April 18, 2016

How to Write for FREE SUPPLIES for your classroom? Donorschoose.org

A Step By Step Guide on How to Write a Donorschoose.org Grant! 

     Teachers are always spending their own money for classroom supplies.  Now there is a way to get the supplies you need without breaking the bank.  Donorschoose.org is an online grant program where you apply for individual projects you want to do in class.  It can connect to your Facebook page, but most of the time investors (from New York to Alaska) fund my projects from the DonorsChoose website.
Grant writing seems so scary!  Some grant applications take way too much time and the likelihood of receiving one is slight to none.  Donorschoose is different! Trust me, if I can do it so can you!! In the last four years, I have had 47 grants funded. (About $25,000 in materials for my classroom and school!)  Books, field trips, science materials, paper, ink, cameras, iPads, Chromebooks, and much much more!!! 
How to get started?
·              Set up an account.  You will need a digital picture of your class.  This will become your profile picture.  Once you set up an account it will take a day or two to get accepted.  Upon acceptance, you are READY to write your first project. 

New Project

  •     Before you "Click on Create a project" click on "PARTNER FUNDING Opportunities".  (Find your state and see what you can get matched) 
  •     I have been the most successful whenever I find a partner that is matching what I’m wanting or needing my classroom.
·                                If you find a partner that fits, make sure you read the stipulations.

The Almost Home Grant is a great partner for teachers in Arkansas who are needing materials that focus on Economics!

Click on: Create a New Project

·    Then click Get Started!

·    You will start with about 2 to 3 points. As you can see, I have 52 points.
The more points you have the more projects you can post and the more money you can spend.  Everyone can only post eight projects at a time, no matter how many points you have. 
*Also, asking for smaller amounts of funding at a time, makes your projects more likely to get funded!

Over time you gain more points.  Each time you get a project funded you get more points. After you write your thank you letters you get more points. It is extremely important that you follow through with the thank you letters and the photos of the products in your class.  I have helped several teachers who didn’t stay up on the follow up part and then they were no longer able to log on to this site. (They also didn’t have any points)

  • This is where you add your title: It should include something to do with whatever your partner funding is going to be looking for.

Examples: Extra, Extra, Teaching Economics using current Events

Integrating Art into Literature

*Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything now, you can edit it later.

Click on Materials from Vendor (You can shop now)  

  • These are the vendors you can shop from.  Note: Do Not spend hours shopping now! It will time out.  For your first grant find something you need and go on.  I have had several teachers get discouraged because they spent so much time trying to decide what to get that they lost everything in their cart, and then they wanted to stop.  Keep going! You are going to get this and you will be writing many!!

  • Make your choices then save to your cart. 
  • As you can see DonorsChoose adds optional donations to your cart and other fees.  It is important to know this, because if you are trying to meet a partners guidelines and it says not to go over $500 then you need to stop at about $350 for the fees.  Your partner will not pick up your grant if you go over their guidelines. 

·    Now you are going to summarize and tell your story. 
·    My students need… (This is short and simple)
Examples:  My students need microscopes for our classroom. 
My students need Scholastic News magazines to connect economics and current events. 

  • ·    Always click SAVE!!! If you have to stop it will save as a draft in your project file. 
  •   Give them something catchy. 

  • Example: LEGOs! Students love building structures and learning about important science concepts as they collaborate with their peers.

This is where you talk about your students.
  •     Is your school rural, urban, or suburban?

  •      What grade do you teach?  How many kids are in your class?
  •      Example: I teach fifth grade with a total of 28 students.  I have ___ boys and ____ girls.  My students have a range of abilities and interests. Most of my students come from a farming community.  
  •     Once you write this, you can save it for your next grant

  • Describe how your students will use the materials:
  • If I ever get questions about a grant that has been submitted, it’s because of this part. 

·                        You must write the name of the materials requested.  If it is a book say the title.  If it is some science kit write the name out!
·       If you get questioned about a description, don’t give up.  It happens to all of us. They will set it back to draft status, then you can go back and edit it.  You   don’t have to start all over. So don’t worry! 

  • This is the last writing part! Yay! You’re almost done. Hit save just in case. 
  • In this last part Write the name of the products also.  
  • This is your ending~ How will this project change your students lives?  My students will benefit from the _____ by becoming life long learners. (etc.) Students will enjoy…

  • This is the Easy part: But make sure you check the topic you are trying to get a partner for. Example: Economics Check Economics

      Now you are ready to edit!
·    Good luck and don’t forget to write your thank you letters and upload your photos!!!

April 13, 2016

Making Connections in Your Classroom: What does growing potatoes on Mars mean for Earth’s farmers?

I can't wait to use this article with my class to integrate agriculture into my classroom.  We are learning about space and this will connect.  This website is a great resource that provides text on multiple levels.  What does growing potatoes on Mars mean for Earth’s farmers?: