The East Penn School District recently held its traditional, educators’ welcome back assembly, August 22, 2018. On the way into the auditorium greeters handed out fliers and small sticky notepads. The flier advertised $15,052 that the EPSD Education Foundation was rewarding in grant money for teachers this coming year.
“What I want to know, is what is this $52, here.” — A hoarse whisper from a gentleman right in front of me, while pointing out the last two digits of the total grant money amount to his neighbor. Good teachers and authors know the power of questioning. Causing kids to question turns teaching on its head. The educator is no longer force-feeding information to students, but providing what the students are wondering about. Personally, I figured the $52 was some monetary necessity born out of the intricacies of finance and taxes, something complicated from a world I know next to nothing about. Boy, was I wrong!
Almost before my neighboring questioner sat back in his chair, Heather Slatoff was mentioning the amounts of the grants EPSD Educational Foundation was making available this year. The very last one was $52! What? Now, I was questioning!
Heather explained that one of last year’s winners, Paula Fehlinger, had her class auction artwork. When Mrs. Fehlinger asked her class what they wanted to do with the $52 that they had earned, the kids told her that they wanted to donate it to the foundation that had provided them the means to make the artwork in the first place. This was one of the classiest little stories I had heard in a long time, but it was about to get even better…
The EPSD Education Foundation took that $52 and made it its own grant! The kids from that class should feel like kings and queens. The foundation credited the class with class. It is honoring the classy decision/action that those kids made, with the help and direction of their classy teacher, Mrs. Fehlinger.
Thank you @EPSDEdFound for providing the opportunity for @EastPennSD teachers and students to be innovators and creators in their classrooms! We can’t wait to see who is awarded the special $52 grant! #payitforward #STEAM #coding #foreverthankful #EastPennProud pic.twitter.com/K3hXKE3umc
— Mrs Fehlinger (@MrsFehlinger) August 22, 2018
Later in the third grade year, I enjoy teaching multiple-meaning words. I usually couple this topic with teaching the use of context clues. Here is a word that I haven’t used in the past, but will definitely begin including in this lesson: Credit.
Surprisingly, Merriam Webster’s very first definition of the entry “Credit” has to do with
truth. The “reliance on the truth or reality of something” is the dictionary website’s initial meaning for “Credit”. The use of the EPSD Education Foundation’s donation to Mrs. Fehlinger’s class gave credit to the purpose of the grants that are meant to promote science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (Education Closet).
As I am only hours away from greeting my brand new third graders to Room 207 of Willow Lane, the first lesson of the year is consuming my thoughts. I am excited to begin the year with a lesson about “Evidence”. Here is a new concept to connect to that lesson: Proof is credit. And, the more credit you have, the more credible your fact. When your statement lacks proof, it is incredible–unbelievable–not worthy of belief or credit.
I think of a bank ledger, where on the one side you have the income (credit) and on the other you have expenses. When you make a statement, you are putting information out there for people to believe. They will believe what you say if you have proof. Sometimes it is difficult to provide concrete proof to credit a statement. In these instances, the more credible the source, the easier it is for people to believe the statement. In other words, the more credit (previously truthful statements that have been proven) a person has in his factual bank account, the more easily a statement made by said person will be accepted (believed). With each false statement a person promotes, he withdraws credibility from his factual bank account. When funds dip, people withdraw trust.
The fabulous fifty dollar grant story lends credit to the funds of these grants not only being used in creative educational ways, but inspiring some of the classiest behavior I have ever heard. It gave me goosebumps to learn about the origin of the last two digits of the total grant allotment for the 2018-19 school year. Although teachers could obviously do more with the larger grants, I, personally, am inspired to apply to win the smallest, but classiest one… $52. This one deserves the biggest “check”.
Credit. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/credit
East Penn School District Education Foundation Announces 2017/2018 Innovator STEAM Grant Winners. (2017, October 26). Retrieved August 25, 2018, from https://www.eastpennsd.org/article/east-penn-school-district-education-foundation-announces-20172018-innovator-steam-grant-winners/
Education Closet. (n.d.). What is STEAM? Retrieved August 25, 2018, from https://educationcloset.com/steam/what-is-steam/ [The “art” of STEaM is the driving force pushing the mechanics of teaching: Innovation, creativity, taking STEM to the next level.]