Grants In Action

“Own Your Peace” at NHS Promote Community and Individual Well-Being

Own Your Peace girls

 

Two senior art classes collaborated with art teacher Wendy Hodge and visiting artist Jodi Colella to design, build, and publicize two temporary school-wide art installations as part of the Own Your Peace-Piece initiative. This initiative was funded in Fall 2015 with an NEF small grant. Members of the school community were invited to write on colorful fabric pieces about how they “own their peace” and to tie what they wrote to two sculptures: “The Bridge,” which is located in the area connecting the old and new school buildings, and “The Cave,” which is located under a staircase and symbolizes the creation of a comfortable space of “protection and safety.”

This project taught students how to organize community art installations and connect them to the high school’s annual Speak Out assembly and the Own Your Peace sculpture outside of the school. As one student said, “This was a beautiful and fun way to share your voice and let it become part of something bigger.”

Check out coverage of this initiative in the Needham Times and Hometown Weekly.

“Authoring Inspiration” at NHS – Young Adult Author Nancy Werlin Inspires Students

Nancy Werlin, Author, at NHS

In February, young adult author Nancy Werlin visited Needham High School to conduct a series of workshops and speaking sessions with students. Nancy Werlin is a New York Times bestselling author whose young adult books cover a wide array of genres, including realistic fiction, suspense, fantasy, and comics. Her book, The Rules of Survival, is a National Book Award finalist.  Locked Inside is an Edgar Award finalist, and The Killer’s Cousin is an Edgar Award winner.

According to NHS Librarian Paige Rowse, “About 175 students attended the events. Ms. Werlin spoke about a number of relevant topics and was able to connect with students. Students were engaged and eager to ask questions – we actually ran out of time during each session because so many students wanted to participate.” One NHS teacher said it was “a great opportunity to ask questions and gain insight and inspiration.” Students “liked how she talked about her whole experience, not just talking about books” and how “she gave great advice about deadlines and goals.”

The visit was funded by a grant from the NEF’s Fall 2015 Small Grants cycle.

See coverage of Ms. Werlin’s visit in the Hometown Weekly.

Robotics Are Elementary

Bee Bots Teachers and Students

NEF funded this grant in the Fall 2014 cycle, which financed the purchase of Bee Bots, Curriculum Mats, Lesson Plans and a set of 24-unit LegoWeDo robots for each of the five Needham Elementary schools.

According to Barbara Tennyson, Instructional Technology Specialist at Broadmeadow, “Bee Bots help us teach coding to young children. Specifically, teaching sequencing, estimation, and problem-solving are made very visual by using the BeeBots.

We have incorporated them mainly into 1st and 2nd grade STEAM classes but have even introduced them to Kindergarteners. We used them during International Dot Day and challenged the students to program them to spell the word DOT.

The individual challenges can vary greatly, from programming them to travel through a maze to completing an odd/even race using dice to using the number line mat to program addition and subtraction problems to using the alphabet mat to program it to spell their name. Lots of fun and learning!”

Luca “Lazylegz” Kicks Off Rousing Start to ‘Understanding Our Different Abilities’

 

2014 10 29_Luca Lazy Legs-1

 

Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli entertained and educated students at all of Needham’s public elementary schools this week as part of a rousing and inspiring kick-off to the Understanding our Different Abilities program.

Luca was born with Arthrogryposis, a rare disorder that causes limited joint movement and poor muscle growth and later diagnosed with scoliosis. Despite many surgeries to address these issues, Luca has never let his disability prevent him from doing the activities he loves including swimming, diving, skiing, and horseback riding.  After a leg surgery prevented him from continuing skateboarding, he was introduced to breakdancing.  Using his upper body strength to create a unique style of dancing, “Lazylegz” was born.  Since then, Luca has become a world-renowned break-dancer.  In 2007, Luca created ILL-Abilities™, an international dance crew of differently-abled dancers.  Their goal is to show the world that as long as you are positive, creative, and willing to adapt to any situation, anything is possible. Together, they perform all over the world, spreading the message No Excuses, No Limits.”  Luca has appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, America’s Got Talent, and So You Think You Can Dance Canada as the world’s first and only dancer with a disability to make it into Finals Week.

According to grant writer, Suzanne Lissy, “Luca embodies the message we bring to our kids through the Understanding our Different Abilities program; that we are all unique and different and that is what makes us the same.”

Check out coverage of Luca’s visit in the Needham Times and on Luca’s YouTube channel.

$50,000 Grant from the Needham Education Foundation Launches “Da Vinci Workshop” at Needham High School

daVinci Lab.NEF.PressRelease.July2014

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