Shallowater Intermediate School Earns Operation Round Up Grant

October 17, 2016

Sarah Masten, second grade teacher at Shallowater Intermediate School, requested a grant to fund tablets for her classroom. Here is her story:

Thank you, South Plains Electric Cooperative for your gift of a $500 Operation Round Up grant!  You made a significant difference in my second grade reading and language arts classroom. My grant was used to purchase six Kindle Fire® tablets and wonderful “kid-proof” cases. With this gift, you placed great power in my hands and the hands of my students. It is almost magic! 

These devices have the ability to make after-school tutoring an eagerly anticipated event. Students can’t wait to see if the Kindles are on the agenda when they stay for tutoring. They are able to read ability-leveled passages and then answer a series of comprehension questions. Correct answers move the student through progressively more difficult passages. Correct answers are accompanied by “bells and whistles” which motivate seven-and eight-year-old students to answer carefully. Reports are immediately available for me to see. The app is purchased once and downloaded on all six devices. The cost of many apps is less than three dollars. Passages are available in both fiction and non-fiction. Students have the option to pick the genre that interests them and they are more engaged.

But wait, the magic continues!  Our new tablets have turned practicing spelling words into a game. Using the free “My Spelling Test” app, I am able to enter 10 new words for the week onto the devices. There are multiple fun ways, within the app, for students to practice the words. The presentation is colorful and appealing—a must for capturing the attention of young children.  Students are able to hear each word pronounced and get immediate feedback on their attempt to spell the word. The tablets can be placed in a language station and all students can cycle through, practice the words, and take the digital test.

Thanks to our Operation Round Up grant, we can have multiple copies of books to be used in small reading groups. A book that would cost $6.99 per paperback copy can be downloaded onto our six tablets for the cost of one book. Digital books are indestructible, and it is so much fun to read from the tablets.  Students have the option of having the book read aloud to them. Depending on their learning style, this can be very helpful for some students.  
There are almost endless benefits and applications attached to this gift. Thank you for the magic! Thank you for your investment in children and their education!  Thank you for the many ways that South Plains Electric Cooperative makes a difference!