Live Oak Tech teacher re-awards prize to create more flexible learning spaces

live-oak-flexLast year Live Oak Elementary Instructional Technology Specialist Jesse Sosa was awarded $1,000 when he was named Austin area Krispy Kreme Teacher of the Year. Sosa and Live Oak Principal Katie Holding viewed this as an opportunity to build more student flexible learning spaces.

With the prize money that Sosa received last year, he used half of the money to purchase technology supplies, the remainder was re-awarded in the form of an internal grant for teachers to purchase student furniture for flexible learning spaces.

“Winning an award and receiving prize money for the things I do at Live Oak is great and all,” said Sosa. “But being able to contribute to the student learning environment with the funds is hands down, the greatest honor I could receive.”

The internal grant was divided into two mini-grants each worth $250. One grant went to fifth-grade teacher Betsy Marvin to buy bean bags and comfortable chairs for her students to use while reading and the second grant went to deaf education teachers Mari Guerra and Angela Schneider to purchase wobble chairs.

“My kindergartners were thrilled to receive wobble chairs for our classroom,” said Guerra. “In a short time I’ve seen how these chairs have been a great outlet for excess energy. They provide the students with much needed movement while allowing them to focus their attention on acquiring new skills.”

Flexible furniture gives students a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them and helps them to work collaboratively, communicate, and engage in critical thinking. Support of flexible learning environments is stated in Goal 5 of the District’s strategic plan.

To be considered for the internal grant, teachers were asked to fill out a Google form citing why they were the best candidate to receive the furniture grant. Sosa asked his peers from some other Round Rock ISD schools to read and rate the grant submission requests.

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