Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Donor's Choose

This is up there on my list of worthy causes. I know the struggles of being responsible for preparing meaningful lessons on a daily basis while in the post-NCLB classroom. Unless you're in a "F" school (& sometimes even when you are) materials are often out of reach due to finances. This has been my personal experience, anyhow...

Teachers are then left with options:
#1. Pay for the supplies out of their pocket.
#2. Master the skill of writing grants in their "free time" & hope for funding... often times waiting for months.
#3. Forgo the materials & do without... possibly hindering students' learning.

Well, there's a new option out there that not as many people know about. (I must confess that if I were still in the classroom, I would be tempted to hoard this nugget of information without sharing). allows teachers to sign up & request their most needed supplies. Then donors browse through projects & decide which ones they'd like to donate to. You can search for local schools or you can search for particular categories (narrowing it down by things like... grade level, academic subject, poverty level, special education, technology, etc).

I was *highly disappointed* when I could not find ANY schools near Jacksonville on the website, & I immediately set out contacting my old teaching buddies! IF YOU'RE A TEACHER, GET UP THERE!! If you know a teacher, tell them about it!

You may also consider donating... it's quite a seamless system. Following a donation, you receive a thank you packet from both the organization & the teacher/students! It details exactly how your donation was spent & it's impact on the class... all information is verified from the bottom-up.... by the teacher, the school, Donor's Choose, & the government (where necessary). They send the teacher the requested supplies (i.e. not the check) so you know the money is being used as intended.

Since I didn't find anyone local, I decided to try to find a classroom similar to my own. I found a Kindergarten class that sounded somewhat similar to my methodologies. I got a lovely letter in response from the teacher & check out the response from a couple of the kids below... the entire class wrote us (& it wasn't photocopies of the kids' writing... those were real pencil smudges!)

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