Grants, Competitions and Other “Winning” Opportunities
Supplement Your Stretched Budget
GetEdFunding is CDW-G’s new website to help educators and institutions find the funds they need to supplement already stretched budgets. GetEdFunding is a free and fresh resource, which hosts a collection of more than 1,400 grants and other funding opportunities culled from federal, state, regional and community sources and available to public and private, pre K–12 educators, schools and districts, higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations that work with them. The site offers customized searches by six criteria, including 41 areas of focus, eight content areas and any of the 21st century themes and skills that support your curriculum. Once you are registered on the site, you can save the grants of greatest interest and then return to read about them at any time.
Examine How Disability Affects Everyday Life
The Kennedy Center’s VSA Playwright Discovery Competition invites middle and high school students to take a close look at the world around them, examine how disability affects their lives and the lives of others and express their views through the art of scriptwriting. Writers may write from their own experiences and observations or create fictional characters and settings. Scripts can be comedies, dramas or even musicals. Awards are given in two divisions: Division 1 (grades 6–8, or equivalent): $375 for the winner’s school; publication in the 2013 VSA Playwright Discovery Program booklet. Division 2 (grades 9–12, or equivalent): $750 scholarship, $375 for the winner’s school; publication in the 2013 VSA Playwright Discovery Program booklet.
Deadline: June 1, 2013
Empower Youth with Disabilities
The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation Grants program is dedicated to helping young Americans with disabilities maximize their potential and fully participate in society. The foundation supports organizations and projects within its mission that have broad scope and impact and demonstrate potential for replication at other sites. A major program emphasis is inclusion: enabling young people with disabilities to have full access to educational, vocational and recreational opportunities and to participate alongside their nondisabled peers. Grants range from $10,000 to $75,000 per year, for one to three years.
Deadline: June 1, 2013
Increase Access to Children’s Literature
The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation is dedicated to advancing literacy and fostering a love of reading among underserved and at-risk children and youth. The foundation provides grants to school libraries, nontraditional libraries and bookmobile programs throughout the country for the purchase of books published for young people, preschool through grade 8. The focus of the grant program is on libraries that serve economically or socially at-risk children, have limited book budgets and demonstrate real need. Grants for 2013 will range from $500 to $3,000.
Deadline: June 15, 2013
Respond and Win!
As a recipient of The Big Deal Book of Technology enewsletter, you are invited to tell Big Deal Media how you use this publication and about your participation in the purchase of technology products and services. (The survey will take about five minutes to complete.) Surveys submitted IN FULL by May 20, 2013 will be entered in a random drawing to win $50 American Express gift cards. Big Deal Media is giving away $50 for every 100 completed surveys.
Let Imagination Take Over
Based on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Camp NaNoWriMo provides the online support, tracking tools and hard deadline to help students write the rough draft of a novel in a month (other than November, NaNoWriMo). Camp NaNoWriMo was established in 2011 as a project of the Office of Letters and Light, the parent 501(c)(3) nonprofit to National Novel Writing Month and the Young Writers Program. A camp session will take place in July 2013. Students aged 13 or older can sign up at CampNaNoWriMo.org. This year the word-count goals are flexible: students can write 10,000 words, 999,999 words or anything in between. Students under age 13 can participate in the NaNoWriMo forums, a low-pressure version of the camp. They can choose their own goals and deadlines, exchange tips with fellow novelists and even track their word count with a simple widget. If you’re an educator, check out the suggestions for teaching NaNoWri during the camp months.
Deadlines: Students can sign up anytime to add their names to the roster. Writing begins at 12:00 a.m. on July 1. To be added to the official list of winners, students must reach their word-count goal by 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the month.
Enter a World of Ideas
The fourth annual New York Times Summer Reading Program has been announced. Each week from June 14 to August 16, teenagers 13 to 19 years old are invited to choose any piece in The NYT they like and write about why it interested them. The NYT will then choose a weekly favorite to feature. Students can choose from anything published in the print paper or on NYTimes.com in 2013; videos, graphics, slideshows and podcasts count. Students can participate each week, but only one submission per person per week is allowed. The NYTimes will post the same Student Opinion question every Friday, starting on June 14. Each will ask, “What Interested You Most in The Times This Week?” That is where students should post their picks (and reasons) any time until the next Friday when The NYT will close that post and open a new one with the same question. Every Monday, The Times will publish a previous week’s winner or winners in a separate post; they will also mention the winners on Twitter and Facebook. The NYT website has a downloadable PDF of all the rules and details, which teachers can hand out schoolwide.
Deadline: August 16, 2013
Free and Inexpensive Resources
Fall into a Fantasy
Get Caught Reading is a nationwide public service campaign launched by the Association of American Publishers to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read. May is officially Get Caught Reading month, but the celebration lasts throughout the year. The campaign is supported by hundreds of celebrities, including LL Cool J, Dylan and Cole Sprouse and the newest addition, Olivia the Pig. The Get Caught Reading website offers resources for teachers, librarians and students. Look for literacy fact sheets, artwork and information on getting involved.
Plus: The Northwest Territories Literacy Council offers the Family Literacy: How To Kit, a free reproducible guide to Get Caught Reading. Included are ideas for promoting this and other literacy programs, as well as reproducible bookmarks and posters.
Create Virtual Treasure Hunts
Mission Map Quest is a map-based tool for creating virtual treasure hunts. The concept is simple: you create a series of clues that your students need to follow in order to identify places around the world. You can add as few or as many clues to your Map Quest as you like. When you’re ready to have students try your Quest, just give them the web address of the challenge or have them scan the QR code assigned to your Quest.
Engage Students in Historical Thinking
The National Archives’ Docs Teach offers teachers opportunities to create activities that develop historical thinking skills and get students thinking like historians. The areas include chronological thinking, historical comprehension, historical analysis and interpretation, historical research capabilities and historical issues analysis and decision making. Teachers are also led through a wizard approach to customizing activities with appropriate primary sources as they browse a library of thousands of possibilities.
Journey Through Time
Billed as “a time-travel through more than 2000 years of history,” Paris 3D provides a virtual tour of many of the landmarks of Paris and lets you see how the city has developed since its Roman conquest in 52 BCE right up to the present day. Users can take guided tours from the 3D Paris website or on the accompanying iPad app. The site and the app are both free. Through the website, you can witness the construction of the Bastille and Notre Dame, navigate through winding stone streets in the Middle Ages and visit the 1889 World’s Fair to see the appearance of the Eiffel Tower. The Paris 3D website has been painstakingly built over two years by a team at Dassault Systemes, and they will continue to add more buildings and items over the coming years, again all free. Many of the monuments, such as the Bastille, no longer exist in the real world, so this site offers a great way to explore them as they would have looked.
Plus: Giza 3D is a historically accurate, in-depth recreation of the great pyramids, which you can access from your classroom on your interactive whiteboard. Also built by Dassault Systemes, the site lets you go on guided, interactive tours through 10 different areas of the Giza plateau. You can wander the necropolis, explore shafts and burial chambers and enter four of the site’s ancient temples, including Khufu’s and Menkaure’s pyramids. With full control over the camera, you can fly in and out of different regions at will and click on objects for more information. Each area also contains an object gallery and photo gallery, as well as a link to a database of relevant documents. The site’s creators have worked with real archaeologists to ensure that the models are as accurate as possible.
See with Your Ears
The vOICe for Android app maps live camera views to soundscapes, offering augmented reality for the totally blind through sensory substitution and computer vision. The app also includes a talking color identifier, talking compass, talking face detector and a talking GPS locator, while the ZXing barcode scanner and Google Goggles can be launched from The vOICe for Android by tapping the left or right screen edge.
Protect Against Bullies
The Bully Block app for Android devices captures and blocks bullies that are causing harm to students and their families. The app allows users to block bullies that utilize private or unknown numbers to engage in cyberbullying. Bully Block also has instant reporting features that allow the user to email or text abusive behavior to parents, teachers and law enforcement. All audio, messages and calls are stored on the phone memory card. The app is free for Android devices.
Encourage Pursuit of Technical Degrees
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Pre-College Initiative (PCI) program is designed to stimulate K–12 students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, or STEM. The goal is to encourage students to attend college and pursue technical degrees. The PCI program provides activities to help students discover firsthand how engineering and technology relate to the world around them and experience the excitement of academic excellence, leadership, technical development and teamwork. Students can participate in NSBE’s PCI programs by becoming an NSBE Jr member. NSBE Jr membership is available to all students in grades 6–12. Membership is only $5, but the level of exposure to engineering is priceless. Students are encouraged to participate with a chapter. These chapters may be affiliated with schools or other community organizations. Visit the website to find a chapter in your area.
Spark Girls' Interest in Technology
Microsoft DigiGirlz High Tech Camp works to dispel stereotypes of the high-tech industry. During the camp session, girls listen to executive speakers, participate in technology tours and demonstrations, and network and learn through hands-on experience in workshops. This year the camps will take place at various dates throughout the summer in San Diego, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; Fargo, North Dakota; Redmond, Washington; Las Colinas, Texas; and St. Louis, Missouri. To be eligible for free attendance to the camp, girls must be in grades 9–11 in the 2012–2013 school year and at least age 13 at time of application.
Deadlines: Vary by location
Support the Grand Challenges of Science
As part of its ongoing commitment to promoting STEM engagement in classrooms around the world, Discovery Education has launched the Discovery Education STEM Camp, a series of standards-aligned curricula available at no cost to schools, districts, nonprofit organizations and parents for use as part of summer camps, afterschool learning opportunities and other educational programs. Created in collaboration with leading educators, Discovery Education STEM Camp combines hands-on and virtual labs, engineering challenges, digital investigations, interactive videos and career connections designed to inspire and engage students in learning about STEM subjects. The program is designed to support the grand challenges of science issued by the National Academy of Engineers, with curricula built around the STEM-related topics of water, urban infrastructure and energy.
Build a Paper Brain
Want your students to get intimate with the incredible human brain? Here’s a paper origami-esque brain to put together. This paper brain was created by Martin Pyka of Ruhr University Bochum in Germany, when he started his PhD in neuroscience, as a way to learn the anatomy of the brain. Pyka suggests starting with the hemispheres and then attaching the temporal lobes and the cerebellum before finally working your way down to the brain stem. The paper model of the brain will fit nicely on a desk.
Plus: If you’d like to modify the paper brain—with your own notes, colors, telekinetic superpowers or references—the original files are available on Pyka’s website.
Lay the Tracks for Connecting Cultures
May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, a celebration of the culture, traditions and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Across the country there will be numerous events and programs for people to attend and participate in. In celebration of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the Smithsonian Institution Archives presents a slideshow of historic photographs of Asian and Asian American scientists, including astrophysicist Hong-Yee Chiu, credited with coining the term quasar.
Plant the Seeds of Tolerance
Saplings from the chestnut tree that stood as a symbol of hope for Anne Frank as she hid from the Nazis for two years in Amsterdam are being distributed to 11 locations in the United States as part of a project that aims to preserve her legacy and promote tolerance. The tree, one of the Jewish teenager’s only connections to nature while she hid with her family, was diseased and rotted through the trunk when wind and heavy rain toppled it in August 2010. But saplings grown from its seeds will be planted starting in April, when the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will put the first one in the ground. The 11 US locations, which also include a park memorializing September 11 victims in New York City, an Arkansas high school that was at the heart of the desegregation battle and Holocaust centers in Michigan and Washington, D.C., were chosen by The Anne Frank Center USA (http://annefrank.com) from 34 applicants. Other states that have sites receiving saplings are Massachusetts, Idaho and California. Winners were selected based on their commitment to equality, demonstration of the consequences of intolerance, or historical significance to civil rights and social justice in the United States. The Anne Frank Center wants the sapling project to go beyond the initial planting of the trees. The center is starting an education initiative called Confronting Intolerance Today that will encompass a “teaching and discovery” website to create dialogue and show how the sites are using the sapling project to advance tolerance, a distinguished speaker series and temporary exhibits from the center that will show the history of Anne Frank.
Dig Deeper, Speak Louder
In an effort to provide more opportunities for students to participate in speech and debate, and to make activities more accessible, the National Forensic League has launched the National Forensic League Online, an online debate platform for practice and competition. The platform allows students to practice and compete in real time from anywhere in the world. Students can select from the League’s three main debate events (Public Forum, Lincoln–Douglas and Policy), choose a topic and pick an opponent or leave the debate open for anyone to join. (The platform includes a chat window, viewable throughout the system, which allows students to talk to one another.) Students can limit their opponents to just students at their school or open the debate to any League member. Debates between students from other schools can earn League points as long as the debate is judged and a decision is made. Students can also watch live or search through archived debates involving their school or rounds that are open to everyone. Coaches can access a wide range of tools that make it easier to hold practice and manage their squads. They can also create debates for their students to participate in and offer feedback on live or archived debates. With the added ability to pause and restart sessions, coaches can offer feedback and have students react in real time. National Forensic League Online also provides teams with an opportunity to reconnect with alumni. Since rounds can be judged from anywhere, alumni can participate by judging practice rounds or online tournaments, no matter where they are. Practice debates are free to all League members using the platform through the end of the 2013–2014 school year. Online tournaments require an entry fee, and more events will be added soon.
Start in the Rotunda
You may not be able to take your students on a field trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, but you can take them on a 3-D virtual, room-by-room walking tour of the whole museum, using a desktop computer, (Windows, Mac, Linux) or a mobile device (iPad, iPhone, Android). Visitors can even browse a list of past exhibits on the ground-floor map. In this self-guided tour, visitors can navigate from room to room by clicking map locations or by following blue arrow links on the floor that connect the rooms. The desktop version includes camera icons to indicate hotspots where the visitor can get a close-up view of a particular object or exhibit panel.
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« May 15, 2013
· Supplement Your Stretched Budget
· Examine How Disability Affects Everyday Life
· Empower Youth with Disabilities
· Increase Access to Children’s Literature
· Respond and Win!
· Let Imagination Take Over
· Enter a World of Ideas