Dr. Mary E. Sefranek recently received notice that she was awarded a $7,500 National Council of Teachers of English Research Foundation Grant for the research project, “Sowing and Cultivating Local 21st Century Literacies and Language in Rural Puerto Rico”. With this grant, she will implement an interdisciplinary, digital, bilingual book-making project with third grade students and teachers at the Escuela Nueva Elemental Urbana in San Sebastián that focuses on the historical and contemporary production of coffee in that municipality, as well as its impact on the local environment.

This project will bridge students’ studies of English, Spanish, Technology, Science, and Social Studies, enabling them to make significant connections between disciplines that are too frequently taught in isolation. In addition, it will require collaborative planning between the three participating teachers and the researcher, and draw on a number of local community resources, including the Museo Agrícola of San Sebastián, a local coffee plantation, and the Colegio’s own Extensión Agrícola.

This project will be implemented in the current 2008-2009 academic year and will build upon prior research at the same school site that was made possible thanks to the award of seed grant funding from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in June of 2007.

For further information about the 2007-2008 digital book-making project, please refer to the weblog http://digitalnovillabook.wordpress.com/