Dance to dinero: Education grants to offer unique opportunities

08/15/2014 5:17 PM

08/15/2014 5:18 PM

At Garner Magnet High School, dance students will incorporate technology to create a visual dance piece inspired by art or experience. At Timber Drive Elementary, meanwhile, fifth-graders will learn about spending money in a hands-on way.

Three Garner schools have secured a quartet of grants from the Wake Education Partnership totaling $10,000 to fund a variety of unique classroom learning experiences.

North Garner earned two separate $3,000 grants to lead the way, both allowing for specific technology purchases. One grant will purchase iPads to help students with disabilities engage with science.

Another will buy iPod touches with activities to aid sixth-grade literacy. The efforts will focus on annotating text, vocabulary development and question-answer relationships.

Meanwhile, another $3,000 will help Jennifer Parker’s dance class by providing two iMac computers set up with iMovie (video editing software) and GarageBand (sound editing). Parker said the capabilities will enhance the dance aspects of the class and also expose the students to technologies that could prove useful down the road.

“A lot of what we do is choreography. Beyond just stringing movements together, you start to apply manipulations to the movements,” Parker said. “What you can do is take what usually just exists one way, and film it to be a lot of different dances.”

The films created and spliced together will also preserve compilations for future classes, who could find elements they like and build off them.

A core element of many of the grants is funding a substitute to allow faculty time to plan the special learning experiences. At Timber Drive, that aspect of a $1,000 grant will help library media specialist Karen Waller and fifth-grade teacher Jason Daniels. Waller said they aim to increase understanding among fifth-grade students of financial decision making and basic household economics.

“Our goal is that they’re going to be able to prepare a budget and live within that budget,” Waller said, noting that curriculum dictates fifth-graders learn how the market economy impacts life in the U.S. and how personal choices impact them. “We want them to have to face real life situations, interactive centers, and learn how decision making will affect their lives.”

Waller said they’re still brainstorming, but plan to have each student pick two careers, one high and one low income. They’ll have to recognize the education they’ll need, housing they can afford, and how they can live on what money they have. Cell phone, electric bills and other variables will come into play, including surprises like toothaches leading to dentist visits and flat tires requiring replacements.

“We want this to be ongoing, maybe once a week,” Waller said.

In all, the Wake Education Partnership awarded 20 grants totaling more than $48,000 to county schools.

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