2010-11 Grant Recipients
Archie R. Cole Middle School
Feudal Japan Enrichment: This project aims to enrich the grade eight social studies curriculum in which students learn about feudal Japan. Resources for this part of the curriculum are limited to textbook and student notebook. This grant will allow for the purchase of 220 copies of The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn and the continued funding of an annual on-site presentation put on by Adam Mitchell of the Jinenkan Dojo of New York. He will showcase numerous primary sources, documents, and authentic artifacts from Japan that gohand-in-hand with the History Alive! Curriculum. Together, the book and the presentation will improve and reinforce the unit on Japanese class structure and warrior class culture.
“The grade eight social studies teachers are extremely excited and grateful to be recipients of an East Greenwich Education Foundation grant. The generosity and vision of the EGEF will make it possible for us to add unique elements to our curriculum that will help us to build a memorable, world-class unit, enriching the educational experience of all Cole eighth-graders for years to come.” —Daniel Seger
MIXITUPATLUNCH: This grant will allow the innovative program, MIXITUPATLUNCH, to be extended into the coming year. It is an activity that begins in late October in which teachers include activities and various reading on cultural diversity, differences, and tolerance toward each other. This theme is carried through in the Advisory program C Squared, where students continue discussions and activities to teach students to be more tolerant of others and to understand the cultural diversity of our country. The final activity happens on the second Tuesday in November when all of our students are given a lunch ticket that tells them where they will sit for one lunch. This activity takes students out of their comfort zone for one lunch and puts them at a table with students they may not know, but with an adult visitor from our local community. These adult visitors have discussion questions to start the conversation with the students and to challenge the student’s ideas about others.
Activities come from The Southern Poverty Law Center. They are the agency who sponsors the MIXITUPATLUNCH program. The director of MIXITUPATLUNCH has visited our program to see its uniqueness, and was thrilled to be a part of the activity! The program at Cole was written up in their quarterly magazine, and has become a model program.
CSQUARED (Cole Connection) is a program mandated by the RI Board of Regents. This program consists of small groups of up to 13 students who meet with a staff advisor weekly, they discuss topics, plan community service activities, and do monthly theme activities. The purpose is that students can know an adult in their school building well. This translates into adult support when needed.
“I love this job! It is so important for this middle school age to realize that we can truly get along. It is OK to meet new people. In meeting new people we learn to accept ourselves and that we have more in common than we thought.” —Rosie Metcalf
Rhode Island Teen Book Award Book Club: Each year, the Rhode Island Teen Book Award committee publishes a list of the twenty best new books published for young adults. Students are encouraged to read from the list and then vote for their favorite book each spring. In the 2009-2010 school year, we offered a popular teen book club based on reading from this annual book list and we would like to expand upon our ideas.
This grant will allow for more students to be involved than last year, have more books available to choose from and ultimately, create a festive and celebratory atmosphere to demonstrate that reading is fun. Our plan is to engage as many middle school students as we can in reading and participating in a variety of engaging enrichment activities based on the books read. We will meet monthly after school throughout the school year to discuss, share, and participate in literary activities.
We also want to take advantage of students’ natural affinity for and appreciation of technology by using a variety of technology-based applications to share opinions, to communicate about books and to collaborate on literature-related projects. We will do this by setting up a wiki for collaboration and discussion and by inviting students to create podcasts and write reviews for sharing on the library web site.
“Our plan is to combine reading great books with some engaging activities, games and technology. We want our students to discover that reading and talking about books can be good lively fun. We are thrilled that this grant will enable us to involve many more students in our efforts to celebrate books and reading. We can’t wait to get started! Thank you, EGEF!” —Connie Zack and Paige MacKenzie
WeatherBug Station: The opening of the new middle school was the perfect opportunity for East Greenwich to join the The WeatherBug Schools Network, the largest weather network in the world. This grant will allow for the purchase of a weather tracking station to install on the roof that will record 27 different real-time weather measurements. The physical product will include a wind sensor, rain gauge, and internet transmission box along with an HD camera that will provide real time weather images of East Greenwich. The collected information is transmitted into several online programs and also to local weather broadcast stations. This grant will allow for the integration of technology into the classroom as students access live, local weather data as well as live weather data from schools around the world.
“Science really lends itself to authentic learning experiences and this cutting edge tool combines content and technology to create ‘real life’ simulations and data analysis which, simply put, is SO cool.” —Kelly Grennan Smith
East Greenwich High School
Global Communication: The foreign language department has a state of the art language laboratory including access to the world wide web where students can research using authentic language web sites, in addition to audio activities. This grant will allow teachers to create opportunities for real time communication by offering a visual and audio exchange with native speakers across the globe. Through the free software called Skype and the use of web cameras, students will be able to see and speak with their peers around the world to discuss, share, debate, and create in the target languages. Approximately 70% of the student population takes advantage of classes in the foreign language department and could be impacted by this purchase. A one-time purchase of these web cameras provide years of authentic language opportunities to better understand the viewpoints of others around the world.
“The foreign language teachers look forward to offering our students opportunities to share their thoughts, ideas and dreams with their peers across the globe using the technology obtained with the grant from EG Foundation. Students will be able to discuss current events, problem solve issues of concern to young people, or collaborate to write stories, all in real time using the target language that they are studying.” —Lois Chavez
James H. Eldredge Elementary School
D.R.U.M.: Transforming Lives…Building Community: “Diversity, Respect and Unity through Music (D.R.U.M.): Transforming Lives… Building Community” will bring the experience of world drumming into our school community by enhancing the current general music curriculum and by offering new and unique enrichment opportunities for students. World drumming offers a fresh approach to music education, one that is versatile, rigorous and sustainable. From simple shaker patterns to breathtakingly complex lead drums phrases, differentiated learning is built-in and can be easily tailored to fit any age group or ability level.
The music, like the curriculum itself, is highly structured, requiring each member of the ensemble to play from memory a distinct and constantly evolving part. World drumming is also sustainable due to how it is taught. With vocalization and movement being so central to any lesson, only a limited number of instruments are needed. The D.R.U.M. curriculum supports James H. Eldredge School’s current inclusion model and is relatively inexpensive, but beyond that, World Music Drumming exposes students to cultures other than their own and provides them with a tangible way to celebrate community and honor diversity within their school community.
Students are challenged to demonstrate the six pillars of character taught by our “Character Counts!” program. Without cooperation and teamwork, each student helping the next student to succeed, the ensemble cannot function. The first keyword in the curriculum is “respect”- for others in the group, for the cultures being studied and the instruments used. Cultural differences are celebrated as a rich palate of life choices and “other” is seen as a good. World drumming is exciting and when a student’s interest in leaning music is sparked, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
“As a music educator I have the opportunity and obligation to provide a unique and engaging learning environment where all students are able to create music and experience it in a way that is meaningful to them. I want students to develop a respect for music and understand its role, not only in various cultures around the world, but more importantly, in their own lives.” —Mary Catherine Lamoureux