Vicki Haley is a first-grade teacher at MRES and received a grant to be used for a listening center so students can listen to books on CD while reading.
"It has six compartments so six students can listen to a story at a time," Haley said. "As a part of my grant, I also got CDs and books to go with it so the kids can go over and choose a story. I have a huge variety of stories that might interest them."
She said after students listen to the stories, they have to provide a response that tests the students comprehension of elements such as plot, setting and characters.
"They have to kind of retell me what they heard at the listening center," Haley said. "I use it mostly during a workshop time when they have to choose from a lot of different learning activities that go along with reading and language, and that's probably one of the most popular things I have in there right now."
She said the center has become so popular she has to monitor its use to make sure every student has a chance to use the center.
"The kids know how to use the machine, they can put the CDs in and change the books out; it's just so easy for them to use," Haley said.
The system has been an upgrade for Haley's classroom. She said at the first of the year, she had one pair of headphones to use with her classroom CD player, and due to the age of the electronic devices, there was static that interrupted instruction.
"This just makes it so much more enjoyable for them to go and listen to a story on their own and then write and tell me about it," Haley said.
Sha Ristroph is a third-grade teacher. She received a grant to be used toward VersaTiles, a teaching tool that works by having students complete a math problem dealing with money on the tiles and, if they correctly complete the problem, the back of the tiles will show a design.
Ristroph said she has a broad range of academic levels in her class and the teaching tool has allowed her to reach and engage students across the spectrum.
"This is a great program to reach across the board," Ristroph said.
She said she learned about the program through another teacher, and news of the fun students were having with the program traveled fast. She added the program also allows for instant results, so students don't have to wait for an item to be graded by their teacher to know whether they were correct.
"They instantly know if they got it right, so that is a real good motivator," Ristoph said. "They get their instant feedback right then."
She said VersaTiles works well because another third-grade teacher at MRES received a grant for VersaTiles to be used for English. In turn, the VersaTiles can be used across the grade level.
Ristoph added the VersaTiles can be used for students of varying learning levels.
"When I need to do small group interventions, this is a great thing for the kids. ... On money, I've got a great resource for them to do a small group, where I can then do my small group where I have to work with students who need more one-on-one help."
Read The Daily Tribune News for more on how money from the Teacher Grant program is being used in Bartow County schools.