Part of what Measure AA sponsors are the elementary science labs. Glenshire Elementary's Science Lab benefits from having a class set of The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada. Tahoe Lake Elementary would also benefit from a set of these, as I work at both elementary schools, and have used the set of both schools. It would be great to have a set on site so as not to have to move them between schools.
Students have used the Laws guides to practice scientific sketching, study the wildlife and flora of the areas around their school, and to create a booklet about local plants and animals that they can keep. Teachers have used them for classroom projects such as animal reports.
The guides can be used for projects to meet standards at multiple grade levels, and scientific drawing is applicable at all grades.
The intention is to keep 12 of the volumes in the Science Lab, and 6 of the volumes in the school library for checkout by students or by teachers. If a teacher needed more than the 6 volumes, they could borrow additional copies from the Science Lab. I also would purchase one container like the one I keep the GES books in so that they are easily stored and moved to classrooms when desired.
Benefits of Program (10 points)
In the magic age of internet and immediate access. there is still a value in books, in slow process, and in researching using organizational skills instead of the push of a button. In addition to the scientific value of teaching students to use the Laws Guides, I feel it is important for them to appreciate the pre-electronics methodologies of science as scientific history. Audubon's depictions of nature are all the more grand when one has tried their own hand at a scientific sketch, especially if your subject won't hold still. When students become old enough to appreciate the great speed of information on the internet, and how much programming goes into that, then the history of books and literacy becomes more precious. Students benefit from time to peruse the flora and fauna of our mountains, to learn to identify all of that around them, to have discussions with their peers about which of these life forms have been in their own world experience. I hear students say "We have this at home!" and "I checked that out of the library!" Exposure to any wonderful book often promotes more use of the same, or inquiry into books about some animal in the book that piqued the interest of a student. What is the benefit of the program? You can never go wrong by providing books that are sure to be used.
Once the books exist on the TLE campus, all students will benefit and have them to use. The Science Lab sets are used at all grade levels several times a year, and they will be used more if there is an on site set that classroom teachers could also access.
Success of Program (10 points)
Adding a set of The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada to Tahoe Lake Elementary may not change test scores. Measuring its success will be shown in the interest level of the students in using or checking out the books that would be part of the library. Anecdotal evidence would be our only measure of success. To date, however, any time I have used the Glenshire set with students at either GES or TLE, I have noted that students have noticed the animals in their own yards and forest more, and have asked to use one of the books to try to find a particular animal they have seen recently. To me, that is a win. We have introduced a resource in the form of a book, made it locally and personally relevant, and the child has had reason to access that resource again.
As for accessing curricular standards, there are CA NGSS standards addressing plants and animals at all of the grade levels I teach that can benefit from use of the Laws Guides.
Implementation (10 points)
As I mentioned previously, I already use the Laws Guides at Glenshire Elementary, and have borrowed them from that site to use at Tahoe Lake. Being books, however, it gets heavy and cumbersome to carry them back and forth. Also, I can't loan them out to TLE teachers, as the time for that means they are not available to students and teachers at Glenshire, and I usually do similar projects at similar times at both sites. That said, the books would be put into use immediately after purchase at TLE, as there are spring projects using the guides that I usually do at several grade levels.
Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?
Can I share this grant? But of course! The beauty of a set of books is that they can easily be moved to any classroom needing them for a research (or art!) project. Some teachers have students do animal reports, sometimes the art docents have students create projects of local plants or animals, and third grade does a project in the fall to learn to identify local plants. The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada books would most definitely be a shared set.
Once purchased, books become part of the school collection and are sustainable. Over time, we may need to replace one or two, as I have at GES, but it is because copies have been borrowed by teachers and have ended up being a part of their own classroom resource collection, which is always a wonderful reason to replace a lab copy. The GES set has been used for five years now, and students have not always been what I would call 'gentle', but these are field guides and as such, are pretty durable books and can endure a lot of use.
Individual Budget Items(s)
$375 - The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada x 18
$14 - Really Useful Box, 9 L x 1
It may be possible to obtain the box through the school account for a reduced rate. It may also be possible to obtain the books locally through a local book store, although the price would probably be higher and require a special order, but I would be happy to do that.
Other funding sources
For a purchase this large, it is difficult to fund through Measure AA site funds, as TLE typically distributes funds to classrooms and for field trips and for science assemblies, so there isn't usually a lot left over. Thus the request for grant funding.