Grants and Other Funding Sources
Inspire Creativity Through MusicMr. Holland’s Opus Foundation’s Melody Program provides musical instruments and instrument repairs to existing K–12 school music programs that have no other source of financing to purchase additional musical instruments and materials. Music programs must take place during the regular school day, and schools must have an established instrumental music program (concert band, marching band, jazz band and/or orchestra) that is at least three years old. In addition, the foundation’s Opus Special Projects Program helps before- and after-school music programs. To be eligible, the project must be at least three years old and serve primarily school-aged youth from low-income families, or students who attend Title I schools. Applications for both programs are made available by invitation only. Requests should not exceed $8,000 worth (retail value) of musical instruments; full or partial requests may be awarded.
Deadline: September 29, 2011 for prequalification
Integrate the Arts into Educational ProgramsThe P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education has grants available up to $1,000 to be awarded in 2011 to educators who need assistance to further their program goals. Applications may be made for a grant to support a new or evolving program that integrates the arts into educational programs. The purpose is to aid and support teachers who wish to establish an effective learning tool using the arts in teaching children who learn differently.
Deadline: September 30, 2011 for 2012 school year
Give Back While Celebrating the Love of ReadingThe events-based nonprofit Milk + Bookies aims to teach youngsters about dual causes: literacy and philanthropy. The organization hosts events for children—complete with story time, music, and milk and cookies—and asks youth to select books to donate to children in need. For parents and teachers interested in hosting their own events, Milk + Bookies also offers resources for book-themed birthday parties, class projects and school book fairs. The charity has donated more than 21,000 books and encouraged over 4,000 children to experience the joy of giving.
Awards, Competitions and Other “Winning” Opportunities
Convey the Importance of Community ServiceHigh school students can win a $1,000 scholarship for creating a short video (two minutes or less) explaining why community service is important. The x2VOL Video Contest is sponsored by intelliVOL, which developed the x2VOL volunteer tracking and reporting system for high schools. A $1,000 and two $500 scholarships will be awarded to students who best convey volunteerism’s importance. Visit the competition’s Web site for ideas and tips to help students get started.
Deadline: Videos must be posted to YouTube by midnight, September 30, 2011
Inspire Students to Participate in Scientific ResearchIn partnership with the College Board, the Siemens Foundation established the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology to foster students’ understanding of the value of scientific study and inform their consideration of future careers in these disciplines. To participate in the competition, students must take part in a research project, either as an individual or as a member of a team. Individual projects promote independent research; team projects foster collaborative research efforts as well as individual contributions to the cooperative endeavor. Scholarships for winning projects range from $1,000 to $100,000. The Siemens Competition is open to high school students who are citizens or permanent residents (green card holders) of the United States. Registration and updated instructions for the 2011 Siemens Competition are now available.
Deadline: Every individual or team entering a research project in the Competition must register online prior to the project submission deadline date of October 3, 2011
Challenge Students to InnovateThe Kids’ Science Challenge, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Pulse of the Planet, is a nationwide annual competition in which students in grades 3–6 submit experiments and problems for real scientists and engineers to solve. An online video provides an overview of this year’s challenge topics: Zero Waste, Animal Smarts and Meals on Mars. Through the video, students will learn what the scientists and engineers are challenging them to do: to come up with ideas or inventions that no one has thought of before. The next Kids’ Science Challenge will open for entries in October 2011.
Deadline: Ongoing, beginning in October 2011
Free and Inexpensive Resources
Shake, Rattle and RollEarthquake ABC, a free online book created by children who had witnessed an earthquake, incorporates science, feelings and preparedness related to this unpredictable and frightening hazard. The pages of the book, which are organized by letters of the alphabet, include children’s artwork expressing their feelings about earthquakes. A Guide for Elementary School Teachers suggests possible ways to use the book in a classroom setting. This free online guide includes questions or challenges teachers might pose to students before, during and after reading. A free Parent’s Guide to Earthquakes by Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), includes a glossary of terms with background information.
Plus: Invite your students to visit the USGS Earthquake for Kids Web site where they’ll find earthquake animations and photos along with cool earthquake facts. They’ll also learn the science of earthquakes, and if they have a question, they can Ask a Geologist. In addition, the USGS Web site provides resources for teachers to help students learn about earthquakes. The resources are organized by level: Elementary school, Middle school, High school, College.
Click Here to Access Free Student Resources
Remember and ReflectThe September 11 Education Program was developed over several years by the September 11th Education Trust, an organization comprised of victims’ family members, survivors, rescue workers and educators united in the cause of teaching about 9/11 and its aftermath. The comprehensive lesson plans are personalized and enriched through firsthand accounts, filmed oral histories and authentic, primary archival materials to permanently record this shared historic event in a way that is inspiring and relevant to the nation’s youth. Visit the Teaching 9/11 Web site to view samples from the curriculum, including a free, downloadable lesson from the Teacher’s Guide that introduces students to important aspects of the historian’s craft: researching important events using both primary and secondary sources; weighing the unique contributions and limitations of each type of source; comparing how timelines of varying scope provide information of different textures and depth; and analyzing how the scope of a timeline affects the depth of context it provides for historic events such as September 11, 2001.
Click Here to Access Sample Resources
Discover Best Practices for Teaching Recent HistoryOn August 3 and 4, 2011, the National Museum of American History, National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Pentagon Memorial Fund and Flight 93 National Memorial, offered a free online conference, September 11: Teaching Contemporary History, for K–12 teachers. Designed to provide educators with resources and strategies for addressing the September 11 terrorist attacks, the conference included roundtable discussions with content experts and six workshop sessions. These sessions—all of which were recorded and are now available free of charge—highlight resources available from each organization, provide background information on September 11 and encourage conversations on how to document, preserve and interpret recent history and current events. Resources include lesson plans and activities as well as a link to the interactive Web site FEMA Ready Kids from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Click Here to Access Free Recordings
Plus: In conjunction with the National Museum of American History’s 10th anniversary display of artifacts and the Smithsonian Channel documentary 9/11: Stories in Fragments, teachers and students are invited to participate in an online conversation about September 11. “September 11: Conversations” is designed to be like the give and take of real in-person conversations. Each conversation group will contain a limited number of participants (around 20 per group) from different areas of the country who agree to participate for two weeks. Smithsonian will suggest topics, but each group’s dialogue is determined by their personal experiences and interests. All conversations can be read by the public, but only the members of the group can initiate new topics of conversation or respond to others.
Prepare for Constitution DayThe Library of Congress features two free lesson plans that will be useful for teaching about the United States Constitution on Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day), to be observed this year on September 16. The Constitution: Drafting a More Perfect Union, intended for grades 9–12, focuses on the drafting of the United States Constitution in 1787 in Philadelphia. George Washington’s annotated copy of an early draft of the Constitution lets students analyze changes in the draft and explore the evolution of the final copy. In The Bill of Rights: Debating the Amendments, designed for grades 6–12, students examine a copy of 12 possible amendments to the United States Constitution from 1789, and debate and vote on which of those amendments they would ratify to produce a Bill of Rights.
Click Here to Access Drafting the Constitution Lesson
Help Students Read for UnderstandingReadWorks is a free research-based program that focuses specifically on teaching reading comprehension. The program includes complete K–6 lessons and units that explicitly teach 20 essential Concepts of Comprehension, such as author’s purpose, figurative language, prediction, voice and vocabulary in context—the skills and strategies students must master to be successful readers. The program also includes more than 500 nonfiction reading passages for grades 2–6, as well as fifth- and sixth-grade novel units, with questions aligned to each Concept of Comprehension. The lessons are also aligned to the ELA standards for every state and the Common Core State Standards. Free online webinars and distance training help teachers implement the program.
Plus: ReadWorks can help you get the school year started and your students back in the swing of things. Use the Back-to-School Packets and interactive Pacing Guides—everything you need for the first three weeks of school.
Of Special Interest
Find Out How Schools Are Meeting Students’ Tech NeedsTechnology skills are essential to a successful future, according to students surveyed in the second annual 21st-Century Classroom Report, a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 high school students, faculty and IT staff. The report, released recently by CDW Government LLC (CDW-G), seeks to understand how students and faculty want to use technology, measure how classroom technology is evolving and identify opportunities for continued growth. To view an in-depth analysis of the CDW-G 21st-Century Classroom Report, simply complete the information form linked on the CDW-G site.
Engage in Discussions of Education Technology IssuesThe Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has announced the schedule for its 2011–2012 Internet and Education Webinar Series for K–12 education technology leaders, which includes six interactive sessions, including a bonus event for CoSN members and CoSN Annual Conference attendees. Each hour-long session will feature presentations by education technology experts on K–12 education technology issues. During each interactive session, experts will address challenges and opportunities facing educators and administrators, and give participants the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue. The first online event, Planning for the Shift from Print to Digital, will be held on October 11, between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. ET. Current Institutional and Corporate members receive all six (and bonus event) for free. Individual members receive two free. Nonmembers may attend for a fee of $98 each.
Mobile Learning on the Move
Explore Cartoons Made by Children Across the GlobeDesigned in partnership with Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and Zeum: San Francisco’s Children’s Museum, Toontastic inspires the artist and writer in every child while teaching key storytelling principles that help to promote creativity at a young age. Toontastic’s drawing tools bring children’s wildest ideas to life alongside virtual playsets chock full of pirates, princesses, faraway galaxies and many other characters and settings to spark the imagination. Students’ cartoons can be shared online via ToonTube, Toontastic’s Global Storytelling Network, to help children connect to friends and family and learn about other cultures, customs and lifestyles through stories created by their peers around the world. The app is available for the iPad. Download it from the Apple iTunes App Store for $1.99.
Experience the Civil War As It UnfoldedCreated by HISTORY and A&E Television, The Civil War Today app leverages the iPad multitouch interface to enable users to feel and explore thousands of original documents, photos, maps, diary entries, quotes and newspaper broadsheets. The Civil War Today includes Daily Civil War updates from April 12, 2011 through April 26, 2015. The app content updates one day at a time, precisely mirroring the events of 150 years ago. The “In the Headlines” feature includes newspapers from every day of the time. “A Day in the Life” presents personal letters and diary entries from 15 individuals, including Abraham Lincoln, Horatio Nelson Taft and Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut. Students will also find a photo of the day and photo galleries as well as a quote of the day, articles and video on featured topics, authentic period maps from key battlegrounds, a daily North–South quiz and detailed background scenes that put them in the time and place of the Civil War (Northern city, Southern plantation, Western frontier town, military camp). In addition, Twitter integration lets students send a telegram via Morse code. The app is available in the Apple iTunes App Store for $7.99.
Make Phonics FunThe Word Cub Letters & Sounds app from Learning Cube takes the alphabet blocks that children treasure and gives them new life on an iPhone or iPod Touch. The app helps young children learn letter names and sounds and recognize directionality and blending. Adjust the settings and the blocks display either uppercase or lowercase letters. The words all use short vowels. Select the consonant blends for the initial sounds and the task gets a bit more difficult. With a left-to-right sweep of the finger, children can hear how letter-sounds blend to create a word. The app is available in the Apple iTunes App Store for $1.99.
Teach Online SafetySign up for a free Learning.com account and get a complete Online Safety curriculum for your whole 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.
Zoom into Microscopic WorldsWith the Java applet Secret Worlds: The Universe Within, your students can view the Milky Way at 10 million light-years from Earth. Then they can move through space toward Earth in successive orders of magnitude until they reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, they can begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and, finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.
See the World from a Kids-Eye ViewBASF Corporation has partnered with Kids X-Press to present a new twist in science literacy for children—a fun-to-read quarterly magazine about science that is written by kids. Combining articles, poems, illustrations and games, this new 32-page multilingual publication presents the world of science from a kid’s point of view with many interesting results. Anyone between the ages of 6 and 18 can submit material to Kids X-Press, which is accepting submissions for the next science edition focusing on the International Year of Chemistry and the importance of water as a major global resource. The Kids X-Press Web site provides information on how to submit work to the magazine.
“Worth-the-Surf” Web Sites
Learn About Money and Banking in AmericaWhat Is the Fed? looks at the history and structure of the Federal Reserve, the central banking system of the United States. On this site, developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, students can learn how the Fed conducts United States monetary policy, regulates banking institutions, maintains the stability of the financial system and provides financial services to depository institutions, the United States government and foreign official institutions.
Take a Virtual Tour of the MLK MemorialThe Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial officially opened to the public on August 22. The memorial is the first on the National Mall that honors an African American and the first that honors a person who did not serve as president. The memorial is an engaging landscape experience tied to other landscapes and monuments, not a single object or memorial dominating the site. The composition of the memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s message: justice, democracy, hope and love. The memorial has its own Web site that includes a “virtual tour.”
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Encourage a Culture of InnovationThe Henry Ford Museum showcases the people and ideas that have fired our imaginations and changed our lives. The museum’s Web site features a number of digital resources: DigiKits, seven unit plans using digitized artifacts from the museum’s online collections; ExhibitBuilder, where students and teachers can create an online exhibit with the museum’s digitized collections; and Innovation 101, a curriculum encouraging innovation through interview clips with today’s hottest innovators.
Click Here to Access Unit Plans
Click Here to Build Online Exhibit
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.
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.