Meet Mr. Lee Jimenez: literally unlocking learning

Teacher feature:  Lee Jimenez, 3rd grade
Grant portal made innovation requests easy
Mr. Lee Jimenez, IHES 3rd grade teacher, is patiently listening in on groups of 3rd graders throwing around possible solutions to unlock a combination lock.   What is the urgency?  They want their team to crack the codes (and there are several) to help them open the Breakout Box in front of them and see what’s inside!   Similar to solving clues in an escape room, these students are collaborating in teams, using all their inquiry skills to solve the problem at hand.   And they are having a great time doing it!


“Every clue needs to be solved in a different manner. Collaboration is imperative. The timeframe can be stressful but it demands the team approach,“ observes Mr. Jimenez.  “I’m out of the process. I’m not solving this. They are.”   
Mr. Jimenez had the idea to bring the Breakout Boxes to his students from his former district in the Chicago area.  Utilizing the online Innovation Grant portal from the IH Foundation, he uploaded his request which included project information, pricing, timing and expected usage and benefits.   “I was at ease asking for this kind of resource to bring into the classroom and the grant portal was easy to use. Communication and expectations were clear and easy to follow up with additional information. I found out right away and confirmation of the form and approval was soon after.”

Carrie Vanden Boom, IHF Grant Chair, says “We created the Innovation Grant portal to make it easier for educators, and even students, to make requests for strategic innovation grants.  Accelerating new curriculums is one of our key missions.  We want our educators to ask ‘What’s next?’ and we are proud to fund the answers when possible." 

The biggest attribute learned from the Breakout Boxes?  “Perseverence!” says Mr. Jimenez.  “We are learning that it’s ok to try and fail as long as you keep trying to find the solution!”  And what is the prize inside today’s lock box?  “Of course, another puzzle. But if they unscramble it, it says “FREE RECESS.”  A just reward for sure!