Summer project grants to help enrich teachers, classrooms

Creative teachers craft lessons that often intrigue and sometimes inspire students as well as educate them and teach them to think. But even creative teachers need a chance to recharge their intellectual batteries.

The educational efforts of five local teachers are being aided by Teacher Creativity Fellowships from the Lilly Endowment. The Indianapolis-based private foundation supports the causes of education, community development and religion. The grants, to support summer projects, are a tremendous boost for the 100 educators who received them.

Local grant winners were Stephen Blackburn of Center Grove Elementary School, Trent Shupperd of Edinburgh Community High School, Beth Laker of Whiteland Elementary School, Ellen Paris of Northwood Elementary School and Nora Hoover of Center Grove Middle School Central.

Their projects are:

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  • Examining and observing predator animals of North and South America.
  • Hiking roads of trails used by ancient Romans and other people in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.
  • Learning about totem poles, their imagery and meanings.
  • Fulfilling personal dreams by observing and assisting with equine therapy centers.
  • Studying unique trees that have survived unusual circumstances.

In each case, the educators expect to come back with experiences and lessons that will enliven their classes in new ways.

Blackburn explained it best: “Kids love stories, especially when their teacher is in the story. It is better than showing a video from Discovery.”

We commend all of these teachers. Their projects almost certainly reflect the spirit that pervades their classrooms.

Not only will the experiences help the teachers, but when they resume classes in the fall their students surely will benefit from the knowledge that is shared.

At issue

Even creative teachers need a chance to refresh their minds.

Our point

Students almost certainly will benefit from the experiences five teachers gain from their Lilly Endowment fellowships.