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The ability to write effectively is a powerful and increasingly essential tool. My goal is to help first graders acquire a strong foundation in written expression by 1) teaching them how to brainstorm ideas, 2) put their ideas on paper in a coherent fashion and 3) summarize/retell stories that they've read or heard. I did 1 and 2 on a small scale last year using borrowed materials and the teachers were ecstatic with the results. This year I hope to assist more children in more classrooms and add the program for summarization/story retelling. If Champion acquires its own set of materials with enough for multiple classes, we'll be able to implement both of these much-needed strategies on an annual basis.

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Champion Students Need the Write Stuff!

School:
Champion Elementary 
Subject:
Language Arts 
Teacher:
Robin Weiss 
Students Impacted:
75 
Grade:
Date:
September 8, 2017

Investor

Thank you to the following investor for funding this grant.

 

SunTrust - $768.00

 

Goal

The ability to write effectively is a powerful and increasingly essential tool. My goal is to help first graders acquire a strong foundation in written expression by 1) teaching them how to brainstorm ideas, 2) put their ideas on paper in a coherent fashion and 3) summarize/retell stories that they've read or heard. I did 1 and 2 on a small scale last year using borrowed materials and the teachers were ecstatic with the results. This year I hope to assist more children in more classrooms and add the program for summarization/story retelling. If Champion acquires its own set of materials with enough for multiple classes, we'll be able to implement both of these much-needed strategies on an annual basis.
 

 

What will be done with my students

This 7-step project will begin with a pre-test, followed by a period of intensive teaching and practice, and conclude with a post-test to measure results. The seven steps are as follows:

1) To establish baselines, first grade students* will be given a pre-test in which they are asked to write narratives on a variety of topics.

2) The speech pathologist will visit each participating class a minimum of five times over two months to teach the basic strategies of EET (Expanding Expression Tool) and SGM (Story Grammar Marker).

3) Each participating teacher will be given an EET strand and Story Grammar Marker to keep in the classroom, which will help students to remember the strategies. One of each tool will also be kept in the speech office for use in therapy.

4) Children on the speech and language caseload will receive additional instruction in the speech office.

4) Children who demonstrate marked difficulty in class may also join language therapy groups for extra help, if their families give permission.

5) Other materials (e.g. verb dice and sentence board) will be used in the speech office with children who need particular help with sentence structure and grammar. When not needed in the speech room, the materials will be rotated among the first grade classes for supplementary practice.

6) After a minimum of three months, a post-test will be administered to measure growth. The post-test may be repeated later in the year if a teacher would like additional information on progress.

7) The materials will be available for the remainder of the term, with the speech pathologist visiting the classrooms on an as-needed basis.

Then, we'll repeat next year, incorporating teacher suggestions for improvement.

Please note: if any first grade class cannot participate or follow through for any reason, the program will be shared with older students in self-contained ESE classrooms. Nothing will go to waste.
 

 

Benefits to my students

Email, texts, social media postings, online applications...we may be using less paper these days but most of us are writing more than ever. Fairly or not, we are also judged on the quality of our writing, especially in the realms of education and career. The importance of written expression cannot be overstated, and as educators we strive to provide children with the skills that they need. But in a Title 1 school where many students lack a robust command of the language, traditional approaches to writing instruction often leave both teachers and students feeling frustrated. I've seen many first graders struggle to produce a single sentence in response to an "easy" writing task. Given a few effective strategies, however, I've also seen them make rapid progress and approach future writing assignments with confidence. Last year, two first grade classes demonstrated significant progress when I borrowed an EET (Expanding Expression Tool) kit and went into the classrooms to teach the techniques. The EET program teaches children how to brainstorm ideas and put them on paper in a logical sequence. Story Grammar Marker, which I've seen in use elsewhere, provides an excellent tool for summarizing/retelling stories. Both programs were created for speech pathologists, but have yielded such positive results that they are now implemented in classrooms nationally. This year, more Champion teachers want in and last year's teachers want my support again. But I no longer have access to the borrowed EET kit and have never had direct access to Story Grammar Marker. If Champion acquires a permanent set of both, we'll be able to introduce and reinforce these strategies on an annual basis. And the benefits don't stop there. Once our students have learned the basics, these techniques can be adapted for use with higher grade levels and more complex information. With ripple effects that potentially go on for years, this project offers tremendous bang for the buck.

 

 

Budget Narrative

We've got plenty of pencils and paper; these materials are frequently donated and I grab them at every opportunity. The materials I'm requesting are the basic EET kit, SGM and EET strands for six classrooms plus the speech office, and some supplemental aids for grammar and sentence structure. Scholastic has a fabulous, free program which allows children to "publish" their writing in a laminated booklet. At the end of the year, our students can cap off their hard work by "publishing" a mini-book of their own. 

 

Items

# Item Cost
1 Expanding Expression Tool Kit $235.00
2 6 additional EET strands $170.00
3 Beary Good Sentences Board (3) $36.00
4 Interrogative Dice (who, what, etc.) $7.00
5 Parts of Speech Dice (noun, verb, etc.) $7.00
6 Being Verb Dice (is, are, has, do, etc.) $7.00
7 Helping Verb Dice (should, will, etc.) $7.00
8 Shipping Costs for first seven items $40.00
9 Story Grammar Marker (7) $258.65
10 Donated paper and pencils $0.00
11 Scholastic book publication $0.00
  Total: $768.00

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