|Public Affairs - Press Release|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 21, 2004
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Area teachers receive mini-grants through Center for Creative Learning
COLUMBUS, Miss. – The Roger F. Wicker Center for Creative Learning at Mississippi University for Women recently awarded more than $9,000 in mini-grants to six area teachers for innovative learning projects.
“This is the first time we’ve offered these mini-grants for teachers. I feel a little bit like Mrs. Claus,” said Dr. Suzanne Bean, director.
LaShay Blansett and Lindsay Brett from Tupelo Middle School will use their $2,000 grant for Talking Africa, a project that integrates curriculum and culture. The drama students will lead a broad-based project that explores African art and puppetry in preparation for the opening of the African American Historical Society in Mississippi. With the help of peers in geography, art, English, chorus and excel technology, the students will create and present a puppet show on African Arts for elementary students in the district.
Daphne Bordelon, a kindergarten teacher at Sale Elementary, received a $2,000 check for Parent W.R.A.P. (Writing, Reading And Phonics) Sessions. The two sessions will enable parents of the kindergarten students to receive instruction from teachers on how to help their child at home with the skills that their child has mastered on the Fox in a Box literacy assessment. Parents will receive games, books and other materials to use at home to work with their child to improve their understanding and mastery of the required skills.
Christi Laird, who teaches at Lee Middle School, will use $1,255 for Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition. The purpose of this project is to increase written expression skills by utilizing a software program currently available that has voice recognition. The rationale for doing this project is to provide an accommodation to assist students who have physical barriers to writing and/or skill deficits in written expression. It will assist any student in improving skills required for state mandated writing assessments and the writing components of the Mississippi Curriculum Test.
Tracie Sempier of Lee Middle School was awarded $700 for Seafloor Mapping Through Scientific Inquiry. The project is a multidisciplinary problem solving activity, which challenges students to develop and implement an investigation to map the bottom of a simulated ocean floor. The idea behind this project is to create large bins, which model actual ocean floor bottoms. The bins will be filled with dyed water so that the bottom of the bins are not visible. Students will work in teams as oceanographers using math, science and technology skills to uncover the bathymetry of the created seafloor.
Barbie Stanford, librarian from Annunciation Catholic School, will use $1,925 for Just Bookin’, a school visit by children’s book author Susan Stevens Crummel. The author will be invited to speak to students about what is involved in writing children’s books. She will make two 45 to 60 minute presentations, speaking to kindergarten through third grade students in one session and fourth through sixth grade students in another. During each session, she will focus on the importance of reading, writing and storytelling; talk about the creative process; share the experience of writing stories in collaboration with her sister.
Cindy Wamble of Lee Middle School received $1,300 for Teaching At-Risk Students Using Picture Books. This project will use picture books to teach and motivate remedial students to read and improve their overall reading skills. Research shows that older children in need of remediation process reading differently from those with well developed reading skills. These reading skills require interaction among visuals, written, and oral stimuli. Picture books provide the interest, images and readability that remedial students may need to engage with content material.
According to Dr. Bean, 21 proposals were submitted for the first round of grants.
“All identification info was removed from the proposals and they were sent (with rubrics) to the Center’s outside evaluator at Ball State. She and her team rated each proposal with a total possible score of 100 points. All six recipients were the only proposals to receive scores of 90 or above.”
There are two award periods annually. The proposal deadline for spring grants is Oct. 31, and the deadline for fall proposals is April 30. Awardees will be notified within six weeks of the proposal deadline and funds will be available within three weeks notification.
The grants are available to K-12 teachers or university faculty members who want to try innovative learning projects that will positively affect K-12 student achievement.
Funded by a congressionally-directed grant, the mission of the Center is to provide innovations in teaching, learning opportunities, service and educational research across Mississippi and beyond.
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