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Liberty social studies department secures $4,500 grant

Teachers who will apply Liberty's recent $4,5000 grant are, front from left, Rhonda Durrett, Michelle Breeden and Deborah Scott and, back from left, Daniel Yocom, instructional partner Courtney Horton and Wes Hopper. (CONTRIBUTED)
Teachers who will apply Liberty’s recent $4,5000 grant are, front from left, Rhonda Durrett, Michelle Breeden and Deborah Scott and, back from left, Daniel Yocom, instructional partner Courtney Horton and Wes Hopper. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – The social studies department at Liberty Middle School has been awarded a $4,500 grant by the Regional Inservice Center at Alabama A&M University.

This year, Liberty’s social studies teachers committed to “literacy implementation” for students but lacked money for resource materials. Some teachers wanted to pursue novel studies, while others wanted to incorporate writing.

Social studies teachers are Michelle Breeden, Deborah Scott and Daniel Yocom, eighth grade; Wes Hopper and department chair Rhonda Durrett, seventh. They will buy resources to enhance students’ literacy skills within the social studies content.

“The department’s literacy resources were limited and worn,” Liberty instructional partner Courtney J. Horton said.

Horton and these teachers collaborated to apply for a content literacy grant from the A&M center. Teachers listed material they wanted, along with supporting reasons, project goals, expected results and a financial narrative. Horton helped in organizing the collateral and adhering to Liberty’s instructional goal.

A main goal of literacy standards “embedded within the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards is to enhance literacy skills throughout all content areas,” Horton said. “Instruction within the social studies classroom naturally lends itself to requiring literacy skills — reading, writing, listening, speaking. Content-specific resources will help build these skills.”

The grant will benefit all social studies students in civics, geography and ancient history classes. Teachers will buy “Up Front Weekly” and “Kids Discover” magazines, “The Butler,” “Leveled Text for Differentiated Instruction: World Cultures,” “Primary Sources: Communities Around the World” and “Primary Source Readers: World Cultures Through Time.”

Teachers will use “differentiated text and leveled readers” to reach the varying comprehension and skill levels of all students.

“The increase in reading and writing skills within social studies has prompted cross-curricular planning with the language arts department,” Horton said. “Teachers in both departments have set goals for expectations in essay writing … and included historical novels in their curriculum.”

A&M’s in-service center is one of 11 centers across Alabama assisting teachers in professional development, such as teacher mentoring, national board certification and differentiated instruction (aamu.edu/academics).

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