Teachers Awarded $4,863 for Creative and Innovative Classroom Projects

Earlier this year, a $390.95 Robert P. Bell Education Grant allowed fourth grade teacher, Jennifer Jessie to recover an abandoned garden at St. Mary School. Students from preK through middle school have used the garden to learn about their environment.Earlier this year, a $390.95 Robert P. Bell Education Grant allowed fourth grade teacher, Jennifer Jessie to recover an abandoned garden at St. Mary School. Students from preK through middle school have used the garden to learn about their environment. Photo provided.

By: Kallie Sullanke—

Muncie, Indiana—Eighteen local teachers will receive $4,863 for 13 projects in Robert P. Bell Education Grants from The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc. Across the county, 1,000s of students benefit from Bell Education Grants each year.

Awards of up to $450 are available through the Bell Grants program. Funded projects are creative or innovative classroom projects designed to stimulate learning in students. All Delaware County teachers are invited to apply during any of the four grant cycles.

Awards for the second cycle of this school year include:

Thomas Arnold, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities, was awarded $112 to use sketching techniques to teach high school juniors to see the changes in the landscape of North America from different points in history to the present day. Students will be instructed in collage and other art techniques to produce a final sketch that backdates their chosen present-day landscape to its circumstances before the arrival of Europeans, or even humans at all.

Christy Bilby and Lisa Brand, Albany Elementary School, were awarded $298 to introduce fourth grades students to nonfiction through biographies. Students will read from the Who Was series, write their own biography report, and create a Google slideshow to share with their peers. Along with the report and presentation, each student will create a biography bottle doll using a two-liter bottle, Styrofoam balls, and other recycled materials.

Lisa Brand and Christy Bilby, Albany Elementary School, were awarded $411 for fourth grade students to safely investigate the relationship between speed and energy through a series of hands-on learning activities. Activities include the use of hand-crank generators, series/parallel boards to create circuits, electrical current and field kits, and switches and bulbs.

Jason Dudley, Karla Riggin, and Chris Ashmore-Good, Selma Middle School, were awarded $450 to expose middle school science students to the life cycle of a butterfly and conservation efforts related to monarchs. Students will grow milkweed and other butterfly-friendly plants in the school’s greenhouse before hatching their own butterflies. Additionally, students will distribute plants to the community to encourage butterfly habitats outside of the greenhouse in a natural environment.

Katrina Gibson, Cowan Elementary School, was awarded $447 to enhance reading, math, fine motor and problem-solving skills in kindergarteners using learning stations that focus on learning through playing. Students will utilize STEM kits, pattern blocks, learning locks, and building sets in stations to supplement classroom lessons through related arts activities.

Katrina Gibson, Dianne Love, Amy Meekin, and Magee Shepler, Cowan Elementary School, were awarded $445 to purchase math and logic-based games, manipulatives, and materials to enhance Tier Time, an in-depth approach to differentiating first and second grade students in small group instruction with rigorous, yet fun, learning sessions. Tier Time serves to test targeted standards-based skills in order to identify needed one-on-one remediation.

Michael King, Cowan Jr/Sr High School, was awarded $450 to teach seventh, eighth, and tenth grade students about human anatomy with the use of model organs. Working in groups, students will recreate models of the heart, eye, and other systems of the body using play-doh and other materials as a hands-on and visual approach to learning about body function.

Stephanie Lennon, Yorktown High School, was awarded $450 for high school science students to explore the ecological impact of growing microgreens and their nutritional value compared to food produced on industrial farms.  Students conduct an inquiry-based experiment by growing their own microgreens, completing a vitamin C titration experiment, and analyzing survey results of a taste test of the microgreens.

Barbara Miller, Yorktown High School, was awarded $427 to connect high school freshman with students in Bonn, Germany. The project will enhance students’ writing skills through correspondence with the German students, which will include theme-based letters and videos on a monthly basis.

Stephanie Nagelkirk, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities, was awarded $336 to provide high school juniors and seniors with an understanding of the Harlem Renaissance Period in African American Literature and culture. Each student will select one historical figure who contributed to the period to learn about in detail. They will then plan an authentic formal party and assume the role of their researched character to share what they have learned with classmates.

Waylon Shaffer, Wes-Del Elementary School, was awarded $447 to engage fifth graders with a hands-on approach to solving abstract math problems in Math Boot Camp. Students will use base 10 blocks, fraction tiles, geoboards, and other manipulatives while working in vertical learning groups, requiring students to visualize thinking and mimic manipulatives in drawings.

Drew Shermeta, Muncie Central High School, was awarded $440 for high school economics students to create an ongoing podcast series that weaves their unique perspectives into the curriculum. For each unit of study, students will prepare scripts that reflect the standards, appropriate commentary, and their own opinions.

Katy Ulrey, Heritage Hall Christian School, was awarded $150 to expose high school Spanish students to Latin American culture based on their current level of Spanish to ultimately all contribute to a joint “Fiesta de Navidad” (Christmas party). Each class will contribute decorations or a traditional Spanish food dish while learning traditional songs and practicing vocabulary that are related to specific classroom lessons.

Bell Grants are funded through the Robert P. Bell Teacher Grants Fund at The Community Foundation. This fund ensures that teachers have access to grants to help engage their students in meaningful ways for years to come. Individuals can contribute to the endowment fund to memorialize a special teacher, honor a retiring teacher or teacher celebrating a work anniversary, or to simply show their support for K-12 education in Delaware County.

The third deadline for Bell Grants in the 2018-2019 school year is February 1, 2019. For more information about Bell Grants applications and the Robert P. Bell Teacher Grants Fund, contact Carly Acree King, Program Officer at cacreeking@cfmdin.org. Information is also available at cfmdin.org/bellgrants.