Teacher Grants 2013-14

Grants Support Innovative and Creative Teaching

Kiddo! is pleased to announce the recipients of its Teacher Grants for the 2013-2014 school year.  Kiddo! Teacher Grants are awarded in support of programs that foster creative and innovative classroom teaching.  Each fall, an Awards Committee comprised of one teacher from each school, a representative from the administrative council, and a parent from PTA Council reviews teacher proposals and selects award recipients.

Without donations from the parent community these grants would not be possible! Thanks to your generosity, our children will enjoy the following exciting programs this year:


Tara Ordonez & the 1st Grade Team – American Dance Through the Decades – This weekly half-hour dance class, conducted by local dance instructor Annie Leese (Artistic Director, Performing Arts Academy of Marin), teaches 1st graders about the history of dance from the 1910s to the 1970s – from soft-shoe to disco.  The class also introduces students to American culture in different periods.

Anna Harris – ESGI (Educational Software for Guiding Instruction) – ESGI is an online assessment tool that allows teachers to assess all aspects of the Kindergarten curriculum, including letter sounds, numerals, patterns, shapes, coins, etc. This information can be shared with parents.

Adam Sanchez – Unlocking the Past: Linking the Old and New Through Art – All 5th graders will design and create an art project using hardware and keys from the old Edna building to create a new piece of artwork to display in the new building.  Students will work with a sculptor in whole and small group sessions on this project which focuses on bridging the past with the future.

Lisa Monge – Author Visit– Historical fiction and graphic novel author Jennifer Holm will discuss the writing process in three assemblies (K-1, 2-3 and 4-5 grades). The event will encourage and support student reading and creative writing and kicks off three library sessions focused on writing.

Coleen Carr and 2nd Grade Teachers – Immigration Day – 2nd grade students will study family heritage and Ellis Island immigration, then apply research during a day of re-enacting the immigration experience. Each student will take on a persona of an immigrant and will spend the day re-enacting the immigration process (e.g. passports, tickets, questioning, travel, intake processing). Students receive in-depth knowledge through personal experience and multi-discipline, multi-sensory learning.


Lisa Spangler – Old Mill Creek Watershed Puppet Making and Performance – With the help of local puppeteer and artist Helen Haight, 1st graders in Lisa Spangler’s class make puppets and a puppet theater that represent the Old Mill watershed ecosystem and its inhabitants.  They write scripts for puppet shows that will teach and reinforce what they’ve learned about the watershed.


Julie Herrera – Math Games – Purchase of math games for 3rd graders that provide additional multi-sensory avenues to move from the concrete to abstract stages of cognitive development in mathematics, and which have been chosen to support the Common Core Standards in various content areas of mathematics. Math games not only help students synthesize concepts and improve access to information from memory, but also provide inspire students to review and practice concepts regularly.

Kim Kirley, Robin Boxer and Allison Ponce de Leon – Manipulatives for Teaching New Common Core Math – Purchase of manipulatives for Kindergarten classes for use in teaching Common Core areas of geometry, counting/making sets and motion/movement. The materials will allow the students to physically manipulate items, deepening understanding of the concepts.

Andrea Dunn & Danny Marsh – Scientists at Sea – As a supplement to their biology curriculum, 5th graders spend a day on the bay aboard a 90-foot research vessel operated by the Marine Science Institute.  They collect and study plankton, run hydrology tests, observe wetland ecology, operate trawl nets, and identify fish they catch (and release).

Kim Suppes and the 2nd Grade Team and Lori Adessa – Integrating Science and Arts Through Song Writing – Musician Jerome Rossen will work with 2nd graders to write a musical on coral reefs while students are studying marine sciences during Oceans Month at Park. Students will be engaged in critical thinking with research on coral reef animals, then demonstrate learning by writing in the form of a song. This approach deepens learning and is supported in the new Common Core standards.


Jan Bolgla, Kimberley Russell, Elizabeth Caroli – Dance Through the Decades  – This dance class, conducted by local dance instructor Annie Leese (Artistic Director, Performing Arts Academy of Marin), teaches 1st graders about the history of dance from the 1910s to the 1970s – from soft-shoe to disco.  The class also introduces students to American culture in different periods.

Bev Medynski and Kindergarten Team – Insta-Learn Number Boards Part 2  – Insta-Learn Number Boards are a powerful tool in creating excitement when it comes to learning number sense. The boards are designed to encourage independent learning at an appropriate pace with immediate feedback.  A partial set was purchased last year and used successfully, and this year’s grant will be used to purchase the complete set.

Meggin Lasater – Zoo Phonics  –  The Zoo Phonics Language Arts Program will be a resource for special education/resource students in grades K-3.  The product teachers letter recognition and letter/sound correspondence using a multi-modal approach (auditory, oral, visual, kinesthetic and tactile).  The product is tied to the Common Core Standards, and allows special education students to mirror general classroom curriculum.


Nicole Carter & the 1st Grade Team – Dance Around the World – Local dance instructor Annie Leese (Artistic Director, Performing Arts Academy of Marin), teaches 1st graders dances from various cultures and countries around the world. This program will provide students with fun insight into these interesting places and peoples.

Aimee DeCelles – 100 Ways to Create – Purchase of Magformers highly engaging magnetic shape sets to introduce science and math concepts to 4th graders. Building with Magformers engages mathematical and scientific thought, deductive reasoning and requires the use of spatial awareness.


Jackie LaLanne – Connecting Art and Technology Outside the Art Rooms – Purchase of three iPads for elementary art teachers to provide collaborative learning experiences outside the art rooms. Students will be able to view artwork, historical sites and other places around the world for inspiration and to make connections to other artists. They will be able to engage in learning activities on field trips, in the garden, and around school during art class.


Emily Bedecarre and Jonna Palmer – Bay Area Writing Project Staff Development for CORE Teachers in grades 6-8  –  Teachers will be offered the seminar “Moving from personal and fictional writing to information-based and expository writing.” This professional development opportunity will give teachers just-in-time ideas and lessons for effectively teaching writing to enhance our program and teaching of Common Core Standards.

Ben Wien and Darby Doyle – MVMS Robotics Team - Provides stipends for two teacher mentors for the extracurricular MVMS Robotics Team, which gives grade 6-8 students an opportunity to learn engineering processes which fostering teamwork, collaboration, technology skills and problem solving.

Kim Roan and Rod Septka – Nonfiction In the Classroom - Purchase nonfiction books for the 6th and 7th grades classrooms that are high interest but suitable for struggling readers. Nonfiction books captivate readers, especially reluctant readers, and nonfiction reading is emphasized under the Common Core Standards. Books will be purchased from selected publishers with excellent nonfiction materials geared toward middle school readers with reading difficulties.

Jay Schulman, Darby Doyle, Robyn Geissler – Design A House – 6th graders work with fractions and mixed numbers in a real-life situation by designing a scale model four-room living space on a 900-square foot footprint and then building a 3D version of the layout. Students will apply their mathematical skills in a creative, design-oriented way.

Brandolyn Patterson, Kathie Fischer and Kathleen Schostak – Compound Microscope and USB Imager – 7th grade teachers will use the microscope/USB imager to project the microscope image onto the whiteboard and provide a model for student learning and investigation. Through modeling, discussion and comparison students will learn how to use a microscope, one of the fundamental tools of science.

Kathie Fischer – Anne Rovetta Comes to 7th Grade Science Classes – Naturalist, storyteller, and artist Anne Rovetta visits 7th grade science classes to give a presentation and lead a lesson on biological drawing. Students use their new skills to create scientific drawings of invertebrate organisms, enhancing their study of invertebrate biology.

Nance Miller, Cari Pompanin, Maggie Front, Andrea Gough, Suzy Anderson, Rod Septka – African Studies -  All 7th grade students will hear a presentation by a district employee who was raised in Kenya and will share his experiences growing up in Africa and discuss the cultural practices of his country and norms and ways of his people. Hearing this information from a primary source will deepen students understanding of history and culture.

Cayce Carnahan – Sectional Coaches – Middle school band students work with top Bay Area musicians, breaking up into small groups of like instruments to work with a section coach. Students receive training and mentoring to become better musicians, and get to know professional musicians who have made music a permanent part of their lives.

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