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Robert Pope Classroom Grants

Each year the Foundation awards the Robert Pope classroom grants. These grants help fund innovative classroom opportunities that are not currently being offered by the School District. The CPS Foundation is able to fund up to five $1,000 grants that are selected by a committee of volunteers. Although the Foundation was only able to fund five projects this year four great projects submitted by valuable educators have been left un-funded. These projects and descriptions are found below. 

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Please indicate the title or number of the project in which you wish to support.

“The Foundation is committed to inspire learning, enrich teaching, and create opportunities for students and staff.”

1. Minis 4 Minis                                 $0 of $1,000

Brief Description

These iPads would be another permanent fixture in the classroom, hands- on tool for learning. Having the iPads in the classroom would be very beneficial and right at the student’s fingertips. The iPads would be used to reinforce kindergarten reading and math skills everyday versus when the iPad cart is available. Purchasing these iPads would get us one step closer to becoming a classroom with 1 to 1 technology.

How does this project meet the instruction goals and mission statement of the District?

Having the iPads in our classroom will engage all of our learners through a focus on student learning through technology engagement.

Columbus Public Schools’ goal for every student is to be at or above grade level in all areas of reading and math. When addressing the needs of students who currently aren’t engaged independently in reading and math, we hope to increase their engagement through the iPad technology. By putting it at their fingertips this would allow the students more exposure to reading and math skills. These extra practices that are above and beyond the paper pencil classwork will increase the student’s achievement on our District assessments.

Our District wants to “Engage all learners to achieve success!” The use of the iPad technology has rocketed our kindergarten students into the 21st century like never before. We want to increase their exposure for once every week to everyday use wit the mini iPads that will stay in the Kindergarten classrooms. The apps that will be purchased will be tried and true reading and math apps that are already being used on the district owned iPads with the addition of new and improved apps.

What are the major objectives of this project?

The major objectives of this project is to give more sill specific and individualized practices in reading and math using technology that kindergarteners can access. The following kindergarten based skill objectives will be addressed: Letter Recognition; Sound Recognition; Number Recognition; Number sense; Initial Sound Fluency; Phoneme Segmentation Fluency; Nonsense Word Fluency; High Frequency Word Fluency and any beginning of the year First Grade Skill that will address reading and math fluency. We will measure these objectives using our beginning, middle and end of the year Kindergarten district assessments as well as the districts universal screener, DIBELS. These measures will give us great data to tell if the multiple practices through mini iPad use reading and math skills practice increased student achievement.

Explain the different teaching methods that will be used to implement this project and how they will improve the performance of students in the classroom.

The different teaching methods that will be used will be small group, 1 to 1 technology use, and partner work. These methods can be seen during reading/math groups led by a classroom teacher or paraprofessional. WIN time will be a great time to observe 1 to 1 technology with the students using the mini iPads to increase their reading and math skills.

What grade levels will be affected by this project? Approximately how many students will benefit from this project? What is the potential for expansion of this project to other grade levels and/or schools?

Our plan is to affect only Kindergarten with each classroom having the extra iPad in addition to the current teacher iPad as a resource for the above instructional times. The floating mini iPad would be used on a need to need basis between the Kindergarten teachers depending on the reading or math activity. Many interventionist will be able to utilize the use of iPads.

How will you evaluate whether your objectives have been achieved?

Through district assessments and classroom teacher observations the objectives is that the students will show growth in reading or math. We will use progress monitoring data to show growth and benchmark data for overall yearly growth. We will also utilize a checkout system that will monitor the students mini iPad use during the year. This will allow us to see which students had more hands on technology practices with the devices. We can then review our classroom and district assessments to identify any correlations.

2. Stacking For Success                $0 of $965.77

Brief Description

Stacking For Success would allow all students in grades Kindergarten through Fifth to have practice with cup stacking on average of two times per month. This physical movement activity could also be used in classrooms to provide a “brain break” and as “gear-up” activity to precede assessment periods such as NeSA or MAP testing.

Explain how this project meets the instruction goals and mission statement of the District.

The mission of the Columbus Public Schools is “Engaging all learners to achieve success.” Sport stacking ( also known as cup stacking or speed stacking) is and individual and team sport that involves stacking specialized plastic cups in specific sequences in as little time as possible. Students from all backgrounds and abilities can participate in cup stacking regardless of athletic ability. Nonathletic students can compete with those with more developed athletic skills.

Cup Stacking promotes academic learning. Research has shown that cup stacking, when done on a regular basis, increases test scores and levels of concentration. Crossing the midline of the body creates and develops new connections in the brain. These new connections help to spur brain growth which in turn promotes greater academic achievement. There is a strong correlation between the eye movements used to cup stack and those used to read. Both the left and the right brain usage is developed in cup stacking and in turn, both sides of the brain are used by fluent readers who comprehend.

What are the major objectives of this project?

The major objectives of “Stacking For Success” are to support the following key concepts in the elementary Physical Education Curriculum: 1) To participate in and demonstrate non-locomotive and manipulate skills both inside and outside of physical education. 2) To identify physiological indicators that accompany moderate to vigorous physical activities. 3) To identify movement skills and patterns following specific  rhythms. 4) To participate in fitness and conditioning-related activities.

Non-locomotive skills include stretching, bending, twisting, hand-clapping and any motion of the body that does not result in traveling from one place to another. Coordination is needed to master these skills.

Explain the different teaching methods that will be used to implement this project and how they will improve the performance of the students in the classroom.

As a teacher, I would lecture to explain the procedure for cup stacking and the rationale that supports it and what benefits will be gained by students. I would model cup stacking and then have the students work individually to improve their dexterity and performance against a time criterion. Once the initial instruction had taken place, students can individually continue to increase the rigor of the formations they are working to master.

What grade level(s) will be affected by this project? Approximately how many students will benefit from this project? What is the potential for expansion of this project to other grade levels and/or schools?

“Stacking For Success” will affect all students in grades Kindergarten through Fifth (approximately 260 students). This project has the potential to expand to self-contained classrooms to be used for “brain breaks”, brain/body engagement before testing and physical activity during inside recess. The cups, mats and timers could also be used for parent education/involvement nights.

How will you evaluate whether your objectives have been achieved?

Students will take a timed pre and post test to show acquisition of cup stacking skills. A model will be given of the cup stacking procedure and then at the beginning of the unit, students will be individually timed on how long it takes from the first “touch” of the cups until the cups are stacked correctly. After the unit and practice, the same assessment will be given, times compared and feedback will be given to students.

Students in grades 3-5 will monitor their heart rate before and after cup stacking activities. Students will be taught how to count their heartbeats per minute to determine their heart rate. Heart rate will be gathered and recorded individually and then the student will complete a cup stacking activity 5 times in succession and then the heart rate will be taken again. Beginning and ending heart rate will be compared and feedback given to students.

Juggling is a non-locomotive skill and it is already assessed in the physical education curriculum. With the addition of cup stacking practices, a juggling assessment which focuses on accuracy instead of speed will be given prior to the cup stacking practices and then again at the conclusion of the cup stacking practices. Percentages of accuracy on both tests will be compared and feedback given to students.

3.STEM Competitive Vehicle Design
$0 of $1,000

Brief Description

In this project students are challenged to create a Co2 dragster that is both fast and visually appealing. The first step in this project is research. Research is done on aerodynamics, rear suction, and other drag forces. Students will then look at models that have already been made and tested. Based on research they do, they will eliminate models and reach a final design to create. Taking the design, students will add dimensions and create a 3 view drawing of the design in Solidworks. While drawing their design on Solidworks students will try to make the dragster as aerodynamic and is light in weight as possible but still have a well structured dragster. Students will check with the instructor to see if the aerodynamics and body are free of structurally weak areas. After finalizing their design, students will create them. Given a block of wood, students carve and cut out their dragsters. Students paint them and add personal designs to add visual appeal. The final step is to race their dragsters. Fishing line which helps guide the dragster down the track is fed through eye hooks that are screwed under the dragster. Powered by only a single Co2 cartridge, the speed is achieved by the wooden dragsters is truly phenomenal. IN order to understand the problem-solving/scientific method, the six steps of design are used to design, construct, and evaluate a Co2 dragster. Part of STEM is science which is used in the Co2 dragsters, by using energy transfer, potential and kinetic energy, acceleration, momentum, and Newton’s first, second, and third laws of motion. Part of STEM is math, where students learn to measure in metric, learn how to measure acceleration and calculating speed and the timing process. In this project activity, students learn about all four areas of STEM and use each one in a real life problem. The big part of the activity is to evaluate the students dragsters, and in order to do that, wee need a new and updated track and launching system that will allow us to test the four principal forces: mass, thrust, friction, and drag.

Explain how this project meets the instruction goals and mission statement of the District?

In our district, we are committed to making STEM an integral part of our curriculum K-12. This project follows district STEM goals and is included in our STEM curriculum. STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math integration. Our school district believes that these fields are interconnected. When taught separately, students struggle to grasp the application of many of the concepts. Our STEM focus is about applying these for areas to real life problems. This program advances student’s ability to think critically, solve complex problems, communicate, and interact with other students. Students’ apply this knowledge in a hands-on, project-based environment.

What are the major objectives of this project?

At the completion of this project the students will be able to:

Studens will:
  • Demonstrate and understanding for the design process.
  • Explain the role of the trouble shooting, research and experimentation with regards to design.
  • Explain the reasoning behind their design.
  • Explain how the Co2 Dragster converts potential energy to kinetic energy.
  • Build a Co2 car according to specifications.
  • Explain the correlation between weigh and speed.
  • Explain the importance of wheel alignment.
  • Explain the impact of “drag” and how it relates to efficiency and speed.
  • Safely use the hand and power tools involved in building the Co2 car.
  • Demonstrate safe work habits when using tools, equipment, and technical processes, and encourage the same in others.
  • Calculate speed in MPH.
  • Demonstrate the understanding of Newton’s Law.
  • Accurately use measuring tools to determine weight distance traveled.
  • Identify how this information is related to improving the efficiency and speed of automobiles.
  • Describe alternative sources of energy.
Explain the different teaching methods that will be used to implement this project and how they will improve the performance of students in the classroom.

Students apply this knowledge in small groups in a hands-on, project-based environment by creating, designing, building, collaborating and problem solving while increasing the depth of learning to solve real-world challenges through STEM education.

What grade level(s) will be affected by this project? Approximately how many students will benefit from this project? What is the potential for expansion of this project to other grade levels and/or schools?

This activity will serve all students in the 6th grade STEM program. Each one of our students is required to take on semester a year at CMS. STEM targets all students, not just those who will pursue postsecondary education or careers in STEM or STEM-related fields. STEM activities like Co2 dragster projects will better prepare students to face the challenges of a Technology driven society.

What if any, additional materials, etc. will be required from the District to implement this project?
  • Co2 Kits
  • 1/4″ graph paper
  • Masking tape
  • Sandpaper
How will you evaluate whether your objective has been achieved?

The process of testing and evaluating the dragsters will allow the students to compare and analyze the different designs for success and needed improvements. It is intended that a dialog between students will help further the design of the dragsters and improve results on the drag strip.

4.Various Sensory Items    $997.97 of $997.97 

Brief Description

This project includes a variety of sensory items that I’d like to add to my classroom. My students have some expensive needs and unfortunately, by the nature of their autism/other disability, they can be very hard on materials. This means we are constantly having to replace items or find new ones to meet individual needs and there is no place in the budget for this. I strive to use the resources as best as I possibly can, doing a lot of DIY things and repurposing items to fit our needs. Sometimes though, we just need new things that cost a lot of money. That is why I am pursuing this grant from the Foundation. My classroom is in need of a variety of items including cube chairs (these help with positioning for students that need physical boundaries to help them define the space around them), a ball pit and laser light machine to add to our rotation of stations used daily during our sensory time, light up balls to be used as fidget toys to help hands stay calm and also to help teach social play skills, and an adapted bubble blower that is equipped with switch activation. These items may seem like a random mix but they wall work together to help meet the needs of my students and help them learn valuable skills such as being able to sit and complete a task, taking turns while playing, and being able to stay engaged with a toy to play independently for an extended amount of time.

Explain how this project meets the instruction goals and mission statement of the District.

Our district’s mission statement is “Engaging all learners to achieve success.” My students are included in that “all” but often are the most difficult to figure out how to help them be successful. Overall, their success is ultimately defined by their ability to interact with the environment and people around them. Everything we teach and focus on is designed to help them learn to interact appropriately with materials and people and do so with the biggest degree of independence possible. This project includes quite a variety of materials needed in my classroom and each of them serves a different purpose to help meet my students’ needs. By providing these items I can help my learners be able to be more independent during both their work times and in their social play times. The cube chairs will help students sit at group times, staying in their spots and being able to manipulate materials without needing as much teacher assistance to do so. The ball pit, laser light, and clear balls will be incorporated as a station during our sensory rotation. Students will be able to play in the ball pit independently and the balls and laser lights will be very engaging and provide both tactile, motor and visual input for their bodies. The light up balls can be used in a variety of settings, from being simple fidget toys that help keep hands busy and mind focused during instruction times to encouraging movement and social interaction as students practice rolling and throwing the balls to peers. The bubble blower and switch will allow students with limited motor and play abilities have access to a toy that only requires a push of a button to turn on. I can incorporate this into social skills teaching of taking turns, requesting and playing independently with a toy for an extended amount of time. These materials are easily adapted to meet individual student needs and will help them achieve success in both their work and play times.

What are the major objectives of this project?
  • 1. Students will remain seated in a cube chair and participate in both group and independent tasks for and extended length of time, (time determined based on individual student present abilities and future goals).
  • 2. During sensory time, students will independently transition to the ball pit and laser light station (needing no verbal or physical prompting) and stay in the ball pit until the rotation is up.
  • 3. Students will participate in turn taking and play activities using the light up balls and bubble blower machine, completing at least 2 exchanges between a peer ( more dependent on student abilities).
Explain the different teaching methods that will be used to implement this project and how they will improve the performance of students in the classroom.

These items will be used in whole class, small group and 1:1 instruction and independent settings. Essentially we can use them often and for almost anything! Use of each item will be modeled so that student understand the purpose and expectations for the items. To start, the items will be incorporated into a work task. For example, part of my work time with a student might be learning how to manipulate and turn on the bubble machine. Then we will play with it together, adding in as much social interaction and fun as possible to help the student learn to enjoy this as a fun toy. As the student becomes comfortable with the bubble machine and learns to push the switch to turn it on we will fade i out of the structured work time and begin to us it in a more natural setting, like break time. The ultimate goal is that we can have the bubble machine as a break option and students will independently choose to play with it and stay playing with it for an extended period of time. These are both valuable skills for our students to learn and can affect all areas and settings of their daily living. Imagine how huge it is for a parent to be able to leave their child entertained, knowing they’ll be ok for a few minutes by themselves, so that they can fold a load of laundry, answer a phone call, or even simply take a bathroom break.

If needed, video models will be created so that students can watch the instructions and expectations of each of these materials as often as they need to. Prompts will gradually be faded from verbal to physical, to point/gesture until students reach a point that they are using these items appropriately by themselves. Positive reinforcement will be incorporated as a tool to motivate students to use the materials appropriately. For example, a student may earn a high-interest toy/item as they appropriately sit in their cube chair and complete their jobs. At first they would earn it often and then as they get better at it they will have to sit appropriately and their work more or for a longer amount of time before they get the motivating item. As time goes and students get better at using the items, reinforcement will change from tangible items to teacher interaction and simply praise, eventually using only natural reinforcers (for example, the natural fun that comes with playing with a bubble machine or the natural sense of accomplishment after completing a task that needs to be done).

What grade level(s) will be affected by this project? Approximately how many student will benefit from this project? What is the potential for expansion of this project to other grade levels and/or schools?

These materials will be used for students K-5 that are significantly affected by disability. It has the potential of reaching 13+ students as I use it for students in my classroom, students in the high needs program that visit my classroom, and even students from our schools behavior program or other classrooms that have sensory needs or need help developing appropriate social play skills. As my students start to use these items I will be reflecting on their effectiveness or ineffectiveness and will be sharing my thoughts with the special education team that I collaborate with. Perhaps what I’m doing with these items with my students can help someone else think of something they could do with theirs. Also, as students transition between elementary and middle school I can pass along anything that they really connected to during this project and help the middle school get the materials needed to have what they need for students moving up.

How will you evaluate whether your objectives have been achieved?

Ultimately we will know our objectives have been achieved if we start to see students engaging with these materials independently, or staying engaged with them for a required amount of time. We will use both informal and more formal evaluations to track these objectives. For some students data may be quantitative, for example measuring the length of time they remain seated in a cube chair. For others it may be more qualitative, using anecdotal notes about students growth in play skills or willingness to use the materials. Some of the use of materials may be incorporated into student IEP objectives. For example, use of the light up balls and bubble blower could be materials used to work on a social turn-taking objective on an IEP.

For the sensory equipment (ball pit, laser lights and clear balls) I will measure success by if the students choose to play in it beyond the time allotted for it during our sensory time, and also by observing students behavior after using it. The goal of sensory time is to help student’s bodies stay calm and in a more “ready-to-learn” state. I can take anecdotal notes about students’ moods and behaviors after using the ball pit to see what kind of impact it had on them.