Teaching with Purpose

FFA Students with awards

Madison Knodel holds a large check for $2,500 with Marathon Oil employees.

The Unconventional Thinking in Teaching grant was brought to my attention by a coworker with whom I work closely with. As a team, we talked that this may be a perfect opportunity to gain additional funds to support our hopes of growing a space where students are able to take meaningful and purposeful regulation breaks.

 Students come into our buildings with different life experiences, some positive while others are negative. The negative experiences can cause the structures of our brain to work differently when reacting to any form of stress. Research shows that our students with adverse childhood experiences need additional help and teaching with regulating their brains when exposed to stress. Recognizing this need, a special room was created at Prairie Rose Elementary.

The purpose of the room is to regulate our student's stress response system, so they are better able to learn in our classrooms. Within this room, there are scientifically supported tools and activities that are proven to regulate the brain. Each student has different needs when regulating, and regulation activities will have different effects (work better or worse) depending on the student's needs. We use a heart rate monitor to help determine if the activity or tool they are using is having the effect on their stress response system (regulating them) that we are hoping for. This will allow them to function out of the part of the brain where they can learn best. 

In other words, without the jargon and science, at Prairie Rose Elementary, we are proactively helping our students be in a place within their brains, no matter their experiences, that is optimal for learning! We are grateful the Marathon Oil Unconventional Thinking and Teaching Grant has provided us the opportunity to purchase different tools and activities for the students to use within the room!