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How Online Funding Platforms Connect Educators & the Community

As the school year approaches, teachers are turning to online funding platforms like Donor's Choose to start the year off prepared. Since the cost of supplies fall on teachers in some districts, sites like Donor's Choose allow others to see the great projects teachers are looking to fund in their classroom. Below are some examples of ways educators use Donor's Choose to help best educate the students they serve. 

The School with a $0 Art Budget

For one Title I school in Oklahoma, the art budget is zero dollars, according to the educator looking for funding, Mrs. Polson.

"My own motto has become, 'I wish I could spend as much time teaching art as I do fund raising,'" she says on her page.

Mrs. Polson is asking the community for funding to provide her students with construction paper to last throughout the school year for various learning projects.

"They will study art history as they use this paper for colorful oil pastel drawings, printmaking, and collage. They will experience world culture as they create masks and explore weaving. This paper will also serve as mattes to frame their work during the 'Evening of the Arts' where we invite parents to view their work and watch their children perform on stage," Polson said.

At the time of this article, she is looking for $170 more to reach her goal.

See her page here

iPads for Special Needs Children Learning Life Skills

A common trend on Donors Choose is teachers who teach special needs students who would like to fund iPads for their students learning life skills.

Ms. Roy is one of those teachers. She is looking for funding to better teach the nine students in her classroom in Indianapolis that she describes as having severe disabilities in a high poverty area.

She wants her students to have access to the internet so that they will be able to learn how to use technology to acquire necessary life skills.

"The iPad minis will be used on a daily basis so that my students will be able to access programs, functional academics, videos, and for communication needs to increase independence," she said.

"Students will learn how to navigate the internet for shopping, leisure skills, academic programs and choice making. The students can independently navigate the iPad mini with simple touch input. The ease of the simple input and portability is crucial for my students to be able to access the Internet."

Ms. Roy is not alone—there are many other educators on the site looking for help funding technology for their special needs students.

At the time of this article, Ms. Roy is looking for $221.15 more in donations.

See her page here.

Schools in Need of Recess & Gym Equipment

Many schools throughout the country lack the proper equipment to provide young learners with the physical activity they need each day.

In Ms. Misenheimer's class in North Carolina, she's sick of watching her students being bored at recess because they have no equipment to play with.

"On a typical day at recess, my students will stand around or sit because they do not have any equipment to play with. Many times they will come up to me and say, 'I am bored, what can I do?' she said on her page.

Ms. Misenheimer wants to be able to provide her children with the mental breaks they need each day, but has to fund most of her supply costs herself.

She is looking for the help of donors to fund "playground equipment including a toss game, scoop ball sets, footballs, jump ropes, mesh bag, basketball, soccer ball, and kickball" so that her "students will engage in physical activity and will receive the mental and physical break that is needed to help them succeed in the classroom."

At the time of this article, Ms. Misenheimer needs $80.20 to reach her goal.

See her page here.

Getting Kids Interested in Math

All across Donors Choose, teachers are looking for ways to finally have supplies that will allow them to truly explore innovative ways to teach their students math.

Mrs. Silverglat is a teacher in an urban public school in Chicago and works with gifted students.

"They are incredibly curious and love playing games. My students go home every night and share their excitement about the new topics they are learning with their families. They know that practice helps their brains grow and work very hard every day to become better mathematicians, she said on her page of her class.

Mrs. Silverglat has an idea she is seeking funding for that she thinks will help bridge the gap between learning in class and at home. She wants funding for six rotating "math backpacks."

"Each backpack will be filled with an engaging math book, at least one math game, a notebook, and a folder. Students will take turns bringing home one math backpack for a week at a time. Once at home, the students will play the games included in the backpack, read the book with a family member, and create a math problem for the next person who gets the backpack to solve. Parents will also have a chance to fill out an evaluation about the contents of the backpack and how they used them with their child," she said.

At the time of this article, Mrs. Silverglat had $56.98 to reach her goal.

See her page here.

Funding Field Trips

Of course, there's lots of learning to be done outside of the classroom. But seeing as many teachers aren't provided funding for supplies, many are also not supplied funding for outside-the-classroom excursions.

Mrs. Letford teaches in California and is seeking to fund trips for her students to visit colleges in the area.

"Even though we are 100% free lunch and have many English language learners, our students have beaten the odds and have produced amazing work and nationally recognized projects," she said.

She wants her students to be able to look at and experience for a day the colleges they may soon apply to.

"They will walk the halls with actual college students, visit the dorms and gaze at the artwork and rows and rows of books in the amazing libraries. They will really start to solidify their dream of attending higher education. We will also get them pennants and pencils to take home and share this goal with their family," she said.

"Thank you for helping me send the next generation to—and through—college!"

In order to fund transportation costs and the costs of getting students memorabilia from the student store, Mrs. Letford needs $212.19 more at the time this article was posted.

See her page here


Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor