Shallowater Third Graders Use Tablets for Interactive Learning

February 9, 2017
Gibson class

“A big thank you to the members of South Plains Electric Cooperative for the $500 Operation Round Up Grant. You have made a remarkable difference in my third grade mathematics classroom,” said third grade teacher, Kara Gibson. “With this gift, you have made learning math even more enjoyable for my technology-loving kiddos!”

The Operation Round Up Board of Directors initiated a program offering small, $500 grants to teachers. Grants were available to K-12 teachers in math or language arts for the 2016-2017 school year. The funds are made available by South Plains Electric members who ask to have their monthly bill rounded up to the next dollar. The extra change, averaging only $6 per year, funds projects like the teacher mini-grants, scholarships and much more.

Operation Round Up was established in 1993 to help communities and individuals needing a hand up, not a hand out. The program’s tagline, "neighbors helping neighbors," is at the heart of why South Plains Electric Cooperative exists.

During the past 24 years, Operation Round Up has helped hundreds of individuals and organizations. Many donations go unpublicized out of respect for the individual recipients. Operation Round Up, under the guidance of a 10-member board, sometimes works quietly to improve members’ lives.

Nine teacher mini-grants were awarded for the 2016-2017 school year. The other recipients were: Amy Drake, Lubbock ISD; Amanda Dunn, Lubbock-Cooper ISD; Ollie Hart, Abernathy ISD; Morgan Hisey, Lubbock-Cooper ISD; Jennifer Rodriguez, Lubbock-Cooper ISD; Lisa Sanders, Cotton Center ISD; Jana Simmons, Lubbock-Cooper ISD; and Carol Trent, Shallowater ISD.

The Operation Round Up board approved continuing funding the teacher mini-grants because it’s been such a successful program. Applications are available at www.SPEC.coop for the 2017-2018 school year in reading and social studies. The application deadline is May 15.

If all of our members were participating in Operation Round Up, we would have over $200,000 a year to give back to our local communities. You can sign up for Operation Round Up online or call 806.775.7766. You may also sign up by checking the Operation Round Up box on your monthly bill.

Shallowater third graders use tablets for interactive learning

Kara Gibson, a third grade teacher at Shallowater Intermediate School, utilized the Operation Round Up Teacher Mini-Grant to purchase tablets for her students. The goal was to encourage interactive learning in the classroom. Here is her story:

A big thank you to South Plains Electric Cooperative for your gift of a $500 Operation Round Up Grant! You have made a remarkable difference in my third grade mathematics classroom. I used this grant to purchase several tablets and "kid-proof" cases. With this gift, you made learning math even more enjoyable for my technology-loving kiddos!

These devices are used in my Daily 5 Math stations, and the kids come in eager to start stations each day. With these tablets, the students are able to practice their math skills using the ST Math and the Think Through Math programs. These programs give kids differentiated lessons that provide immediate feedback and data to use in my small group station. The kids love being able to touch and manipulate the math scenarios on the tablet, and it helps my English language learners connect on an authentic level. Learning English can be very difficult and frustrating at times. Tablets are a great way for students to practice both their English and math skills and have fun while doing it.

These devices are also being used as digital portfolios for the kids using the app SeeSaw. This app allows the students to use photos, drawings and make videos to demonstrate what they know. Watching a student’s video explanation has helped me identify and address misconceptions that otherwise may have gone unnoticed. They are also able to share their videos with their peers. The student becomes the teacher; this is often a powerful tool! Kids understand kids. I have found that using the digital portfolios has increased student accountability and productivity. As a teacher, I will have a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips to equip me and shape my teaching to best meet my students’ needs.

Benjamin Franklin said, "Tell me and I will forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn." With the use of these devices, my students will be active participants and engaged learners. Thank you again, South Plains Electric Cooperative, for helping me provide a fun and interactive classroom.