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Project Inspiration

5 Activities to Bring Your Students (Closer) Together

We asked DonorsChoose.org teachers for activities that make students feel welcome in the classroom. They shared enough ideas for a whole school year’s worth of warm fuzzies. Here are five of our favorites: The icebreaker that keeps on giving. In the first week of school, Jill Weaver’s students make birthday cards for the person sitting next to them. Using teamwork, the kids then line themselves up by age.  Throughout the year, the activity continues to reward. Jill explains: “When someone has a birthday, we get out their handmade card and the whole class signs it. It makes everyone feel accepted.”
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5 Awesome, Autumnal Videos Students Can Fall in Love With

Source: Petradr/SplashbaseAttention, teachers, fall has officially arrived! You may have already seen leaves changing and students rushing back to school in flannel and sweaters, so, in honor of the season, we’ve gathered a list of five engaging educational videos you can use in the classroom, or mine for inspiration for any other lesson plans you might have in the works. We hope these videos can help keep classrooms warm and vibrant from now until the chillier days in November and beyond! Why do leaves change color? It’s the simplest question we could think of for the season, and we found
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Teaming up: DICK’S Sporting Goods is Now a Vendor on DonorsChoose.org

You can now shop for your projects from a wide range of sports gear, equipment and apparel at DICK’S Sporting Goods!  DICK’S carries supplies for a wide range of sports, including baseball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, volleyball, rugby, and many more. This is great news for school sports teams!  Last year, the DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation launched Sports Matter, an initiative to raise awareness and address the growing issue of underfunded youth athletics nationwide.  Continuing their efforts this year, they’ve teamed up with DonorsChoose.org to help underfunded public schools by sponsoring a Double Your Impact offer for
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How Teachers Can Help Send Their Students to Mars

A selfie taken by the Curiosity rover // NASAThe surface of Mars is freezing, rocky, volcanic, and often beset with storms that can envelop the entire planet. And right now, there’s a brave, curious 15-year-old sitting in a high school classroom who could be the first human to step into  that environment. How do we know? As new reports of water on Mars continue to unfold, NASA also reminded us that they’re working toward conducting the first manned mission to the red planet by 2030. Assuming NASA stays on track, and going off the average age of astronauts in the organization’s history,
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What the Student Architects of Tomorrow Are Building Today

That floating city that showed up in the skies of China may have been a mirage, but the cities of the future are coming, and the architects who will build them are sitting in class right now. These students are making very real strides toward becoming the urban planners, architects, and engineers of the future. And we’re not ruling floating cities out just yet. Mrs. Hermsmeier’s students build with the blocks, collapsing bridge, and other materials she requested in her project Engineers and Architects and Critical Thinkers—Oh My!  The groundwork for an addition to the skyline? Mrs. Dixon’s Learning with Legos project facilitates hand-on learning. Teachers, want to bring building materials into your classroom?
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Why You Post: 8 Reasons Teachers Use DonorsChoose.org

We make creating a project on DonorsChoose.org as easy as possible, but we know it takes a motivated teacher to carve out the time. According to our teachers—it’s worth it. Here’s why. The opportunity to share what’s happening in your classroom with the world. Citizens that are not directly involved in public schools don’t often get to experience the accomplishments and challenges that occur within their walls. In the words of teacher Meg Skow, “ as an opportunity to share events from my classroom, advocate for my program, and gain support for special projects.” As an organization that’s been around
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Your Best Summer Ever: 4 Projects to Inspire the Vacation of Your (Teacher) Dreams

“Being a teacher is easy. I mean, you get the whole summer off!” I know, I know. Try not to throw things. No matter how you spend your summer—working a second job, attending workshops, teaching summer school, getting healthy for fall, bingeing on best-practice blogs, lesson planning, or designing a new classroom layout—rarely does a teacher truly have summer “off”. Below are four teachers in the summer who are setting themselves up for a fantastic “vacation” by enriching their lives and those of their students. Whether your own best summer ever involves family, rest, travel, study, sport, work, or a little bit of everything,
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Inspiration for Your Next Project (or 10)

You’ve been lurking on the site for awhile, and today is the day you’re finally going to give this crazy DonorsChoose.org thing a try. Or maybe you’re a DonorsChoose.org veteran, and this is the moment you’ll shake things up and ask for one of those wacky dream items. Or perhaps you’re somewhere in between, keeping an eye out for new project inspiration. If you’re not sure what to ask for or how to prioritize items for your next request, here are three places to get awesome suggestions and crucial guidance. The best part? All three of these spots are at your disposal every day. Your classroom—and
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Classroom Recipes: Build a Makerspace for Under $1,000

Teachers around the country are excited about Makerspaces, and for good reason. By turning a classroom or library into a Makerspace, students can join a global movement of makers while learning STEM in a hands-on way. What is a Makerspace? We like the definition they use at OEDB: “Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn.” For a teacher, that usually means creating a designated space for kids to meet, create, invent, and learn outside of the traditional classroom structure. To help you get started
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Extreme Makeover: Pinterest Edition

Every teacher needs a new lesson or project now and then, whether you’re just starting out or want to mix it up in a class you’ve taught for years. But you don’t need to reinvent the wheel; for years, teachers have been turning to their colleagues for classroom inspiration. Your fellow teachers have created an amazing library of over 800,000 DonorsChoose.org classroom projects over the last 16 years. To help you sift through that overwhelming collection, we’ve added over a dozen new boards to our Pinterest page, breaking down great projects by grade level and subject. We’ll update these boards
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