Creative Classroom Grants
Every year since 2008, MEF has awarded Creative Classroom Grants to public school teachers who inspire students to learn in creative ways. Grant awards ranging $850 to $2,500 support innovative teaching ideas not funded in the school budget.
MEF recognizes that big changes can be made in student experiences through a relatively small contribution. Last year Kasey Dirnberger created a media lab at Meadow Hill Middle School for under $850. Through a Creative Classroom Grant Ms. Dirnberger purchased cameras, a lighting kit and microphone packs to allow all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students to engage in audio production. The purpose of the media lab was to provide a large number of students with the opportunity to integrate technology into learning. This year all middle school students at Meadow Hill are using the lab to create audio and video commercials, based on content from other classes. The media lab is mobile and students not only learn how to use the equipment but how to set it up and take it down when they are finished. The media class is so popular that it has been used as a work incentive; students who have completed homework for the week are allowed to work on a media project during study hall.
Classroom grants, like those described above, have initiated exciting and innovative changes in many classrooms in Missoula and have engaged community members in the expansion of educational opportunities for our students. Every year the MEF receives a larger number of applications for creative projects than our funding can support.
We hope you will make it possible for the MEF to fund the increasing number of exciting ideas from our teachers.
Creative Classroom Grants 2015-2016
Lan Ann Bryant – Eagle’s Nest Thrift Store; Taking it on the Road – Big Sky High School
The Eagle’s Nest Thrift Store opened at Big Sky High School on October 25, 2011 with the purpose of giving students hands-on, real-world experiences in the world of business. We would like to move to the next level and begin making our own merchandise by re-purposing donations and having a mobile business to travel to local craft shows and markets.
Bryan Whitney – Free Voluntary Reading Program ion the French Classroom – Sentinel High School
By creating a free voluntary reading program in the French classroom, student will have a print-rich environment with materials that are both engaging and comprehensive. This program will improve their fluency, vocabulary, and grammar in French as well as encourage lifelong reading and learning.
Ellen Parchen – Milltown Dam site field trip – Hellgate High School
During the spring, the Earth and Science curriculum includes a unit on Place Based educaiton connecting to our ‘Erosion on the Landscape’ classroom work. This field trip is a multi-dimensional trip where we work with WEN and other community experts to gain field experience.
Allison Boone & Kathleen Devlin – Life Cycles Unit – Franklin Elementary
Students will identify and sequence the life cycle stages of all living things through careful research. They will engage in the close reading of stimulating nonfiction texts and record detailed observations about changes in organisms living right in their own classroom.
Tom Andres – Life on the Farm – Big Sky High School Agriculture Program
The MCPS VoAg Center and the Washington and CS Porter Flagship students will partner in the summer to run a two-week long camp called ‘Life on the Farm’. Flagship students will work with teachers and high school students at the VoAg Center daily, learning farm operations.
Angela Opitz – Oh, The Places You’ll Know: Creating Opportunities to Foster Global Competency – Rattlesnake Elementary School
This project will advance global awareness by merging traditional academic content with global competency skills in the curriculum. Global perspectives will be integrated throughout the year through thoughtful execution of global education resources, themes, and technology to build a foundation of awareness that can transform school culture and increase understanding of people and place.
Molly Kast – Hands-On STEM Learning – Rattlesnake Elementary School
In Kindergarten, play is the most important form of learning. We would like to enhance our science and math curriculum with engaging, hands-on activities that are connected to STEM. Common Core State Standards, and our themed yearly units. Our grade level team would share STEM kits and curriculum boxes to serve the maximum number of students.
Creative Classroom Grants 2014-2015
Mary Beth Jourdonnais, Pat Lubke, Yer Thao – The Pillow Case Project – Hawthorne Elementary School
The purpose of the ‘Pillow Case’ project is to give each Kindergarten student a pillow case sewn with custom made fabric that includes all of our high frequency words. This will allow students to practice the high frequency words introduced in the Kindergarten curriculum. This project will impact student learning by 1) building a foundation for reading, 2) promoting at-home reading, and 3) reinforcing the connection between home and school.
Jennifer Malloy – Healthy Movement for Healthy Minds – Russell Elementary School
The project’s goal is to transform my classroom into a learning lab that promotes healthy movement. The first step in this transition is to incorporate creative seating and work spaces for learners. Dynamic seating options can help increase focus, engagement and collaboration; all important things for 21st Century learners.
Kimberly Olson – Kids Teaching Kids – Meadow Hill Middle School
‘Kids Teaching Kids’ is a pilot project that incorporates online blended learning methodologies with face-to-face teaching experiences between 8th grade Spanish students at Meadow Hill and their first grade buddies at Paxson Elementary.
Angela Schowenger – Ceramic Tile Mural – Washington Middle School
The purpose of the ceramic mural project is to create a piece of artwork that will be hung in Washington Middle School for many years and allow the students that participated in the creation of the piece to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride for their school.
Britt Sonsalla, Autumn Johnstone, Heather Roos, Claudia Sonsalla – Science Explorers – Paxson Elementary School
We intend to design a program to offer our students experiential learning opportunities to meet Montana Science Standards. By building their background knowledge, students will develop the skills necessary to become lifelong science learners. This project will utilize community resources to increase student engagement and offer opportunities for inquiry-based learning.
Brendan Work – Arabic Mystery Investigation – Sentinel High School
For second-year Arabic foreign language students, I have written and tested along-term interactive murder mystery taking place across the Arab world for students to solve by eliciting, sharing, and interpreting information from spoken interviews and written texts. Grant funds would be used to purchase materials that will support the authentic immersion experience of the mystery and deepen the students’ appreciate of Arabic language and culture.