Recent Teacher Grants Enhance Learning Environment

Recent teacher grants are positively impacting student learning by adding a tactile approach to both the science curriculum and the overall behavioral health of each classroom.  Here’s a deeper look at two grants, funded through BSCO’s Teacher Grant program and your generous BSCO donation.

Calm Down Kits

This past January, the BSCO Board approved a grant submitted by BSE psychologist, Jennifer Holloway, as well as BSE counselors, Elizabeth Johnson and Sheryl Lindenberg.  This grant requested funds to create classroom Calm Down Kits, a hands-on approach for students to gain coping and conflict resolution skills.  Each grade level received a bin containing items chosen to help students relieve stress and work through frustration or anxiety.  Examples include a stress ball, putty, scratch and sniff stickers, a fidget and a small plush toy.

Also included in this grant were additional items to support our counseling team as they work to promote safe choices and emotion regulation.  Journals, silent visual timers, appropriate children’s books, and small reinforcement objects better prepare our students for social and academic success.

“Students at Bonny Slope are not only learning academic targets, they are also navigating the social and emotional terrain of group work, friendships, differing opinions, and situations that influence self-esteem and identity development.  Providing them with instruction and tools for managing difficult emotions enables them to cope effectively and return to the important objective of learning,” explains Holloway.

Grant total:  $134.87.

Aquaponics System:  Fish, Plants, and Students

Teacher Tonia Anderson, who heads BSE’s English Language Learner program, is excited to try a fresh and unique approach to integrating science and language through the use of a classroom aquaponics system. Students can observe first hand the interdependence between plants, animals and humans with this hands-on project.

A contained aquaponics system illustrates a nature cycle.  Waste from the fish fertilize the plants, allowing them to grow hydroponically, which in turn purifies the water.   The entire system is able to sit on a counter and can easily be observed by students.

“Each day students go straight to the tank to see how our tank is progressing. It was quite a process setting it up, since it was mostly student driven. They had to read the information that came with it and follow the directions for set up. The language was geared toward adults, so the upper elementary students took that challenge. There were a lot of questions and searches for answers online and in books, especially the dictionaries,” Anderson explained.

The research didn’t stop there.  Anderson encouraged and allowed the children to decide what would reside in the new system.  “We had a great debate about what animals and plants should be included, conducting research for weeks about the different possibilities. This research ended in the purchase of two frogs and six small fish,”  Anderson continued.

Overall, Anderson is happy with the addition to her room, stating, “So far, it has been an amazing journey, and I anticipate the learning to continue for the rest of the year.”

Grant total:  $159.99