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Classroom Stories

Project of the Week: Tiny, 3-D Printed Architectural Marvels!

Student holds up a 3D printed replica of a structureHappy Friday! With school in full swing and the week winding to an end, we thought today would be a great day to try a new, semi-regular feature on this blog—a project of the week! Here we’ll be featuring photos from finished, fully funded projects and showcasing what makes them great. This week we selected a project from Mr. Bonneur of Morrison, Illinois: “Fill the Art Room with Filament”! According to Mr. Bonneur, “ live in a rural area and sometimes feel as if they are the last to benefit from
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Mrs. McNamara Shows Art Students How Words and Pictures Interact

As the holidays approach, we thought it would be a fine time to feature a successful project we loved this year. Today let’s journey to Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, where students from pre-kindergarten to first grade now explore literacy and the arts thanks to generous donors and the ingenuity of one teacher, Heather McNamara. Her project asking for a classroom library filled with exciting books about art and artists, “Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun!” was funded in two parts earlier this year. We reached out to Mrs. McNamara to get some more insight into what inspired her to post the project and why
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Thousands of Students Learn That Fencing Is More Like Chess Than Star Wars

An Olympian fencer and a teacher join forces to train the athletes of tomorrow. VICE SportsAdvance! Lunge! Passé! Retreat! Lunge! Parry! As the duelists advance and retreat, they trade the upper hand throughout the bout, each move a step toward victory. No, this is not a scene from The Princess Bride. This is what two men are working to teach the varsity fencing team at Democracy Prep Charter High School in the Bronx. One of them is Tim Morehouse, an Olympic silver medalist who runs Fencing in the Schools (FITS), a program dedicated to teaching the joy and discipline of
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The Young Jedi Academy: How One Teacher Awakened the Force in His Classroom

From the moment you first read the glowing blue words and heard the bracing orchestral swell that kicks off each film, it’s always been easy to love Star Wars. Now that The Force Awakens has ignited our collective geek passions, this feels like a great time to highlight a Jedi master we know to be especially strong with the force—teacher Andy Yung of P.S. 244, the Active Learning Elementary School, in Flushing, Queens. He started his own Jedi Academy at the school. Teaching Star Wars in the classroom is a genius, crazy idea, and I can’t help but love it.
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16 Irresistible Videos of Students and Teachers

The educators and supporters who use DonorsChoose.org create countless occasions to celebrate, and—when we’re lucky—a camera is rolling to capture the moment. Here are 16 favorite videos from 16 years of memories shared by our teachers, donors, partners, and staff. (Prepare your brain for a delightful endorphin rush.) 16. When these kids reminded us what it’s like to be surprised by a brand-new book of your very own.  This video made my day. Students at @PublicPREP in the Bronx get The Book With No Pictures thanks to @donorschoose https://t.co/OhxDq5aPc6 — B.J. Novak (@bjnovak) December 17, 2015 15. When Mashable got up close and personal with Charles Best, our founder (and
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Meet the Teacher Who Set Out to Inspire an Entire State

In many ways, Jed Dearybury is like most DonorsChoose.org teachers. Teaching was his dream, and he went into the profession first and foremost to make a difference. He believes teachers serve as role models for students, someone they can look up to, someone to help them learn and grow. His personal mantra is: “If I pass through life without making a mark, for what did I live?” Like many US public school teachers, soon after starting his career Jed found himself with ideas for lessons that needed tools beyond what his district could provide. He wrote his first DonorsChoose.org project
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Chalkboard Stories: How One Stranger Changed My Classroom

Before Katy Grubbs joined our team, she was an elementary school teacher for seven years. We asked her to talk about her first experience with DonorsChoose.org, and she shared this story: We talked to Katy once before for our blog; she’s one of the “people who make your project come to life.” Here’s a favorite quote from that post: A former teacher, Katy is armed with first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to work in a classroom without the tools needed to help each student excel. “When my project materials were delivered it felt similar to opening presents on Christmas morning,”
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After the Flood: Rebuilding Louisiana Classrooms

In August 2016, historic flooding devastated much of Louisiana, especially in and around Baton Rouge. Several schools were completely destroyed, and hundreds more classrooms were damaged. Now, months later, we’re looking back on the amazing groundswell of giving that followed the flood. Your support helped hundreds of teachers get back on their feet and rebuild their classrooms. In the end, donors funded nearly 700 projects totaling over 500,000 dollars. Here are a few of those teachers discussing their experience during and after the flood: Thank you so much to all of the teachers featured in this video, and the hundreds of
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Chalkboard Stories: Meet a Game-Changing Teacher

Like most teachers, Genein Letford is very, very busy. That’s why we’re so glad that—between teaching music in California and lecturing at her alma mater—she still finds time to visit NYC as a member of the DonorsChoose.org Board of Directors for important conversations about the future of our organization. At one of those meetings, we asked her to talk about her experience on the board, plus why she feels building a teacher community is so important. Here’s what she had to say: Want to hear more from Genein? Check out her posts on building a community of teachers and her behind-the-scenes report from
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Chalkboard Stories: Why Music and Art are Key to Engaging Students

Ms. Graham taught performing arts at the same Connecticut high school for many years, until deep budget cuts ended their music program in 2010. When her principal called five years later with the news that funding at been restored, she took up the challenge of rebuilding the program from scratch. She believes music and art play a huge role in keeping students engaged at school and beyond, by being the “first place of acceptance” for them to connect with learning. Watch our interview with Ms. Graham with more of her story: Comments
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