Several teachers in McDuffie County recently received extra money allowing them to be more creative in their teaching. McDuffie County Schools recently awarded $6,500 in incentive grant money as part of a Federally-funded project to assist teachers with projects in their classrooms.
The grants are intended to provide a source of funds for use in the implementation of creative methods of teaching that may not be available from the general school budget. According to Julia Lambert, community relations for McDuffie County Board of Education, the incentive grants reward teachers, and thus by extension, students.
"McDuffie County Board of Education is proud of our teachers, and is pleased to reward their creative thinking and love for students in this way," Ms. Lambert said in a press release.
All McDuffie County teachers were eligible to complete an application for the grants. Each teacher had to submit information on what materials their project would require, what portion of the curriculum the project would be correlated to, and how the project would enhance student learning.
Judy Whittemore and Camille Rodgers, who teach seventh grade Social Studies at Thomson Middle School, received $500 for an African Safari project. Ms. Whittemore said she had the opportunity to visit Africa this past summer, so she "came back with a lot of ideas."
The teachers plan to hold a cultural fair for students, in which the seventh graders will develop costumes, games, and project boards with information about countries in Africa. Students from all the grades will attend the fair. Ms. Whittemore said she brought back batiks and pictures from the market places in Africa, and she hopes to have the students try their own hand at making these art forms.
"This time we are going to focus a little more on the arts and culture rather than just the geography of the countries," Ms. Whittemore said. "We're hoping to create more interest all over in geography. It should be a hands-on, walk-through, environmental experience."
Ms. Whittemore said the project would not be nearly as good without the grant money. The additional funds enable them to purchase material and pieces of equipment. Without the grant, they would have to "make do with whatever stuff the children could find and bring from home."
Other teachers who received grants are: Denise Bouffard, Renee Askew, Anita Davis, and Pam Kaminski of TMS for an Interactive Notebook for eighth grade science; Tammy Kay Brunson and Jennifer Newton of THS for a specialty reading project for the media center; Kathy Neal, Steve Smith, and Laura Osborne of TMS for Electronic Portfolios to Authentically Assess Student Growth and Achievement; Jennifer Champion and Bazy Arnold of TMS for GPS Notebooks for sixth grade earth science; Becky Morlan of MES for an electronic phonics program called Hot Dots for Kindergartners; Donna Bennett and Caroline Sowell of MES for a reward program for Renaissance Kids; Shirley Keith of TMS for a Learn It to Earn It program for sixth through eighth graders; Suzanne Chatham of TMS for a piano lab for middle school music students; Julie Gerlach of TMS for a puppet stage for student-written plays for Performance Standards; Jill Johnson and Jennifer Sandifer of MES for a project to create Ready and Accomplished Testers in Special Education; Saundra Maxwell of MES for a Citizens in Action project for second grade social studies; and Pam Strouble of TES for a hands-on science camp for third graders.