DEBUG: cgb/block-vb-title

DonorsChoose

Behind the Scenes: Meet the Teachers

DEBUG: core/paragraph

Our #VBGIVESBACK partnership with DonorsChoose continues! You've already met Theresia Gouw, board member, and learned why she's so passionate about supporting our public school teachers. Now, get to know the teachers of DonorsChoose, the women whose classroom activities and special projects (and distance learning tools!) have been funded by the organization—ensuring student growth, confidence, and success. You'll learn how your donations are paying it forward in a very real way. Let's keep it going—and, remember, now through the end of September, every VeronicaBeard.com order gives back to funding our nation's public school teachers—all day, every day.

DEBUG: cgb/block-vb-small-header

Amani Abuhabsah, Teacher

DEBUG: cgb/block-vb-two-column

Could you tell us about your personal connection to DonorsChoose?
When I first graduated college, I was excited about putting theory into practice. Education theory states science should be taught through hands-on, meaningful activities. However, I was SHOCKED by the lack of resources I had in my classroom. Allowing children to actively engage in science gives them the opportunity to make meaningful discoveries on their own. Before discovering DonorsChoose, my typical science classroom consisted of my students watching a lot of videos to reinforce what we were learning. Once a week we would complete a lab with basic supplies that I had to purchase. At that time, I taught over 120 students. I had students work in groups of 4 or 5. My weekly activity used to consist of some sort of foldable to make learning fun.

I had absolutely no science supplies and tried to make the best with what I could purchase. I pondered, “How can my students like science when I don’t have any resources to engage them?" In February 2004, I came across a flyer for DonorsChoose. I wrote my first proposal and asked for materials for my human body unit. As a result of my project being funded, I was able to show students various scale models of their body parts. I was hooked and have been submitting proposals to supplement my classroom instruction since then.

DEBUG: core/paragraph

DonorsChoose has supported my classroom for many years. It is because of this wonderful support that I can put my theory of education into practice. My passion is to foster a love for science in my students. Pursuing an occupation in STEAM, or becoming engaged with STEAM at a young age, will open countless doors for our students for their entire lifetime. As an educator, I think that I am inherently responsible to provide our students with every possible exciting opportunity to learn about the field.
I want my students to really understand the topic presented to them, and the only way I can do this is by making sure my science lessons are hands-on. And to do this, I need adequate science resources. I want to empower my students for future success by engaging them in educational opportunities that will promote life-long learning, critical thinking, and personal growth.
I have been hooked ever since my first project was funded in 2005. I have been fortunate enough to have over 200 projects funded.

DEBUG: core/paragraph

DEBUG: cgb/block-vb-blockquote

“I want to empower my students for future success by engaging them in educational opportunities that will promote life-long learning, critical thinking, and personal growth.”

DEBUG: core/paragraph

Could you share some of the work you've done, particularly during distance learning?
A typical day in my classroom before Covid-19 would be the following: My 5th-grade class is working on building a tower out of index cards. For an activity like this, I would need index cards and tape. My 6th-grade classroom is learning about solar energy. Instead of reading about solar energy, I provide them with the vocabulary and background about solar energy and have them build a solar-powered car. While my 3rd graders are learning about matter, I have them make lip balm, so they can experience the 3 states of matter first hand. While making the lip balm, they observe a physical and chemical change. Having a hands-on lesson allows my students to make meaningful connections and use what they are learning in a real setting. My 4th graders are working on erosion and stopping erosion with a budget of $1000. They can purchase things such as Popsicle sticks, cotton balls, play dough, and crafts sticks. My 7th and 8th graders are working on building a robot. All of this is done in one day since I teach 3-8th grade, so I need a variety of resources to fit my daily lesson plans. The above activities were possible because of DonorsChoose.org!
In this time of uncertainty, I worried about my students. Their whole world was transformed overnight. I pondered on what I can do, or say, to make them feel better. I was over the moon excited when several of my projects were funded to help my students learn and grow. I was given $1000 to use at Walmart. The program was called Keep Kids Learning. I was able to purchase supplies for my students and ship them to their homes to get them learning. I purchased things like volcano kits, Uno cards, Magnetic Building Kits, Weird and Wacky Contraption Lab, Slime kits, Crayola Color Chemistry Set for Kids, and so much more. The students were excited to have the resources they can enjoy over the summer.

DEBUG: core/paragraph

What's your single most memorable moment with the organization?
This question is very challenging to answer. I have had over 200 projects funded. One of my favorite projects was the Meccano-Erector Meccanoid G15. The students worked together to build their robots. Each group did something different. A group of four was assigned the following task: one student was the builder, one student was reading the directions and the last students were pulling out the parts needed for each task. Their eyes lit up when they built their robots. I wanted to give my students a meaningful, fun, and interactive way to learn about working together. This gives them the opportunity to strengthen their critical-thinking and creative problem-solving skills and reflect on their entry’s performance and what they could do to improve it. Even if the robot does not initially work, they are experiencing the same things scientists experience. There is excitement in the air, and students truly appreciate and understand science.

DEBUG: core/paragraph

What donations helped you the most during distance learning?
I wrote several DonorsChoose.org grants for basic supplies so students could work on challenges at home. Some of the questions the students completed included the following: Can you get a ball into a container without using your hands? Can you build the slowest roller coaster? Can you build the tallest tower using 10 marshmallows and 15 spaghetti? These fun activities were only possible because of donorschoose.org. I requested straws, marbles, cups, card stock, tape, marshmallows, spaghetti and string. Students were allowed to use their creativity to create a meaningful design. They got so creative and loved doing it. They were off the computer for a little bit and were able to do fun activities.

DEBUG: cgb/block-vb-small-header

Beverly Holliday, Teacher

DEBUG: cgb/block-vb-two-column

Could you tell us about your personal connection to DonorsChoose?
It began my first year of teaching. I was informed about DonorsChoose, but my project did not get funded right away. I began to lose hope until one day it was funded. After that, it was nothing but greatness!

Could you share some of the work you've done, particularly during distance learning?
During distance learning, I have made house visits, ordered and delivered books/supplies to students who still needed hard copies to succeed at virtual school. Also as any other teacher had to do, I turned a room in my apartment into my classroom.

What's your single most memorable moment with the organization?
My single most memorable moment with the organization was Fall '20, when my Broadway Tickets to see To Kill A Mockingbird in New York field trip got funded. Even though we were not able to go on the field trip due to COVID-19, it still brings joy that I could take my students to learn outside the classroom and create experiences they never thought of!

What donations helped you the most during distance learning?
The donation that helped me the most during distance learning was when I received my mobile dry erase board, my monitor so I can have two screens, my webcam, and wireless keyboard and mouse. My students were able to not only see and hear me better but I was able to give more during distance learning by having better technology.

DEBUG: cgb/block-vb-small-header

Donna Ratchford, Teacher and Board Member

DEBUG: cgb/block-vb-two-column

Could you tell us about your personal connection to DonorsChoose?
I found out about DonorsChoose around 2014. I saw a list of websites for teacher grants on my district website. I was teaching at a school with children in very impoverished homes and I had few resources. I wrote a grant to get materials to start a STEM club and was hooked.

Could you share some of the work you've done, particularly during distance learning?
During distance learning, I wrote grants for some engaging online resources such as Nearpod, TeachersPayTeachers, and Breakout Edu. I also wrote grants for my students to have books and supplies to use at home.

What's your single most memorable moment with the organization?
I think my most memorable moment was when I was able to get a grant funded for Avi, the author of Poppy. My students and I read the book and fell in love with it. They were so surprised and excited when we turned on the Skype chat.

What donations helped you the most during distance learning?
The most helpful donations were for student supplies that they could use at home, like pencils, crayons, glue, and construction paper.

DEBUG: cgb/block-vb-small-header

discover more on vb edit

DEBUG: cgb/block-vb-related