4th Grade, Chalker Elementary School
Cobb County Schools
Project: Green School Recycling Program
Chalker Elementary 'Green School Recycling Program' sought to engage students in science literacy by implementing a school wide recycling program. Using 3rd and 4th grade standards that detail how pollution and conservation predict changes in the environment and positive effects on ecosystems, students across grade levels described and explained the relationship between scientific ideas and implementation of concepts. The Chalker Elementary 'Green School Recycling Program' afforded students the opportunity to read more engaging science literature and have more hands on science experiences while learning these new standards.
6th-8th Grade STEM, Bay Creek Middle School
Gwinnett County Public Schools
Project: Cultivating Community
The idea for this project came from a love of science and community involvement. Mrs. Aglietti’s 7th grade life science students worked through a series of lessons where they were introduced to cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems of plants. Using that knowledge, Mrs. Aglietti designed a Project-Based Lesson for ‘Cultivating Community.’ The driving question for this unit as, “How can the students use their knowledge of plants to help a local food co-op?”
2017 cohort of grantees
Early Childhood, Drew Charter School
Atlanta Public Schools
Project: Coding in Kindergarten and Beyond
Computer coding is one of the most sought after skills in the 21st century job market. According to EdTech Review, “By year 2020, 1.4 million computer programming jobs will be available with less than 400,000 computer science students ready to fill those roles.” In a digital world, students must develop a basic literacy in computational thinking skills in order to compete. Mrs. Button’s project, “Coding in Kindergarten and Beyond”, is pivotal to learning such crucial skills at an early age.
Teaching the foundations of coding must be hands-on to be effective for elementary students. In kindergarten, it looks like self-exploration through games and experiments. Therefore, with “Coding in Kindergarten and Beyond”, Mrs. Button offered a “coding cart” stocked with numerous games, books, computer/IPad apps, and even a codable robot, to foster these skills. She created authentic learning lessons and developed the needed curriculum to ensure the foundational skills are easy to navigate. This coding cart allowed students to engage in hands-on learning and activities during math/science centers.
Principal, Henderson Mill Elementary School
DeKalb County Schools
Project: Leveled Literacy Intervention
Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) is an extension of a current project at Henderson Mill Elementary School. LLI is an early morning intervention for students in grades 1-5 who are reading at least one level below expected performance according to the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System. In LLI, Mr. Green employs all available instructors to meet with small group of students who are reading at the same level. They follow a systematic, research-based approach detailed in the Leveled Literacy Intervention Kits to rapidly improve student reading levels in order to bridge the performance gap. Students are provided LLI texts to take home to read nightly. Through the consistent use of this program, Henderson Mill Elementary has decreased the percentage of students reading below grade level from 32% to 25% in less than one year.
Kindergarten, Toomer Elementary School
Atlanta Public Schools
Project: Bright Minds and Happy Hearts
Bright Minds and Happy Hearts is a project that was designed to help students learn to self-regulate their feelings and emotions in the classroom. As a district, Atlanta Public Schools has added lessons and activities to help students learn to develop empathy, identify their emotions, and discover techniques for mindful relaxation. Mrs. Max’s project built upon the district wide effort towards social emotional learning by providing students at Toomer Elementary the resources they needed to help them control their internal feelings. Each classroom teacher received emWave Pro, an easy-to-use software program that uses biofeedback and technology. Using the real-time heart-rhythm monitor and the “Take a Break” center, ‘Bright Minds and Happy Hearts’ provided options for students who needed a place to reset and refocus their energy.
3rd Grade, Suwanee Elementary School
Gwinnett County Public Schools
Project: Steam-PBL Collaboratory
In the 21st Century, students are learning basic academic skills through real-world problems and solving them through research and projects. We have moved beyond the traditional classroom, where teachers lecture and students take notes. We now learn through actively doing research, and collaborating and building a solution.
Mrs. Son’s 'STEAM-PBL Collaboratory' continually moved all teachers and students into the 21st century with teaching and learning. In turn, her students learned the required standards and also opened their minds to the real-world beyond their classroom walls. The 'STEAM-PBL Collaboratory' allowed teachers and students to take teaching and learning “outside of the box” - to connect the classroom and the real world. The 'STEAM-PBL Collaboratory' consisted of collaboration spaces for students to discuss issues and brainstorm possible solutions.