FOLEY - Foley Elementary School Principal Doctor Michelle Moore dreamed of creating a space where over 100 teachers could go to find exactly what they needed to engage and teach students. Somewhere that made resources readily available to teachers. In line with that vision, she began putting together the Teacher Resource Room last year, finding that it has grown tremendously since.
“This is the way that I feel like, as an administrator, I’m supposed to support teachers,” Moore said. “It’s my job to try my best to make sure that they have what they need based on the expectations of the county, the state, the parents, and the school. If I’m telling them this is what they need to do but I’m not giving them what they need to do it, then how can I expect them to do it? We can’t be unrealistic, we’ve got to put these resources into their hands.”
That’s exactly what she’s done, creating a room filled with educational learning tools disguised as games. The games assist with every form of academics, including math, reading, spelling, and science. Students get engaged in a hands-on experience where they don’t even realize they’re learning and gaining social skills, while teachers are reaching their students and reinforcing lessons previously discussed in class.
The tools have been purchased over time through Title money, with at least four if not more games purchased in a set. Teachers come to the Resource Room and check out any game they need, all which have been arranged according to skill level and labelled with every piece included within the box. When a game is returned, it is first gone through and checked to make sure that all pieces have been returned before it is placed back upon the shelf.
“We looked at the needs of the school, we looked at the data, and then we’ve been purchasing from there,” Moore said. “Last year we began by purchasing things that focused on skills in reading, and now we’re focusing heavily on math.” Two rooms have been designated as Resource Rooms, with one fully dedicated to reading and spelling and the other to math.
Reading Coach Cassia Niblack and Reading Intervention Teacher Melissa Pruitt have been involved from the beginning, helping with everything from ordering the products, receiving the shipments, organizing the resources based on skill level, going through and labeling each individual box, and checking each item when it’s returned to ensure no pieces are missing.
“The goal was making sure that it’s convenient for the teachers to be able to come in, pick up what they need, and walk out,” said Moore. “This is like a teacher’s dream, and the rooms stay organized so teachers can get what they need and they’re ready to go. This is a way to be able to help and support the teachers in the job they’re expected to do.”
Teachers have begun to use the resources not only during regular class days but also for their Fun Friday activities, engaging the students and playing games together while reinforcing past lessons. Moore says so far the teachers and students have responded well.
The Resource Room isn’t only available to teachers, but parents. Moore says oftentimes when you tell a parent that their child is struggling with a particular subject, the parent wants to help but is unsure how. Teachers are now advising parents on which games would be best suited for their child’s needs and level, and parents can check those selected games out and play them with their children at home. Resources are also available in afterschool care and Special Ed programs for students to play with teachers and peers. The majority of games come with instructions in both English and Spanish, so the entire school population can benefit from them. A large focus currently is purchasing resources for 5th and 6th grade students in preparation of the school becoming a K - 6 during the next school year.
For more information on Foley Elementary School, check out their website at www.bcbe.org/foleyelem.