Jennifer Colston, who teaches the kindergarten through fifth-grade Gateway program, said she applied for a grant to help maximize classroom space and encourage students to take responsibility over their academic career from a very young age. She plans to do so by transferring physical copies of student portfolios to electronic versions and storing them on individual student's flash drives.
"Teachers use portfolios to keep student's work over a period of time so that you can see growth and a lot of times they come in the form of a file or a notebook and they get bulky and take up classroom space," Colston said.
"I teach my kids for years at a time, so what I'm wanting to do is put the portfolios on the electronic flash drive so instead of transferring from paper, you make it electronic so it saves space," Colston said.
Colston said when students reach the fifth-grade, she will transfer the content from the flash drive to a CD so students will be able to take their electronic portfolios with them as they venture into middle school. She also said she plans to teach students to get in the habit of saving their work immediately to the flash drive to encourage good academic habits.
"What we're trying to do is promote independent learners, so we're trying to make them be in charge of saving their work and keeping up with their portfolios," Colston said.
Patricia Knowles teaches second grade. She said because her classroom lacks a Promethean Board -- an interactive white board -- she applied for a grant for a projector that connects to her computer or television.
Knowles said being able to pull lessons from her television or computer while projecting the content onto her white board not only will increase the amount of information she is able to provide her students, but also will allow students to interact with the lesson by using dry erase markers.
"With all the activities children do at home, such as video games with all the action on a big screen," Knowles said, "sometimes when I put things on my overhead projector, it's small and students sometimes have a hard time seeing [the content]. This is going to make [the content] larger."
She explained the projector will allow her to supplement and improve lessons by having access to video streaming online as well as through writing programs and video games.
"There's writing programs that we can put up on the board and the children can see how to revise and edit, and it will be much easier to put up on my big white board ... instead of just putting it on a piece of paper and trying to explain it that way," Knowles said.
Principal Lynn Robertson was positive about the grants and the Teacher Grant program, saying the grants provide opportunities for students and teachers across the board.
"[The Teacher Grant program] is another funding source for us and students have benefited because we have been able to purchase things above and beyond what we normally have," Robertson said. "[The grants] have worked with all students, increasing opportunities and giving teachers more resources."