Elementary School Grant

3rd grade Social Emotional Curriculum

Every part of the school day for a child is important whether it is Music, Lunch, Math, or Science. The foundation to help a student achieve their maximum potential is that they know how to work well with others, manage strong emotions, learn how to make friends and be a friend, and how to solve social problems. Learning takes place throughout the day—in the classroom, on the playground, and at home. Children learn by watching and listening to how teachers, family members, and friends interact with one another. 

The curriculum called the Second Step program helps students think about, develop, and practice positive social skills. Research tells us that children who learn and use these skills are more likely to get along with others and be more successful in school.
The Second Step program reviews: 
 identifying respectful behaviors
 making and sustaining conversations with peers
 being assertive
 being a positive friend to others
 problem solving
 impulse control
 stress management
Second Step lessons introduce and teach all the above skills. All students are given the chance to practice the skills they’re learning through role-playing, an important part of Second Step lessons. 

First Grade Author Study

Research shows that students are more engaged in reading when given choice and when they are presented with text they want to read. Both James Marshall and Mo Willems are popular authors among young learners. This grant supports readers as they study series books and will benefit the overall classroom library. 

Having multiple copies of the text will enable small groups of students to study the texts together. Additionally, we will be able to support those readers with teacher-led small group work. When not being used in groups, the books can be selected for students independent reading.

Books for Diverse Readers

In our continuing efforts to support a wide variety of readers, we are requesting funds to pay for 15  biography titles and 17  titles about American history topics.  The reason behind this request is the need to include biographies about current leaders and role models that reflect and honor the lives of all our young students. Also, there is a need for books that striving readers can learn from on all topics relating to the American Revolution.  As one of our readers recently said in a reflection, “I wasn't good at researching because I couldn't read the books”.  

These books will be housed in our Upper Level Book Room at LBES for all teachers and students to have access to at any time. The Book Rooms house authentic, high-quality books to help teachers not only teach our curriculum, but also help students develop a love of reading. We know that “book love” grows when our students are engaged in books that capture their imagination, challenge their thinking, and are at a level that is a “good fit”.   Books on current leaders and role models for all students will help support our Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing curriculum.  Since our implementation of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project curriculum, we have invested time and energy in cataloging our current books within our bookrooms.  Through the use of a stipend we have added books that help support other areas of need from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade.  The addition of the biographies and books about American History will impact the lives of twelve teachers and over three hundred children. 

Breakout EDU Boxes

Breakout EDU is a set of locks, boxes, and other items used to conduct immersive and collaborative academic challenges. It allows for facilitation of games where players use teamwork and critical thinking to solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to open the locked boxes. Activities are available for all ages and all content areas.


Breakout EDU games provide opportunities for active and engaging learning by transferring the ownership of learning from the instructor to the student, putting the focus on how learners approach problem solving and apply their knowledge. In addition to the content knowledge needed to succeed in a specific Breakout activity, all Breakout EDU games require critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication (the 4 C's). A Breakout EDU game provides all learners with many opportunities to “fail forward”.

Every unsuccessful attempt to open a lock forces the player to try again, thus cultivating grit and perseverance. As the K-5 Math Enrichment Specialist, Jaclyn Tivador will facilitate these boxes being shared across grade levels and subject areas by supporting teachers in implementing classroom use so that all students in the school are able to benefit from this grant.


Books for Social Emotional Learning

Kindergarten is becoming more and more academic!  However, one of the most important focuses in kindergarten is teaching social skills. Read alouds are a great way to engage students in learning. Through the use of these books, teachers will be able to teach kindergartners the following skills:

- How to be a learner in the classroom

- How to make friends

- Making choices

- How to communicate and recognize feelings

- Play independently and with a group

- Play, take turns, and share

- Positive communication and interactions with peers

- Problem Solving

- Managing Emotions

- Asking for help

- Following Instructions

- How to treat others


Osmo Classroom Kit plus Coding Awbie

Osmo is a game system that changes the way students interact with an iPad, by providing them with opportunities for hands-on play. Osmo works with an iPad to merge the power of physical play with the digital advantages of real-time feedback. Students collaborate at tables or on the floor while they manipulate tangible game pieces, such as number tiles, letter tiles, and coding blocks.

This request will benefit all students. Since Kindergarten students are 1-1 with iPads, Osmo will provide another way to utilize the iPads across curricular areas and encourage learning in the age of technology in a unique and diverse way. Since the Osmo apps can be used across subject areas and include various challenge levels for students of differing abilities, we can share the Osmo kit with any other teachers that want to try out Osmo in their classrooms.

Movement seats

These movement seat additions help students who struggle with remaining seated to work.  Each Hokki stools allow students to move in multiple directions while remaining seated. The Wobble disks also allow students to use more of their core muscles to support students as they remain seated. Both of these items are a safe way for students to expel some extra energy and will help create a positive and calm classroom environment.


Author Visit with Aaron Reynolds

Aaron Reynolds is a prolific author and his presentations are memorable and never the same.  He reaches students, his books stay with them, and the teachers rank him as one of the top author visits!

Author visits are vital ways in which children make the connection that books are written by real people.  Not only can author visits influence children to seek out and read the books of the author who visited, but they can make kids look at all books in a different light.  As such they are a vital tool to help promote literacy.

Kindergarten Science Curriculum

This granted provided the funding to purchase books to support our Kindergarten Science Curriculum.  In particular, we purchased books for the Weather & Climate unit and our unit on Forces and Actions. 

These books will help our Kindergarten students better understand the world around them and will support literacy across the curriculum.

Mantra Lingua Learning Resources

Lake Bluff School District 65 made a commitment to rigorously implement a World Language program beginning in Kindergarten and moving through 8th grade.  In a rigorous implementation, there are four domains of teaching and learning that must be present:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Listening
  4. Speaking

When all of these components are present in language learning programs, student growth is evident.  This grant includes two items to support these goals:  The Mantra Lingua PENPals and the LinguaTALK Spanish toolkit.

Mantra Lingua PENPals

Our new Mantra Lingua PENpals are digital readers that are programmable with a recording feature which lets you customize material to align with curricular learning tasks.  The technology of the reader allows you to record information using an electronic sensor label.  The sticker is coded with your recorded information so that when a student touches the pen to the label, the recorded content is played.  Labels can be used in books, posters, or on objects in the environment.  The recording feature on the PENpal allows the user to record specific content intended or could be used to record in-lesson information.  Recordings can be played back to a listener or the recorder.  The PENpal Class Kits comes with recordable labels, charging cables, batteries, and free software access to over 900 dual language audio files.

These devices benefit our students and learning in a number of ways.  First, they provide the opportunity to make any book available in Spanish, as instructional support to the curriculum.  PENpals give our teachers the opportunity to translate any book, regardless of the language in which it is written.  With respect to curricular goals, this supports reading and listening.  Second, with the recording feature, students have the ability to record responses and play them back.  This meets three learning components of the outlined curriculum (speaking, listening, and presentational). Lastly, PENpals support both interpretive and interpersonal tasks when they are used for different activities like scavenger hunts or interactive group/pair work.  

LinguaTALK Spanish toolkit

The resources in the toolkit promote the teaching and learning of Spanish.  The Spanish Toolkit “comes with interactive activities to help students progress from word through phase to sentence levels.”  This is one of the primary goals of our World Language program.  We want students to learn the language in authentic and developmentally appropriate ways, use the language they are learning through natural yet intentionally planned learning activities, and to be able to demonstrate growth through programmatic performance-based assessments.  The Spanish toolkit is equipped with audio books, PENpals loaded with LinguaTALK Spanish Audio (narrated by native Spanish speakers), Mini-book Creator Software, recordable stickers, picture bank of vocabulary and flashcards, thematic songs, 32 Charts, and a wide variety of teacher-based resources.  Moreover, the book topics and charts are exactly aligned to the thematic curricular units of study, almost as if someone from Mantra Lingua was a part of the development of the thematic units.  This spontaneous alignment of the LinguaTALK resources, alongside programmatic goals, provides an opportunity to capitalize on resources that will promote the Spanish language learning of our students and benefit their overall target language growth.  Standards-wise, the LinguaTALK Spanish toolkit will align with reading, writing, listening, and speaking objectives in addition to supporting interpretive tasks, interpersonal tasks, and presentational tasks.

Portable Sound System

LBES was in need of a portable sound system powerful enough to use for outside events such as field day, wellness week, veteran’s day ceremonies, outside classroom presentations, and our K-2 music shows.

This grant included a powered amplifier/mixer and stand, two speakers and speaker stands, microphone, microphone cable and stand, heavy duty extension cord, cord storage reel and a rolling storage case.

New Kiln

The art department requested a new kiln that was larger than the others and electric.  (The current kiln was very old, small, and has broken down a few times in the last two years). There were problems fitting all K-5 students clay projects in a tiny kiln (generally takes a whole semester to fire every students project 2 times). 

Our new kiln makes the LB ceramics project much more doable for each student.  Also the electric kiln provides greater safety, and protect students from broken/incorrectly fired clay projects.

LBES Mosaics Project

The Alliance was excited to co-fund (with PTO) the upcoming LBES Mosaic Project! All students and staff will participate in the design and creation of a 12′ wide by 10′ high mosaic that will be installed within the elementary school. Students will learn about the history of mosaic art and then be part of the design and creation, including specific art elements for mosaic making and design, gluing techniques, use of tools, and grouting.

Leveled Literacy Intervention

The Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention has a proven record of improving students’ fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and writing skills. The Alliance was proud to fund the 4th grade materials for LBES. In the words of LBES teacher, Anne de Got, “We are so excited to be able to use the LLI program with our students. This program will allow our students to have access to literacy building components to help develop a stronger foundation for reading with material that the students can enjoy and discuss."

From Anne de Got, Leaning Behavior Specialist at LBES:

“We are so excited to be able to use the LLI program with our students. This program will allow our students to have access to literacy building components to help develop a stronger foundation for reading with material that the students can enjoy and discuss.”

Teacher Timers

To support executive functioning with consistent expectations across grade levels, the Alliance funded the purchase of 30 Teacher Timers. These visual timers provide a further breakdown of the day into specific blocks of time and can help manage student behavior, support smooth transitions, and hold students accountable for completing tasks within a certain amount of time.