Worthing third grade teacher Madison Waldner was surprised at a Teacher In-Service Monday morning with the presentation of a $750 grant.
Architecture Incorporated attended the In-Service to deliver the check and give the good news to Waldner. In celebration of Architecture Incorporated’s 45th anniversary, the company created a new grant program to award K-12 educators with funding to help their students thrive and succeed. They were looking for out-of-the-box ideas of all sizes to address teachers’ challenges and encourage ingenuity in education.
“It was our first year doing this grant program and we were excited to receive 56 applications from across the state/region! There were many deserving applicants which made choosing the four winners incredibly difficult,” said Architecture Incorporated Marketing Director Tara Twedt.
The high level of competition is what made the local win even more special. Waldner’s project was called Classroom Transformations.
Waldner said, “My proposed project would be to fund the materials needed to perform classroom transformations that allow students to interact for a day or week in a profession themed learning environment. Classes would use the given materials to interact with a standard based activity in order to see real life connections to careers they may choose one day. The funding would go towards purchasing the materials required for students to role play in these scenarios. An example activity may be a surgeon themed day which would include students scrubbing in to dissect Jello trays. They would be given a “case” and work together as a medical team to remove the laminated answers related to subjects and standards at grade level.”
Waldner explained that her project connects to third grade common core math standards. There are themed units with occupation-based story problems or scenarios that connect and review a specific math standard. These standards are enhanced by allowing students to use their knowledge further by connecting standards across new situations and real-life scenarios. Waldner said it can be used outside of math as well. Once a theme is purchased, other subject area standards could be paired with the themes. Writing activities and the passages chosen for reading could be used during these transformation days to make it an engaging and memorable experience.
Waldner also pointed out the benefits of Classroom Transformations, she said the lessons immerse students into the learning by providing hands on opportunities to reach the desired learning outcome. Students can evaluate scenarios and justify their answers with reasoning with their teams, partners, or as a class.
“Unfortunately, students in rural communities often do not get exposure to the vast career settings offered in today’s world,” said Waldner. “My hope is that these classroom transformations will foster a love for learning and inspire students to pursue new career areas they may have never had the opportunity to know they had a passion for. My goal is that students would leave each transformation with a memorable way to connect the information they are learning in the classroom with real life careers and experiences.”