Grants and Other Funding Sources
Grow a Program or ProjectAre you working to start a community action project or program? Do you need money to put your ideas into action? If you answered, “yes,” you are eligible to apply for a $500 Do Something Seed Grant. These grants can be used toward project ideas and programs that are just getting started or to jump-start your program and realize your ideas for the first time. The grants can also be used toward projects that are already developed and sustainable to expand your project and grow your impact.
Deadlines: Ongoing; grants awarded weekly; grant winners will be notified two to three months after submission of application
Plant the Seeds of LearningPublic and/or private third- through sixth-grade teachers, with classes of a minimum of 15 students, may apply for an indoor or outdoor herb garden grant. The Herb Society of America will award five schools each year indoor windowsill herb gardens. The classrooms selected will receive three windowsill herb garden kits, including pots, soil, seeds and educational materials to use in the classroom. The Herb Society of America will provide the educational materials. The Herb Society of America will select four schools/classrooms to receive $200 “Seed Money” to establish an outdoor herb garden. The funds may be used for supplies, such as soil, plant trays, containers, child- or youth-sized tools. The Herb Society of America will provide the educational materials and herb seeds.
Deadline: September 1, 2011 for proposals
Do Something After SchoolSchool is back in session, but sometimes it’s what youth do after school that makes the biggest impact on their lives. Do Something and JCPenney have teamed up to support youth-led after-school programs and projects across the country. Ten grants of $500 and five grants of $1,000 will be awarded for projects started by young people who are providing after-school activities that help youth in their community.
Deadline: September 15, 2011
Awards, Competitions and Other “Winning” Opportunities
Envision the City of TomorrowThe National Engineers Week Future City Competition is an example of problem-based learning with computer simulation. It is an integrated, multidisciplinary, holistic approach to relevant issues and is a strong example of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education that addresses national and state academic content standards. The program asks sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students from around the nation to team with engineer–volunteer mentors to create—first on computer and then in large, three-dimensional models—their visions of the city of tomorrow.
Deadline: Registration now open; check Web site for details after September 1
Develop Proofs without WordsThe 2011–2012 USA Mathematical Talent Search (USAMTS) is a free mathematics competition open to all U.S. middle school and high school students with a new format consisting of three rounds of five problems each. Unlike most mathematics competitions, the USAMTS allows individual students a full month to write careful justifications for their solutions to each problem. Students’ solutions are graded by mathematicians, and comments are returned to the students. Each solution earns a score of from 0 to 5, evaluated on both mathematical correctness and writing style. The goal is to help all students develop problem-solving skills, improve their technical writing ability and mature mathematically. The USAMTS is one of the ways to enter the process of selecting the USA Mathematical Olympiad team, which participates in the International Mathematical Olympiad.
Deadlines: Problems for the first round available on Web site in early September; solutions for each round due one month later
Free and Inexpensive Resources
See the World Through the PastA new, free tool encourages students and teachers to use Twitter as part of their study of history. With TwHistory, users can participate in or create their own reenactments of historical events to help them gain a better understanding of historical figures or events as they unfolded. The process is simple: Students or volunteers pick a well-documented historical event. Then they choose real historical figures who were at that event and create tweets based on original source documentation. These tweets are then scheduled to be broadcast in real time. Instead of reading about a month-long campaign in just a few hours, followers experience the campaign over the course of a month, all in real time. Together, the separate tweets combine to paint a complete and unique picture of a small segment of history.
Travel the Deserts and Mountain Passes of Central AsiaFrom Silk to Oil: Cross-Cultural Connections Along the Silk Road, a global studies curriculum funded by the U.S. Department of Education and produced by the China Institute, begins in the second century BCE and ends in the contemporary period. The 23 curriculum units consist of a lesson plan, written and visual documents, maps, tables and even a Silk Roads board game. There is also a glossary and lists of additional resources—including hotlinks to relevant Web sites—in PDF. From Silk to Oil is directed at teachers of high school world history, global studies, social studies, geography, literature and art. Some units are also suitable for advanced middle school. The book can be downloaded in eight separate sections from the China Institute’s Web Site. A CD with the entire text and color images is also available.
Say It in Simple EnglishWikipedias are places where people work together to write encyclopedias in different languages. Simple English Wikipedia is a version of Wikipedia that uses simple grammar and basic English words. The Simple English Wikipedia is for everyone, including children and adults who are learning English. Presently there are 72,692 articles on the Simple English Wikipedia. Knowledge groups include Applied Sciences; People and Social Studies; Daily Life, Art and Culture; Natural Sciences and Maths; Government and Law; Religion and Beliefs. All of the pages have been published under both the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0 and the GNU Free Documentation License, so they are free to use.
Plus: Wiktionary in Simple English is an online dictionary that uses simple words, so it is easy to understand. Presently the dictionary has 17,022 entries. To find a word, type it into the Search box and press Enter or browse the entries by initial letter—both uppercase and lowercase letters are linked. Many of the entries include audio pronunciations, synonyms, related words and images.
Of Special Interest
Navigate the Common Core Learning EnvironmentWith educators and policymakers asking for tools to help meet the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Common Core has released comprehensive K–12 English Language Arts Curriculum Maps. Written by teachers for teachers, the curriculum guides improve instruction and student learning in the new CCSS environment. Through its Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project, Common Core sought input from teachers to improve the Maps and strengthen utilization in the classroom. This new edition of the Curriculum Maps includes guidance for differentiated instruction; nearly 200 new writing, grammar and research activities; more informational and contemporary texts; library of 70 digital resources; and art and art activities in all units. Helping educators meet the expectations of the Common Core State Standards that call for the standards to be “complemented by a well-developed, content-rich curriculum,” the Maps present a comprehensive, coherent sequence of thematic curriculum units connecting the skills outlined in the CCSS with suggested student objectives, texts and activities.
Provide Your FeedbackTwo groups of states currently are working on documents that will help educators teach the common core academic standards and assess students’ knowledge of them. The blueprints developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) are available for feedback this month. PARCC’s frameworks are open for public feedback until August 17 and possibly later. The SMARTER Balanced specifications are open for a first round of comments until August 29, and for a second round, on a revised draft, next month. SBAC plans to release math content specifications later this month for two rounds of feedback.
Click Here to Download and Provide Feedback on the PARCC Framework
Align Common Core Standards with 21st Century SkillsThe Partnership for 21st Century Skills has released the P21 Common Core Toolkit designed to help state and district education leaders implement Common Core State Standards. The new toolkit links Common Core State Standards with the Framework for 21st Century Skills, providing both an overview of alignment between the two and examples and sample lessons. It also includes a compilation of Common Core and assessment resources for education leaders. The complete 45-page toolkit is available as a free PDF download. Additional details can be found on P21’s Common Core Toolkit portal.
Mobile Learning on the Move
Turn your iPad into an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB)!Splashtop Whiteboard allows teachers and students to turn their iPad into an interactive whiteboard. By connecting to their classroom computer over Wi-Fi, they can watch Flash media with fully synchronized video and audio, control their favorite applications and annotate lesson content all from an iPad. The app is available in multiple languages for $9.99 in the Apple iTunes App Store.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Use Mobile Devices with Special Needs StudentsSNApps4Kids is a community of parents, therapists, doctors and teachers who share information on how they are using the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices with children who have special needs. SNApps4Kids has partnered with Easter Seals to offer reviews of more than 30,000 apps for special education, as more children with disabilities are using iPad apps to help improve their cognitive and motor skills and to connect socially. Registering with the site allows access to forums and groups; you can start your own group, ask questions, share stories and get advice.
Plus: SNApps4Kids has created an iPad Funding Sources Directory to help get a device funded. The directory is a compilation of organizations that grant iPads and similar devices to families who have children with special needs.
Eliminate the Need for a BackpackTextbook-centric Kno has released a free iPad app that gives students full access to textbook layouts, highlighting, note-taking and sharing as well as a book manager that sorts by the course. The iPad edition can read generic PDF documents and will work in landscape as well as Kno’s usual portrait mode. Students can preview chapters without leaving the library view and leap into a particular page. The new Journal feature automatically transfers any highlights, pictures, stickies or notes from students’ textbook into a digital notebook, centralizing important information and allowing students to search and add annotations to their notes. In the next release, Journal will include the ability to add handwritten notes, photos, video, audio recordings and even share notebooks with friends. In addition, the new Quiz Me feature turns any diagram in any textbook or PDF into an instant quiz. The Quiz Me feature hides the text labels of any image or diagram, prompting students to fill them back in and in turn helping them to study more effectively. Students can track their progress and see their scores improve over multiple tries. Books that don’t scale smoothly to the larger size support multi-touch zooming. Download the app, at no charge, from the Apple iTunes App Store.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Teach Online SafetySign up for a free Learning.com account and get a complete Online Safety curriculum for your class. With your free account, you’ll gain access to standards-aligned, peer-reviewed content—one place for teacher resources from industry-leading publishers (such as LEGO Education and NASA), open education resources (such as Curriki and PhET) and materials from teachers for teachers. Sign up for your free account before September 30, 2011 and receive EasyTech Online Safety for free.
Explore the World of InsectsThe Bugscope project provides free interactive access to a $600,000 scanning electron microscope (SEM) so that students anywhere in the world can explore the microscopic world of insects. This educational outreach program from the Beckman Institute’s Imaging Technology Group at the University of Illinois supports K–16 classrooms worldwide. Bugscope allows teachers everywhere to provide students with the opportunity to become microscopists themselves—the students propose experiments, explore insect specimens at high-magnification and discuss what they see with the institute’s scientists—all from a regular Web browser over a standard broadband Internet connection.
Build Students’ Science VocabularyThese free, downloadable Science Picture Vocabulary Cards were developed by teachers as a classroom resource for building ESL students’ science literacy. The full-color cards can be downloaded with images and translations and used on a word wall or in a vocabulary enrichment center.
“Worth-the-Surf” Web Sites
Explore Diverse Cultural Perspectives on Shared Human ExperiencesArt Through Time: A Global View, featuring 13 half-hour video-on-demand programs, a guide, text and other Web resources, takes a thematic approach to art history and appreciation. Rather than a linear chronology, the materials explore connections in Western and non-Western art, illuminating the breadth, complexity and beauty of works produced around the world and at different periods of time. In each program focusing on a particular theme, a diverse group of leading experts, together with a living artist, contextualize and connect featured works from different cultures and eras. The themes of the 13 episodes are Converging Cultures, Dreams and Visions, History and Memory, Ceremony and Society, Cosmology and Belief, Death, Domestic Life, Writing, Portraits, The Natural World, The Urban Experience, Conflict and Resistance and The Body. The Web site, guide and text provide a variety of opportunities to extend learning.
Bring Poe into the Modern DayIf you’ve ever written a love poem, seen a horror movie or enjoyed a murder mystery novel, then you have experienced a part of popular culture inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. In fact, he is still influencing popular culture 160 years after his death. Locked-door murders, romantic poetry and trips to the moon are just part of who Poe was and what he wrote. Activities on the Edgar Allen Poe Museum’s Web site introduce students to Poe’s life and works. Students can watch one of Poe’s stories brought to life or solve the mystery of his death. After they investigate the links on the site to learn more, students can submit their own theory about Poe’s untimely demise.
Plus: The Web site also offers a complete Educators Packet, which includes a biographical timeline of Poe’s life and several fun and informative lessons plans for the classroom. To receive the packet, middle school and high school teachers may use the link on the site to fill out the request form and provide their school address.
Discover the True Twain Through His WritingsAppreciators of Mark Twain and learners of all ages will enjoy the resources and educational materials included in this section of the PBS Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain Web site. Students will explore Mark Twain’s life story through a collection of his writings and recollection of artifacts found in the Interactive Mark Twain Scrapbook. Teachers will find five classroom activities for middle school and high school students that teach the importance of observation to writing, how slavery impacted Twain’s writing and how Twain used humor and satire. Students will also learn how a scrapbook can be used to collect creative ideas and is a reflection of its creator’s time, place and values.
Contribute to a Tapestry of Modern HistoryHistory Heard is a free database of primary source video interviews for students to tap into as they conduct research for class assignments or extra-credit projects. Created by two high school students who have experienced the research process, History Heard aims to make history research “come alive” for middle school and high school students across America. Your students can help to grow the video collection by creating video interviews with individuals who have been firsthand witnesses to modern history. The events may be as broad as describing life in a particular community during a specific era, or the moment in history may be as specific as a single event. The Getting Started section of the Web site provides information on how to create a History Heard video.
Browse K12TeacherStore.com for a wide variety of products published by leading K–12 education companies, all of them delivered digitally. Many of the ebooks can be used on interactive whiteboards and various mobile reading devices. All of the books whose covers you see displayed are on sale at a 15% discount. To stay informed about what’s going on with ebooks in K–12 schools, sign up for the enewsletter, K12 TeacherFile.
Get a free copy of The Big Deal eBook of Resources for 21st Century Teaching & Learning:Information, Media and Digital Literacies. Explore this collection of resources to help students locate, evaluate, use and mange information efficiently; interpret and communicate messages effectively; and master the digital tools to become informed citizens and productive 21st century workers.
Sign up at The Big Deal Book Web site for hELLo!, a free quarterly ELL e-newsletter that includes a wealth of information on interactive resources for students, teachers, librarians, principals and others involved in the education of English language learners.
Get free unlimited online access to all the print content in The Big Deal Book of Technology for K–12 Educators. Explore the many opportunities to fund your special programs, access timely reports and articles, locate free and inexpensive resources and identify engaging interactive Web sites.
Register online to download the Big Deal eBook for Educators of English Language Learners. Inside this free eBook, you’ll find links to resources and a range of ideas to engage your English language learners.
Join The Big Deal Book of Technology’s “Amazing Resources for Educators” community on the edWeb to get more frequent updates on grant deadlines, free resources and hot new sites for 21st century learning. And, of course, you can share any great new resources that you’ve unearthed!
Browse the new Big Deal eBookstore, in partnership with K12TeacherStore.com! Find thousands of titles from your favorite educational publishers.