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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tried It Tuesday (Donors Choose)

Yay for the second week of Tried It Tuesday!!
I was so THRILLED by all the awesome ideas that were 
linked up last Tuesday by amazing teachers!  It just made my heart so happy:)  
Thank you SO much for your support and I hope everyone reading the posts gained some valuable tips and new ideas that they hadn't heard of before.  
Isn't the collaboration of fellow teachers an amazing feeling?!?
What is 'Tried It Tuesday'?
1.  Write a post about any"thing" you have...TRIED (new or old)!
2.  Describe what worked and maybe what didn't work.
3.  Keep it simple and focus on one general topic. 
You can link another idea next week:)
4.  Link your post back to this post.

"Tried It" Ideas....
  • instructional strategy
  • teaching product/resource
  • management strategy
  • technology tool
  • recipe at home
  • personal interest/hobby
  • website 
I thought this linky would go well with my "Flipper" theme since teaching (well, life!) is all about trying out "things" all the time...borrowing and tweaking them to your style. 
Sometimes it works out and other times it doesn't! 
Posts about things we "tried" in our personal lives are fun to read about too!

My Tried It Tuesday:
Donors Choose.
I know most teachers have heard of this site but, in case you haven't, Donors Choose is an online charity that makes it easy for the general public to help classrooms in need of supplies and resources.  American public school teachers post classroom project requests on the site and people donate to the project.  
When the cost of the project has been paid for, teachers receive the supplies!
Check out their story from the beginning in 2000.  It is really inspirational.

After reading about Donors Choose last summer in the blogging world, I decided to submit a project.  I really needed a better way to organize all the center materials I was accumulating for Daily 5.  I bought a hanging pocket chart that held 10 file folders but it wasn't great for holding task cards.  I found this cart on Lakeshore Learning but it was $99!  
Sadly, I cannot find this product on Lakeshore's website anymore but the link will take you to a similar product.
I love this cart because it has 8 drawers and is SO sturdy.  The students can remove the drawers easily and put them right back on the track.  The legs have wheels on them that can be locked in place too!  

When I filled out the request for this storage cart, a pocket folder for vocabulary strips, and a water cycle interactive SMART board activity, I thought that it probably wouldn't get funded (even though 70% of the projects are funded, I thought mine would be in the 30%!).  I am so glad that I submitted it.  The process was SUPER EASY!

Once my project was funded, I had to:
1.   Write an "impact letter" on my account page to my donors.  It has a maximum word count that is pretty low so the letter had to be short and sweet.
2.  Print a permission slip for parents to sign in order to have their child's picture using the materials downloaded on to the site.  You must download six photos of students using the materials.  I was the most nervous about this part but about 75% of my students' parents returned the slip signed so it was easier than I thought!  I wrote a note and copied it to the other side of the permission slip.
3.  My students wrote thank you cards and notes to the donor (I only had one donor).  The students loved making the cards and the letters were from their hearts (so sweet!).  I had over a month to get this done and they sent me a prepaid envelope to mail them in.  They are sent to the Donors Choose facility and checked to make sure they meet their requirements of no pictures sent or students' last names used.  Donors Choose mails them to the donor(s).
THAT WAS IT!  It was done!

This is the message I received from my donor.  She is such a kind woman.
It was such a rewarding experience for the students too.  I loved watching them get so excited over the new supplies and see how grateful they were that a stranger would donate to our class!  Now, I am brainstorming a second project.  Last summer I bought new bins for organizing supplies and cardboard book boxes for daily 5.  I really could use some book bins for my library or more sturdy book boxes for Daily 5.  If you haven't tried Donors Choose yet, I highly recommend you put it on your to-do list:)


  1. Donors Choose is such a great organization. I've had about 20 projects (Title 1, low income school) fulfilled by really generous donors. I was actually interviewed by 1010Wins regarding a project I had funded about 10 years ago when Donors Choose was starting to make a name for itself! I think it's great that so many teachers are able to get the supplies they need through Donors Choose!


  2. Yahoo! I cannot say enough how great of a funding source this is for teachers!! I too have had projects fulfilled through donorschoose.org--for a students computer workstation and oodles of wonderful math tools and resources for my students. I you haven't already, local Walmarts and Sam's stores are a great source for funding as well...

    Thanks for sharing this gem!

    All the best--
    Sarah M. @ Hoots N' Hollers

  3. What a WONDERFUL website! How cool and humbling is it to know that someone cared enough to fund something so wonderful for your kiddos?! I just LOVE that :) And I LOVE your idea for organization! Great thinking! I am always trying to find a better way to organize my centers! I am definitely going to check that website out. Thanks for the great linky! (Sorry, I accidentally put my blog name and then it wouldn't let me change it!)


  4. I've had wonderful luck with Donors Choose. It's amazing how many generous people are out there. Lakeshore Learning has loads of wonderful teaching materials. Most of my Donors Choose requests come straight from there.

    Thanks for hosting such an amazing linky party! I've been absent this past month from the blogging world and it was definitely the spark that I needed to restart my blogging fire!

    Elementary School Garden

  5. I have had a project funded from Donors Choose too and it is FABO!!!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Hodges Herald

  6. I have always been jealous of the classroom resources people have had donated which is silly since I have never taken the time to check it out for myself - thanks for sharing your whole experience.

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  7. I've heard of Donors Choose - and am very interested! I have a question though: I teach at a private school. Can I still submit a request? I thought I had heard that it was only for public schools. ?!?

    Joy in the Journey

  8. Donors Choose is awesome! Thanks for sharing your story and for hosting this great linky. :)

    iTeach 1:1

  9. LOVE Donor's Choose! I started it at the beginning of March and have already had three projects funded. It's amazing how generous people can be and the kindness of strangers. My kids love the supplies but they were more excited to see WHO was donating and HOW MANY people cared about them. Good luck on your next project! Let me know when it's approved, I always want to help out fellow teachers. I love your blog and ideas and would love for you to check out my April Monthly Market linky and link up!

    Teaching with a Touch of Twang

  10. I adore Donor's Choose! I have one project live right now, and several more in draft stages. I don't want to have too many open at once. ;)

    I'm excited for this weekly linky! I'm brainstorming ideas for upcoming weeks. I love reading what other people are trying, and I especially love meeting new fourth grade teachers!

  11. One really cool thing that I just learned about is Reddit is promoting Donorschose.org with their new video series that they've started.

    I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with Reddit but its basically an online community/forum or regular people that share/ulpoad content of ALL areas all the time.

    thanks for this,
    Digital: Divide & Conquer

  12. Thanks for putting together this fun linky! I have all sorts of new things I want to try out now!

  13. Thanks for hosting and for the kind comments on my blog. I'm doing this from my phone, still on vacation, so I hope it all looks right. :)

  14. I wish I could submit to Donor's Choice but I'm in a private school too:(
    It super great to know that there are people and companies out there that help support teachers and education.

    The Busy Busy Hive

  15. Thanks for sharing the process-you make it sound less scary! I apply every year for grants in my own county, maybe I should try this! Thanks for hosting! Great party!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  16. Wohooo! Look at all these link ups!!! Yay!!!! Go Holly!!! :O)

    Thank you for sharing about Donors Choose. I've seen several people that have had their projects donated so this is something I will think about. :O)

    Have a great rest of your week!
    Collaboration Cuties

  17. Loving your blog! I am new follower. This is a great idea for a linky party.
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack

  18. I found your blog through the Linky And am so glad I did. I'm a new follower. I'm always happy to find another upper grade blog.

    Surfing to Success