Mobilizing Haikus for Learners on the Autism Spectrum

By Laura Kristek, kindergarten through second grade special education teacher in Chicago, IL, and Jenny Burns, Community Coordinator for Allen Distinguished Educators
November 7, 2016

Award-winning project replicated with DIY Guide grant from Allen Distinguished Educators 

DIY Guide grants ensure adoption of ADE-created classroom projects and practices across a diverse range of schools – engaging student of all backgrounds.

Laura Kristek, a special education teacher in Chicago, modified a high school level poetry and engineering project developed by Allen Distinguished Educator, Scott Swaaley, to engage her K-2 students who are on the autism spectrum. Her students have varying degrees of strengths with communication, social interactions, and behavioral control, and they are very enthusiastic and diligent participants in class. “They are a joy to teach,” Kristek explains. She is one of 28 teachers to receive a DIY Guide grant from the ADE program in the spring of 2016.

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Jumping into STEM Learning and Climbing Past Language Barriers

By Elizabeth Stevenson, fourth grade teacher in Chicago, IL, and Jenny Burns, Community Coordinator for Allen Distinguished Educators
October 5, 2016

Award-winning project replicated with DIY Guide grant from Allen Distinguished Educators 


DIY Guide grants ensure adoption of ADE-created classroom projects and practices across a diverse range of schools – engaging student of all backgrounds.

Twenty minute exercises and school lunches inspired STEM learning in a class with over 80% English Language Learners (ELL) thanks to creative adaptations to the 53 Miles per Burrito project by Elizabeth Stevenson, a 4th grade teacher in Chicago. This high school-level engineering and sustainability project, developed by 2014 ADE awardee Mike Wierusz, prompts students to answer the question: “Can I ride 53 miles on a bike from the energy of a single burrito?” 

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MAKEing the Most of Project-Based Learning

By Diana Dull, third grade teacher in Austin, TX, and Jenny Burns, Community Coordinator for Allen Distinguished Educators
September 12, 2016

Award-winning project replicated with DIY Guide grant from Allen Distinguished Educators


DIY Guide grants ensure adoption of ADE-created classroom projects and practices across a diverse range of schools – engaging student of all backgrounds.

“One of the biggest challenges I have as a teacher is finding the time for students to engage in projects. When I came across MAKEShift Poetry, I was excited to find a project that combined science and math with poetry and language arts,” said Diana Dull, a third grade teacher and DIY grantee from the Allen Distinguished Educators (ADE) program. “If I can do something with students across multiple content areas, I increase the amount of class time available for the project.” Dull is one of 28 teachers to receive a DIY Guide grant from the ADE program in spring of 2016. 

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Lights, Camera, Entrepreneurship Education!

By Andrea DeGette, high school videography teacher in Hillsborough, NC, and Jenny Burns, Community Coordinator for Allen Distinguished Educators
August 5, 2016

Award-winning project replicated with DIY Guide grant from Allen Distinguished Educators 

DIY Guide grants ensure adoption of ADE-created classroom projects and practices across a diverse range of schools – engaging student of all backgrounds.

“Many group projects I’ve taught in the past drag on and waste precious class time. The 52 Minute Challenge was great because it was easy to implement and was appealing to my students,” explained Andrea DeGette, a videography high school teacher and DIY Guide grantee from Allen Distinguished Educators. “I will definitely use this project again because it fills a gap in my curriculum for a group project and it is quick and effective.” DeGette is one of 28 teachers to receive a DIY Guide grant from the ADE program this year. 


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Teaching Entrepreneurship Outside-The-Box with Cardboard Boxes

By Alaine Davis, middle school Montessori teacher in Bothell, WA, and Jenny Burns, Community Coordinator for Allen Distinguished Educators
July 6, 2016

Award-winning project replicated with DIY Guide grant from Allen Distinguished Educators

DIY Guide grants ensure adoption of ADE-created classroom projects and practices across a diverse range of schools – engaging student of all backgrounds.

“Middle school students can become very passionate about making the world a better place, but more often simply feel powerless,” explained Alaine Davis, a middle school teacher and DIY Guide grantee from Allen Distinguished Educators (ADE). “The 52-Minute Challenge presented a great opportunity for my students to take action.” Davis is one of 28 teachers to receive a DIY Guide grant from the ADE program this year. 

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