Microsoft Innovative Educator

Microsoft Innovative Educator

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Grant Writing

Well, Halloween is definitely in the air. I can feel it and so can the kids! This is a busy, exciting, and fun time of year (If you don't pull your hair out first)! This Blog Is Why in a time of increased accountability in schools, students still matter and teachers will go above and beyond to meet their needs.

This blog is devoted to some grants opportunities (which may be specific to certain areas). I hope you find what you need to help make a difference in the life of a student today.

Food, Warmth, & Care Project
In an earlier post, I focused on DonorsChoose which provides a platform for teachers to get materials they need from sponsors/donors. I want to take this time to thank Duke Energy for their match offer which assisted in funding my latest project. DonorsChoose has a new option which is called the  Food, Warmth, & Care project. This is a student-centered project designed to get materials that will become the property of students and will go home with students in need.

Food, Warmth, and Care project

Family Trust Teacher Grants
This grant is near and dear to my heart. I received this grant last year and was able to fund my Guided Math project. This project helped me to get resource materials to learn more about Guided Math from Dr. Nicki Newton (@drnickimath) and purchase materials for independent student center options. Family Trust has made a great, new change to the grant this year by offering more money. That is always a win! The grant is now worth $500 and the deadline is November 15th. The organization also hosts a nice banquet to honor the winners. Good Luck!

Family Trust Grant Application

Kids in Need Foundation Teacher Grants
Another new grant opportunity comes from AC Moore Arts & Crafts to support STEM/STEAM projects. Applicants must present project-based, hands-on activities and materials will be purchased with a $100 AC Moore gift card. The window for this grant is October 15th-January 5th.

AC Moore Gift Card

Lily, Sarah, Grace Foundation
A reminder that the Lily, Sarah, Grace Foundation has "The Stepping Stone Grant" with a November 30th deadline. You will find a detailed description and application rubric on the organization's website. Successful applicants will incorporate the 5 C's of Inquiry based learning which are: Community, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication.
The Stepping Stone Grant applicants should also meet the following criteria:
  • Grades K-5
  • Title 1 School
  • $450.00 Maximum Project Cost
http://lilysarahgrace.org/grants

Edutopia-The Big List
There is a great variety of resources available to teachers and this post is just at the tip of the iceberg. If you didn't find one that appeals to the needs of your students and/or classroom, then take a look at the resource compiled and shared by Edutopia called "The Big List of Educational Grants and Resources" for a broader list.

The Big List

Blogs from A-Z
A- A is For Administrator
B- Breakfast Club
C- Chicken Soup Is For The Mind, Body, and Soul
D- DonorsChoose
E- Empathy
F- Forty and Fitness
G- Grant Writing
H- Hour of Code
I- I Wish I Had Thought of That (Repost)
J- Jeopardy in the Classroom
K- Keys to a Successful Hour of Code
L- Lessons Learned
M- Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE)
N- Need a Gift Idea?
O- Oh, The Places We WANT To Go!
P- Principal Presents
Q- Quitting the Profession
R- Recharge Over the Holidays
S- Skype-A-Thon
T- Twelve Days of Twitter
U- Update: Oh The Places...Here We Come!
V- Virtual Sharing
W- What's New in 2017
X- Xtra, Xtra...This Challenge is DONE
Y- Year End Review
Z- Zebra Print, Red Velvet, and FREEBIES

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Forty and Fitness

Forty is difficult. Before I go there, let me say that I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my blog. Whatever the reason you read and follow, I hope you gain a new perspective when you reach the end. Whether it's educational, parenting, professional, or personal; my goal is to share something that sparks a connection with you. This Blog Is Why I am here to state (or restate) forty is NOT the new twenty, thirty, etc.!

                           

On a personal note: Raise your hand if you have felt the growing pains of getting older (more mature). That's where I am right now. It seems like my body is falling apart on me. Last year, I had the unfortunate experience of having my knee pop out of place on me (just cannot get that visual out of my head). I was fortunate that no real damage was done and the healing process was quick. It was a scary moment nonetheless. Being Forty is hard. This year, I had another scare that was more serious and much more painful. In the process of going back and forth to ER and/or doctors, it did force me to slow down and focus more on my loved ones. I must admit that sometimes in the hustle and bustle of work, work, and more work, I forget to make time for those who are most important in my life. And it's in the forced moments of rest, that I am truly thankful.

Writing this post is a huge step for me, I am mostly a private person. But, I think it's important to share your story especially if it can help others. It will also stand as a reminder for me to never lose focus again. In my times of weakness, I appreciate my mom's composure when I feel a little helpless. I am not sure if she has moments of worry, tears, or anxiousness; but she is definitely strong when I need it most. I am thankful for the mister. In the times when mom can't be there, he definitely steps in and steps up. Even when it means missing a much-anticipated homecoming to sit with me for hours in ER. I am thankful for my cousin and aunt. They reached out to me at just the right time. I'm not sure how they knew, but sometimes it's good to know someone is thinking about you in their day. I am thankful for dad. He gave me a good laugh and we all know that laughter is good for the soul. I am thankful for my grandmother. Even over the miles, she gives that good old-fashioned talking to that you didn't even know you missed so much. I know this turned into a Thanksgiving post!!
Disclaimer here: I am blaming this on forty, but I am quite aware that age is not the real issue. My support system is intact and that is good to know. After sitting down with the doctor, my tests came back with good results. Praise God!

Last week, I had the chance to sit down with one of my former professors and talk a little about my journey. It was great to have a listening ear and someone to offer advice to me. The best part of our conversation was at the end when she said, "Stephanie, you have been through a lot, but I am happy to see that you still have that beautiful smile." Always.

So where is the fitness?? This year, as  a part of STEAM Clubs (back to Education), I am sponsoring a Hip-Hop Fitness club. We are using the "Cize" workout videos with Shaun T's dance choreography. I was so excited about our first meeting. I have been looking for time in my day to workout and a good support group. Who knew they would end up being elementary students?! The workout is not easy, but it is fun. Even if you can't get all the moves, you can jump in when there is a sequence you know. So, in my efforts to embrace Forty, I need to embrace Fitness as well. They are going to be my new best friends!

Blogs from A-Z
A- A is For Administrator
B- Breakfast Club
C- Chicken Soup Is For The Mind, Body, and Soul
D- DonorsChoose
E- Empathy
F- Forty and Fitness
G- Grant Writing
H- Hour of Code
I- I Wish I Had Thought of That (Repost)
J- Jeopardy in the Classroom
K- Keys to a Successful Hour of Code
L- Lessons Learned
M- Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE)
N- Need a Gift Idea?
O- Oh, The Places We WANT To Go!
P- Principal Presents
Q- Quitting the Profession
R- Recharge Over the Holidays
S- Skype-A-Thon
T- Twelve Days of Twitter
U- Update: Oh The Places...Here We Come!
V- Virtual Sharing
W- What's New in 2017
X- Xtra, Xtra...This Challenge is DONE
Y- Year End Review
Z- Zebra Print, Red Velvet, and FREEBIES

Saturday, October 15, 2016

***For RDG-101 Students Only*** Round 2

Once again, I am looking forward to sharing the blogging world with a new batch of learners. It is my mission to build a tribe of bloggers one blog at a time! This semester, students will have focused blog assignments based on readings and topics discussed in class. I hope you will take this opportunity to learn and grow from your peers with this unique platform. This Blog Is Why I am excited to see your blogging talents unfold and I look forward to sharing this experience with you. Shake off your nerves and have fun!



This summer as I presented to educators about blogging, I shared some tips. I will post the tips here for you to use as a reference.


Top 10 Blogging Tips:

  1. Choose a topic you are passionate about.
  2. Be different.
  3. Write like you talk.
  4. Include quality content in your blog.
  5. Include pictures-pay attention to details.
  6. Professional formatting-pay attention to details.
  7. Do your research. Look at other blogs.
  8. Fake it until you make it!
  9. Use your platform for good. Bring positive vibes.
  10. Build a Tribe. Connect and interact with others.
Remember, you will also post comments to your classmates' blogs. Use this post to help you easily find links to their blog pages. So far, I love the creativity that I am seeing. Don't forget to add your links, add an image, keep it professional, and ENJOY! (Along with other requirements as listed on your rubric.)
















Coming Soon: Group Projects


Monday, October 10, 2016

Breakfast Club

Not too long ago, I was scrolling through Twitter (as I usually do) and I came across some tweets that sparked my interest. Now, I had seen this particular hashtag before, but I just KNEW that I would not be waking up at 5:30AM to chat. This Blog Is Why I discovered more kindred spirits at #bfc530.

Now, I am sure you know that I am a HUGE fan of #satchat. I look forward to waking up at 7:30AM (EST) most Saturday mornings to participate in lively, thought-provoking conversations centered around educational topics. I never dreamed that I could find that same passion at 5:30AM each weekday, no less. But I find myself looking forward to #bfc530. It's one question, fifteen minutes and POWERFUL. You are given certain scenarios and I love the many different directions that the chat can go in based on the answers given. I am very new to this, so the few that I have seen so far have focused on the ideal PD day, a new grade you would want to teach, and a dream budget (what would you fund?). It's a great way to get some positive energy in your day in the morning. I don't drink coffee, so I guess this will have to do. Stay Tuned!
                     

Don't forget I am on a mission this month. That's right, one blog post for each letter of the alphabet. And I am keeping a running list for you. I have been busy (busy writing) over the past few days. You know I love a good challenge. I think this is just what I needed to get my blog writing mojo back. Well, I think this is it for the week. Unless E, F, G, and H hit me over the head soon. Feel free to send me ideas by text, email, chat, social media. Any way you can.

Blogs from A-Z
A- A is For Administrator
B- Breakfast Club
C- Chicken Soup Is For The Mind, Body, and Soul
D- DonorsChoose
E- Empathy
F- Forty and Fitness
G- Grant Writing
H- Hour of Code
I- I Wish I Had Thought of That
J- Jeopardy in the Classroom
K- Keys to a Successful Hour of Code
L- Lessons Learned
M- Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE)
N- Need a Gift Idea?
O- Oh, The Places We WANT To Go!
P- Principal Presents
Q- Quitting the Profession
R- Recharge Over the Holidays
S- Skype-A-Thon
T- Twelve Days of Twitter
U- Update: Oh The Places...Here We Come!
V- Virtual Sharing
W- What's New in 2017
X- Xtra, Xtra...This Challenge is DONE
Y- Year End Review
Z- Zebra Print, Red Velvet, and FREEBIES

Connect with me:
Twitter @MsClassNSession
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisBlogIsWhy/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/principalsdj

DonorsChoose: A Teacher's Best Friend

DonorsChoose is great and it may be different from a typical "grant" because:  You. Will. Work. I am currently working on getting my third project funded and I am super excited. The process to complete a project for approval is simple: describe your students, describe your project, and shop for your materials. Once approved, the real work begins. Getting your project funded. This Blog Is Why I have fallen in love with DonorsChoose.

Over the last few months, I have had the chance to learn a great deal about DonorsChoose. I love sharing those resources with others and connecting with donors who want to help schools, students, and teachers. In this blog, I will share some of those connections. First, one the most beneficial resources for me was the webinar presented by Laura Candler and Francie Kugelman. In this webinar, they give some great tips about presenting a successful project and getting funded. They also discussed giving communities and they have created THE most successful one. You can find them on Facebook during "Fund-day Sunday" when they add new projects that are guaranteed to be funded. Their giving page also hosts a "Rafflecopter" contest. You can participate in either by donating at least $1 to a project sponsored on the "Caring Classrooms" page and then you can post a link to your own project. You can get more information about guidelines in the links below.

Free Webinar

Caring Classrooms Facebook Page

Another great resource is Jed Dearybury's page. He is MR. DonorsChoose and has over 100 funded projects on his page. He is also willing to share his expertise with teacher friends who need it. On his page, you will find some tips for a successful project and information about Lily Sarah Grace. This foundation also sponsors a grant that may be an additional source of funding.

MrDearybury

Lily Sarah Grace Fund

How Do You Get Funding?
That is the biggest question and task with DonorsChoose. Currently, if you are in South Carolina, there is a match offer by Duke Energy. What is a match offer? That means that they will match donations from your donors and sometimes this is limited by the dollar amount. So, each donation is doubled. There are several businesses that will do this based on the subject or type of project you create. DonorsChoose is great about matching you up with these offers as they are available. DonorsChoose will also offer a match offer for newbies and there is a time limit on it.

Once you have the link for your project, you must SHARE, SHARE, SHARE. Do what works best for you, your community, and potential donors. I like to share in as many ways as possible. That means I email people, tweet it out, and post on Facebook. EVERYDAY! Although I am new to doing this, I am sharing the method that has worked for me.

You can also use these Social Media platforms to find companies who are sponsoring contests or offering match offers specific to DonorsChoose projects. A great example is the one being offered by Sonic. They have www.limeadesforlearning.com. Teachers are awarded for the highest number of votes each week. Sponsors can visit Sonic for additional voting codes.

Thank-You Notes
The final process for completing a DonorsChoose project is to send thank you notes to your donors. Again, another easy process and you are guided through with easy-to-follow steps. I would like to use this section to say thanks and highlight some of my sponsors. First and foremost, my awesome family, friends, coworkers and classmates. My awesome PLN from Twitter and/or Facebook.
My sponsors include the following:
Neukom Foundation
Duke Energy @DukeEnergy
E20 and Jonathan Nalder @jnxyz
Advancement Courses @AdvanceTeaching
The Wright Family
Pam Hubler @specialtechie



Support
Please support my current project. You can do this by voting at the link below. Voting is open everyday until October 23rd and you can vote multiple times (and from multiple devices). You can also share my links or information. Finally, if you feel moved to donate, that would be appreciated as well. Thank you for supporting my project and my class! =)

Limeades For Learning page

DonorsChoose Project

Blogs from A-Z
A- A is For Administrator
B- Breakfast Club
C- Chicken Soup Is For The Mind, Body, and Soul
D- DonorsChoose
E- Empathy
F- Forty and Fitness
G- Grant Writing
H- Hour of Code
I- I Wish I Had Thought of That (Repost)
J- Jeopardy in the Classroom
K- Keys to a Successful Hour of Code
L- Lessons Learned
M- Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE)
N- Need a Gift Idea?
O- Oh, The Places We WANT To Go!
P- Principal Presents
Q- Quitting the Profession
R- Recharge Over the Holidays
S- Skype-A-Thon
T- Twelve Days of Twitter
U- Update: Oh The Places...Here We Come!
V- Virtual Sharing
W- What's New in 2017
X- Xtra, Xtra...This Challenge is DONE
Y- Year End Review
Z- Zebra Print, Red Velvet, and FREEBIES

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A is For Administrator: New Blog Challenge

I'm not exactly sure if I read this challenge correctly or maybe I made it up myself. But, I am going to give it a try anyway. The challenge: During the month of October (I DID add that part in), write a blog post for every letter of the alphabet. I am just crazy enough to try it. So I will. And, I am going to say that my last blog post will count for the letter "C" in this challenge. Don't worry. I will keep a running list for you (and me). This Blog Is Why A is for Administrator(s). This blog is for you.

For any educator that has been feeling overwhelmed by initiatives, programs, deadlines, and just general stuff; I encourage you to read this blog post by Tony Sinanis. When I read it on Friday, it truly spoke to my soul. At the end he asks to key questions: 1) "Is initiative overload a reality?" and 2) "How can we address initiative overload?"
http://leadingmotivatedlearners.blogspot.com/2016/10/initiatives-should-be-about-people.html

In my situation, I have had the experience of being an administrator so I understand the tough decisions and balancing act that comes with it. I also understand how important it is to remember what it is like to be in the role of teacher. And in both roles the primary concern should be what is best for students. It makes me think about a term that I first encountered with Morgan Lee in the Principal Induction Program. If you are from South Carolina, then it may resonate with you as well. Whitespace. We all need it.

My plea for administrators include two things. I hope these will be among your top take-aways from his blog post. The first, seriously consider what teachers can let go of when implementing something new. There will be mandates that come from all different directions state, district, school, etc. Consider the effect that it has on teachers because this impacts students as well. Second, listen to your teachers. If your staff is saying that they are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, unappreciated: Believe Them. And work together to find those solutions. For the questions that Dr. Sinanis asks, I do believe that initiative overload is a real thing and we cannot afford to ignore it. Great teachers will continue to leave the profession and there will continue to be a shortage of candidates entering the profession. I don't think there is one grand idea for addressing this issue. But I think it will require educators at all levels coming to the table with open minds and without a fear of speaking openly and honestly about the concerns of initiative overload.
                          

As a Connected Educator, I learn about so many great tools, resources, and strategies that can be implemented in the classroom. My colleagues discuss ideas they have for their classes daily. Sometimes, these great ideas get derailed for something else. When enthusiasm is high, don't let initiative overload rob students of a variety of great experiences because we want all teachers implementing the same program because it's a "mandate". Keep in mind, those students that had different learning styles, grew to be teachers who also have different learning styles, interests, and areas of strength (or weakness). It's time to reevaluate the way things are being done. Maybe there is one way to address initiative overload. Mandatory Whitespace. Let's all be great!

Blogs from A-Z
A- A is For Administrator
B- Breakfast Club
C- Chicken Soup Is For The Mind, Body, and Soul
D- DonorsChoose
E- Empathy
F- Forty and Fitness
G- Grant Writing
H- Hour of Code
I- I Wish I Had Thought of That (Repost)
J- Jeopardy in the Classroom
K- Keys to a Successful Hour of Code
L- Lessons Learned
M- Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE)
N- Need a Gift Idea?
O- Oh, The Places We WANT To Go!
P- Principal Presents
Q- Quitting the Profession
R- Recharge Over the Holidays
S- Skype-A-Thon
T- Twelve Days of Twitter
U- Update: Oh The Places...Here We Come!
V- Virtual Sharing
W- What's New in 2017
X- Xtra, Xtra...This Challenge is DONE
Y- Year End Review
Z- Zebra Print, Red Velvet, and FREEBIES

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Chicken Soup IS for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Hello, Blog Nation! I have surely missed you all. You can tell when a new school year begins, because my blogging slows waaaaaayyy down. I can assure you that it is NOT for a lack of ideas. It is just hard to make time. I am learning, though, that you must make time for the things you love because the other stuff will never go away. At this moment, I am taking time in my life not because I want to, but because I have been forced. Your body knows when you are doing too much. Listen to your body. This Blog Is Why I know that chicken soup is good for your body and soul.

This blog will be brief and it is one that I have been working on for a while. It has been percolating in my brain and now I finally get it to the screen. I hope to appeal to the writer and reader in you. Over the summer, I shared a tip for educators that had a story they wanted to publish. Well, maybe you couldn't quite remember those great moments during the summer. Or, maybe you were just hanging out on the beach (I know I was)! Guess what? You still have time to share those precious memories, words of advice, or hilarious anecdotes. Have you ever read any books from the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series? Those stories can be inspirational or heart-warming little stories. I have received a couple of them, usually as a gift, and I enjoy connecting with other educators who might have a story/experience similar to my own.



I know what the beginning of the school year is like. Hectic. And I know that nobody is looking for something "extra" to do. But...if you have a story that you think other educators might benefit from, consider submitting it to the staff. Just click on the link below.

**Update**
The deadline to get your ideas perfected is December 31, 2016. Happy Writing! And I look forward to seeing your words in print soon.

Submit a Chicken Soup for the Soul Story

Blogs from A-Z
A- A is For Administrator
B- Breakfast Club
C- Chicken Soup Is For The Mind, Body, and Soul
D- DonorsChoose
E- Empathy
F- Forty and Fitness
G- Grant Writing
H- Hour of Code
I- I Wish I Had Thought of That (Repost)
J- Jeopardy in the Classroom
K- Keys to a Successful Hour of Code
L- Lessons Learned
M- Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE)
N- Need a Gift Idea?
O- Oh, The Places We WANT To Go!
P- Principal Presents
Q- Quitting the Profession
R- Recharge Over the Holidays
S- Skype-A-Thon
T- Twelve Days of Twitter
U- Update: Oh The Places...Here We Come!
V- Virtual Sharing
W- What's New in 2017
X- Xtra, Xtra...This Challenge is DONE
Y- Year End Review
Z- Zebra Print, Red Velvet, and FREEBIES-