Play-to-Learn at Black Fox Elementary

Pam Coleman who teaches at Black Fox Elementary School was awarded a grant by the Bradley/Cleveland Public Education Foundation to enhance math materials for her kindergarten students.  These materials according to Ms. Coleman really engage the students and can be shared with all of the kindergarten classes.  She said, “The math manipulatives are spread out on table and the children are so excited.  They are smiling all the while they are learning these math concepts.”

The Teacher Grant-Individual allows Mrs. Coleman to introduce new materials a few at a time so it’s not overwhelming for the children. All 20 kindergarten students get to touch and interact with all the math materials. Feedback is immediate with “Hot Dots,” a manipulative which, when the student finds the right number, the pointer tells them it is correct.

Ms. Coleman's kindergartners are excited and eager to get started with new math manipulatives.

With stations set up throughout the classroom, the students can move about during math time. “This is great for kindergartners since it is helpful to combine big motor activity and play with their learning,” Mrs. Coleman said.  “And the students are excited about math now. They can’t wait for ‘journal time’ because they know math follows.”  Additionally using fine motor skills while reinforcing matching and counting skills completes the picture. 

This wasn’t Mrs. Coleman’s first grant from the Foundation. During her first year teaching at Black Fox Elementary she wrote and received a grant to purchase easels for all kindergarten classrooms. This has enabled teachers to move throughout the classroom room while conducting their lessons. Another grant received by Mrs. Coleman enabled her to purchase books for the children to hold and re-read stories previously shared and enjoyed together, reinforcing the group reading lessons.

Pam Coleman says that her favorite part of teaching kindergarteners “is the student’s eagerness to learn. If I am excited about their learning they are too. I also enjoy the fact they aren’t embarrassed.  They’re not self-conscious yet so they are more willing to try new things and are so pure at heart.”

Serving on the Foundation’s Educational Family Committee allows Pam to extend her contribution to the entire Black Fox family. “Working on this committee with teachers from every school has been a great experience for me.  It has helped finesse my grant writing skills and encourage all teachers if they see a need in their classroom to apply for a grant.”   The committee is comprised of teachers from each Cleveland City and Bradley County School. They evaluate grant proposals submitted to the Foundation and assist to communicate to their peers all the activity and opportunities provided through the Public Education Foundation.

When asked about the Public Education Foundation she said “it is a great organization that benefits teachers and students. Hundreds of student’s lives have been impacted and all have grown. It’s an incredible blessing to me and to Black Fox.”