From moon shots to garden plots, teachers cash in on Bright Ideas
NC Bright Ideas winners from Lenoir County Public Schools were presented their grant checks Friday in Raleigh at a luncheon they attended with school and district administrators. From left are, seated (with NCSU mascot), grant winner Karen Croom, Northwest Elementary; grant winner Hannah Jimenez, Rochelle Middle; and, standing, Heather Walston, principal, Northwest Elementary; LCPS Superintendent Brent Williams; Rhonda Greene, principal, Contentnea-Savannah K-8; grant winner Tracie Marshburn, Southeast Elementary; grant winner Meredith Criswell, Contentnea-Savannah K-8; grant winner Amy White, Contentnea-Savannah K-8; grant winner Heather Clark, Northwest Elementary; grant winner Anne Ormand, Northwest Elementary; and Andre Whitfield, principal, Southeast Elementary.
Eight teachers at five LCPS middle and elementary schools have won more than $7,550 in 2018 N.C. Bright Ideas grants for classroom initiatives that run the gamut from moon shots to garden plots.
N.C. Electric Cooperatives, which founded the program in 1994, presented the grant checks to K-12 public school teachers from across the state at a luncheon in Raleigh on Friday.
Previously announced were grants awarded 28 LCPS teachers by Tri-County EMC. Schools eligible for those grants are in Tri-County’s service area.
In Lenoir County, competition for the statewide grants is open to nine schools outside the Tri-County area. This year’s LCPS winners are on the faculties at Contentnea-Savannah K-8, Northeast Elementary, Northwest Elementary, Southeast Elementary and Rochelle Middle. The statewide grant awards are capped at $1,500.
Winning teachers, the grant amounts and their description of the grant projects are:
Meredith Criswell, Contentnea-Savannah K-8, $1,019: “My grant was titled ‘Have a Seat and get COLORFUL!’ The purpose of the grant is to help struggling learners (EC and ESL) visually with color copies to help with visual representation of everyday items they may not recognize in black-and-white. The grant is also for flexible seating options to help these students have a more comfortable classroom experience.”
Amy White, Contentnea-Savannah K-8, $1,352.98: “With ‘Kinston, the Eagle Has Landed!’ students will work on engineering challenges related to their fictitious trip to the moon. They will conduct experiments relating to friction, Newton’s Laws of Motion, energy transfer and air resistance. As a culminating activity they will build and launch rockets. They will also design a mission patch to wear the day of the launch.”
Caroline Murphrey, Northeast Elementary, $821: This grant, ‘A Gardening We Grow,’ will help our school build two raised-bed gardens for our students to use. We will be applying real-world math, science and STEM practices using these gardens. We will be able to work on the following: counting and subitizing, inventive measurement, area/perimeter, array, life cycles of plants, soil composition and cultivating, among others. We also will be receiving a compost bin that will help us to recycle our materials and make a more organic rich soil. Our students will be planting vegetables that can be harvested and then eaten all at school.”
Heather Clark, Northwest Elementary, $430: “My project – ‘Rock and Learn!’ –incorporates the use of wobble chairs, stools with a slightly rounded bottom, to promote flexible and active seating in my classroom.”
Karen Croom, Northwest Elementary, $161: With my grant, ‘Pentastic,’ the IW2 Wireless Interactive Whiteboard System turns a flat surface into an interactive whiteboard. The system has a wireless receiver and a sensor cam that reads the infrared Pen's signals, translating cursor movements and allowing digital hands-on experiences. The pen used on the interactive whiteboard engages children and transforms lessons into hands-on enjoyment.”
Anne Ormand, Northwest Elementary, $925: “My grant was titled ‘Mindfulness Matters’ and the goal is to offer mindfulness resources and activities to promote student self-awareness, improve student self-confidence and student focus. Materials will also be purchased to create a Calming Corner in my (school counselor) office with lighting, seating, tactile and visual equipment for students to use in their time of need. I will also have resources to share with teachers.”
Tracie Marshburn, Southeast Elementary, $1,350: “My grant was for a sensory garden and musical wall. It will involve a community organization, pairing with the families within the community and students. The students will design the garden to contain plants that appeal to the five senses by using skills such as measuring and estimating. During the plantings, the students will learn about the needs of plants to sustain life. The musical wall will be a sensory feature for students with disabilities.”
Hannah Jimenez, Rochelle Middle, $1,492: “With my grant, ‘Beyond the Classroom Walls,’ I will purchase some drones and accessories that allow students to practice coding in the air as well as view their community from a whole new perspective. This grant will also allow students to experience a potential future career and I hope ignite interest in the field of engineering and computer programming!”