Music Instruments and Supplies (2018-2019, 2015-2016)
Our goal at JWMS is to never turn away a student music classes because they can't afford to buy or rent an instrument. Through the various grants we have been able to purchase many instruments for our music program. As of today, every one of those instruments is being played and used on a daily basis. We are now in need of purchasing instruments and supplies to expand and maintain our after school strings program, after school jazz band program and our after school chamber music program.
It's my goal at JWMS to offer enriching opportunities for students to expand their knowledge of music with additional ensembles after school. Some students on campus can't take a music class during the school day or they want to take two music classes. I started offering additional classes for all JWMS students after school four years ago. We offer a beginning and intermediate strings class, jazz band, ukulele club and chamber music club after school. Students come in for instruction between 2-4 hours per week. The music program at JWMS is extremely popular for students to participate in and our program has grown from 162 students in 2004 to over 245 students in 2018! We currently have almost 50 students enrolled in our school music programs. Because we have so many instruments available for our students to borrow for free, more and more students are signing up for our after school ensemble classes.
If we were awarded money from the Anderson Foundation, this would greatly help us purchase instruments needed for the music program. These instruments would be used for beginning and intermediate strings classes, our jazz band and chamber music classes. When a student borrows a school instrument, they typically borrow the instrument for all three years they participate in band and strings. Each year we loan out school owned instruments to students who are either Title 1 or they just can't afford to rent or buy an instrument.
Digital Storytelling in a Special Education Classroom (2016-2017)
I believe every student should feel and know success. For many students, success in the area of academia comes easily. However, for my students that is not always the case. Students who have learning disabilities are often negatively impacted by their inability to read, write, and comprehend information. As a result, their challenges place them significantly below grade level and with a significant disadvantage when compared to their peers. Consequently, untapped talent goes unnoticed unless alternate means of pedagogy are used to elicit the students' best.
When I brought the idea of digital storytelling to my classes, I saw the level of interest and effort in all areas increase dramatically. I piloted digital storytelling with my 7th graders and they loved it. My students who struggled with writing complete sentences were able and interested in writing sentences to improve their writing skills as well as create stories they could share. My students' projects were called "6 Thankful Words."
The enthusiasm I witnessed from my movie making students and my coding students made me realize I needed to bring and utilize more technology in my classroom, as well as provide greater opportunities for the students to have their work published/featured. In Spring 2016, my students and I submitted movies to the Digicom film festival. Although my film, "Coding MIA" was featured, my students' films were not. This year as a result of the Anderson Children's Foundation's generous grant, I believe my students will produce better quality films and have greater chances of having their submissions accepted at next year's Digicom Film festival.