5 Sites That Help Fund Your Classroom Innovations
It is unfortunately common to hear the following words from administration, “budgets are getting cut.” Again, again, every year, the same words are uttered with such regularity that we wonder how schools even operate in today’s economic climate. Yea, it might be a bit of an hyperbole, however, there are a lot of evident challenges our classrooms teachers face when trying to innovate in the classrooms. For example, engaging students in 21st century learning continues to frustrate teachers who are trying to procure digital access devices in their classrooms. And as we all know, technology is not like buying pencils and construction paper. In today’s financial environment, it is imperative that teachers find alternative ways to fund their innovations without going to their administration begging for money. Fortunately, with the proliferation of web 2.0, there are a growing number of sites that provide funding opportunities for teachers. Below are 5 sites that teachers have used to fund projects for their classroom:
Kickstarter: The fastest growing site funding innovative projects (not just in education) is Kickstarter. Kickstarter’s mission is to provide a funding platform for any creative projects. This site has been used by artists, film directors, entrepreneurs, and educators to help raise money for projects like making documentaries, turning a bus into a mobile greenhouse, and tshirts. Here is a great example of a Kickstarter education project: The Food Lab at Walker Jones
DonorsChoose: The most well known site funding school and classroom projects is DonorsChoose. I was fortunate to have been funded by DonorsChoose 10 times when I use to teach my engineering class. Here is my DonorsChoose page as examples of projects that were funded: Mr. Chan’s DonorsChoose Page. Whenever I facilitate professional development on DonorsChoose, I always recommend the following 5 tips in writing your first grant proposal. 1. Keep it under $300. 2. Ask for hands-on type projects 3. Share it with all your friends and family. 4. Research what match donors are funding 5. Brand your project differently than the ones similar to yours.
Support Your Teacher: Every school year, the famous classroom supply list is given to parents in hopes to get enough materials to last the school year. While some are successful at the beginning, most don’t get all their supply needs fulfilled. Support Your Teacher is a site striving to not to have teachers spend any money out of their own pocket, and let the greater community fulfill those lists.
Adopt a Classroom: Similar to Support Your Teachers, Adopt a Classroom provides teachers the opportunity to fund classroom projects by having donors adopt their classroom. It is a simple five step process that includes the following: 1. Selecting a classroom 2. 100% Donations given to the classroom (No Fees) 3. Resources ordered 4. Impact report on teacher’s part 5. Interaction between donors and teachers such as student work. Through financial support from foundations and businesses, Adopt a Classroom doesn’t have to charge any admin fees like Kickstarter and DonorsChoose.
Teacher’s Wish List: Another website that started orginally for schools in Ashland, MA, but now has been made available for all teachers in the US to use as a connection between donor and teacher wish lists. Teacher’s Wish List is a no frills, simple and free database system for teacher’s to create wish lists and sharing with the greater community.