD players will also be purchased and used by all students as they listen and read along to books.
Marcy Cook Math Cards for All Winnetka Students
Building on a successful TIG that Hubbard Woods received last year, sets of Marcy Cook Math Cards will be purchased for all buildings. The cards help increase student ability to think flexibly about numbers and will provide teachers with a tool for differentiation. Students will benefit from a common experience in math and this will also provide common ground for teacher articulation.
Kindle-ing Active Reading Strategies
A set of Kindles will be used to enforce active reading strategies such as writing notes while reading and referring back to text during discussions, enabling students to look up vocabulary in the dictionary while reading, and looking up other facts, meanings, origins etc using Wikipedia. Other features that will help students include a read-to-me feature, adjustable text size, and the ability to download a plethora of titles.
Literacy is a key component to student success. To help students find interesting and appealing books, a Blog on our district Intranet will be established for students to share video ads publicizing their favorite titles. A wide range of books covering various reading levels will be purchased and students will be invited to read these books and create a brief video outlining the book and what makes it a good choice for other students. Funds also will be used to purchase 2 video Flip cameras.
Make Reused Items Come To Life
A theme of the 5th Grade Service class has been reusing basic items. Funds will be used to purchase a PicoCricket Workshop Kit which includes 5 tiny computers that will be programmed by groups of students to make reused creations communicate, move, light up, and play music. This kit will provide a fun and educational way to enhance and enrich the 5th Grade Service curriculum. Funds will also be used to purchase a Flip Camera to record the creations for sharing with other students and families.
The Skokie Bake Club
To help children transition to a new environment, students will be given the opportunity to meet and interact with students throughout the school community through baking. Nutrition, proper cleanup skills and even interaction with staff not normally part of the students’ day are opportunities that students will also enjoy. Groups are kept small to encourage interaction among all participants.
Scaffolding Reading Group Discussions
A document will be created that guides teachers through the process of teaching students reading through the use of reading groups. This document will map out the scaffolding process, which will teach students how to participate in a reading group discussion with the goal of independently running their own discussions by the end of the year. Scaffolding discussions is an excellent avenue for differentiating instruction.
English Classroom Writing Labs
Additional technology equipment will be purchased to allow more focus on the writing process in English classrooms. This increased access to technology will allow for greater differentiation of instruction, increased alignment with RtI, and a reduced need for students and teachers to vacate classrooms in order to work on writing.
Bookworms, Inc: Book Trailers
By using Flip cameras, and learning to plan, film, and edit, students will create their own Book Trailers to encourage a desire for others to read the same book. They will learn the process of creating a visual “book report” without giving away too much of the story’s detail yet still peaking curiosity to encourage others to read. Finished projects will be posted on You Tube.
Computer Engineering & Programming with Robotics
Staff will re-establish an elective course, RoboLab, for building lego models and programming them to follow specific directions. Students will apply creative thinking strategies while writing complex computer programs using variables, conditional statements, subroutines and multi-tasks.
Addressing Technology and its Safety in Middle School
The fast and furious growth of technology bullying is hard to keep up with. Social workers will work collaboratively with technology specialists, administrators and community resources to develop a series of educational opportunities around the issues related to technology use and safety. Sharing of new laws, responsible use of technology, dangers and abuses, as well as benefits and positive uses of the plethora of technology available to students, educating faculty through professional development opportunities, speakers and written material, and creation of a similar series of opportunities for parents will be considered.