Deadline: January 4, 2015
Each year, National Geographic sponsors the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship program, one of the most adventurous professional development programs for educators in the U.S. and Canada. Educators participate in expeditions on one of 2 National Geographic ships to places like the Arctic, Holland, Chile and Peru. During these expeditions, educators develop classroom geography activities and learn other strategies for bringing geography to the classroom. If accepted, educators must attend an all-expense paid pre-voyage workshop in Washington, D.C. April 16-19.
Deadline: January 9, 2015
Prize: Travel expenses for a National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions-sponsored trip; plus expenses for a pre-voyage workshop in Washington, D.C. in April.
Do you have plans for a gardening project at your school in 2015? The Sow It Forward grants program from Kitchen Gardeners International is a great source for funding. In 2015, the program will provide funding for gardens that produce food. Awards include a small cash prize, as well as a seed donation, and there are more than 150 awards available. In addition to schools, Sow It Forward grants are available for gardens at nonprofits, senior centers, community centers and more.
Prize: Up to 100 full grant awards valued at $500 are available, as well as up to
60 smaller grant awards.
Deadline: February 1, 2015; or June 1 and Oct. 15
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.
Deadline: February 2, 2015
Prize: Grants range from $2,000 to $5,000.
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities has announced guidelines for National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. Each year, the awards provide support for "outstanding after-school and out-of-school programs in the arts and humanities that are transforming the lives of young people." The Committee looks for programs that nurture creativity, teach new skills, and build young peoples' self-confidence; schools and nonprofit education groups are eligible to apply.
Prize: Twelve programs will receive $10,000 awards
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.
Prize: Classroom subscriptions to the e-edition of USA TODAY.
>> MORE: Get information on how to find grants.
Back to Top
Contests and Awards
Deadline: January 20, 2015
It's time once again for the annual White House Film Festival. This year, organizers are asking K-12 students to produce a film that explains "The Impact of Giving." Eligible short films can last up to three minutes, and they can be fictional stories or documentaries. Visit the Film Festival website to see examples from past winners.
Deadline: January 31, 2015
Prize: Winning films are screened at the White House, and students have the opportunity to be invited to the premiere.
Now in its 29th year, the DuPont Challenge is designed to let middle school and high school students develop their science writing skills. This year, students must write a research-backed essay in one of 4 categories -- food production, energy, conservation/preservation and digital innovation. Essays must be between 700 and 1000 words and must be submitted electronically. For students, there are many resources for getting started, tips for researching topics, and ideas for strong introductions and conclusions.
Deadline: January 31, 2015
Prize: There are two divisions, including one for grades 6-8 and 9-12. The top three winners in each division win a prize pack, plus a savings bond of $5,000, $3,000, or $1,000. Honorable mentions in each division receive prize packs, plus a $200 savings bond.
Google is sponsoring its annual Code-In challenge, which asks students aged 13-17 worldwide to put their technology skills to work. Students claim tasks from Open Source organizations in several categories, including coding, documentation, and quality assurance. Their work on these tasks is then judged by each Open Source organization. The challenge runs for seven weeks beginning December 1, 2014, and students are judged on their bodies of work during the competition.
Deadline: Varies by region; starting December 17, 2014 in several regions
Prize: Students are eligible to receive a certificate, T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts for completing tasks. Grand prize winners receive a trip to Google’s headquarters in California.
Since 1923, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards have honored the nation’s best student artists in grades 7-12. Past winners have included Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Robert Redford. Students are encouraged to submit original works of art in nearly 30 categories. They are judged on their skill, personal voice, and artistic vision, and they are free to express themselves -- there are no prompts or yearly themes.
Registration begins in November
Prize: A variety of scholarship awards, totaling nearly $10 million. Gold-medal-winning high school seniors receive $10,000 scholarships.
The Cleantech Competition 2015 asks students to use their design-thinking skills to address an important question: How can clean energy be used to increase global food supply? To participate, students then identify a problem in food production -- e.g. it might relate to how food is grown or distributed -- analyze that problem, and a design and develop a solution that is powered by clean energy technology. Teams of 1-3 students, who are between 15 and 18 years old when the competition ends on May 29, 2015, are eligible to register.
>> MORE: Get information about the latest contests and promotions for teachers in our Edutopia discussion group.
Back to Top
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).