Crockett gets a variety of grants

Juliette Farris, media specialist at Crockett Middle School, talks about the Educational Foundation grants she and several teachers recently received for book trailers, a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Dallas, and podcasts. (Ruth Campbell|American Odessa)

Crockett Middle School teachers received three different grants from the Education Foundation for book trailers, podcasts and a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Dallas.

The winners were Juliette Farris, for content creation via book trailers for $1,561; Bria Maxey and Farris for the Student Voices podcast, $310.92; and Farris, Frances Varela, Cherry Trstenjak and Maxey for Never Forget.

They have two Scholastic book fairs every year and part of the marketing is a disc of book trailers.

“I put these book trailers on our school news. We have a video announcement YouTube page, and the kids are so excited. They always come to the book fair, and they’re like this video that we saw on this book and they want all these books on these videos. So I thought…it would be pretty cool to have…kids make their own book trailers to get each other excited to go read a book. So that’s the motivation,” said Farris, Crockett’s media specialist.

She hopes the book trailers will attract more students to the library and encourage peers to recommend books.

Farris said the school took a group to the Holocaust Museum six or seven years ago.

“I was an English teacher and I was part of this team, the eighth grade team. We took a group of about 32 kids and we did it fundraising throughout the year Since we took this trip, the teachers always say we have to do it again, because it was just an amazing experience. Well, it was before they completely renovated the museum, and so it has the looks completely different now. It’s bigger, better. I haven’t been there yet, but from what I hear it’s better. So we tried and we got it,” said Farris said.

She added that she would encourage others in the district to write grant applications to the Education Foundation.

“In our district, I think there are people on every campus, if not every campus, at least every department, who would know how to give advice and guidance on what to say to get rewarded. A lot of people who got them this year didn’t know you could write multiples, because I wrote four this year, and I got three,” Farris said.

“I would say write as much as you want, as much as you can, because even if you get one out of three, that would be amazing,” she added.

The fourth grant application was for a set of books for social-emotional learning, like what to do when you feel anxious or overwhelmed.

“I’m always looking to get these books another way,” Farris said.

The trip to the Holocaust Museum is a day trip scheduled for October.

The trip Farris took years ago was “incredible”. The students on this first trip had prepared for the subject and were eager to go to the museum.

“We arrived at the museum and they were just respectful; just in awe. And most of the kids we took had never even been to Dallas, never been on a trip let alone been to a museum,” Farris said.

They saw a video of the survivors.

“We couldn’t see a survivor’s speech live, but we were able to see the videos, and they had one of the trains (cars) in the back, so they kind of slipped in there -inside… It was quite revealing. They were right in there and they had the basic knowledge to know what was going on and what the guide was talking about. Then we took them to a semi-fancy dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse. They were able to order themselves and choose what they wanted to eat. It was very fun. We came back that night and they talked about it for the rest of the year,” Farris said.

On the Student Voices podcasts, Farris said one of the AVID teachers was starting them.

“Kids basically run it. She now shows them how to edit, how to publish, how to write because they have to give her a kind of little draft of what they want to talk about. And of course, they have to submit their topics to him on what they are going to talk about before they can. But fundamentally, these are subjects that are only important to them. So no teacher will have a say… It’s just kid-driven, and of course they want to talk about cell phones and they want to talk about dress code; stuff like that, but it’s important to them, so she wanted to give them a platform to do it. … The grant was actually for the equipment,” Farris said.

Crockett director Maribel Aranda said grants like this are very beneficial.

“The grants give our students the opportunity to develop their curious and imaginative skills as they travel to experience historical events. It also helps them create mental images as they read and explore many other events through books and manipulatives acquired through the grants,” Aranda said.

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