Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Four Area Teachers Receive Grants for Classroom Projects

The innovative classroom project is one of 50 across Missouri chosen by WGU Missouri to receive funding. The nonprofit, fully online university issued a call in March for K-12 teachers across the state to nominate proposed classroom projects by April 17 for the opportunity to receive full or partial funding through its “Fund My Classroom” initiative. 
Windsor, Mo. (Aug. 3, 2022) – AshLea Forrest, a K-6 computer teacher at Windsor Elementary School in the Henry County R-1 School District, has received a $500 grant through WGU Missouri’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative. The grant will be used to purchase Dash robots, providing Forrest’s students with a hands-on opportunity to learn block coding in a fun and innovative way. Forrest learned she was selected for the grant in May.

Forrest has been incorporating block coding into her computer class curriculum and currently has three Dash robots, which enables up to nine students to participate in an activity at a time. With the grant she received from WGU Missouri, she’ll be able to obtain three additional robots, allowing every child in a class to participate in the same activity simultaneously. The Dash robots respond to voice commands and can perform a number of movements and traits. The platform provides students with an easy way to understand coding and allows them to explore loops, events, conditions and programming sequences.

Forrest’s proposal is one of almost 200 nominations received statewide. Most grants were awarded during Teacher Appreciation Week, which ran from May 2-6.


El Dorado Springs, Mo. (Aug. 3, 2022) – Jana Burley, a 2nd grade teacher at El Dorado Springs Elementary School in the El Dorado Springs R-2 School District, has received a $350 grant through WGU Missouri’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative. The funds will be used by Burley to expand her classroom library and instill a love of reading in her students. Burley learned she was selected for the grant on May 2 when she was surprised with a check presentation at her school.

Burley aims to get her second graders excited about reading each year, and she believes that by expanding access to the number and types of books available to them, she can accomplish this goal. The grant she received will be used to purchase between 50 and 60 nonfiction books that are subject matter-appropriate and are interesting to her students. Burley allots several minutes each day for her students to read, so expanding the library will allow more room for curiosity and excitement for reading.
Chilhowee, Mo. (Aug. 3, 2022) – Lisa Allen, a library and STEM teacher at Shawnee R-3 School in Chilhowee, has received a $300 grant through WGU Missouri’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative. The grant will be used to purchase books and coding devices for her K-2 students, teaching them to conduct research and problem-solve, while furthering their reading engagement and allowing them to gain experience in scientific planning. Allen learned she was selected for the grant on April 27 when she was surprised with a check presentation at her school.

Allen is transitioning to teaching library and STEM to K-8 grade students this school year. Her goal is to have projects that combine reading and STEM to provide students with hands-on learning opportunities. She’ll do this by having students read a book on a certain topic, and she’ll then present a STEM problem on that same topic that students will have to solve by using research and scientific planning. The goal is to further engage students and get them excited about science and reading, while teaching them about technology. She currently has literature and technology for students in grades 3-8 but is in need of a few coding devices and primary story books for K-2 students. With the grant she received from WGU Missouri, she’ll be able to add 11 books to her classroom, as well as storage containers and simple coding devices that include a Sphero Mino robot, a Code & Go Programmable Robot Mouse and an activity set that lets students build mazes and use coding cards to program the robot mouse to follow the designated path.








Archie, Mo. (Aug. 3, 2022) – Michelle Mell, a 4th grade teacher at Cass County Elementary School in the Archie R-V School District, has received a $100 grant through WGU Missouri’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative. The grant will be used to purchase a set of math manipulatives for each student in Mell’s classroom, allowing them to gain a better understanding of abstract concepts when learning about fractions. Mell learned she was selected for the grant on May 5 when she was surprised with a check presentation at her school.

Mell has been working with her 4th grade students to help them make significant gains in all areas of math, particularly with fractions. She believes that by adding math manipulatives to her classroom, students will be able to connect concrete and abstract concepts and provide meaning and fluency with fractions, one of the larger learning targets for the year. The grant from WGU Missouri will be used to purchase a set of wooden Cuisenaire rods for each student in her class. The rods are a versatile collection of math manipulatives that are different colors and lengths and will be used to help her students build a better understanding of equivalent fractions and comparing fractions.

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