“Enough is enough! You can’t spend any more personal funds on teaching supplies or resources.” Betsy Nelson, a fourth grade teacher from South Dakota, had finally come to this point with her spouse. Just like many teachers, Betsy spends a lot of her own money for her classroom. After years of personal spending, Betsy’s spouse finally said “enough is enough.”
Teachers everywhere face this same dilemma.They want to do everything possible to help their students, but can’t spend their entire paycheck on school supplies. So what can you do? I recently sat down with Betsy to learn how she overcame this challenge.
Betsy is a dedicated and talented teacher. She’s been teaching for nine years, including six years in a fourth grade classroom and three years as a math coach. She absolutely loves her job.
Facing a tough but common teacher challenge relating to classroom funding, Betsy’s district encouraged her to check out DonorsChoose, a fundraising app for teachers. DonorsChoose helps teachers start fundraising projects for classroom needs and wants. Through DonorsChoose, Betsy has been able to raise money for projects ranging from a gardening center to a fish tank to various textbooks. Within a few weeks, these projects get funded from friends, family, and community members. Thanks to DonorsChoose, Betsy is able to teach her class the importance of vegetables through her new gardening center or the importance of fish in our ecosystem through her fish tank.
Just as Betsy is passionate about hands on learning with her gardening center and fish tank, she also is passionate about technology in the classroom. In fact, she is currently pursuing her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Technology. It was through her doctorate program that Betsy stumbled upon Edulastic.
Edulastic allows Betsy to quickly and easily give formative assessments to her fourth graders. She has been using the free version of Edulastic since last school year, but she eventually began to eye certain features in the Teacher Premium version, like rubric scoring. Then one day, the lightbulb clicked. Betsy realized she could start a project on DonorsChoose to raise money for Edulastic Teacher Premium. She was confident this project would be easy and fast to complete since the desired amount of funding was so small ($100).
She started the project and shared it with her teaching and personal community. Within one short week, the project was fully funded, and Betsy had Edulastic Teacher Premium at her fingertips!
Now, Betsy uses Edulastic every day for quick check-ins and exit tickets after her reading lessons. The Premium features — like read aloud, present mode, and rubrics scoring — have helped take her technology driven instruction to the next level. She embeds passages and various multimedia into her Edulastic questions; she appreciates that the online testing platform mimics the look and feel of SBAC. Betsy’s fourth grade students enjoy Edulastic as well, especially the present mode feature. When Betsy projects her screen in front of the whole class, her students are able to see the assessment data and understand any mistakes and misconceptions.
From fish tanks to Edulastic Teacher Premium, DonorsChoose has allowed Betsy to “bring her classroom dreams to life.” If you are like Betsy and are tired of spending your own money on school and teaching supplies, we encourage you to check out DonorsChoose. Thanks for the great idea, Betsy!
Learn More About DonorsChoose:
DonorsChoose is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation that “empowers public school teachers from across the country to request much-needed materials and experiences for their students.” Teachers can start a project on DonorsChoose that requests funding for anything from books, to robotics kits, to Edulastic Teacher Premium accounts. Once a project has started on DonorsChoose, teachers can share it within their community and ask for donations. Over 1.5 million projects have been funded through DonorsChoose.
Learn More About Edulastic:
Launched in June 2014, Edulastic is a platform for personalized formative assessments for K-12 students, teachers, and school districts. Teachers can create their own tech-enhanced items (TEIs), pull from a huge bank of TEIs, or mix and match. Over 400,000 teachers use Edulastic to gauge student learning and effectively differentiate their instruction.