The Shallowater Education Foundation, in its first year, was able to award over $25,000 for Innovative Teaching Grants. That money went directly back into classrooms to enhance the already stellar educational experience our students receive in Shallowater.
REWARDING FOR ACHIEVEMENT
Staff: Mary Hughes
Mary Hughes designed the Rewarding for Achievement project for Shallowater Elementary. The project was intended to provide a motivational tool for teachers to use in the area of behavior, reward, and character growth. She wanted there to be a tangible reward that would also be immediate for young learners, but also something that could not be purchased. In order to ensure that the reward had to be earned the “reward” was a coin in which only teachers possessed that could be inserted into a machine that only accepted the special coins. The project brought about daily excitement in the halls. The children got to leave their classroom to receive their prize, and the staff makes a big deal when they see the student using their “golden coin” reward.
Effectiveness was measured in the amount that teachers utilized the system. Each teacher adapted the reward program to fit their classroom management style, but nevertheless, the ball machine was used by 100 percent of the teachers.
Ms. Hughes intends to continue the program by changing out the rewards frequently so that the machine stays interesting, new, and exciting for the students.
A IS FOR APPLE: BRINGING IPADS & 21ST CENTURY LITERACY TO OUR YOUNGEST LEARNERS
Staff: Terri Nichols and Shelia Burt
Terri Nichols and Shelia Burt brought A is for Apple to Shallowater Elementary School. Funders were used to purchase two iPads and several literacy aps that were utilized during the literacy block on a rotation basis. Each elementary teacher was allowed three days with the two iPads for their students to use during literacy workstations. Students’ eyes lit up when they were handed an iPad. The teachers felt as if the iPads truly engaged the students in learning, and excited them. Students stayed on track and followed directions. There was initially a concern that students would explore other apps, and stray from the assigned activity, but this was not the case. The iPads allowed all students the ability to use devices that typically only the privileged children may have access to (at home). The students, surprisingly, treated and handled the iPads as if they were treasures; great care was taken of the technology that was able to instill confidence in some students. The effectiveness of the project was displayed in the motivation and excitement of the children to learn. The EOY and TPRI scores have not yet been given, but the projected outcomes are 95 percent of all students will meet target. The teachers intend to continue the program by putting the same literacy apps bought for the iPads on each teacher’s school iPod. Since each teacher has the iPads for only 3 days this year, the use of the iPods will help carry the learning forward. They also plan to purchase more iPads.
Carrie Odom initiated the “Scientific Discovery” program at Shallowater Elementary. This program allowed the science department to order science kits for all of the 1st grade classrooms. By using the materials in the kits, teachers were able to provide more hands on instruction to the students such as planting seeds and observing the growing process. Students are excited and eager to learn with these methods. The materials made them able to discover the wonders of science, and most of them will leave with experiences that will make a lasting impression on their lives. Most of the manipulative that was purchased will be able to be used year after year to enrich and enhance the science program.
LEARN, SHARE, CONNECT
Nicole Talley, Marissa Robertson and Robin Okerman brought the “Learn, Share, Connect” program to Shallowater Elementary School. Through the use of additional resources in the classroom and supplying families with information that they can use in their own home, teaching has been able to be more effective and a more positive connection between home and school has been made. This program allows parents to have a “PK” night during the year that gives the parents ideas on how to better help their children. There was a really good turnout at this year’s parent night, and students were excited to show parents some of the activities that they had been doing in class. Parents were asked to fill out an evaluation for in order for the effectiveness of the night to be made clear. Feedback showed that parents were glad to have ideas of things to use with their children over the summer. This program allows the entire family to take ownership in the achievements that their son/daughter makes, it allows them to see the child’s growth, and it provides the ability to share in the earned excitement. Next year, the program night may be done earlier in the year so that parents will have a better idea of what their child will be learning throughout their time in class.
Staff: Amanda Lee and Shelby Hendrick
Amanda Lee and Shelby Hendrick incorporated the Innovative Illustrators program at Shallowater Elementary. In the program, kindergarten students reenact a familiar story or song. A digital camera is used to take pictures of the students reenacting each part of the story. The pictures are printed, laminated, and bound together in a book that is added to the classroom library.
The program has been able to greatly improve the self-confidence and the self-image of the students. Students that are not normally interactive during group activates have often became excited to wish to share ideas for the books, and also want to be present in more of the pictures. The program also appears to have improved T.P.R.I scores in the areas of listening comprehension. The books produced have created an excitement for reading, and the students love to see themselves in the finished project.
The children are predicted to have continued improvement and growth, given more opportunities to make the books.
HANDWRITTING WITHOUT TEARS
Staff: Krystal Moyers
Krystal Moyers implemented the Handwriting Without Tears program at Shallowater Elementary. The program is a hands-on curriculum for handwriting instruction that was used for all six of the Kindergarten teachers. The hands-on nature of the curriculum has been helpful to many students, especially kinesthetic learners. Students are able to understand how to form letters by building them with wooden sticks. For example, one student that had been struggling with the letters “b” and “d” was finally able to differentiate between the two letters after using the curriculum. Daily assessments are done by watching the students use the manipulatives while working at the “Teaching Station.” Lined paper is used for independent writing and as a formal assessment of students’ handwriting. Having the unified handwriting curriculum for all of Kindergarten and Pre-K that is hands on enable the students to be more successful and fluent writers. In order to continue the success of the program, teachers will build upon the Handwriting Without Tears instruction students previously received by simply reusing the manipulatives that came with the curriculum.
ACCELERARTED READER: BULIDING LIFELONG READERS
Staff: Michelle Gray and Crystal Franklin
Michelle Gray and Crystal Franklin purchased prizes for the “AR” (accelerated reader) program at Shallowater Elementary. The program and prizes help motivate all students to read more books. The more books they read, the more tests they can take, and the more points they can earn for prizes. The program will continue by encouraging students to continue reading every single day.
Janie Neff brought iPads into the LLC classrooms at the Shallowater Elementary School with the iLearn program. The purpose of the iPads was to increase reading, math, socialization, and technology skills for all students. Not only did students show an increased interest in reading, language, and math, they also showed improvement in communication with each other! Grades were also so to have improved after using the iPads. Teachers will continue to gain knowledge about the iPads. They will continue to update applications and search for new ways to implement the iPads to teach students with special needs.
Mrs. Baker planned the “Shallowater Olympics” for the Elementary School. The Olympics provided a measurement of balance, coordination, and fine/gross motor skills, all of which improve readiness skills for future academics. The games were a way to show off the students’ skills. In turn, students were able to build up their confidence and self-esteem. The Olympics were a blast, and with the support of the Lubbock Chapter of Special Olympics Texas Young Athletes Program, it turned out to be an incredible success. The t-shirts and ribbons were provided by the chapter. This in combination with the high school volunteers, high school cheerleaders, band, mascot, and National Honor Society made the day unforgettable for all involved. Since the Olympics were so successful, they will continued to be held annually.