This fall, dozens of third-graders from Naylor Elementary School in Hartford will explore the city with disposable cameras, taking photographs of buildings, people and events that represent their community.
It's one of 45 projects funded by the Hartford Education Foundation's annual teacher-grant program. Last month, about $34,000 was distributed to teachers at 21 Hartford schools to help fund the projects.
Students "love doing this," said Merle Rimler, a teacher who applied for the grant to buy cameras and pay for developing and scrap-booking materials. "It's a big thrill for them to have a camera and go around taking pictures," she said.
Rimler's project is for a social studies class. Other grants will finance projects ranging from math help to letter-writing campaigns. The project will even reach China, with a video-conferencing project proposed by Pathways to Technology Magnet School teacher Lenore Mullady.
Mullady plans to purchase video-conferencing equipment for the high school and for Jinan No. 2 High School in Jinan Shandong, China, so the students at each school can teach one another about their languages, schools and lives.
"We're trying little by little to get more global, letting the kids know what's going on in the world and establishing a contact," Mullady said.
Patricia Salner, the foundation's program director, said the grants are meant to recognize innovation among teachers and help fund projects that might otherwise not happen.
"There are some great needs and interests in some schools," Salner said. "It might not be earth-shattering or systemic changes in the schools, but it really recognizes teacher efforts."
The money is raised through the foundation's annual fund and its community spelling bee. The next spelling bee will be Oct. 24 at the Theater of the Performing Arts on Washington Street in Hartford.
For more information about how to participate in the spelling bee, call 860-803-2887.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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