Field School's third-grade math program got an extra jingle in its pocket just before Christmas when the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation awarded a $500 grant to the school for its "Cha-Ching! Grocery Store Math" program.

The grant application was submitted by Terria Cox, on behalf of all the third grade teachers: Tiffany Acree, Katie Maples, Tracy Miller, Terria Cox, Billie McGraw and Gracie Bonderer.

"It is our hope that through the use of the math resources, we are able to foster a love for math, aid in the students' connection to real-world math applications, and bring exciting hands-on learning to the classroom," Cox stated in the application.

The teachers have noticed an improvement in math MAP scores since implementing the math workshop model. Looking at the percentage of students who scored in the Proficient and Advanced categories combined, students' scores improved from 53.6 percent in the 2010-11 school year to 67.2 percent in the 2011-12 school year. However, the MAP goal process standards data shows that students continue to struggle with adding and subtracting money amounts to five dollars, telling time to the nearest five minutes, identifying and comparing two and three dimensional shapes, and interpreting data from graphs.

"After collaborating as a grade level, we deduced the mathematical instructional practices need to incorporate more multiple intelligences by students performing real-life math," Cox stated in the application.

With the grant, the teachers plan to purchase cash registers for each classroom, as well as electronic flash card games, money card games and grocery store gift cards for packaged foods for each classroom. These items will help teachers increase student engagement and mastery of problematic life skills.

The MRT Foundation is the charitable arm of the Missouri Retired Teachers Association and Public School Personnel. For this academic year, there were 84 applications for 14 grants to be awarded.