2010-2011 Teacher Grant cycle:
Snowshoes for Fun and Learning - Presumpscot School
Presumpscot has an explicit commitment to teaching children the importance of exercise and healthy eating for learning and lifelong health. This grant helped the school to purchase snowshoes and teach how to use them with the curriculum from the WinterKids Outdoor Learning Guide. Many Presumpscot students come from countries where they have no snow and thus have no knowledge of winter snow activities that can help them enjoy our climate and reach our goals of healthy living.
Dissecting into the World of Science - Lyman Moore Middle School
This project enabled students to understand the structure and function of major organs in different animal systems, using the hands-on, minds-on experience of dissection. Helping students develop curiosity and excitement while they gain essential knowledge and skills is best achieved by actively engaging learners in multiple experiences that increase their ability to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. Dissection shows students how living things depend on one another and aspects of the environment. Dissection equipment included microscopes, forceps, scalpels, dissecting trays & pins, goggles, lab coats, hand-lenses, probes and dissection specimens.
The Wonders of New York City - Lyman Moore Middle School
This was a new 7th grade Social Studies unit where students explored the concepts of unity and diversity through the lens of the history of New York City. Learning began with the founding and development of America’s largest and most diverse city from its days as home to the Native American tribes, its conquest by the Dutch and then the English, to the development of its ports, the digging of the Erie Canal and its continuing role as a magnet for immigrants from around the world. The culmination activity was “The Wonders Showcase”, a group display of individual reports of New York City history and the student’s selected New York Wonder. The event was open to all Portland residents and visitors ‘voted’ to determine the Seven True Wonders of New York.
Eyes on the East - Lyman Moore Middle School
This 7th grade Language Arts unit explores Eastern culture through the use of literature circles using 5-6 different novel titles pertaining to Eastern countries such as Korea, India, Japan, China and Pakistan. This unit integrated poetry and art and aligned with the Social Studies curriculum. The students participated in meaningful book discussions with peers as they learned the responsibilities of discussion facilitation, selection of meaningful passages, creation of word banks, sketching important scenes and settings, journaling about developed questions and making connections to their own lives.
Play is WORK - Casco Bay High School
The current Physics class was transformed into a pre-engineering course to align with the STEM career Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) exposure. Physics courses are a natural place for integrating engineering concepts and learning how to solve problems using simple tools and materials which involve the use and application of core physics concepts. The project partnered with Riverton 5th grade students through an engineering competition.
Book Publishing of Personal Essays of ELL Student Experience - Deering High School
This project engaged students in meaningful and relevant research, writing, interviewing and presentation skills as they strived to better understand how Portland Public Schools is responding to the diverse needs of English Language Learners. Through research and interviews, the students became experts on particular aspects of school policy and procedures and have a voice in their community by ‘hosting a conference’ to present the findings and personal stories to policy makers and community organizations.
The Road - Portland High School
The goal of this project was to update the English 11 curriculum to include The Road, a critically acclaimed and engaging work of contemporary literature as a way to encourage discussions about the implications of contemporary issues such as war and environmental degradation.
Ties That Bind, Ties That Break: Maine and China - Portland High School
This project is part of a World Civilization unit of study on the country of China. Ties That Bind, Ties That Break is a realistic novel set in 1911 told by a young girl presented with experiences of foot binding, family traditions and women’s rights and the tough decisions she must make. Students learned of Maine’s connections to China through the Maine Memory Network and drew connections between their state and the country of China and the evolution of change amongst both areas.
Making Grammar Fun - Lyman Moore Middle School
Middle school students must understand grammar to communicate effectively in their writing. Using a teacher-made interactive smart board, students can make changes to sentencing in front of the class to reinforce concepts as well as participate in interactive learning with the class. In addition, a teacher-created “Jeopardy” game engaged the students to show their expertise on the grammatical concept just learned. The smart board and “Jeopardy” game needed an LCD projector to work effectively for the entire class to participate.
Assessment Comes to Life – Lyseth Elementary School
This collaborative and innovative project between a Lyseth teacher, a student intern and her supervisor from St. Joseph’s College, allowed 5th graders to work on communicating their understanding of math concepts to pre-service college juniors studying math methods. The project fostered diversified assessment and understanding of varied learning styles. 5th graders benefited from travel to the college in the process.
College Preparation and Readiness for ELLs – Casco Bay High School and Deering High School
Through this collaboration between DHS, CBHS and several local colleges, sophomore and junior ELL students learned about higher ed. opportunities and the specific steps required to reach the goal of attending college. The project supported visits to campuses and workshops on the college application process including essays, interviews, SATs, etc.
Mathematics and Literacy into Origami and Cooking – East End Community School
This project helped students struggling with linguistic, cultural and socioeconomic disadvantages learn abstract concepts more effectively through the integration of math and literacy into hands-on activities that produce immediate and concrete results. The teacher involved students during class time, middle of the day, and after school, and used the project as a means to support student connections with community.
Video Documentation with the Flip Video/Diary Project – Lyman Moore Middle School
Assessment of students in a Functional Life Skills classroom is difficult to capture; many of the students make progress in very subtle but profound ways. This project takes advantage of a new technology, using a Flip Video camera to document students’ language arts, mathematics and daily living skills on a monthly basis, and share the videos easily with parents and colleagues.
Zoom-In – Nathan Clifford Elementary School
What individuals, organizations and governments leave behind – objects, documents, photographs – is the stuff of history. In collaboration with Maine Historical Society, students investigated Maine history via the Maine History Online’s seven categories of information, using traditional and innovative approaches to “zoom in” on seven stories. A reception and public display of student projects followed the study.
Tide Pools of Maine – East End Community School
The kindergarten ocean expedition, ideal for this school so closely situated to Casco Bay, integrates visits to East End Beach, study of ocean animals, support from Maine Audubon and other environmental organizations, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Fish, well-known marine science educators.
2009-2010 Teacher Grant Cycle:
Reiche Community School teachers Cathy Jurgelevich, Lynn Cunin, Jessie Lozenby and Linda Goiou took fourth-graders to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray as part of a project on the geography, food, government, history and native species of Maine.
Portland High School teacher Deborah Keyes led English and photography club students in producing a documentary photo exhibition for the Meg Perry Community Center.
Casco Bay High School teachers Ben Donaldson, Helen Weigel and Frank Donovan took students to the Boston Museum of Science and had them design models that demonstrated physics and math concepts in action.
East End Community School teachers Ina Demers and Jane Charron offered a read-aloud program for students who are learning to speak English that was based on the paper-folding art of origami.
Portland High School Sex education teachers Margaret Ranaghan Hoyt and Charles Morrison brought in guest speakers and peer educators to address topics of sexual harassment, sexual orientation and gender identity in the city's high schools.
Clifford Elementary School (now the Ocean Avenue School teachers Monica Hanson and Cathy Gurney introduced a variety of science, math and technology concepts by having students produce a video about the ongoing construction of the Ocean Avenue Elementary School.
Deering High School teacher Polly Wilson developed a biochemistry project that showed students how to design containers, choose crops, plan nutrient systems and analyze data on laptop computers.
King Middle School teachers Marcia Salem and Catherine Paul led an expedition of food sources, nutrition and digestion that connected biology and art for students who are learning to speak English.
Hall Elementary School teacher Sandy Sherry produced a hands-on science project for her kindergartners that required them to use digital cameras and microscopes and publish books documenting their learning.
Deering High School teacher Karen Shibles developed a lab project for students in her forensic science class that required them to do fingerprint analysis to determine who had stolen a coffee mug.