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Fund These Classroom Libraries to Show Teachers Some Appreciation!

Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

May 3rd to 7th is Teacher Appreciation Week! Teaching is always a difficult job (I should know: I tried it!), but this year has been particularly challenging. Teachers have been scrambling to adjust to ever-changing Covid protocols, learning new technology and strategies to teach remotely–often with very little notice, and may have had to choose between their health and their jobs. Many schools are also chronically underfunded, which may mean things like disinfectant wipes and spare disposable masks coming directly out of their pockets. There’s never been a better time to show the teachers in your life some love–especially if you’re a parent who has realized this year just how difficult trying to help a child learn all day can be!

DonorsChoose is a non-profit that allows teachers to start fundraisers for their classrooms. These can be small or ambitious, and they cover a huge range of projects, from basics of the classroom to enriching technology to flexible seating arrangements and social-emotional learning stations.

In the two decades since DonorsChoose began, they have raised $1,092,956,333 for schools, funding 1,928,257 projects in 85,630 schools across the U.S.! Those are some huge numbers. If you do the math, though, you see that most of these projects don’t need a giant investment. Many are just hoping for around $100 to be able to invest in things like books and supplies that they can continue to use in the future.

While it’s never a bad time to browse DonorsChoose and make a teacher’s day by funding a project, this week is a particularly good time to donate. They have several matching campaigns happening, meaning that your dollar will go a lot further.

Here’s how you can help! Go to DonorsChoose to see all the projects available. From there, you have tons of options to narrow down the parameters. At the top of the page, you can search by school name or zip code to support a local school. On the left sidebar, you can filter by subjects, grade level, or type of request–including ones specifically for books!

If you want to make sure your dollar is getting stretched as far as possible, though, you can also narrow it down to projects with matching campaigns! Here are some of the classroom library and other bookish projects that need funding now. Hopefully by the time you read this, some of them will already be funded!

Struggling Readers Need Captivating Books!

This Texas high school teacher is looking for a budget to buy high interest books for students who haven’t found a book they like yet. More than three‑quarters of the students in her classroom are from low‑income households, and many have learning disabilities that have affected their reading.

Mrs. Krueger need $154 more to meet her goal–but Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation is matching donations, which means she only needs $77 in donations to complete the project!

Help Our Low-Income Students Build a Library!

Mr. D is an Ohio teacher looking to purchase connecting book bins to organize the leveled readers that were donated earlier this year. Nearly all the students in his PreK-2 classrooms are from low‑income households. The bins will make the book easier to access, and they will also have cushions to function as seating.

$238 is still need for this project, but Oak Foundation is matching, so he only needs $119 to complete the project!

Bilingual Is a Superpower!

This grades 3-5 teacher is at a Title I school where 37 precent of students are English Language Learners, and she wants to invest in Spanish/English bilingual books to help boost their reading!

Ms. Werner needs $137 more to meet her goal, but with a matching campaign, she just needs $69 in donations to complete it!

Graphic Novels Open Doors to Reading

In this middle school, almost all the students come from a low-income home. Ms. Hereth is hoping to build a classroom library of exciting reads that students can pick from to take home a book over the summer and improve their literacy. Graphic novels are a great way to inspire kids to read more!

Ms. Hereth needs $327 to complete her library, but with a matching campaign from Oak Foundation, that means she needs $164 in donations to meet her goal!

This Middle School Is Anti-Racist

This rural middle school teacher is hoping to teach Tiffany Jewell’s This Book is Anti-Racist to his classroom in conjunction with Learning for Justice/Teaching Tolerance, including activities to encourage empathy. To do that, he’ll need a set of the books!

So far, there haven’t been any donations to this project, meaning he still has $556 to go. With a matching campaign, though, he just needs $278 in donations to complete it!

Celebrating Diversity!

This California first grade teacher in a Title I school is hoping to build up a library of multicultural books to help students learn about diversity, inclusion and equity. Help get these life-changing books into little ones’ hands!

Mrs. Pérez-Barba still needs $650, but with a matching campaign, she just needs half of that to complete it!

These are just a tiny sample of the classrooms looking for help, including lots of literacy projects. If you want to show support for your local teachers, even if they don’t currently have a campaign going, DonorsChoose recommends giving them a DonorsChoose gift card, which can used to fund their own requests for books on the site.