The Ripon Education Foundation has announced three recipients of its 2014-2015 Innovative Teaching Grants totaling total $3994. Since 2002, the Foundation has awarded 50 grants to support innovative teaching activities. The grants are funded by tax-deductible donations to the Education Foundation. Generous donations enabled the foundation to award three grants this fall.
Receiving the three Innovative Teaching Grants were: Jeanne Hall, 6th grade teacher at Ripon Middle School; Nick Goeldi, science teacher at Ripon High School; and Jeanne Shohoney, World Language teacher at Ripon High School.
Hall's proposal received $500 to support a sixth-grade project called "Culture and Tastes of the Western Hemisphere.” This cross-curricular and hands-on grant will enable sixth grade students to each create a “Cultures and Tastes of the Western Hemisphere” book with a chapter for each of the major cultures students study during the year, as well as food preparation and tasting events with assistance from Briony Storz of the district’s food service. The project will culminate with a lunch prepared by the students showcasing student-written recipes.
“The western hemisphere is the focus of grade 6 social studies. With that, we focus on not just learning about, but developing an appreciation for other cultures,” said Hall.
Goeldi submitted a $105 proposal to support an Energy in Science project. The high school physics department wil use the money to purchase two Vernier wind kits for use in the energy conservation units. The goal, according to Goeldi, is “trying to make a shift from teaching science traditionally, to implementing more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) style learning. One of the main topics is energy and energy conservation.”
The Vernier kits will enable instruction in these units to be closer to STEM than traditional learning style objectives. The students will construct windmills and then use them to explore topics of electricity and electromagnetic induction. A variety of STEM objectives are being met within this project.
Shohoney’s proposal requested $2440 to assist the World Languages department to attend a week-long national conference on Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) language instruction near Washington, D.C. in July 2015. TPRS involves improvisational group storytelling and rapid development of oral and written fluency through high-use structures and vocabulary. Last year four teachers attended the conference in Chicago and have been trying out TPRS instruction in their classes.
Shohoney said the goal of TPRS instruction is to “strengthen and enliven (world language classes), attract and retain more students, and help a broader range of students achieve high levels of success.”
The teachers want to attend the conference again this summer to build on last year’s training.