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20120316_SISD_Flavor-of-Excellence_CAB_048MISSION — Students crowded around tables with robots, musical instruments and puppets last week while other students were engaged in information about gardening, an educational game show, and playing with pulleys as district officials from the Sharyland Independent School District showcased its recent grant recepients.

SISD recognizes the Education Foundation grant recipients with the “Flavor of Excellence” every year.

District educators develop educational products and programs to help students in the classroom with these grants. The programs are used to increase skills in core subjects and engage students in the classroom.

Grants are awarded every spring and fall. The grant total for 2011 was over $45,000. Since the foundations inception in 2003, a total of 317 grants have been awarded totaling over $500,000. The recipients get the opportunity to show the community how the funds have been used in the classroom at the event.

On display at this year’s event were the 44 grants received last year.

Several of the programs on display this year centered around getting students moving, singing, and participating in hands-on activities to help them learn math principles, how to talk about feelings, and how to write a book.

Elementary-aged students seemed to enjoy grant recipients such as “Leapstart Your Learning” and “Fundamental Grammar” that used electronic devices to promote reading and spelling skills. Other students enjoyed “Want to Act Out The Drama? – Drama Adventures” where they had the opportunity to do a puppet show.

20120316_SISD_Flavor-of-Excellence_CAB_004Darlene Jamison said the puppets gave students a chance to make skits that portray anything that is bothering them from bullying to friendship. Students would act these issues out using their puppets of choice. Jamison said the main goal was to encourage students to talk about their feelings and be comfortable with expressing themselves.

At the “Game Show” students had a chance to take part in a pretend game show. Students were given questions with an ‘a’ and ‘b’ answer. The students would use paddles, which had the letter ‘a’ on one side and ‘b’ on the other, to give their answer. There were teams of several students taking turns answering the questions.

There were a couple of recipients that used music as a learning tool. One of those recipients “Sing Your Way to Learning,” let students choose an instrument. Songs expressing math principles and other rules for different subjects were created as well. The students would sing the songs and make a beat with the instruments. Instruments to choose from were maracas, a tambourine, clapper, triangle and more.

At “We Are Robotic,” students programmed Lego robots to perform basic movements. The robots would then walk, or roll as they were here, back and forth, turn around, make right or left hand turns, and other simple movements they had programmed them to do.

It is a fun event for the entire community and lets families see what educators in the school district are doing to help their students learn, said school board officials.

During the Flavor of Excellence, visitors are also given a chance to have a taste from local eateries. The event also featured performances by school bands, cheerleaders, and students.

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