Thu, 05/17/2012 - 11:38am

Help Tracy Cullens and her students win a classroom makeover!

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Guest Blogger Tracy Cullens is a grade 1 - 2 teacher at Albert School in Regina, Saskatchewan.  She recently entered a contest for a classroom makeover because she believes her students deserve an opportunity to win something like this and she is asking for the support of our local community.  This is her story.



I attended the Saskatchewan Reading Conference in March and visited the Wintergreen booth.  The rep from Wintergreen mentioned that they were offering a $5000 classroom makeover for all classrooms across Canada.  I laughed and said I would never have a chance competing against schools all across Canada.  She said that there were only 100 classrooms that have entered.  This sparked my interest.  The next day, I took pictures of my classroom and entered the contest.  

On May 7, 2012, I found out that our classroom made it to the Top 10 classrooms across Canada and that we were the ONLY school in Saskatchewan to have made it this far!  My students and I were ecstatic!  We sent notes home (although more than half my students informed me that they did not have a computer at home) begging people to vote for us.


Why do we need a makeover?

Wintergreen asked me to explain (in 200 words) why I felt I needed a classroom makeover. This is the paragraph I sent: 

Our school is located in one of the lowest socio-economic areas of Canada. Our students come with a variety of social, economic and health needs. We have worked hard to create programming that has directly impacted student achievement, however, now I would like to create an environment that nourishes the creativity and programming structures to help support and benefit the students learning. Our furniture is very outdated and not conducive to the program and pedagogical practices we employ. We focus on Daily 5 and Inquiry based learning, but we don’t have the furniture to make the different areas attractive and fun. Classroom environment needs appropriate spaces and furniture to facilitate the teaching and learning in a classroom. Currently, my classroom has old bookshelves, mismatched desks, a pocket chart that is held up by magnets, dated organizational systems and shelving that has been bought at garage sales. My students deserve a room that is bright, calming, and attractive because they don’t get it on a regular basis.

I feel this paragraph just doesn’t give me enough words to explain our reasons for a classroom makeover.  I wanted to add that, our school works very hard on meeting the direct needs of our students, however with limited financial resources our classroom furniture cannot always be current and up-to-date.  Our students come with a variety of needs and as a school, we focus on meeting those needs first.  Some of our classroom items and materials are outdated and not conducive to the learners of the 21st century.  Updated materials are made for the 21st century learner and winning this contest would allow my classroom to be focused on more modern learning styles.  

I am advocating for my students to have an experience they have never experienced before. They deserve to have a classroom that is up-to-date and functional for the variety of learning styles in my classroom.

Winning this contest would allow my students to feel a sense of ownership and be able to experience the excitement of owning something brand new and innovative.  This is something that many of them do not experience often.  

After a week of voting we found out we were in first place!  Again, excitement surrounded my classroom.  This week, we were saddened to hear that we dropped to second place. We really hope our community of Regina can cheer us on to win this competition!  The community can help us out by voting every 24 hours.  

To vote visit:
 
www.facebook.com/wintergreen.ca 
 
“Like” Wintergreen
 
Click “Classroom makeover”
 
Vote for Gr 1 - 2 Teacher….Tracy Cullins….Albert School
 
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