Texas

Chapel Hill fine arts teacher uses a non-profit grant to teach students with stabilizing balls.

Thanks to a grant from the Chapel Hill ISD Education Foundation, a fine arts teacher at Jackson Elementary School offered students a fun way to use stability balls and learn to play the drums.

While moving to the rhythm, students enjoy learning with a drum program during class, and include physical activity, musical knowledge, and strengthen listening skills.

Emily Greer, art teacher at Jackson Elementary School in Chapel Hill, received a grant from the nonprofit ISD Education Foundation in Chapel Hill and was thrilled to bring her vision to life.

“I’m always looking for something new and exciting that I know kids will love,” she said.

Greer said she saw the idea of ​​using stability balls a few years ago and knew it was what her students needed.

“I thought, ‘Man that looks fun and my kids will love it.’ But it’s prohibitively expensive for a regular budget,” she said.

She mentioned that once she found out that the CHISD Educational Foundation was giving out grants, she knew this was her chance to try and get materials to include in her curriculum.

When she won, she was “excited” and said she was grateful for the opportunity, especially feeling validated through the nonprofit.

“…when I found out that we got a grant, I was excited because I knew that this was the only thing I was hoping to get, but I knew that it was not achievable. And now it confirms… to see that someone believes in what I want to do. Someone has chosen what I want to do and they think it’s valuable enough to award it to me, so it validates us,” she said. “It’s fun for kids and it makes me think, ‘OK, now how can I use this differently? What else can I look for? What else can we do that might be out of our reach at the moment?”

According to Belen Casillas, executive director of the CHISD Educational Foundation, the non-profit organization donated $12,000, and Greer received it thanks to her innovative idea for engaging classes in a variety of subjects.

“When teachers are selected for a grant, it is usually because the proposal demonstrates a high degree of innovation, especially in terms of its ability to serve multiple purposes and deliver significant value to students. Innovation in education can take many forms, but generally it refers to the use of new and creative methods or techniques to improve student learning,” she said. “Our grants committee reviewed and approved Ms. Greer’s application because the unique teaching method could be used in different subjects, in different grades, and serve multiple purposes at the same time. Greer’s proposal promised to have a significant impact on learning and student engagement.”

The nonprofit raised funds through donors, individuals, local businesses and community groups, Casillas said.

Greer said her overall goal with the grant is to focus on the bigger picture, one that makes her class feel like a success room.

“…every child needs to feel successful at something…every child needs to feel that what excites them matters. Sometimes it’s music, sometimes it’s art, sometimes it’s reading, sometimes it’s football… and no matter what it is, they need to feel like it’s important to someone else,” she said.

She mentioned that students tend to have their own strengths for success, and whether it be musically, artistically or academically in core subjects, a visual arts class allows students to challenge themselves.

Greed said the students who used the materials consisted of first and second grade students, but she hopes to include kindergarten and third grade once they perform their musical performance, which will be free on Feb. 3 at the CHHS theater.

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