In the current economy, with budget cuts hitting classrooms who couldn't use a little free money?
My search for this free money all started a few years ago when I found some really cool technology that I wanted in my classroom. I could not afford to buy it myself and I knew that my district was not going to be purchasing the equipment for us in the near future. So, I had to get creative.
Grants were still a new idea to me, and I was a little nervous to make my first attempt at such a large grant. But, two teachers from my school had won the grant the previous year and I was determined to be the third!
I set out by researching the grant requirements. This particular grant wanted a STEM based project that was student centered. Once I was familiar with the guidelines for the grant I began searching through our state standards and the web for the perfect idea for a project. I began bouncing ideas off of our technology integration specialist and she mentioned a NASA project that she had seen at seminar she had been to. With her guidance, I looked into the NASA program, requested information, and began to tweak the program ideas to fit my needs and my classroom.
Once, the curriculum and goals of the project were set I needed to find innovative ways to integrate the technology pieces that I wanted to purchase into the project. How would I use the technology to further the interest and education of the students? I had to have a detailed for how each piece of technology I was requesting would enhance my students' learning. This was a difficult task, since I had never used the equipment that I was requesting.
The final step in this journey was to write my proposal. I submitted my first proposal in the fall semester of the 2009-2010 school year. I had the teachers who had previously won this grant help me in my revisions, had all 30 of my students rub it for good luck, and then sent it off in the mail. January came, and the round one winners were announced and I was so bummed to learn that my proposal hadn't been selected.
The initial disappointment only lasted a day or two, but I did not let it discourage me. I had one month to refine my proposal and resubmit it for the second round. I used the same exact project, edited and revised a bit more and in March I received this...
Here is the news clip from my award. In it I discuss some of what I purchased.
I have not written a grant since, as I have been busy integrating the technology that I received from the Qwest AzTEA Grant, but plan to try for another grant this year. There are so many companies out there looking to give money to classrooms. It is so exciting to be able to receive such generous donations through grants just for doing what you already do.
Here are a few sites that have grant information on them. Good luck, and don't forget to google grants specific for your state!
OCDE Instructional Services
Real Classroom Ideas
These are just a few, there are hundreds out there. If you know of any and would like to share please leave a comment!