2010 Initiative Grants
The following Initiative Grants were funded by Winnetka Public Schools Foundation!
21st Century Music Learning: iPod Touches in the Music Classroom
A Foundation grant was used to purchase and distribute iPods throughout the District 36. iPod technology, which has dramatically transformed the ability to purchase, play, organize, and store music, can also be used to enhance learning. Possibilities abound using the iPod to play, create, and share music as well as reinforce, record, and assess student learning.
Crow Island, Greeley, Hubbard Woods and Skokie
Beyond School Walls: Learning While Serving
Using Foundation funds, several service projects with a focus on environmental issues, were implemented throughout the district. Each project began with the identification of an interesting environmental topic within a current unit of study. Students and teachers researched ways in which the topic is reflected in a nearby area. They then explored ideas for relevant service projects. Children completed projects based on their own capabilities and actions.
Crow Island, Greeley and Hubbard Woods
The Kid Wind Project: Putting Wind to Work
The Kids Wind Weightlifter Wind Turbine is a wind energy kit that explores the use of wind as a power source. A Foundation grant was awarded which allowed for the purchase of this kit. This grant was part of a project which integrated an engineering unit into the 3rd grade science curriculum and acted as a complement to the existing Design Challenges, Electric Circuits, and Waterwheels units.
Mathematics Online Games Subscription
Games are not only fun but an integral part of Everyday Mathematics and one of our core sets of math materials. Math games provide an alternative to repetitive drills, reduce the use of worksheets, help students develop the ability to think critically and solve problems, and offer an almost unlimited source of practice materials. Using Foundation funds, and responding to parent requests to help reinforce math skills, an online games subscription was purchased which allowed all Greeley students to have access to their favorite math games from home.
Legos in School
Foundation funds were used to purchase Legos, which are a natural extension of the Froebel Gifts (blocks) and can be used for instruction in demonstrating perimeter, area, scale, and design in the 4th grade. Legos are also used to teach problem solving and creative thinking to children of all ages. They have been integrated into the Resource Center, Math Lab curricula, and homerooms so that all children at Hubbard Woods can develop an appreciation for Legos as tools for learning.
Social-Emotional Literacy Through Compassionate Communication
Two teachers attended a summer institute (funded by the District) that focuses on the training of a supportive, dynamic, learning community based in the consciousness and practices of Nonviolent Communication. This training is based on the work of Marshall Rosenberg. Foundation funds were used to support curriculum writing, which was used to develop and organize the acquired skills in order to create an implementation plan at the classroom and school levels. Staff supported the implementation of these new skills throughout Hubbard Woods.
Reaching Across the Board
Foundation funds were used to purchase a Graphic Tablet which can be used as an affordable and mobile interactive whiteboard for student presentations and teacher lessons. The Tablet serves as a brainstorming and collaborative tool that students can pass around to add ideas, which are then immediately saved on the computer and projected on the screen for the entire class (group) to view. In addition, students can use the table as a tool to create images for their projects, thereby reducing the need to find them on the internet.
Consumer Challenge for 6th Grade Students
As part of a Foundation grant, funds were used to purchase lab equipment. This equipment was used to enhance the final sixth grade inquiry unit in which students work in teams or as individuals to challenge advertisers’ product claims. Students were asked to choose a product and devise a fair test to verify advertisers’ claims. Purchased materials were used to test and discover if the claims were truthful.
Rube Goldberg Invention Convention
Fifth grade students build inventions inspired by Pulitzer Prize winner Rube Goldberg as part of their Connecting Energy Concepts unit. Mr. Goldberg was the inventor of complex contraptions that complete a simple task. Students’ reflections of their invention process are one of the most important aspects of this project and, as part of that, they are asked to show their progress. This progress is captured through drawings, digital pictures, making digital movies, inputting data, and writing observational narratives. Students complete their project by creating an electronic document, which is crucial in capturing the spirit of the inventor.
English Classroom Writing Labs
Foundation funds were used to purchase computers for Washburne Language Arts classrooms. This purchase was used to enhance writing projects by providing regular and flexible access to technology as well as supporting a multi-tiered (differentiation) approach to teaching.
Reading Sounds Better with Playaways
Playaways are self-contained players, smaller than an iPod, each with a complete audiobook inside. These devices were purchased with Foundation funds to benefit reluctant readers as well as advanced readers. The selection of playaways purchased enhanced the curriculum and provided excellent outside reading choices.
Book Clubs in Social Studies Too
Themed sets of books were purchased by the Reading Specialist and Social Studies teachers through a Foundation grant. These books are used to give students a choice of 5-8 titles that fit with the unit currently being studied. Students can choose up to 3 titles and are then grouped by title choice and reading level. As a group, students read and discuss their book choices. The titles purchased help students build on what they have learned from their textbooks to gain a deeper understanding of the era being studied.