2018 Institute for Innovation Grant Winners
Mountain Brook Elementary – Betsie Boggs, Mary Catherine Clark, Mackenzie Eden, Cynthia Maldonado, Thea Patrick
We want to build an interactive space that has two interactive walls and an interactive floor. Students would be able to directly interact with content, experience new worlds, and make greater connections to the world. We saw great success in how we impacted students’ understanding about their world in our 2017-18 grant work. However, there was a student population that is physically unable to take advantage of the innovations we began to utilize last school year: our high-needs special needs students. We want to bring interactive technology to them through the use of interactive technology.
Junior High School - Paul Hnizdil, Tami Genry, Holly Martin, and Suzan Brandt
Imagine a classroom in which students are up, moving around, analyzing crises through multiple lenses, and applying their knowledge to a variety of situations to innovate new solutions to the complex problems our world can face. Students physically engage with a four-level, three dimensional model exemplifying hypothetical countries and their environmental, economic, social, and political features and structures. The results of student negotiation and subsequent decisions are physically manifested on the model, allowing students to see both the successes and consequences of their attempts to solve crises and promote global connections. This World Peace simulation is a quintessential example of “empowering students to live with a growth mindset and problem solve through play, passion, and purpose."
Cherokee Bend Elementary School – Lizzie Vanzant, Kelsey Church, Sarah Jackson, Sara Katherine Janecky, Hannah Kennedy
The “Whole Brain Experience: A Multi-Sensory Approach to Learning and Behavior” will include Heightened Sensory Room and a Snoezelen-style Room, or a room designed to calm the body and “reset” the brain’s readiness to tackle thinking. The Heightened Sensory Room would offer students access to multi-sensory resources, including abacuses, gear panels, occupational skill boards, ball run tubes, instruments, gel pads, and math ropes. Such an environment would significantly enhance instruction in all grade levels and content areas. Snoezelen-style rooms are multi-sensory environments designed to reduce anxiety and brain agitation by calming the mind and body. Bubble tubes, light streams, and calming sounds would all be included in this room. In this environment, students would investigate and apply strategies to use muscles, breathing, spatial awareness, and sensory rich manipulatives to calm the body and settle the mind. Whole Brain Experience environments would target fine and gross motor skills to prime the brain for optimal learning.