Falmouth Education Foundation recently announced its grantees for the 2016-2017 school year, which include single classroom projects to district-wide initiatives ranging from mindfulness training at Morse Pond School, to a video collaboration between Falmouth High School and Falmouth Community Television, to providing technology for a student newsletter at Mullen-Hall Elementary School.
“We received a record number of strong proposals this year, and we were able to partially fund or fully fund 39 projects, for a total of just under $100,000, our biggest year ever,” said Board President Ellen Barol. “FEF is very excited about helping teachers bring so many high-quality innovative programs to our schools. We’re proud of our district and very grateful to the generous community that made these grants possible.”
Morse Pond School technology teacher and first-time grantee, Susan Baker, also expressed gratitude. Ms. Baker’s project, “Robotics in Action,” will combine STEM with computer technology. Students will use problem-solving to construct robots and to write program code. “I am extremely excited to have the opportunity with this grant to bring robotics to fifth and sixth grade enrichment periods at Morse Pond,” she said.
Tracey Crago, director of Falmouth Volunteers in Public Schools, was awarded a grant to implement “Choices,” a new program at Lawrence Middle School aimed at providing lessons on academic discipline, such as time management and study skills, basic money management, and how to set and achieve goals.
“Falmouth VIPS is really excited about our FEF-funded project this year. VIPS volunteers will bring the lessons into the classrooms to help build students’ familiarity with important concepts and life skills,” Mrs. Crago said. “This grant helps reinforce lesson covered in junior achievement at the elementary level, and will prepare students for other financial literacy initiatives at the high school level. Ultimately, VIPS volunteers and programs will reach students and staff with financial literacy education at all levels.”
Superintendent of Schools Nancy Taylor underscored the impact of FEF’s contributions to Falmouth Public Schools.
“FEF grants are providing Falmouth's students with cutting-edge, innovative educational experiences that greatly enhance their learning and their lives,” she said. “Our teachers and administrators are enormously grateful for this generous support.”
The 2016-2017 grantees are listed below by school:
East Falmouth Elementary
Listen Up! Playaway Audio Books in our School Library Teacher: Tara Draper Grant Award: $2082 (full funding) Third- and fourth-grade students will benefit from a rich experience as they can borrow Playaway Audio books to access literature through a different medium. These audiobooks will challenge students to read more difficult texts, explore titles from other cultures, and discover favorites that they might not have had a chance to enjoy.
Drumming Around the World Teacher: Korey Charles Grant Award: $3251 (full funding) Drumming has been an essential element in music and movement since the beginning of time. Students will learn how drumming is used in cultures around the world and in American music. Through composed and improvised music, students will learn the hand drumming technique. Honoring folk traditions round the world, students will combine their drumming with movement techniques. Funds will buy a 14-drum set; movement techniques were supported through a previous FEF grant.
iPads for K-4 Physical Education Teacher: David Watson Grant Award: $1084 (full funding) With iPads in physical education class, teachers can practice a different kind of "flipped classroom": using video to increase skill development. East Falmouth and Teaticket physical education teachers will use an iPad to share videos and to use music in class lessons. Teacher iPads will provide students with video instruction on skills, allowing teachers to differentiate. In addition, teachers will use music to integrate music and motion techniques.
Alternate Seating: The Power of Choice Teacher: Anissa Graff Grant Award: $3550 (partial funding) By offering alternative seating choices to second and third graders in three classrooms—especially those with learning styles that impact engagement—teachers hope to create a flexible environment that will improve student achievement and promote independence. These choices include crate seating, beanbag chairs, stand-up desks, and podiums. Data show that alternative seating improves student engagement.
Falmouth High School
FHS Popcorn Sales Teacher: Michelle Duguay-Martinez Grant Award: $940 (full funding) Students in the Learning Center will develop social communication skills with a new business in popcorn sales. With the support of FEF and of the FHS woodworking classes, students will run a popcorn cart that will sell popcorn at FHS and at school functions. Students will learn about a business model, money management, and safe-serve techniques. These skills will support the Learning Center students (ages 18-22) as they make the transition out of the Falmouth Public Schools. The grant will pay for all materials for the cart; however, wood and construction will be donated.
Adaptive Physical Education Equipment Teacher: Kim Donnelly Grant Award: $500 (full funding) Evidence shows that learning good health habits and participating in physical activities benefit a person for life. Students in the Learning Center classes will benefit from the small-group activities that the adaptive equipment allows. This equipment will support students who experience very challenging physical disabilities.
Coral Corollary Teacher: Corine Adams Grant Award: $6420 (full funding) Coral reefs teem with life, but threats to their existence abound. Through this grant, ceramics and marine ecology students will experience coral reef life by creating ceramic corals for both healthy and bleached reefs using 3-D printers and software. Classes will partner with WHOI coral expert Konrad Hughen and will visit WHOI and the New England Aquarium. Funds will pay for pottery supplies, two computers, and field trips to the NE Aquarium and WHOI.
Coral Collaboration Teacher: Cheryl Milliken Grant Award: $866 (full funding) Climate change is causing a monumental coral bleaching event in reefs. In collaboration with the ceramics classes, marine ecology students will develop and maintain a reef tank in order to visualize unique organisms in a reef. Classes will partner with WHOI coral expert Konrad Hughen and will visit WHOI and the New England Aquarium. Marine ecology students will contribute to the ceramics display by creating invertebrate models of different phyla. In addition to those budget items mentioned above, FEF funds will support the creation of the coral reef tank in Ms. Milliken's classroom.
Ekphrasis: AP Literature and Composition Teacher: Lauren Kenny Grant Award: $1509 (full funding) Ekphrasis brings the experience of an object (art or sculpture) to a listener or reader through highly detailed descriptive writing, such as poetry. Students will extend this experience beyond the Internet and on-line searches to galleries and museums. Students will study the historical and geographical literary time and view forst-hand the art that reflects those eras. Visits to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Athenaeum, paid for by the grant, will deepen the connection between literature and art and inspire voice in writing. The project culminates with a formal reception at which students present their written pieces.
Tidal: Observing Migration Patterns on Cape Cod Teacher: Jane Baker Grant Award: $7990 (full funding) Many animals hibernate or winter-over on Cape Cod, but the arrival and departure of many creatures mark the seasonal transitions for us. With the theme of Migration, this project brings together FHS English and art classes, Teaticket School students, naturalists, writers, artists, and scientists to visit places where migration takes place on Cape Cod, to experience the connection between art and nature, and to create artwork and writing in response to these experiences. Culminations will be an exhibit at Highfield Hall, a permanent installment in Teaticket Park, a bound book of elementary school students' work (created by their high school friends), and a chance for high school and Teaticket artists to compete in the Eco-Arts festival in Provincetown. FEF funds will be used for art and construction materials, for materials to hang the exhibit, for stipends for two visitors, and for field trips.
Don’t Watch TV; Make it Yourself Teacher: Ryan Webber Grant Award: $3150 (full funding) Video production is uniquely cross-curricular and includes reading, writing, and research skills. This project will provide students the opportunity to use current industry-standard video editing software, Final Cut Pro-X, to become better storytellers and share their projects with the Falmouth community, including FHS and Falmouth Community Television.
Lawrence Middle School
Let’s Shake, Measure, and Bake Teacher: Barbara Blumberg Grant Award: $856 (full funding) Research shows that special needs students benefit from direct instruction and repetition of skills to help them be independent in functional life skills. This project will help students with significant challenges learn about nutrition while preparing easy and healthy meals. Students will read recipes, gather ingredients, measure, bake, and cook, and learn to use appliances. FEF funds will pay for all equipment and materials.
Lawrence Makerspace Teacher: Sarah Hines Grant Award: $4767 (full funding) Makerspaces involve experimenting, creative problem-solving, tinkering, constructing, and understanding that when you take risks you may fail, but you try again. This project will support the creation of Makerspaces in the Lawrence School library. In these spaces, students use hands-on materials to create projects in support of their curriculum from coding a robot to wiring a circuit. Cross-collaborations with all disciplines are possible with maker spaces. Funds will pay for materials related to coding and robotics, as well as an iPad mini.
Robotic Poetry Teacher: Janice Lewis Grant Award: $3582 (full funding) Seventh grade engineering students will use hummingbird robotics kits to design and build interactive robotic displays that represent the meanings of poems they study in their English classes. The use of open-ended physical computing materials allows students to exercise their creative and artistic sides, collaborate, and make choices as they plan and build their displays. Students will display their projects at an open house Robotic Poetry event. FEF funds will pay for robotics kits.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Workshops and Performance with Shakespeare and Co. Teacher: Liz Liles Grant Award: $2500 (full funding) In this grade 8 ELA and arts integrated unit, students work in differentiated groups to read and perform selected scenes from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students participate in a two-day set of workshops with the Shakespeare and Co. troupe and develop an understanding of language, text, and history while having fun and performing. Next year’s program deepens as students will prepare a “performance night” for the community.
Creating Movies Using the iOgrapher Teacher: Janice Williams-Nimtz Grant Award: $2351 (full funding) Eighth grade students at Lawrence School participate in a Community Service Learning course that encourages students to solve a problem in their world. A component of the course is the documentary that each differentiated group produces to support its cause. Last year FEF provided two iOgraphers, a device used to film and record. In this continuing grant, FEF provides the remaining iOgraphers to facilitate the documentary production.
Self Portraits Using Digital Photography Teacher: Marisa Repeta Grant Award: $4547 (full funding) In this cross-curricular art project, all grade seven students will use technology to create two different self-portraits. Students will photograph themselves using the computer camera, use Photoshop to transform that to a value scale, and from that scale paint a self-portrait. FEF will pay for all equipment related to the project.
Movers and Shakers: Exploring Earth Science and Curriculum Frameworks in the Coastal Marine Environment Teacher: Kristina Woods Grant Award: $1950 (partial funding) In this staff development project, Lawrence School (5) and Morse Pond (1) science teachers will attend a one-week staff development course that focuses on the new science standards. These standards now combine life science (formerly grade 7), physical science (formerly grade 8) with earth science. The June course also includes a class follow-up in November.
Morse Pond School
Creating a 21st Century Learning Commons for Student-Centered Learning Teacher: Liz Abbott Grant Award: $1000 (partial funding) Learning is student-inquiry based in the 21st century, and the Morse Pond library teacher is seeking to adapt the library to that change by creating a learning commons, with an emphasis on inquiry-based learning. This grant will fund some of the technology for that goal including Makerspace materials, such as STEM Maker (a station stocked with materials) and a digital photo-creator kit.
Robotics in Action Teacher: Susan Baker Grant Award: $3600 (full funding) STEM combines with computer technology classes at Morse Pond. Fifth and sixth grade students will use problem-solving to construct robots and to write code to program the robots. Learning modules include sensory receptors and motor receptors.
Life Science Cross-Grade Level Teaching Teacher: Melissa Hamilton Grant Award: $409 (full funding) In this cross-grade level collaboration, FHS AP Biology students in Heather Goodwin’s class will design and implement life science lessons for Melissa Hamilton’s grade 6 science class. FHS students will assist and teach grade 6 students to construct cell models and to develop arguments and analysis to support the concept that body systems carry out important life functions.
Life Skills in the Morse Pond Learning Center Teacher: Melissa Hurley Grant Award: $570 (full funding) Morse Pond School is conveniently located near the commercial part of town affording an opportunity for Learning Center students to develop important life skills in communication and independence. Based on thematic units created by the teacher, the grant will provide weekly real-life opportunities for students, such as developing meal plans, shopping, and cooking. In addition, this grant will help students to transition to the community outside of school.
Morse Ponderings Magazine Teacher: Brian Switzer Grant Award: $1675 (full funding) Students in the Talented, Eager, and Motivated Class at Morse Pond seek to publish additional issues of their magazine, Morse Ponderings. This grant will allow the class to produce an additional issue of the 32-page magazine that is delivered to grades 2-6 in the Falmouth Public Schools. Students will gain experience writing authentically for an audience, laying out and producing the magazine, and learning the technology and software used in publication.
Mindfulness Training for Grade 5 Students Teacher: Joanne Sykes Grant Award: $3000 (partial funding) Mindfulness teaches students important life skills that can help manage stress, recognize emotions, and develop techniques to calm busy minds. Last year FEF funded $6000 to the Morse Pond guidance department to bring the Calmer Choice mindfulness program to grade 5. This year, FEF will fund $3000 for the “train the trainer” model in which guidance counselors Joanne Sykes and Patt Dietlin will be trained in the Calmer Choice mindfulness program.
Mullen Hall Elementary
Tools of the Mind Life Skills Teacher: Ashley Moore Grant Award: $1233 (full funding) FEF has supported the Tools of the Mind curriculum for all kindergarten classes at in the Falmouth Public Schools. This continuing grant will support the addition of a literacy component of a Language Center to the program at Mullen Hall. Language Center activities include phonemic awareness activities, sight word centers, and sentence games. These foundational literacy activities will help student facility with language.
Mullen Hall News: The Kids’ Perspective Teacher: Robyn Langmead Grant Award: $3466 (full funding) Third graders will experience writing a school newsletter from their perspective. Students will learn skills such as audience, interview, drafting, revising, and publishing as they develop this school-wide newspaper. This grant will fund the technology (7 Chromebooks) and the classroom materials to produce the school-wide publication.
iCreate in Grade 3 Teacher: Kelly Pariseault Grant Award: $1152 (full funding) In this continuing grant, third graders will participate in five hands-on, student-centered multi-disciplinary real world lessons from the common core. Projects include theater, engineering, science, writing, geography, and poetry. Materials will be carried over from the first year, but this grant supplies the consumables.
The Fourth-Grade Reading Olympics Teacher: Lilia Davis Grant Award: $1782 (full funding) Fourth graders at Mullen Hall will be challenged to read fifteen recently released and highly-recommended texts that range in genre, readability, and format. The goal of the Olympics is to encourage students to read, discuss, and analyze a variety of texts and to share these books at home. Students will earn incentives along the way. Students may access the texts in any way from reading, to listening, to audio books.
English Language Lab: Empowering Falmouth’s Language Learners Through Technology Teacher: Elizabeth Emmons Grant Award: $2500 (partial funding) This grant will assist English Language Instructors in tech-based instruction for English Language Learners. Students will create videos that include role-playing, animation, and symbols to communicate. Students will also research themes related to the National Geographic curriculum used in their ELL classes.
Two-Four-Six-Eight Watch Second-Graders Communicate Teacher: Karen Kruse Grant Award: $1810 (partial funding) The physical process of letter formation is a barrier to many of our students. Research shows that if a student’s handwriting illegible or his writing fluency is slow, his performance lags behind classmates. This grant will fund non-electronic materials for teachers to use with students to improve handwriting skills such as Writing Practice Magic Boards and manuscript mastery practice.
Warm Welcome Teacher: Martha Asendorf Grant Award: $740 (full funding) This project will provide a warm welcome to students arriving in Falmouth from foreign countries and will increase the understanding of Falmouth students to the customs and languages of their classmates’ countries of origin. Central to this grant is the purchase of flags representing the countries of each student. The flags will be displayed in the gymnasium. Also central will be texts in the library about each country. All classrooms with foreign-born students will read the texts and learn what it is like to come to a new place with a new language and new cultures. All Mullen-Hall students will learn about the flags and the countries they represent.
North Falmouth Elementary
Music Pipes Panel Installation Teacher: Timothy Adams Grant Award: $1851 (full funding) The Music Pipes Panel in the playground at North Falmouth will allow all students to explore musical concepts like melody and rhythm during their playtime. This project assists North Falmouth School as it works toward providing the school with high-quality, multi-sensory play experience. This grant will support the installation of the musical pipes in the student playground.
Small Ropes Trail Teacher: Timothy Adams Grant Award: $2500 (full funding) North Falmouth School and its PTO have embarked on the renovation of its playground. Included in this is a Small Ropes Trail. This trail allows students to work on the gross-motor and problem-solving skills during their free playtime. FEF will partner with the North Falmouth PTO by supporting part of the Small Ropes Trail.
A Makerspace in the Elementary Classroom Teacher: Kristin Bergeron Grant Award: $3011 (full funding) “If you can imagine it, you can create it.” This is the motto of the Makerspace. Makerspaces provide a variety of tools, resources, and opportunities to extend learning and to cultivate higher-order thinking skills. Students will explore math, art, science, technology, and engineering in the social environment of the library. The library teacher will partner with classroom teachers to incorporate learning through the trial and error of creation in Makerspaces in the library. This grant supports the Makerspace kits with the materials for students to collaborate in goups of 2-4. Some of the collaborations will be curriculum-based; some will be for students to develop on their own. Kits range from gizmos and gadgets, to marble runs, to knitting and origami.
Promoting and Supporting Independent Reading in First Grade Teacher: MaryAnn McMenamy Grant Award: $4500 (partial funding) This grant will fund independent reading libraries in all first grade classrooms to ensure that students in this Title One school (determined by the percentage of low-income students) are reading for pleasure 30 minutes every day. The goal is to have 90% of first graders reading on grade level.
Good Readers Make Good Writers Teacher: Diana Clark Grant Award: $3021 (full funding) This grant will fund dedicated and inviting reading spaces in adjoining first grade classrooms. Students will have a quiet place, including bean bag chairs and rug, to choose and read books. If needed, additional support (head phones and audio programs) will be available to access those books. Each student will have a reading goal and a writing goal for the week. Eventually students will create their own illustrated stories.
Blogging Our Way to Improved Literacy Teacher: Nichole Freeman Grant Award: $6000 (partial funding) Blogging creates a platform through which students can experience the writing process through an engaging, authentic, and motivating way. As grade 3 and 4 students create cross-curricular blog posts and provide effective comments, they will increase the frequency of their writing and improve writing, editing, and technology literacy skills. Students and will use the medium to communicate with the school community and with parents. This grant will support the technology needed for the project.
Dewey in the Library Librarian: Kathy Rodriguez Grant Award: $1250 (full funding) Assisting students to find informational texts in an elementary library can be a challenge. This grant will make that process easier, and at the same time enhance the ambiance of the library itself. Students often struggle to find the informational texts they need when they have a short period of time to do so. This grant will fund the creation of a mural of the Dewey Decimal System. An artist volunteering her time will create a large mural depicting the decimal system under which books are arranged in the library. The library teacher will use this mural as lessons, and the students will have permanent access to locating informational text.
Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS)
Increasing Student Financial Literacy and Improving Life Skills Director: Tracey Crago Grant Award: $2250 (full funding) The Falmouth Public Schools is dedicated to improving literacy skill for all students. One of the most important literacy skills is financial literacy, an area in which many students have little knowledge. This grant will support the introduction of the CHOICES program at Lawrence School, an interactive, decision-making workshop focusing on academic discipline, time and money management, and goal setting for teens presented by community and business volunteers. Specifically, the grant will pay for curriculum and training materials and a stipend for a trainer.