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Carter Spark Grants take students in new directions
By Lisa DiMartino / April 19, 2019 /   Loading Disqus...

For the third-graders at Francis J. Varieur in Pawtucket,  “bringing a story to life” meant a ten-week collaboration with the Gamm Theatre, a model that focuses on public speaking, improvisation, story-telling, and ultimately, staging a play. Turning a book they were currently reading into a play involved academic-based skills like reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. In addition, it tapped into their creativity, collaboration, and communication skills.

"When students make the connection between the academics and the 'fun' project, they will build a love of learning, reading, and drama."

             — Amy Dufault-Thompson, 3rd grade teacher at Varieur

Audra Williamson, William Callahan School’s library media specialist and technology teacher, imagined a fourth grade biography project that would be connected to STEAM learning – using LEGOS to make mosaic portraits. In just this one single long-term project, these Burrillville students would take on traditional research, public speaking, digital literacy, applied mathematics, and teamwork.

“I believe in approaching subjects from a holistic perspective in order to really reach every student.”

     — Aubra Williamson, library media specialist and technology               teacher at Callahan

Three Cranston schools received Spark Grants.

Glen Hills is using its grant to subscribe to “Time for Kids Magazine” and fund trips to the University of Rhode Island Botanical Gardens and the Cranston Senior Center, where students will discuss the articles with members in an effort to foster better understanding and acceptance of intergenerational perspectives on current events.

“This will bring current events alive for my students at an academic level that they can understand and process. It will help them to be more interested and involved in the world around them, the role they play, and how they can impact events in their world, state, or community,” said third-grade teacher Lisa Davis, who received the grant. “It has been amazing to watch the partnership between students and seniors in the past.  It is important for my students to understand how that Senior Center adds value to our community and helps them  learn empathy, care, and respect for those who have helped build their community.”

George Peters used its grant for a school trip to the Boston Museum of Science. Students participated in hands-on activities, viewed educational presentations, saw science-based exhibits, and talked with museum guides to help deepen their understanding of science.

“They traveled through different exhibits and saw science in motion in ways that are not possible in my classroom. By being able to participate in this engaging, learning experience, my students’ love of learning will be able to spark even more,” said fourth-grade teacher Jamie McKenzie, who received the grant.

Led by art teacher Ellen Laprocina, Edgewood Highland is celebrating the diversity of its student body and community by creating two clay murals that reflect the many positive aspects of diversity. One mural will be installed at Edgewood Highland and the other at Cranston East High School. 


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