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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 6 months ago

Water Spring Middle School teacher awarded Teacher Impact Grant

Reading teacher Kara Williams plans to use the grant to create a classroom library stocked with new novels for literature circles.
by: Annabelle Sikes Staff Writer

An Orange County Public School teacher in Winter Garden was recently awarded a special grant for her school. 

Kara Williams from Water Spring Middle School was awarded a Teacher Impact Grant last week. 

Teacher Impact Grants support creative learning initiatives in the classroom and give teachers extra resources to engage students and directly impact learning gains, according to OCPS.

Williams, a reading teacher for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, said she was "extremely excited" when she was notified of winning the impact grant.

"This will make a huge difference in the classroom for my students," Williams said. 

The reading teacher said she plans to use the grant to purchase books for students. According to Williams, the books purchased will come from the Florida Sunshine State list for grades six through eight. 

Williams said she will be creating literature circles or what she calls “Book Clubs.” Williams plans for the Book Clubs to be student run. She said each student will have a role in that club.

"This will build teamwork, comprehension and foster an environment where students are responsible for their learning," Williams said. 

The middle school teacher said her most fascinating lessons are those in which she introduces a difficult concept or subject and then hands it over to her pupils to investigate further. She said they are typically concepts that challenge students' thinking, call into question their established assumptions and invite disagreement. While students are pondering solutions, she engages in on conversations, asks probing questions and offers help and feedback as they come to their own conclusions.

"We can empower our students to take ownership of their own learning by designing engaging, open-ended projects that target real-world skills, satisfy our learning objectives and allow students to make decisions, which they can then assess and improve," Williams said. "I look forward to expanding reading and comprehension skills and hopefully bringing the joy of reading to students."


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Annabelle Sikes is a staff writer at the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and She graduated in May 2021 from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in sociology.  Her past...

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