Dennis Millay, better known as 'Mr. D' is one of the tech gurus of East View Elementary. He is always thinking outside of the box to involve students in discovery learning and their use of technology. He includes technology is some way in almost every lesson which is located in his amazing discovery science classroom. He also serves as co-leader of our STLP club (Student Technology and Leadership Program). This year STLP created a "Suns Meet the Stars Night". Mr. D facilitated student learning through the use of iPads as they learned how to discover the constellations through GoSkyWatchFree. One night under the stars, students and their families visited the outdoor classroom and new nature trail area, and students showed their families various information about each of the constellations. It was an amazing night of student leadership at its finest.
Mr. D also is the coach of our first Lego team. After school, Mr. D met with a team of at-risk students and together they built Lego designs and then programmed a robot that was built by the students to do numerous tasks with the Lego designs. This year the theme was "Senior Solutions." The Lego designs and tasks that the robot had to perform were very difficult. Mr. D facilitated the team through the programming and taught students not only how to program a robot, but how to learn and make adjustments from our mistakes. He serves as a leader of technology, but allows for the students the opportunities of discovery.
He has also worked with students on geo-caching using GPS devices so they learn about location and how to use the latest technology to assist them. He is constantly researching the latest apps and programs that support student learning. As a teacher and as a scientist, his enthusiasm for learning and his ability to access all forms of technology, and then to translate that knowledge to the student level, is amazing. Students love his classroom and his passion. He has created a spark in the eyes of so many special children in a way I cannot explain. Science and technology are his strengths, but his passion and love of learning with children is his talent. Mr. D transforms normal content into lessons of discovery at very high levels.
But technology is not his only strength, by any means. Mr. D has developed a school nature trail and outdoor classroom, revitalized our school courtyard, and hosted family events such as Bug Hunt Night to provide family-friendly events about learning. He serves as archery coach, helps with ESS, Jelic teacher and much, much more. Mr. D starts his day by 6 a.m., preparing for the children with excitement and ends at 6 p.m. just as excited. His classroom is filled with technology, all areas of science and love! Mr. D has made technology come to life through the lens of science to all students at East View Elementary and he continuously strives to bring more and more learning to not only students, but fellow staff and families!
Ann Marie Williams
How would Dennis Millay spend a $1,000 Foundation Grant?
As a recipient of The Focus Award in Technology, I would use the funds to purchase a Lego Education We Do Robotics Center Pack ($680.95), four sets of Lego Simple Machines Packages ($196.95), and a Lego Simple Machines Activity Pack ($64.95) for the East View Science Lab. Including shipping and handling ($56.57) the total cost would be $999.42.
I will use these resources to teach students, college and career readiness skills, which are a major focus of Kentucky's new accountability model mandated by Senate Bill 1 in 2009. At this moment in time, Kentucky and several other states are refining a new set of science standards. These standards align heavily with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills needed for careers in the 21st Century.
These Lego Education Resources will allow our young East View Learners to begin the perambulation toward successful 21st Century STEM Careers. These packages are not the simple, 'build and play' Lego sets we are all familiar with. They integrate content across a broad spectrum of academic subjects, even literacy. This is a model of teaching that should be a part of every rigorous study.
The day of simple pencil, paper, and textbook work is long past. Our young learners know this. They are begging us to move beyond this outdated method of teaching. Using these materials, students will lead their own learning. I will merely serve as a guide toward a given goal, allowing them to synergize in small groups to achieve success. The technological tools needed to achieve these goals will be in their hands, not mine.
Sincerely, Dennis Aron Millay