With even the normal winter blues taking a backseat to the Omicron surge, it’s an especially challenging time to go back to the classroom. The Monday morning bell is ringing a little louder, though, for the classrooms that had a DonorsChoose project funded during December. Thanks to more than 185,000 generous donors and partners, more than 58,000 teachers received a holiday season donation, for a total of $16 million in classroom giving. Every one of those gifts will make a difference for students in the coming weeks, including the students on the receiving end of these five especially heartwarming projects:
“Raise their faces to the sky”
Warm Hands and Hearts!
Ms. Rymer, Grades 3-5, New York
Materials fully funded:
- 112 pairs of colorful, warm winter gloves
- 108 winter beanies in assorted bright colors
“My students bring amazing resilience and determination to learn every day. They come from all over the world: Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Cambodia, West Africa, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Bolivia, Vietnam, Mexico, and Yemen. My students are pioneering our new Advanced Literacies curricula in the Bronx. I am proud of them all.
Many of my students come from warm weather countries. They often are poorly equipped for New York winters. Please help me keep their little hands and heads warm! This will help not only my English language learners, but also their classmates who live in temporary housing.
With gloved hands, they can make snowmen. With caps on their heads, they can raise their faces to the sky and catch snowflakes on their tongues. Together, we can make their winter (for some their first real winter) a wonderful and magical time.”
Brrr! It’s cold outside! My students PLUS 60 students in temporary housing are a little better prepared for winter’s chill. With your help, we distributed over 100 pairs of gloves and hats. Red gloves! Pink gloves! Orange and yellow gloves! Delivered and distributed to happy kids on December 23rd. On Friday, some of my students were able to play in the snow for the 1st time.
Thank you for keeping their lovely noggins and small fingers warm. May your warm hearts keep winter’s chill at the door.
This project was funded with generous support from Clorox, in support of all the teachers who stretched their talent in creative, imaginative ways this past year, going above and beyond.
“The dignity of my students is paramount”
Pledge to be a Provision Pantry Partner
Mrs. Mercer, Grades 9-12, Oklahoma
Materials fully funded:
- Reusable heavy duty grocery bags
- Feminine hygiene products
- Plastic hangers
- Gel pens
- Mechanical pencils
- Adhesive bandages
“Our school is a Title I institution located in downtown Oklahoma City. Our students often have challenging home situations, are experiencing or have experienced homelessness, are involved with the justice system, or are just trying to “make it” on a daily basis. These difficulties often prevent them from attending traditional school and fully focusing on their education.
This project will help me to organize our brand new Food and Resource Pantry while empowering students to utilize it as the awesome resource it is. The pantry supplies our students with food, toiletries, feminine care products, school supplies, and any other needs that arise!
The dignity of my students is paramount in my mind when thinking about how to serve them best. I believe that this project will organize the pantry in such a way as to allow my students to have more autonomy and ownership. Ideally, students will take on leadership roles in keeping the pantry stocked, assisting others in “shopping” if requested, and helping me ensure that their basic needs are met so that they can focus on their schooling…and being the awesome teenagers that they are.”
Many of our families lack the funds to purchase food, school supplies, and basic hygiene items. These items are things that most of us take for granted in our everyday life, but my students need them to be alert, prepared, and to feel clean and good about themselves. Students who have poor hygiene don’t perform as well at school, and can be subject to bullying, self-harm, and even more dire circumstances.
This project was funded with generous support from Center for Disaster Philanthropy, in support of communities that are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It brings my art alive!”
Creating Calm for Kids
Ms. Brinkman, Grades 3-5, Arizona
Materials fully funded:
- Scratch Art Rainbow Mini Notes
- Drawing Paper
- 100 Color Glitter Pen Set
- Essential Oil Diffuser with 7 Color Lights
- Glitter crayons
- Glitter markers
“I am currently a third-grade teacher to amazing students in a low-income community. Our students recently returned to campus for in-person learning, and I am noticing a need for items promoting positive well-being and healthy minds. I am seeking materials that they can use to bring them to a state of happiness, calm, and peace. Students have been through many challenges this year and the need for creating a safe and calm classroom environment is crucial for student success. I am wanting the following things that will help motivate and bring them to a positive state of mind such as: a diffuser to create appealing aromas in the classroom and various art supplies for them to have the space for creating artwork when using our classroom Calm Corner. Art has been shown to help students heal from trauma and I feel these materials will best serve this purpose for our diverse learners.
My students are LOVING their new resources! The most popular item would be the glitter gel pens; they are kept safely in the Calm Corner with the other art supplies. The blue and gold are the most popular ones used, as they are our school colors! I really enjoy seeing students use the pens to write positive notes to one another or to create a special piece of art. One of my students recently said, “It brings my art alive!.”
When Amazon boxes show up in the classroom, the class knows that someone has contributed to our community! They are very aware of new items that show up. They were very excited and we opened it as a class like we usually do. My favorite part is when they share their news with family members and tell about how kindness impacts the community. I often get positive feedback from parents about how the materials positively impact their children.
“Open a new book and love literacy!”
Promoting Love of Literacy
Mrs. Gorman, Grades PreK-2, Hartford, CT
Books fully funded:
- I am Enough
- Ambitious Girl
- Change Sings
- I Believe I Can
- Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to my Daughters
- Hair Love
- Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO
“My beautiful and capable students need additional opportunities to engage with quality texts. The impact of the pandemic is significant. The pandemic widened preexisting achievement gaps, hitting disadvantaged students the hardest. Many students are now one to two years behind in their literacy skills. I want to spark my students’ interest in books by providing them with high-interest books for the classroom and to take home and read with their families. When scholars engage with quality texts, they will begin to love reading. This will help to close the achievement gap and unfinished learning due to the pandemic.”
This is a dream come true to have new books for my students! I selected multicultural, exciting, and engaging titles such as I Believe I Can, Hair Love, Sports Talk by Scholastic News, Scholastic News Biographies and more! I can’t tell you how excited I am to share them with students so they can enjoy reading and experience how great it is to open a new book and love literacy!
“Giving them back the joy of recess”
Stay Warm & Play Hard
Ms. Beaulieu, Grades PreK-2, North Carolina
Materials fully funded:
- 24 cold weather hats
- 6 sweatshirts
- 32 pairs of winter gloves
“Kids deserve to be kids. They deserve to play and laugh and enjoy the simple things in life. They deserve to be happy without thinking about “grown-up things”, like making sure they are warm when playing outside on the playground. As the weather is getting colder, I am noticing very few of my students come to school with a coat on, much less a hat and gloves. They are unable to enjoy their play time, simply because they are too cold.These materials would help me provide students with hats and gloves to keep them warm while at school. You will also be providing additional sweatshirts for students with no jackets and chapstick to help with their dry lips through the winter. No child should go without the basic necessities and by providing these items for my students, you will be giving them back the joy of recess!”
If only you could see all the wonderful smiles under the masks of my students! When I told them that someone donated hats and gloves to our classroom they were ecstatic! I let each of them pick out their own and you would have thought it was Christmas morning. For the first time in a long time, nobody came up to me at recess, begging me to go inside because they were cold. They simply got to enjoy playing! My students truly appreciate having their own pair of gloves and hat to wear to recess, especially on cold days like today. Because of your generosity, my students are able to be warm and play as kids. Not to mention, they look adorable doing it. Thank you so much!