BCEF awarded over $40,000 to fund 23 grants in 2016, including hundreds of books for the Baxter Book Room at Coffin Elementary, stereo-microscopes for Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary, a greenhouse for Brunswick Junior High School, and a Makerspace at Brunswick High School. For a description of all the grants from our 2nd grant cycle, click here. To see these grants in action, keep reading. We thank our Brunswick public school educators for the creativity and effort it took to bring these projects to life! Keep visiting our Grants in Action page as we add more pictures and descriptions.
The STREAM Lab recently had it’s grand opening in the Brunswick High School library. The new space allows student’s to join the nation-wide ‘maker movement’, supplying them with a place and the materials needed to create. Originally conceived of as the STEAM Room, short for science, technology, engineering, art and math in BHS librarian Daurene Jerome’s grant application, students later added the R for research and dubbed the new space the STREAM Lab. It’s filled with cool materials like Snap Circuit electronics, coding stations, makey makey invention kits, virtual reality goggles and a variety of craft materials. Since opening, students have been busy creating, writing code for Sphero robots, building complex Lego architecture, making holiday cards and generating virtual reality experiences to view through the vr googles.
Wabanaki Outreach Program
Hands-on Wabanaki cultural experience
Recently, George Neptune from the Abbe Museum of Bar Harbor visited Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary’s 2nd grade to give a presentation on the Wabanaki Native American tribes of Maine in conjunction with the revised social studies curriculum. The interactive presentation, funded through a grant from Brunswick Community Education Foundation, gave students the chance examine Wabanaki cultural objects while learning about the customs of the four tribes of the Wabanaki Nation.
A New World View
Stereo Microscopes, including two that can capture digital images, were purchased for the Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary 5th grade through a grant by BCEF. The microscopes are being used in multiple areas of the curriculum including a recent literary unit in which students were asked to make claims about how water striders (collected from the BJH stream) skate on water and what they eat. Microscopic observations provided the students with close up views of the water striders’ mouth parts, the tiny hydrophobic hairs on the legs and details of the body design. These observations strengthened the scientific claims made by students.
The microscopes will also be incorporated into the annual Science Discovery Night for use in interactive presentations, in a chemistry unit where students observe the crystalline structure of common substances, for investigations of living cells, and as inspiration for artistic representations of the natural world
9th Grade Team Builidng
Read the Times Record Article on the BHS Freshmen day at the camp.
In an effort to foster a collaborative and supportive community for students, Brunswick High School incoming freshmen attended a BCEF funded day of team building at Camp Ketcha to start the school year. The Camp Ketcha program focuses on using an experiential approach to work on team building in a challenge-by- choice environment. Students had the opportunity to get to know each other in a setting that fosters positive relationships and teaches strategies to cope with difficult situations. The skill development and friendships formed will support BHS’s goal of making the transition to high school a positive experience.
Baxter’s Book Room
The Baxter Book Room was launched in December, 2015 with limited materials but with a long term goal of ensuring that literacy instruction at Coffin is supported by rich and abundant resources, both fiction and non-fiction and to provide all students with developmentally appropriate leveled texts that are engaging, and will entice students to have a passion for learning to read. Utilizing funds from a BCEF grant, over 900 books have been purchased for the book room with more to come.
Cumberland County Almanac
This grant was designed around the classic book, Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold in which he wrote about the seasons and how humans interact with their environment. Over the course of the 2015-2016 school year, BJHS Birch Island 6th graders went out into the world where they applied their scientific, artistic and literary knowledge to the study of ecology. Through visits to Bowdoin Coastal Studies Center, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the Bowdoin College Art Museum, historical societies and local farms, students explored the relationship between nature and humans. As the year progressed, students wrote of their experiences, including this piece by a 6th grader in Mrs. Sullivan’s class.
Cold Prehistoric Ocean
The waves entertain me as the sparkly aquamarine ocean crashes onto shore. The ivory seagulls squawk like horns on a velvety red fire engine, while the kelly green seaweed slithers like a snake on the silky tan shore. When I feel the rocks, they are as cold as snow on a wintery night. Ocean life is like a relaxing aquarium in my eyes. The smell of salty water stings my eyes like when my mom slices onions to eat with dinner. Feeling the water as cold as ice instantly freezes my hands. Bowdoin Coastal Studies Center is like weather and nature in my heart.
Challenger Learning Center
In a joint grant with the Senter Fund, 5th grade students travelled to the Challenger Learning Center of Maine in Bangor where they performed the roles of astronauts, engineers and scientists in a simulated space mission. In addition, they participated in STEM programming to help inspire our next generation of scientists and engineers.
Christine Capobianco, 5th grade teacher, wrote us this note after they returned from the trip. “The Challenger experience was engaging from beginning to end. The students at HBS were given the opportunity to be empowered into a role that brought that class together on a mission to locate and name a comet. Students “traveled” to space and were allowed to run the expedition from mission control. Seeing students step up to the challenge, watching their determination despite initial nerves, was a truly amazing experience as an educator. After the mission was deemed a success, students were shown the various components of rocket design, and given the chance to test out and build their own paper rockets. The hands on creation of a rocket that was actually able to fly into the air, truly left students in awe.”
Technology for Connections at Coffin
This grant enabled the purchase of technology, including iPad’s, to increase learner engagement for a classroom serving students with emotional or behavioral difficulties. Although the technology is entering it’s first full year in the classroom it is already being use to create science presentations, teach social skills, read and listen to interactive stories, play trivia games based on classroom lessons, engage students in movement breaks and inspire deeper learning in all areas of the curriculum!
Gulf of Maine
In a continuation of last year’s Connecting to Casco Bay grant, 7th grade students of the Jewell Island Team engaged in a community-based, expeditionary learning unit to understand the fragility of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and our civic duty to care for it. Through field trips to Peaks Island, Paul’s Marina, Mere Point and Thomas Bay Estuary, this interdisciplinary unit required students to integrate math, science, social studies and English to conduct hands on research and give public multi-media presentations of their findings.
Creative Writing Club Literary Magazine-Husky Prints
Funds were awarded to provide two years of professional publication for the Brunswick Junior High Literary Club creative writing magazine, Husky Prints. The first year’s publication was a resounding success incorporating the original works of 41 students.
Ready for K!
This grant provided every child who participated in the Kindergarten screening process with a colorful, engaging alphabet book. Along with this book, parents received a guide designed to help them get their children ready for the upcoming Kindergarten year. The goal of this project was to help students get excited for kindergarten, and help parents understand how to work on early literacy skills over the summer. In addition, Coffin Kindergarten teachers were hoping to help make Kindergarten screening a happy, positive experience, and to help make a great first impression on families who are new to the Brunswick public school system.
Music to Soothe the Soul
Funds were awarded to purchase a sound system for the lobby area of Harriet Beecher Stowe that will play classical music as students enter at the start of the school day in an effort to create an environment of ‘inviting calm’.
Making Poetry Books and Celebrating Young Authors
In a 6-session writing and publishing workshop last April and May, students in a 1st grade class explored onomatopoeic poetry and book publishing with parent volunteer and teaching artist Molly McGrath. Through the course of the workshop, students learned about syllables and sounds and gained some new vocabulary words that are particular to poetry writing (starting with the word onomatopoeia!). They also were introduced to “sonic” poems and wrote one of their own. They heard from some of the great masters of onomatopoeic poems, such as Dr. Seuss, William Shakespeare, and Shel Silverstein. Finally, they created and designed their own book, which consisted of a short anthology of the poems they wrote. In addition to each student’s own illustrated poems, the book also contained a class poem, which the students composed toghether. Once the books were published, a celebration was held where students read their poems to an audience of lucky kindergarteners, teachers, parents, and administrators.