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South Plains EC News

Hatching Success

Teacher mini-grant provides Cotton Center ISD with chicken incubation project

As a teacher, Lisa Sanders knows actively engaging the students in her classroom leads to higher success in grasping, understanding and retaining the knowledge taught. Incorporating real-world examples allows her students to get a first-hand look at a project.

“Pre-K and kindergarten are vital and important milestones in a child’s education,” Sanders said. “I’m a firm believer of the old adage ‘Tell me, and I’ll forget; show me, and I’ll remember; involve me, and I’ll understand’.”

Sanders’ story

Sanders is a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teacher at Cotton Center ISD and is a 2016-2017 Operation Round Up mini-grant recipient. With the grant money she received, Sanders invested in the opportunity to witness chicken eggs hatching from the incubator. Along with this opportunity, hatching chickens also taught her students the responsibility of caring for animals.

“Having chickens at school was an educational and rewarding project,” Sanders said. “It built a strong sense of community in the classroom and required problem solving, thinking ahead and quite a bit of responsibility.”

Sanders said immediately after building the chicken coop and placing the first hen and rooster inside, her students were naturally curious as to what was happening in their classroom. Her students questioned and discussed a wide range of topics from the noises the chickens made to what was growing on top of their heads to how different their feet were from human feet.

Responsibility comes first

Before the incubation project began, Sanders and her students discussed responsibility and what it meant to be responsible for the chickens. Taking care of the classroom pets required checking food and water daily to ensure the resources were full. Sanders also taught her students to read a thermometer and check the temperature of the incubator each day to make sure the baby chicks would be hatched into a warm and healthy environment.

The students learned how long the incubation process would take and awaited the arrival of the baby chicks. Sanders said the day the chickens hatched was an incredibly joyous day.

“The students were so excited with the process, and I couldn’t keep them away from the incubator,” Sanders said. “From the first peck on the egg until the very last kick out of the shell, the students were screaming with excitement!”

Sanders said every day after the chicks hatched her students carefully studied how the baby chicks were changing and growing. Such changes included feathers growing and height and weight increases. Sanders said from the beginning of the incubation project to the end, her students were active participants in the chicken life cycle.

To further the life skills her students received, Sanders’ classroom gathered and collected eggs daily and sold them. The money purchased feed for their chickens, a basic economic lesson in the life of a child.

Lasting impressions

Sanders said that in general, most of her students believed their eggs came directly from a store, but after the completion of the incubation project, they now know all about chickens, where their eggs come from, and they experienced something they won’t soon forget.

“This project has been and still continues to be very fulfilling and rewarding,” Sanders said. “Thank you, SPEC, for your support and for investing in our future!”

What are teacher mini-grants?

The Operation Round Up board of directors facilitates a program offering small, $500 grants to teachers. Grants were available to K-12 teachers in math or language arts for the 2016-2017 school year. The funds are made available by South Plains EC members who ask to have their monthly bill rounded up to the next dollar. The extra change, averaging only $6 per year, funds projects like the teacher mini-grants, scholarships and much more.

Operation Round Up was established in 1993 to help communities and individuals needing a hand up, not a hand out. The program’s tagline, “neighbors helping neighbors,” is at the heart of why South Plains Electric Cooperative exists.

During the past 24 years, Operation Round Up has helped hundreds of individuals and organizations. Many donations go unpublicized out of respect for the individual recipients. Operation Round Up, under the guidance of a 10-member board, sometimes works quietly to improve members’ lives.

Nine teacher mini-grants were awarded for the 2016-2017 school year. The other recipients were: Amy Drake, Lubbock ISD; Amanda Dunn, Lubbock-Cooper ISD; Kara Gibson, Shallowater ISD; Ollie Hart, Abernathy ISD; Morgan Hisey, Lubbock-Cooper ISD; Jennifer Rodriquez, Lubbock-Cooper ISD; Jana Simmons, Lubbock-Cooper ISD; and Carol Trent, Shallowater ISD.