Mini Grant Proposals (December 5)

Below are the Lilja PTO Mini-Grant Proposals received for review during the December 5th meeting. Please review prior to the meeting.

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Tracking exercise and heart rate with GPS monitors

Proposed by: Gary DeMayo
Primary Benefactor of the Grant: Grade 4 students
Amount Requested: $1500-$2000

My plan is to incorporate heart rate monitors into my curriculum to teach the students about appropriate heart rate zones while exercising. This knowledge will also be transferable as they enter middle school since their physical education grades are based on exercising within their target heart rate zones. This funding will also allow my 4th grade running program to continue by replacing broken GPS watches and upgrading to newer technology. The fourth grade turkey trot fun run is the ending culminating activity.

1. The students will develop an understanding of how their heart rate affects their physical performance. 2. The students will understand different heart rate zones (fat burning vs anaerobic vs. aerobic) and how these zones are related to fitness. 3. The students will be able to track their distance, average pace ,average heart rate, and calories burned during exercise. 4. The students will use their watches to stay in specific heart rate zones to enhance their exercise sessions and use this information as an exercise tool. 5. The students will graph out their results and monitor their progress from each session.

The students will be able to make a connection using real time data (watches) as way to improve their physical performance. Each student will also be able to identify the connection between their current heart rate and their perceived level of exertion. I often talk to the students about pacing themselves and running at a speed that is maintainable for a long duration. Having a combination heart rate/GPS monitoring system will allow each student to find an exercise zone that is maintainable, simply by viewing their heart rate during exercise. Children and some adults have very little knowledge about how hard to exercise. Having this tool will help shape our students minds and they can carry this information with them throughout their lives.

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OLDER PROJECTS - Approved on 11/7/18

Project Lead the Way - STEM Kits!

Proposed by: Brainerd, Bracey, Pershouse, Laufer
Primary Benefactor of the Grant: Grade 1 students
Amount Requested: $620

To pilot two inquiry based science kits (Light and Sound & Observing the Sun, Moon, and Stars) from Project Lead the Way, across four 1st grade classrooms.

Students will investigate light and sound and design a tool to communicate over a distance. Students will build upon their knowledge of light and design a playground structure that protects students from UV radiation. This directly aligns with the Common Core & MA standards as well as compliments our current science curriculum.

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Kindergarten Discovery

Proposed by: Gregg, Randolph, Buckmire, Murphy, Kuzinevich
Primary Benefactor of the Grant: Kindergarten students
Amount Requested: $2500

We have three separate goals here, approved by Anne. PBL is Project Based Learning, for a Force and Motion science unit. The other two are enhancing curriculum in a hands-on, developmentally appropriate way for kindergarten.

In order to foster critical thinking skills and resilience, students need to have hands-on experiences from which they can learn and grow. The materials we will use are vital to hands-on exploration personal growth for each student.

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Base 10 Blocks

Proposed by: Snow, Sprague, Norrman
Primary Benefactor of the Grant: Grade 3 students
Amount Requested: $222.78

Base ten blocks are a great hands-on math manipulative tool to help kids understand the concepts of place value, addition and subtraction with regrouping, and general number sense.

A large focus in third grade is on adding and subtracting 3-digit numbers and these will be very helpful to support student learning in these areas. Also, by having 2 sets of base ten blocks for each class, we'll be able to use them in whole class lessons as well as small group instruction.

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Speaking, Fluency, and Expression

Proposed by: Cronin, Connelly, Chase
Primary Benefactor of the Grant:
Grade 2 students
Amount Requested:

This would be a dedicated speaker system for the second grade classrooms (other classrooms would also be welcome to borrow this system, but we'll be using it weekly). Second grade students will use this for a variety of speaking purposes, including author shares, public speaking practice, confidence-building, celebrating learning, and any presentation with an audience. This would happen beginning immediately; we'd practice with this system multiple times per week in each classroom. Use would be year-long, and for many, many years to come.

The idea for this project stemmed from our professional practice goal this year. We will be practicing reading daily in a shared reading format, but we want to take that practice even further by giving students the chance to build their confidence, fluency, and expression by reading over a speaker system. Sometimes this will be reading a book written by themselves, and sometimes it might be a published work. Doing this regularly prepares the students for public speaking, an opportunity they'll have across the course of the school year within the classroom, for other classes, for the school community, and for parent audiences. The additional component of speaking into a microphone gives students practice at reading with expression without worrying about being heard, builds authority in their speaking voice, and helps eliminate the fear/stage fright that can develop when public speaking isn't practiced regularly. Additionally, as audience members for their peers, students will have the chance to understand what a good audience does, and how to be respectful when listening in the same way that they expect respectful behavior when speaking.

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Flexible Furniture for Flexible Learners

Proposed by: Bennett, Kozin and Gallagher
Primary Benefactor of the Grant:
Grade 4 students
Amount Requested:

The project's goal is to provide more flexible learning spaces in our fourth grade classrooms by purchasing two new seating options and a high top table. We envision classrooms where the diverse learners in our rooms all have seating and working spaces that support their growing bodies as they engage in a rigorous curriculum. Flexible seating options will provide students with the opportunity to move, stretch and focus while researching and collaborating on a variety of topics over the course of the year. We strive to educate the whole child, which means supporting students with reflecting on what helps their minds and bodies do their best learning, including the spaces in which they have available to work.

This project will enhance and enrich all of our current and future students’ experiences by providing them with more flexible spaces in the classroom for learning. Students will be empowered to choose the best place for their learning, whether that may be comfortably sitting on the floor, at tables, or standing at alternative work spaces. Comfortable children are calm, focused and productive students. Our students currently have minimal options for seating choices, almost all of which are traditional classroom workspaces of a chair and table or a standing desk. This project will allow us to provide our students with the agency to truly meet all of their needs physically, socially, and psychologically by adding at least two more seating and/or workspace options to our rooms. Not only will students have more agency over their own learning choices, but the flexible furniture in our classrooms will increase students’ ability to collaborate. Students will be able to arrange chairs and tables efficiently and snugly to maximize their working time together in book clubs, research teams, community meetings, and partnerships across content areas. Learning to make positive and productive decisions about their learning is one of the most important challenges children tackle in their fourth grade year. Flexible furniture options will help our students increase their academic independence and take more responsibility for their learning, while simultaneously supporting their growing bodies and minds.

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Safe Spaces: For One, For All

Proposed by: Ms. Simoni and Nurse Naser
Primary Benefactor of the Grant:
all students
Amount Requested:

Our plan is to create calmer spaces in the guidance and health offices by minimizing fluorescent lighting with light covers and allowing for flexible seating options. We have chosen light covers with a picture of a blue sky and clouds, as well as a bean bag and soft seat cushions for chairs. Our timeline allows us to utilize these items upon receiving them as we plan with custodial staff to assist in installing the light fixtures over our existing lights. We are even hoping to possibly change our paint colors in the future. We believe this would impact all students at Lilja!

We are aware of an increase in the number of children with anxiety, sensory sensitivity, previous traumas, or otherwise who rely on a safe, calm space. The counseling and health offices are safe spaces for such students and we are invested in improving the spaces to benefit all of our students during their years at Lilja. Lighting, especially that done by use of natural scenery, has been proven in research to be extremely beneficial. It allows for a more peaceful atmosphere with seating options benefiting all students since we each seek comfort while receiving input in different ways.

We believe that a calm space will help students to relax, refocus and recenter before returning to class and that this will enhance students’ learning experience as their social/emotional needs are met before returning to academic work.