Skip to main content

September 2017 Grant Recipients

Chelsea Reichel - Idaho CapEd Foundation Teacher Grant Winner

Breaking Down Communication Barriers in the 21st Century

Chelsea Reichel - Oregon Trail Elementary, Twin Falls


Sometimes people worry when they think of students using iPads during therapy. "Won't they just be plugged into the device? What’s the point of the therapist, then?"" This is not the case. The ipad really is just a tool and the apps are materials to enhance the child’s therapy. When applications like Articulation Station and Auditory Memory for Quick Stories are used, more time can be focused on the student, rather than thumbing through cards and pages. And let's face it, students love working on an ipad; it's just more entertaining than working from boring, lifeless flashcards; and when therapy is more fun, goals are easier to achieve!

With the help of the CapEd foundation, my speech students (and others as some of these apps can be shared with other therapists in the district) will have an enhanced, modern-day, therapy experience that will help them crush their goals, no matter what their "communication barrier" may be!

Kallie Blaisdell - Idaho CapEd Foundation Teacher Grant Winner

Using Lock Puzzles to Teach Critical Thinking

Kallie Blaisdell - Malad Elementary School, Malad City


This project will use lock puzzles to teach critical thinking, communication skills, collaboration, and creativity. The puzzles can be configured by teachers so that dozens of different combinations of interlocking parts provide challenging problems for students. Students will be in small groups to figure out solutions to the puzzles, thereby improving collaboration skills. The students will have to write reports on how they solved each puzzle and present their solution to the class, thereby strengthening their written and oral communication skills. Each puzzle has more than one solution, which will assist the students to be creative in figuring out a solution. The critical thinking skills they learn from the lock puzzles will help them in the science and math curricula, which use those same skills. The lock puzzles will be used to introduce the students to the scientific method of identifying a problem, conducting research, experimenting with possible solutions, determining the best solution, and reporting on their findings. The same skills are essential in math when students must solve what used to be called "story problems," which require students to identify the components of the problem, apply the correct mathematical processes, and test their solutions to the problem.

Kellie Hannum - Idaho CapEd Foundation Teacher Grant Winner

ESL and ELL Support Materials

Kellie Hannum - Skyview High School, Nampa


We are asking for funds to purchase copies of the books in the first language (Chinese or Spanish), in audio book and in graphic novel format for our approved novel curriculum. For instance, if the traditional students are reading Aminal Farm, the translated text, audio and graphic novel would be purchased and available for check out for the ESL student, the ESL support teacher, and the traditional teacher. We would only focus on the approved curriculum novels for this grant.

The audio will support students' language acquisition in the areas of pronunciation and word identification. The translations are useful in comprehension and will support the student's ability to participate in classroom discussions as speaking is an important step in language acquisition.The graphic novels will be invaluable in helping with comprehension as many of those are the exact text of the novel or play accompanied by comic book style illustrations.

Laura Fullmer - Idaho CapEd Foundation Teacher Grant Winner

Six Powerful Words

Laura Fullmer - Hillsdale Elementary, Meridian


This year we have the exciting opportunity to bring Malia Collins to our four second grade classrooms. Malia is a registered artist with the Idaho Arts Commission, a Creative Writing teacher at the College of Western Idaho, and an author of four children's books. As a Hawaiian native, her writing is strong with imagery of the islands. Malia will spend a half day with each of our four second grade classrooms. As she shares her stories, she will discuss creative writing and poetry with the students.

Each second grader will complete a Six Word Memoir and create a representative art piece. When complete, students will share their work electronically with the Hillsdale community. Students will read their memoirs in their own voices using an i-pad application that will allow QR code scanning. While engaged in the artwork, viewers will be able to scan a student's code and listen to the memoir read aloud by the student. We hope you see the value in helping us to combine creative writing, visual art, technology, and publishing to tell second grader's life stories.

Lynnette Jennings - Idaho CapEd Foundation Teacher Grant Winner

Flexible Seating

Lynnette Jennings - Glenns Ferry Elementary, Glenns Ferry


I began thinking about how similar my classroom is now that I am the teacher and how my classroom was when I was a student. I realize that our world today is nothing like our world decades ago. How do I expect my students to solve problems, make choices independently, and think critically when I am constantly solving their problems and making choices for them? My classroom environment should be conducive to open collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. My students should be solving problems, making independent choices and critically thinking. This simply cannot be done when my students are sitting in a desk all day. Putting them in groups of 4 or 6 is not enough.

I would like to purchase flower-shaped tables that can be adjusted for sitting, or standing. I would like to have bouncy chairs as well as traditional chairs. I would like the students to be free to choose where they sit or stand. I realize that simply swapping out desks for tables doesn't ensure higher motivation, engagement, or accountability. Redesigning a classroom or implementing unassigned flexible seating is a shift in both structure and teaching philosophy -- an entire mindset shift.

Nicasio Usabel - Idaho CapEd Foundation Teacher Grant Winner

Water, oh my! Evaluating Flow, Quality & Conductivity

Nicasio Usabel - Marsing High School, Marsing


The objective with this project is to address the needs of those students whose passion is not science, but still need to learn science through application. The goal is to give these students positive hands-on experience working with STEM and hopefully developing an appreciation for the subject. This project will specifically help to acquire lab equipment that will allow for more innovative labs, advanced data collection, and observation of results.

Towards this goal, I want to purchase new lab equipment which allows students to apply the scientific method through innovative STEM labs. These labs will focus on the water quality by measuring particulates in water, analyzing stream flow, oxygen levels in water source, water salinity, and nitrates, ammonium and potassium found in water runoff and leachate of soil. Students will also maintain observational and mathematical records, conduct research, and make in class presentations.

Noelle Kolb - Idaho CapEd Foundation Teacher Grant Winner

Voices for Our Students

Noelle Kolb - Mary McPherson Elementary, Meridian


Mary McPherson Elementary has a wide variety of students. In our special education program, we hope to teach our students to succeed in and out of the classroom. For some of our students who are non-verbal, this means giving them a voice. Communication is a key piece in our student's ability to function in society. In our special education classroom, we have 6 iPads. We are hoping to purchase apps on two of the iPads. This app allows our students to touch pictures in order to communicate with those around them. These apps will also allow for our non-verbal students to communicate with their peers in the classroom and at recess. In helping with this grant, you are allowing our students to gain a voice and communicate with those around them.

Tanna Fajardo- Idaho CapEd Foundation Teacher Grant Winner

Magic Magnet Toy Design

Tanna Fajardo - Rock Creek Elementary, Twin Falls


One science unit I am currently writing will address the third grade Physical Sciences standards. These standards require students to determine the cause and effect relationships between balanced and unbalanced forces on an object, as well as an understanding of electric and/or magnetic interactions between objects not in contact with each other.

In the unit I am creating, students are being asked by the CEO of a fictional toy company, Harrison Toys, to design a new toy that uses at least two magnets to create movement. A client letter from the company, as well as a list of requirements will be delivered to each student. Before students can successfully build a prototype, they will have to work through different learning modules that will build their background knowledge. The first module will focus on magnets, the next will explore how force can change the motion of an object. The final module will focus on the planning, production, and presentation of each student's toy design.

Tracy Re - Idaho CapEd Foundation Teacher Grant Winner

Let's Work!!!

Tracy Re - East Valley Middle School, Nampa


Every child deserves a future! My students are no different. When speaking to the parents of my extraordinary extended resource special education students, they have expressed that they have never considered that their child would have a career and contribute to their communities. My classroom will give them this future. My students will continue to learn all their critical academic skills such as reading, writing and math. However this year, I will incorporate pre-vocational skills into their learning environment. My students will be exposed to four areas of their potential career paths; clerical, retail, culinary and environmental sciences. My students may learn differently but they do learn and grow! They will be learning many aspects of these career paths such as cooking, measurement, scanning and uploading documents, taking inventory, cleaning, and stocking shelves. I have built their learning environment to include many hands-on activities in order to help them learn at their level and at their own pace. They will also be able to apply and be "employed" in many different positions within the school and throughout the school year. These positions will provide them with transferable work experiences including receiving compensation for their hard work.