KEDC’s CHARGE Grant
Stories of Success
Features Estill Springs Elementary School
Gallery Walk of Intention
Have you ever walked into a school and immediately sensed a difference? One step the down the halls of Estill Springs Elementary and you will see halls filled with many bulletin boards, twenty one to be exact. Last spring each one of these was carefully and intentionally curated with a Social Studies theme thanks to CHARGE Teacher Leaders. If you entered the Blue Wing Hallway you could hear the faint sound of President Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address. How can all this be orchestrated in a school? Who does it?
Principal, Jessica Mullins claims she knows the answer to our CHARGE Story of Success. “You have to be excited yourself, before you can expect your students to be! We are thankful to the CHARGE Grant for empowering our Teacher Leaders to get excited and empower others in the process!” Two of the first CHARGE Teacher Leaders at Estill Springs were Ms. Rachel Newby and Mrs. Morgan Embry-Worrell. Once they started attending the CHARGE Cadre sessions, they knew they’d be hooked! Their excitement levels and teacher engagement activities were exactly what they were looking to bring back to their fellow colleagues and share. Before you knew it, more Estill Springs teachers were joining the charge! (pun-intended)
With a clear mission before them, Rachel Newby and Morgan Embry-Worrell CHARGE Teacher Leaders knew they had a task to increase student engagement and awareness of Social Studies and Historical Encounters in their region and state; however, it must begin at Estill Springs first. “Many of our students are not blessed with opportunities to travel to these locations, so we knew we had to do more than just read about them!” beams CHARGE Teacher Leader and 2nd Grade Teacher at Estill Springs Elementary, Ms. Newby. Working together with the full support of their principal, Mrs. Jessica Mullins CHARGE Teacher Leaders were able to watch as their school transformed into an interactive Gallery Walk for learning all about Social Studies in our State. The transformation and teacher buy-in was authentic as well as amazing they both share! “There was total whole school buy-in! We are a community, we are a family… no one viewed it as just one more thing that we have to do instead we all saw this as way to expose our students (our kids) to another level of learning! So of course, we were all in!” says Ms. Newby through smiles.
Morgan Embry-Worrell, Kindergarten Teacher at Estill Springs and CHARGE Leader says the idea for the Galley Walk was so organic. “We are fortunate in our building to have so many bulletin boards, why not put them to great instructional use with a common goal across the whole school!” Hence, the Gallery Walk with INTENTION was born.
The premise behind the Gallery Walk was the CHARGE Teacher Leaders developed guidelines for which grade levels/wing would focus on which specific area/content/person and the teacher/teams could still have a choice (although CHARGE Teacher Leaders did offer suggestions). Next, they came up with a date the Gallery Walk would begin on (meaning all boards would need to be completed) and assigned a rotation schedule for the school. Teachers were encouraged to spend time at each board using guided questions and think time, prompting and cueing students as well as assessing prior knowledge and relating background experiences. Mrs. Worrell states, “We tried to limit the directions, creating a student friendly board with as many interactive experiences as possible ex. Lift flaps, push buttons that talk and tell information, etc.”
Overall, this Gallery Walk was huge success! Students were learning and definitely engaged! Some may have experienced these destinations and people in a way like they never would have before. Best of all, students will remember this experience! Teachers had such a great time and were unified in a common vision throughout the entire building to support Social Studies, English Language Arts and Civics! This activity was overarching in numerous ways! The Gallery Walk was so highly reviewed and raved that Estill Springs Teachers are already making plans for our next one, the team says.
Estill Springs Elementary Principal, Jessica Mullins emphatically shares, “This KEDC Grant has already in a short time highlighted how to teach history in a way that is much needed for our teachers by providing opportunities for them to make connections that they can then come back and make same connections with meaning for their students!”
Estill Springs Elementary Gallery Walk emphasis areas:
Kindergarten (Red Wing) – KY Symbols
1st Grade (Blue Wing)—Famous People in KY
2nd Grade (Green Wing)—Natural Landmarks
Enrichment and Intervention (Yellow Wing)—Famous Places in KY
If you are looking for a way to triumphantly get your students to stop and pause, I urge to you consider looking at the 96” x 48” bulletin board space hanging and consider all the possibilities that it can offer you and your students… now pair that with a whole school approach like ESE and the WORLD is literally at your student’s fingertips!
Stayed tuned for next month’s Stories of Success! Throwing you a lifeline when all we hear sometimes in education is bad, we are here to focus on the good! There’s lots of good going on in KEDC districts!