Mrs. Stepahnie Harbert was awarded the Upstate Federal Credit Union's "Teacher Dream" Grant. This $1,000 grant was awarded to Mrs. Harbert for her idea and passion to create an outdoor math classroom at Iva Elementary. Read more about her plans below:
"The famed author Henry David Thoreau was insightful when he stated “…me thinks that the minute my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow.” Without question, students learn more effectively and efficiently when they are active and engaged. Especially for younger learners, the prospect of allowing children to be active AND outdoors while learning offers a unique opportunity for growth. Children also need to see and experience learning in various environments beyond the traditional classroom. This project will address these possibilities in a way that will help us make planning, implementing, and learning in math more efficient, more effective, and hopefully more enjoyable.
As a teacher, it is always fun to plan lessons outdoors. Sometimes, however, factors beyond our control can hinder even the best of those outside plans. Wind alone can wreak havoc on posters, charts, and papers even on the otherwise best of days outside. Utilizing the blacktop and chalk to draw out charts, graphs, etc. is a feasible approach, but that takes a great deal of time to do and coordinate, and is never permanent even in the short term.
With this project, we propose that several base math tools be painted permanently on our blacktop at Iva Elementary. An open number line, hundreds chart, and part-part-whole frame are the start of my vision for this project. In addition, I would like to include two ten frames and a place value frame as indicated in the attached diagram. This proposal begins the footprint to an initiative that can continue to be built upon over time, and I am confident it will help create an environment in a unique setting where kids can be enthusiastic about the learning process in math.
With these math tools readily available, teachers and students would be able to use their whole bodies to become part of the math lesson themselves! Simply by adding a few additional chalk numbers, symbols, or other manipulatives, neither weather nor time would be able to prevent students from an actively engaged math lesson. In addition to painting math tools on the blacktop, I would like to have a cart with large-scale math tools available for use as well. These tools would include large foam numbers, a set of large dice, beanbags, cones, chalk, large building blocks, and a rolling shelf."
Congratulations, Mrs. Harbert!