Classroom pets make wonderful learning companions! Educators interested in funding a classroom pet should consider a Pets in the Classroom grant. They are available for K-8 teachers in public and private schools. Grants are "intended to support pets or aquariums in the classroom" and facilitate learning projects centered on caring for pets responsibly.
Deadline: December 1, 2015
Prize: A variety of small one-time grants are available, including awards for supplies.
Each year, the National Gardening Association offers funding to support educational gardening projects at schools and youth centers in the U.S. Grants are available for start-up projects and for the expansion of existing projects that "enhance the quality of life" for students and their communities. Eligible projects should be available for at least 15 students between the age of 3 and 18 years old.
Deadline: December 4, 2015
Prize: Twenty grant packages of $500 are available.
Four DIY Guides, which are guided classroom lessons covering computer science, engineering, and entrepreneurship, were developed by Allen Distinguished Educators in the last year. The DIY Grants, in turn, enable educators across the country to bring these engaging projects into their classrooms. Each DIY Guide provides a tour of the lesson, as well as detailed project plans. Plus, there a forum in which educators can ask questions.
Deadline: December 14, 2015
Prize: Grants are available up to $1,000.
Each year, the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries provides one-time grants to help enhance existing school libraries. Grants can be used to expand book and print collections, including multimedia, e-book, and magazine subscriptions. To be eligible, schools must be established, serve primarily economically disadvantaged populations, have a physical library space, and employ a librarian.
Deadline: December 15
Prize: Grants are available up to $7,000; last year, 100+ grants were provided.
The National Arts Education Association has opened their annual awards program. There are numerous awards for arts educators at all stages of their career, and the awards are designed to recognize achievement, excellence, and quality art education. There are regional awards and national awards, as well as lifetime achievement honors. Many awards require nominees to be NAEA members, although some awards are dedicated to non-members. For more information about individual awards, see the downloadable NAEA 2016 Awards Program Booklet.
Deadline(s): December 31 and March 31
Prize: Award amounts vary by category.
The Classics for Kids Foundation supports school music programs throughout the U.S. by "providing matching grants for new stringed instruments." The foundation's instrument grants go to organizations that can provide evidence of need and that can raise matching funds. Interested schools and non-profit groups can apply online.
Deadline: January 15, 2016
Prize: A variety of matching grant prizes are available.
Environmental advocacy group Protect Our Winters, in partnership with The North Face, is providing one-time grants to schools for student-led projects that "take serious action against climate change." Grants can be for projects related to recycling or composting, developing clean energy initiatives and other sustainability-related ideas. The key is that proposals must be developed and submitted by students. For inspiration, check out the list of past winners online.
Prize: One grant of $5,000 is available during each proposal period.
Each year, the Charlie Lovett Fund for Elementary Drama provides grants to elementary schools across the U.S. These grants are designed to help elementary schools enhance or establish a production-based drama learning program at the school. Grants can also be used for the school's drama productions.
Prize: Grants are available up to $300.
Do you know a youngster who's working on a service project in their community? They might be working on a community garden, or checking on senior citizens during summer heat waves. If they're leading the charge in their communities, the Karma for Cara Foundation wants to help by offering small grants to students 18 years old or younger.
Prize: Many grants between $250 and $1000 are available.
>> MORE: Get information on how to find grants.
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Contests and Awards
Deadline: December 3, 2015
With 2015 winding down, it's a wonderful time to explore the year's most important news in your classrooms. Here's a great opportunity to explore the headlines creatively: The Learning Network is encouraging students to "write a rap about the years news." Student must include information and stories that garnered the most attention in 2015 and create short, 12-to-15 line raps.
Deadline: January 20, 2016
Prize: Winning entries are published on The Learning Network blog.
Each year, CSPAN sponsors a documentary contest geared just for budding student filmmakers. This year, CSPAN is asking students to create 5-7 minute documentary films that cover the contest's theme: "Road to the White House." Each film should include multiple perspectives, include CSPAN footage, and answer "What's the issue YOU most want candidates to discuss during the 2016 presidential campaign?" They can be created by individuals or teams of 2 or 3 students.
Deadline: November 30, 2015
Prize: There are 150 student prizes and 53 prizes for teachers. The grand prize is a $5,000 award for the students, as well as a $750 stipend for the teacher or school to spend on video equipment.
Learning to collect and utilize data is one of the most in-demand skills, and it's being incorporated into classroom lessons more and more. Do you encourage data collection in your classroom? If so, you might be eligible a Vernier/NSTA Technology Award. Organizers are looking for elementary, middle school and high school teachers who incorporate data collection using a tablet, computer, or handheld device into science lessons. The most innovative and original projects are then selected for cash awards.
Deadline: November 30, 2015
Prize: There are seven $5,500 awards available.
In 2016, National History Day is sponsoring 15 student-teacher teams to participate in an immersive study of WWII and D-Day. The program invites teachers and their students to apply to attend, and includes a study based in Washington, D.C. and Normandy, France. During the program, students develop presentations based on their research of the Normandy Campaign and WWII, and educators can help guide the student learning.
Deadline: December 1, 2015
Prize: Participants receive room-and-board for the program in D.C. and France. The prize also includes international flights. Each team is responsible for airfare to D.C. for the field study.
Each year, the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program provides high school students and recent graduates funding to study for one academic year in a foreign country with significant Muslim populations. The program, which is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affair, encourages cultural exchange and is designed to help students who have excelled academically study abroad.
Deadline: December 7, 2015
Prize: Participants receive full scholarships to study for one academic year.
Students artists, you have the chance to showcase your work on one of the world's biggest stages. Doodle4Google is back, and this year, the company is asking kids to create homepage artwork with the theme "What makes me... me." Kids can make their doodles in any visual media: drawing, painting or graphic design. And students in grades K-12 are eligible to participate.
Deadline: December 15, 2015
Prize: The winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship, and their work will be featured on Google's homepage.
Each year, the Journalism Education Association honors distinguished journalism educators and advisers throughout the country. There many grants available, including the Linda S. Puntney Award which is open now. The award was launched to recognize journalism teachers and advisers who have "inspired others to pursue journalism teaching as a career and who has made a positive difference in the teaching community." To nominate an individual, nominators must write a 500-word narrative describing how they were inspired by the teacher or adviser.
Deadline: December 16, 2015
Could your school's science lab use a major makeover? If so, consider entering the 2015 Shell Science Lab Makeover Challenge. Each year, NSTA calls for innovative science educators who are providing engaging science education in dated labs. The grand prize? A $20,000 lab makeover. To enter, educators and nominees submit applications detailing their science teaching strategies, current lab equipment and needs, and their ideas for how they will use the updated lab space. If interested, consider attending the November 18 NSTA webinar: Developing a Competitive Application for the Shell Science Lab Challenge.
Deadline: January 1, 2016
Prize: 18 schools are chosen from each NSTA district for a $3,000 prize. District winners compete in the National Finals for one of five additional $5,500 prizes. One grand-prize-winning school receives an additional $11,500, for an overall grand prize of $20,000.
Each year, the Prize in High School Computing recognizes the most talented high school students in computer science. To participate, students complete a computing challenge that allows them to showcase their computing skills. This year, participants are asked to develop "an artifact that engages modern computing technology and computer science." Judging will be determined on the "ingenuity, complexity, relevancy, and originality" of the project.
Deadline: January 15, 2016
Prize: There are four $10,000 prizes available. Plus, winners receive a trip to the ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing Reception in February 2016.
The Regie Routman award was created to recognize one elementary classroom teacher dedicated to improving the teaching of reading and writing. Educators must teach under-served populations, and provide a proposal about how the award will help improve classroom learning. This is one of the International Literacy Association's annual awards. For a full listing, check out the ILA's Awards & Grants page, which includes many funding opportunities with similar deadlines.
Prize: One educator will receive a $2,500 award for improving classroom learning.
This year, EdSurge is bringing back the Fifty State Project. The project is a showcase of educator voices from around the country. From now until August, EdSurge is calling educators to submit articles and resources related to their technology practices in the classroom. They’re asking for: “detailed examples of meaningful, credible practices to share -- specific, actionable practices that other educators and administrators can adopt. We want to hear about the successes and, yes, the hiccups, including the tools, resources and stakeholders that helped you and your students soar.”
Prize: Articles are published on EdSurge, as well as added to a handy guide the nonprofit produces.
>> MORE: Get information about the latest contests and promotions for teachers in our Edutopia discussion group.
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November is National Novel Writing Month, and the event's organizers have produced resources and tools to help young student authors participate. Check out the NaNoWriMo educators' guide for fun lessons plans to bring creative writing into the classroom. There's also a free workbook to help students write a novel in 30 days, as well as a Common Core-aligned curriculum and easy-to-use project-tracking tools.
This Thanksgiving, StoryCorps is encouraging students aged 13 and older "to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend." To participate, students are encouraged to conduct an interview with a grandparent or elder, asking questions about their lives and what they've learned along the way. StoryCorps has developed curriculum to help facilitate lessons in civics, journalism, social studies, and history, and the only tools needed are a smartphone with the StoryCorps app. Students will then record the stories and submit them via the app.
How does math relate to Pixar animation? Khan Academy and Pixar recently released a fun, interactive lesson series called Pixar in a Box. Each lesson “demonstrates how a concept introduced in school is used for creative benefit at Pixar,” and there are lessons for all different grade levels. Teachers looking for more information should check out the Educator’s Guide, which provides examples and ideas for implementation.
PBS recently broadcast First Peoples, a series looking at early human cultures around the world. To accompany the series, PBS LearningMedia has created a number of web-based resources for teachers. Included in the package are interactive maps, infographics, short videos and documents.
Unlocking Life's Code is a new tool, created by the National Human Genome Research Institute, that enables students to explore "ethical and social questions surrounding genomic sequencing." The resource includes an online exhibit covering genomic sequencing technology, as well as discussion starters and information about the "growing involvement of genetics" in many areas of our lives.
In today's connected world, it's increasing important for young people to understand the impact their online decisions have. Digital Compass, from Common Sense Media, is a free multimedia interactive designed to help students do just that. The site encourages students to explore "the twists and turns of everyday digital life," and through games and learning modules, students are able to examine "how decisions made online can affect their futures."
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 questions. 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.
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.
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.