Great Teachers Are Appreciated
Over the past 65 years, Meemic Insurance Company has had the pleasure of interacting with some of the best educators in the world. As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, we would like to send teachers a heartfelt thank you. We commend your efforts and truly appreciate the great things that you do!
This year, Meemic is proud to recognize Terri Gartland of Merrill Elementary School as one of our great teachers. Ms. Gartland’s drive to spark the imagination of her young students while making learning fun illustrates what great teachers do each and every day to enrich the learning process of our youth.
Students, Puppets and Music Equals Fun
Learning for All
Terri Gartland has been part of the Beloit school district for 14 years, where she has dedicated the majority of her 25 years in teaching. She currently serves as the music teacher for Merrill Elementary School. She also serves as the Elementary Music Department Chair for the district.
Ms. Gartland truly loves what she does. Looking for new ways to engage students is a continual challenge for every teacher and Ms. Gartland is no exception. While attending a summer workshop, Ms. Gartland became enthralled by the use of books and puppets to enhance classroom learning. As Ms. Gartland listened to the presenter at the workshop, she began to envision the possibilities. Perhaps this was something that she could incorporate into her music curriculum.
Ms. Gartland became aware of the grant opportunities presented by the Meemic Foundation through an email from her district. After spending some time researching The Meemic Foundation website and reviewing the type of grants that had been awarded in the past, she decided to apply for a grant to support her vision for the puppets and books program. In her grant application, Ms. Gartland expressed how she felt this would benefit students and enhance her classroom instruction:
“Children love stories. They love to be entertained and they like to use their imagination. Using children’s literature and storytelling in the music classroom is a fantastic way to encourage improvisation, theatrical expression, a sense of rhythm and rhyme, while having some good old fashioned fun. Many of the books that are conducive to the music classroom are stories with which the children are familiar, and acting them out brings them newly to life. The incredible twists you can add in music class are just icing on the cake, not to mention the valuable correlation the students will make to their regular ed classroom. Many of the books will reinforce reading and literacy standards, like sequencing, numbers, counting, patterns, vowel sounds, beginning letter sounds, rhyming to name a few.
All students will benefit from exposure to classic children’s literature. For example, the kindergarten, first and second grade students will be given the opportunity to select stories with lots of rhymes, number or letters which reinforce concepts they are learning in their regular classrooms. In stories with cumulative or repeating characters, particular sound effects or instruments can represent a character. This is great reinforcement for concepts like counting, sequencing and patterns. Incorporating books into music lessons encourages cross-curricular lessons in reading literacy as well as music literacy.”
Ms. Gartland’s grant application was selected. Even the grant presentation ceremony was a fun experience for her and the students:
“The students were very excited and proud when the Meemic representatives came to present the check. Of course they are K-3rd graders, but when the giant ‘fake’ check was presented, they thought it was so big because it was for so much money. It was a precious moment. Whenever we used any of the puppets, the students remembered the presentation and make comments about the grant. I think this was a good life lesson for them.”
The grant funds were used to purchase 40 children’s books and 15 sets of finger and hand puppets. As Ms. Gartland stated:
“The books were chosen with Kindergarten – 3rd grade in mind. Books that had counting and sequencing were great for concept learning and practicing. Some of the books are perfect for making up a tune too so the students could sing along. Finger puppets, small hand puppets and larger puppets were used with some of the books.”
As expected, incorporating children’s literature and puppets into the music curriculum was a ‟hit” with the students … and with Ms. Gartland.
“I tried to add a book to nearly every weekly unit. If there was a puppet or puppets that went with the books I would introduce them to the students. The students used the puppets rather than me. This added a new dimension to my music class. I carried the puppets and books in different containers. Since I was on a cart, the students would look for the ‘container’ and get very excited about what was in it. Students were engaged and excited when we used puppets and books. I suspected that most students would be excited to use puppets. However, I was pleased to see my very shy students become animated and engaged in the lessons.
I will continue to use these materials forever. I hope to add to my puppet and book collection as I can. It has been a valuable addition to my program.”
A few final words from Ms. Gartland:
“Teachers are important … not only in student’s lives but society in general. It is so awesome that Meemic appreciate teachers for all that we do. It is nice to know that we are not forgotten.
I encourage teachers to apply for grants. It’s nice to know there are companies like Meemic out there that want to help us.”
Learn About The Meemic Foundation for the Future
The Meemic Foundation offers a variety of grant opportunities designed to assist educators. These funding opportunities are designed to fund innovative programs, events or projects that will significantly enhance students’ classroom experience.
In the case of Ms. Gartland, Pamela Harlin, Administrator of The Meemic Foundation, worked to help her project come to life. Pamela’s desire is to make all educators aware of the wonderful opportunities available for project funding through The Meemic Foundation.
A 16-year veteran at Meemic Insurance Company, Pamela is proud to be associated with the educational community through Meemic, a company that serves the educational community exclusively “from partnership to protection.” Adds Ms. Harlin, “Serving educators is all we do — and it’s all we want to do!”
Your Partner in the Educational Community
Meemic is committed to giving back to the educational community that we proudly serve. Since 1992, The Meemic Foundation has provided financial assistance to schools and educators in the form of grants totaling nearly $1.5 million!