Saturday, July 14, 2012

Grant Search!

Okay so I am going to have to be completely honest... for the 3rd day in a row I have attempted to sort through several pages of "available" grants. Tonight I forced myself not to give up and 2 hours later I feel pretty empty handed. I found a few possibilities, but nothing I head over heels excited about :( First of all I would like to mention that Lowes has some great local opportunities, in fact there were 3 olathe schools and a KC school that received money just in this last year. However, our focus is technology.
My most successful find was Adopt-A-Classroom. I did sign up and have 2 projects listed, however I HATE asking for money so I have been too timid to put on facebook. This is a great alternative to Donors Choose... in the past I have tried that site and it was all but failure. Donors Choose focuses on low income schools and you have a certain number of "credits" to use. Adopt a Classroom is a much simpler way to raise money for the classroom, but requires you to do some advertising!
The other place I found, just through googling Kansas Grants for Schools, was K-12 School Grants. This site provided 3 local grants that I am eligible for (well not entirely sure about the Boeing grant). The sprint grant said that it focused on Character Education, but I am not entirely sure what the entails. The Pentair seemed to be the easiest to understand and apply for.
One last grant that I found to be a possibility was the Toshiba Leading Innovation grant. This one was divided K-5 with a separate application if you are 6-12. Looking at the past projects many of them are very concentrated on Science.
Maybe I am too pessimistic, but I feel very unsuccessful in my search. I am excited to see if my colleagues had better results!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Collaborative Technology


Well, first of all I have to say I love Skype. This is how we keep in contact with Grandma and a friend of mine who lives in Sweden. Never imagined incorporating it into my classroom though! I love that they have a classroom version and ideas for teachers to think about how to use this technology in their classroom. What a perfect idea with the growing emphasis on communication in the common core standards. Unfortunately, there are a few things I am already for sure that will get in my way A) my district and their powerful ability to block useful sites and B) issues of their child being on "camera." There are for sure some solutions to these problems, it will just take time.

There was also the Flat Stanley site, which is what I used to inspire my lesson plan on collaborative technology. Students would exchange Flat Stanleys and get to "see" another part of the world. E pals is another site that I have longed to use for student collaboration with writing. The issues that may arise with these two sites is finding a good match. In the past I posted on Epals and found one or two classes interested. However, it turned out there was a huge number difference and so it never went through. This could be a potential problem with the Flat Stanley project as well.

Another type of collaborative technology would be using Voicethread or Edmodo. These sites can encourage sharing information, or documents. It also allows for leaving feedback and critique.
Most of these sites only require computer access, while the Skype would require web cams. If you were to just Skype as a whole class only one webcam would be needed. Many laptops today have built in webcams and microphones which would eliminate the extra devices.


Some of the same sites used for students can be used for teachers as well, voicethread, edmodo, and skype. But there are oodles of communities to get involved in as teachers. Currently, I have my own teacher blog and am following several others which I have come through my reader so I can stay on top of them all. I also am a part of proteacher and there are several groups to join via Edmodo. Call me cheap, but I am all about the free sites! I think I have said this before, but I will say it again... there is no need for a paid subscription if something similar is available for free. The one place I have paid for teacher stuff is the Teachers Pay Teachers site.