Deadline: April 30, 2015
This year, they're back -- the Captain Planet Foundation's ecotech grants. This year, the foundation is providing funding to schools and nonprofits for projects that engage students in STEM subjects. Preference is given to projects that "use innovation, biomimicry / nature-based design, or new uses for technology to address environmental problems in their communities."
Deadline: June 8, 2015
Prize: There are 16 $2,500 grants available.
The Jane Goodall Institute is providing small grants to students or groups to students for community projects. To participate, students using the Institute's "participatory mapping" method to map their communities and find areas where they can make a difference. Once they've completed the mapping, students can apply for small grants to fund a campaign. Projects should focus on improving the environment, animal welfare or the human community.
Deadline: April 24, 2015
Prize: There are many $200 minigrants available for kids of all ages.
Is your school in the process of expanding its library? Well, you should consider applying for a grant from the Snapdragon Book Foundation. Each year, the foundation provides grants to schools and other community organizations to help them purchase books for their libraries. The foundation targets libraries that serve disadvantaged students, and the goal of each grant should be to inspire a lifelong love for reading.
Deadline: June 1, 2015 and October 15, 2015
Prize: A handful of grants up to $20,000 are available for public, private, and experimental schools, as well as other educational organizations.
Currently, the NEA offers grants in two categories, including “Student Achievement” and “Learning & Leadership." Both programs have a Feb. 1 deadline. Student Achievement grants are designed to help teachers engage students in critical thinking and problem solving in standards-based subject matter. Winning programs should also improve students' inquiry, self-paced learning, and critical reflection skills. The Learning & Leadership grants fund professional development experiences and collegiate study for educators.
Prize: Grants range from $2,000 to $5,000.
Educators at Title 1 schools are encouraged to apply for software and teacher development grants from Adobe. The program is designed to increase access to Adobe creative tools through the White House's ConnectED initiative. In addition to software, educators also receive access to on-demand professional development, including webinars, workshops and collaborative courses to learn more about utilizing Adobe creative programs in the classroom.
Prize: Schools receive access to a variety of Adobe tools, including Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements. Educators also receive access to online PD courses.
On a rolling basis, the USA TODAY Charitable Foundation awards teachers digital and print subscriptions to USA TODAY. Currently, the foundation is awarding digital subscriptions to teachers on a first-come, first-served basis; print subscriptions are unavailable at the moment. Teachers must submit a short online application to be considered. Plus, for educators in New Jersey, the Foundation is currently sponsoring the Panasonic Student Eco Citizenship Project, which is an environmental literacy program designed for students in grades 4-8. The deadline for the Eco Citizenship Project is at the end of March.
Prize: Classroom subscriptions to the e-edition of USA TODAY.
>> MORE: Get information on how to find grants.
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Contests and Awards
Deadline: May 1, 2015
Since 1995, the Beveridge Family Teaching Prize has been awarded to K-12 history teachers for their commitment to innovation in the classroom. This year, the prize will be awarded to an individual teacher "for excellence in teaching or for an innovative initiative applicable to the entire field." For example, last year, the prize was awarded to a group of educators who "brought history to life" and developed a local history curriculum that incorporated multimedia production, acting, research, and writing. Nominations are due by May 1, 2015.
Deadline: May 19, 2015
Prize: In 2015, one teacher will receive a $500 award.
Calling all youth scientists, technologists and engineers! The Google Science Fair is back, and individual students or teams of 2-3 students can now submit their projects. The rules are simple: Each project should be an in-depth investigation of a scientific question or engineering problem. Students can explore a question of their own, or Google has created an easy-to-use idea generator designed to help spark inspiration. Plus, for teachers and parents there are many resources to get started, including lesson plans.
Deadline: April 21, 2015
Prize: One grand prize winner or winning team will receive a $50,000 scholarship. Twenty finalists receive a prize pack, including magazine subscriptions, a LEGO prize pack, and more. Plus, there are many special awards, including a $25,000 grant for developing a project further from Google and a travel grant from National Geographic.
Calling all middle-school scientists! 3M and Discovery Education are hosting the Young Scientist Challenge, and students in grades 5-8 are encouraged to apply. To participate, students create 1- to 2-minute videos that describe an "innovative solution that could solve an everyday problem." Each project is judged on creativity, scientific knowledge, pervasiveness, and overall presentation.
Prize: Ten finalists receive prize packs, including mentoring, cash awards, and trips to unique destinations. One Grand Prize winner receives a $25,000 award.
>> MORE: Get information about the latest contests and promotions for teachers in our Edutopia discussion group.
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Discovery Education has produced a valuable food education resource for students and teachers. Recipe for Innovation features a variety of materials to teach students farm-to-table concepts. There are resources for elementary, high school and middle school teachers that feature lesson plans, a live interactive field trip and student-centered multimedia tools that help students explore the way food is produced.
Have you ever wanted to know how video games can aid learning? Well, this Mindshift guide can help answer some of your question. This originally began a series of blogs by Jordan Shapiro, and Mindshift has developed it into a more in-depth PDF-downloadable guide. This is a great starting point for any educator interested in game-based learning, as it "explains key ideas in game-based learning, pedagogy, implementation, and assessment." Plus, there are suggestions for classroom use, as well.
PBS and a variety of partners have created a long list of engaging and innovative labs for students, featuring interactive quizzes, game-based learning modules and rich multimedia. The latest focuses on cybersecurity. Teachers can check out the educator’s guide for using the lab with students. Plus, there are modules for learning about the sun, RNA, energy, and clouds. Each lab features an educator’s guide, as well.
Developed by EDC's Center for Children and Technology, Possible Worlds is a suite of free games designed to help students learn about science. Currently there are four games available that focus on scientific misconceptions, covering photosynthesis, electricity, heredity, and heat transfer. Each game includes classroom activities for teachers that have been developed to “leverage students’ experiences within the games.”
Looking for to incorporate PBL in your classroom? Well, you might start at PBLU. Here, there are a variety of projects for every grade that are waiting for teachers to implement them in their classrooms. Currently, projects focus on math, ELA and social studies. Plus, PBLU offers a portal for PD classes that explore the design, management and assessment of PBL in classroom practice. Teachers can enroll in a course, but there is a limited number of spots available in each.
EdSurge has culled a list of articles, resources, and videos to help educators incorporate gaming into the classroom. The guide covers the latest research, as well as strategies and tips from practitioners, and there are plenty of useful reviews of ideal classroom games that support learning. This is a great primer for educators looking to incorporate gaming in the classroom, as well as for teachers who have already embraced the trend.
The National Park Service recently released new Back-to-School resources for educators across the U.S. There are curriculum resources, which allow students to explore parks from the comfort of the classroom, information about in-person field trips and online professional development resources for teachers. Currently, there are 53 free curriculum packets for almost every grade, and they explore topics like immigration at Ellis Island and the Civil War at Fort Scott.
The 19-state Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of two groups developing Common Core-aligned assessments, recently released sample tasks that will give educators a snapshot of how the ELA assessment will look in 2014-15. In addition, PARCC has also released math sample items to provide insights into next-generation math exams and assessments. Both provide great insights for educators transitioning to the Common Core.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics produced “Core Math Tools,” a customizable suite of software tools and apps for high school educators aligned with the Common Core. The suite is available for free download, and the apps and tools can be used to engage students in a variety of areas, from general algebra resources to interactive graphing tools. There are also specialized how-tos to help educators use the tools in the classroom.
Students and teachers: Interact with experts from the Smithsonian once a month during their hour-long online conferences, held on topics ranging from civil rights to astrophotography. The conference series includes special “virtual teachers’ lounge” sessions for teachers to engage with each other and discuss other Smithsonian learning resources.
STEM–Works is a resource for teachers, parents, mentors, and anyone else wanting to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and math. The site offers links to virtual field trips, interactive lesson plans, and fun activities for all grade levels.
With so many apps, websites, and digital tools available, how do you know which ones to use? Graphite, a free service from Common Sense Media, provides reviews and ratings to help teachers find the best digital learning products.
What Kids Can Do, a nonprofit that focuses on marginalized youth ages 12 to 22, has built this portfolio of research, exemplary practices, student voices, and educator resources to illustrate effective student learning and motivation. Also, check out the organization's recent article, "Learning by Heart: The Power of Social-Emotion Learning in Secondary Schools (PDF)," which highlights elements of successful social-learning programs.
Blendspace, formally Edcanvas, enables teachers to create lessons that incorporate online educational resources in one place. The lessons can then be shared quickly with students, and they can be accessed via any digital device. Additionally, teachers can use the platform's built-in quizzes and monitoring features to measure student progress.
Read this report from Grantmakers for Education and learn more about the needs of English learners in the US today and current ELL grant making, discover lessons for philanthropy, and examine four case studies that unpack strategic ELL investments.
Find thousands of digital resources including videos, games, audio clips, photos lesson plans, and more. All of these free resources are great for classrooms or summer learning, and they provide colorful multimedia packages to help students learn, including the award-winning Shakespeare Uncovered and Constitution USA.
EarthCam has compiled live webcam footage from around the world, giving students the opportunity to travel the globe from their desks. The live streams include Times Square in New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and they offer instant video from hundreds of interesting locations. Also, peer into the lives of exotic animals with live video feeds from zoos all over the world!
NBCUniversal’s public service campaign, The More You Know, gives celebrities the opportunity to inspire change and voice their opinions on social issues such as education, diversity and internet safety. The site features videos with important NBC personalities as well as links to additional resources, such as free ebooks, to educate students and teachers.
This website is a place for scientists, teachers, parents, and kids of all ages to contribute to science through recreational activities and research projects. The site helps scientists share their research projects, and citizens to tinker, build, and explore science.
Bank of America has partnered with Sal Khan and the Khan Academy to provide a free online financial learning experience that's self-paced, fact-based, and conversational. Resources include videos and customizable features.
For educators who want to know how to use videos to enhance student learning, MindShift has created a resource with valuable tips, including video links for all kinds of subjects -- history, math, science, language arts, and more -- and ideas on how to inspire students to use videos as a conduit to ask questions and learn.
The 2013 TED Prize winner, educational researcher Sugata Mitra, set up "Hole in the Wall" self-learning experiments around the world. His research is proving that children are naturally self-motivated to learn and have an ability to problem-solve in peer groups. He has created a toolkit for educators, parents, and communities who want to try out a Self-Organized Learning Environment (SOLE).