A $3,000 grant from Dollar General to Pink Hill Elementary School will allow teachers to connect literacy activities to technology and art projects and give students “a chance to be creative.”
The Dollar General Literacy Grant will fund the purchase of books – both class sets and single copies totaling more than 20 different titles – as well as the materials that students will use in activities that emphasize STEAM learning, encompassing science, technology, engineering, art and math.
“We wanted to do science activities and technology activities, and we included STEAM with art because we wanted to do some art activities to give the children a chance to be creativity,” said Brenda Griffin, a fourth-grade teacher who submitted the grant application with Katelyn Ball Burrus, a fifth-grade teacher, on behalf of Pink Hill’s grant writing committee and principal Lee Anne Hardy.
About 250 students in grades three, four and five will be involved in the grant-funded learning, Griffin said. She and her fellow teachers are in the process of ordering the books and the enrichment activities.
“Some of us want to do class novel studies so we wanted to get books where every child would have a copy,” she said. “Mrs. Hardy has also asked us to do a read-aloud book with students every day, so we’re buying a number of single titles.”
The project, dubbed “STEAM rolling for Success!” by the grant writers, uses the novels to address third through fifth grade literacy standards while the activities will require students “to utilize critical thinking and problem solving skills as well as collaborating with other students,” according to the grant application.
Classes reading the novel “Carnivores,” for example, will build on that literacy instruction by using their art skills to create their own animal disguises. The novel “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site” ties into an engineering activity in which students design and build their own straw roller coaster.
“This is one of the few grants supplies books to students,” Griffin said. “There are a lot of grants out there today, but a lot of them are focused more on technology, which is awesome, but there is still something special about holding a book in your hand and studying it.
“We’re thankful Dollar General is interested in putting books in the hands of children and that they’re also willing to fund STEAM activities that go with the stories.”
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded $3.4 million to 915 grant recipients nationally during this annual grant cycle. According to the company, Dollar General’s co-founder, J.L. Turner, was functionally illiterate and never completed a formal education. In 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation was established in his honor.