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WeAreTeachers, Pearson Award Microgrants for Summer Reading Projects

Five teachers have been awarded microgrants from WeAreTeachers and Pearson's WriteToLearn.

To apply for the grants, teachers shared ideas on weareteachers.com to help students keep their reading and writing skills sharp over the summer. Members of the online professional social network then voted for the ideas they liked best to determine the winners.

The teachers each received $200 and flip video cameras to document their projects.

The winners were:

Garrett gives her fourth graders notebooks and encourages them to write freely and share their work. To make their summer writing fun and purposeful, Garrett asked her students to write about their vacation experiences during the break.

Mini gives her students summer reading lists with books that are slightly above their current reading level and encourages them to find the books in their local library. To practice their writing skills, she asks them to write a book over the summer.

Nieman also uses the local library by making sure that each of her kindergarten students has a library card before the end of the school year and encouraging them to take part in its summer reading programs. She also gives each student a self-addressed stamped postcard so that they can practice their writing by sending her a note about their summer activities.

Smallwood makes sure that her students, more than 65 percent of whom are English language learners, have access to books over the summer by sending each one home with one fiction and one nonfiction book on the last day of the year. If they write to her about the books after reading them, she sends them two more. She also hosts read-in days at the school over the summer for students to discuss their reading and trade books with each other.

Wagner asked all of her ninth- and tenth-grade students, faculty, and staff to read "The Help," by Kathryn Stockett. Students practice their writing skills by interviewing a family member who lived through the time period of the novel and writing about two episodes from the book.

"Students don’t practice enough over the summer and often return unprepared for the new school year," said Lynn Streeter, president of the Knowledge Technologies group of Pearson. "The overwhelming response to the microgrant program that we sponsored in conjunction with WeAreTeachers showcases the ways that dedicated teachers around the country are devoting their own time--and, in many cases, their own resources--to help their students overcome this challenge. Our five winners illustrate the best-of-the-best, and their communities deserve to be proud of their creativity and dedication to student learning all year round."

More information about WeAreTeachers is available at weareteachers.com. Further information on WriteToLearn can be found at writetolearn.net.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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