Gilbert W. McNeal Elementary kindergarten teacher Gwyneth Ingham said she tries to give her students a space where they can work with their hands and improve their creativity.
She calls it her “Maker’s Space.”
The Manatee Education Foundation just gave Ingham $500 to add tools to that space.
Ingham accepted one of 250 grants awarded by the Manatee Education Foundation at a 2018 Teacher Impact Grants ceremony Oct. 25 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton.
The foundation has given grants for 30 years.
“With this grant, I’m going to buy things like Legos that kids can build and tinker with,” Ingham said.
It might not seem like much, but Ingham said the $500 will allow her students to think outside the box when it comes to creativity, and that is invaluable in their educational experiences.
The 250 grants totaled $110,000.
Elaine Cox, an engineering teacher at William H. Bashaw Elementary, is using her $900 grant for a program she called Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
“We’re going to buy things like K’Nex and Legos so the students can build new forms of transportations with their hands,” Cox said. “These grants always enrich the learning process, it always helps to have hands-on activities.”
Kathy Kimes, a sixth- and eighth-grade math teacher at Braden River Middle School, is using her $1,000 grant to add technology to the classroom. She will buy calculators and tablets.
Kimes said additional technology is invaluable. If the students have a tablet, they can access valuable information on the internet. Kimes said a student who is struggling with a math problem can access a free service such as Kahn Academy that will help students solve math problems in ways they can understand.
“Technology helps in so many ways,” Kimes said. “The more you can get students engaged, the better they will do. There are so many apps like Kahn Academy that help students with all of their struggles. Students can jump on their tablets and figure it out.”
Eighth-grade math teacher Wendy Pittman, at Braden River Middle School, is using her $276 grant to purchase large whiteboards for her students.
“It’s not glamorous or that interesting,” Pittman said. “I applied for the grant because students get excited to be hands-on with that kind of stuff.”
Karen Washington, a first-grade teacher at McNeal Elementary, was awarded $1,000 to bring two scientists down from the Orlando Science Center to talk to her students.
“I want to enhance our science program, that’s why I applied for this grant,” Washington said. “The scientists also will stay for the Family STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) nights that we have.”
Superintendent Cynthia Saunders said the grants even help teachers with their day-to-day curriculum.
“In the district, we provide teachers with foundational tools, but every once in a while teachers want to go the extra mile and apply for those grants to help their students,” Saunders said.