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 2016-2017
Tom Andres – Let’s Lead the Local Good Initiative – Big Sky High School Agriculture Program
MCPS Ag Center can lead Missoula’s local food initiative by producing safe, healthy food products grown, processed, and sold off the school farm. The new Food Science Lab will allow students to participate in every aspect of food production – right from the ground to the table. Students will truly know and appreciate where their food comes from.
Matt Bell – Beats, Rhymes and life – Willard High School Alternative Program
The purpose of this project is to provide a creative outlet for students to demonstrate proficient understanding of class materials. Students will create music then draft lyrics that are influenced by material from other classes as well as from self-reflection.
Robyn Edington & Theresa McGeary – Teaching Emotional Regulation with Zones of Regulation – Hawthorne Elementary School
Using the Zones of Regulation Curriculum, we will teach students to recognize their emotional states, which the Curriculum refers to as Zones. Students will learn to use sensory tools and strategies to regulate their actions according to the Zone that they are in and improve their ability to control their behavior and solve problems.
Rhonda Krause – Learning to Read/Reading to Learn – Hawthorne Elementary School
This project will provide students with the materials necessary to listen to stories and record themselves reading. This will offer my students another way to access and share quality literature, which will help to enhance and enrich their language, reading fluency, and comprehension skills.
Allie McFarland – Enrichment Clubs – CS Porter Middle School
A menu of clubs will be available for CS Porter Middle School eighth graders to choose from during a 45-minute Enrichment Class Period. Self-selected groups will provide support and enhanced engagement during the school day. Clubs include: Logic & Strategies, Authors & Artists, Recreation & Fitness, and Homework Zone.
Kimberly Olson & Aderley Murphy – Cuentame Mas (Tell Me More) – Meadow Hill & Washington Middle School
‘Cuentame Mas’, or ‘Tell Me More’, is a collaborative project for 6th – 8th grade Spanish classes at Meadow Hill and Washington Middle School to dramatically improve their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in Spanish through the TPRS methodology (Total Physical Response Storytelling).
Erin Eastlick-Rohde, Mary Beth Jourdonnais, Pat Lubke, Yer Thao, Melissa Meng – NGSS/Trees and Weather Science Unit – Hawthorne Elementary School
The FOSS Trees and Weather curriculum would be utilized each year as an integrated unit connecting students to the world we live in through engaging in scientific practices, writing, reading, math, and the arts. Students will have the opportunity to investigate through hands-one experiences, helping us to teach to Kindergarten learning standards.
Brett Taylor – WEN’s Gloating Island Sustainable H2O (FISH) Project – Sentinel High School
In this Floating Island Sustainable H2O program, the Watershed Education Network will lead student in monitoring Pattee Creek’s water quality. Students will then cultivate and install a Biohaven Floating Island at the storm water retention pond – thereby giving students the unique opportunity for future biological, physical and chemical monitoring.
Brandy Thrasher – Technology Integration for Hands on Learning in Chemistry & Physics – Washington Middle School
The integration of digital data collection probes into science classes will support various aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) learning. By being able to use electronic data probes, students will be able to collect accurate data so they can better engage in an inquiry learning process for both physics and chemistry.
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.