Friday, November 29, 2013

'Tis the season of giving...

In this season of giving, I want to share about a special gift that has been given to my classroom.  DonorsChoose is a website dedicated to helping teachers get needed resources.  (If you've never checked them out before, run over there - as soon as you finish reading this, of course! - and check them out!)  Several of my co-workers have recently submitted projects and I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

My project was to get a class set of calculators.  Now I know what you're thinking...why would a math teacher want calculators?  Shouldn't the students be performing calculations?  Real math gets messy.  If we truly want to do real-world math, then we need students to see math as it is...messy.  The problem with messy math is that the calculations get in the way and students spend so much time working through the calculations that they really lose sight of the math involved.

Enter the calculators.  If I can eliminate the need for my students to labor over the calculations, maybe, just maybe, they could "get" the math.  Alas, our supply of calculators was more than a little inadequate.  They were old, not quite abacus old, but old nonetheless.  Every time we got them out to use them, there were two or three more that needed to be thrown away because they no longer worked.

I turned my frustration into action and decided that I would submit a project of my own on DonorsChoose.  I would, I decided, try to get new calculators for my classroom.  I submitted my project on November 4th.  By November 22nd, my project was completely funded!  (In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that both my parents and my husband gave generously to my project and they gave at a time when their donations were doubled.)  My calculators were ordered the same day the project funded and they shipped two days later.

I also became part of the Caring Classrooms Community on Donors Choose, which is administered by Laura Candler.  To join Caring Classrooms you must donate to at least one of the projects featured on Caring Classrooms.  By doing so, you can submit a project of your own for consideration.  My project was selected to be featured by Caring Classrooms and within a week, my project was completed funded!  How's that for the power of community!?

My story doesn't stop there, however, and here's where it gets exciting.  The last donation to my project (one that was over $100), was made by a teacher in Ohio who had her students collect pennies.  She and her teaching partner agreed to double the amount collected by their students and they choose my project to donate to!  I am so honored to belong to a profession full of great people!

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