MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Schools

April 29, 2010

Teachers get boost from grant bucks

Programs awarded more than $8,000

Freddie the Frog can help even more Cherokee Elementary kids learn music with a hefty grant from the Education Foundation of Muskogee.

Cherokee music teacher Nancy Freeman, who uses the frog puppet, was surprised Wednesday morning by Foundation members bearing balloons. They presented her with a $589.20 Virgil Matthews and Bank of America Grant to support her program “Freddie the Frog goes to Music Class.”

The foundation distributed $8,584 in grants among 12 Muskogee Public Schools programs during its grant caravan Wednesday morning. The 2010 total is the foundation’s largest distribution since 2006, when it distributed $8,698 to 12 projects.

This year’s grants helped teachers get basic classroom supplies as well as offer innovative classroom projects, Foundation President Kathy Coburn said.

Pershing Elementary media specialist Rogena McClain and sixth-grade teacher Jessica Hiseley received the Mallory Paige Coburn Grant, the Foundation’s highest honored elementary grant. McClain said the $848.40 grant will help upgrade Pershing’s video library from VHS to DVD.

“We have outdated VHS tapes,” she said.

The DVDs will be science related and help students learn the scientific process. Students also could develop a digital presentation of their science fair project.

Sadler Arts Academy Principal Maudye Winget received the highest secondary grant, the Claude C. Harris Grant. The school will receive $786.66 for a year-long project to improve students’ knowledge of Russia. Winget said the whole school will focus on Russian music, literature and books about Russia next year.

“We’re expecting a wonderful year,” Winget said. “Russians celebrate different school holidays each month. They say good-bye to winter by eating pancakes, so we can have fun with that.”

She said the school will get a lot of literature, “some by Russian authors.”

The school also plans a Russian ballet, the traditional Russian version of its annual “Nutcracker” ballet and a student production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Freeman said she uses Freddie the Frog to help kids in kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade learn about the lines and spaces on a musical staff, as well as the difference between the treble clef and the bass clef. She said she learned about Freddie at a music conference in January. The frog already has captured students’ imagination, she said.

“My kindergartners come up and hug Freddie,” Freeman said. “When we learned about tall quarter notes, we had kids going ‘ta-ta-ta, ti-ti-ta.’”

Pershing music teacher Suzanne Dovel and video production specialist Debbie Young received a $707.93 Bank of Oklahoma grant for new microphones, spotlights and sound equipment to improve school productions.

“Our music teacher really needed better stuff,” Young said before taking her video camera to shoot McClain getting her award for the school’s KQLT TV station.

Creek Elementary fifth-grade teacher Beverly Boyer said the $1,045.91 grant she received through Yaffe Iron and Metal will enable her to buy costumes for plays about Colonial America. She said she was surprised at the amount.

“I really believed in it and really wanted it, but because it was just for costumes, I was afraid they weren’t going to do it, “ Boyer said. She said her fifth-graders had performed history skits before.

“But if you put it in a costume, it makes it come alive,” she said.

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