Thank you Ripple and Donors Choose for giving my Students a Voice

Last night I was having a problem falling asleep, so I was doing some work on a new lesson I want to introduce to my students after Spring Break. Just then, I saw a notification go off on one of my Donors Choose Facebook Groups that I belong to. I had seen on my Donors Choose Page earlier in the evening that it was down and that there was some large announcement happening on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I figured it was similar to what had happened before when Colbert was partnering with Donors Choose to help so many teachers and their students get needed supplies, equipment, ect. I was in complete shock when I saw that Ripple  announced to Founder and CEO, Charles Best that Ripple had funded every SINGLE Donors Choose project, which over 35,000 projects and 29 million dollars. I couldn’t believe it! 

I did a back link to my two Donors Choose projects and I not only saw the #BestSchoolDay colorful banner, but saying that both my projects were fully funded. A grand total of  over$1,500. I almost fell out of my chair. I couldn’t believe it, a flood of emotions hit me and I immediately went to Twitter and thanked Ripple and Donors Choose for making this possible. If I wouldn’t have been so tired, I would have gotten up and did a dance. Thanks to this incredible donation, my students would now be getting the needed Perler Bead and Pixel Classroom supplies I have been trying to get them since the start of the school year. I had used a school grant of $200 that I divided in half to get a starter supply of Perler Beads for my students and much needed locks and devices to rebuild my Breakout EDU games that my students loved. I decided to start a Donors Choose project to get a full year’s supply for my students for this semester and next school year. However, we were in the final 3 weeks of the project and only two donations for an almost $400 project and lost out on 4 matches in that time. Having this happen was just incredible and I know my students are going to be so happy to hear they are getting the needed supplies for our end of the year projects.

I also had another Donors Choose Project to get a Flipgrid Recording Studio started. My students and I love using Flipgrid (though a few would beg to differ). Many of my students had been finding their voice using Flipgrid and many are starting to discover the amazing ways Flipgrid can unlock their creativity and self-reflect in the classroom. However, my classroom has been plagued with many problems over the course of the year with our computers. Due to wifi connection issues and limitations of using their own devices to record their Flipgrids. During a Business Attire Project with one of my classes. My TA brought in her selfie booth that was used for son’s wedding. We set it up to be a recording booth for my students Flipgrids and ran into a problem. The first was once again connection projects, but the next was lighting. Due to the booth, and how we had the room set up, students were recording in the dark and we had to use our own cellphones and their LED lights to record properly. This was a bit of a task and as a result, I started using my back office in my room to be our recording area for students. As they could record without problems, but a new problem came up as only three students at the most could record and if they weren’t partnering up, they would talk over each other (good thing I have CC on my computer).

Due to this, I decided to start a second project on Donors Choose to start the process of making a Flipgrid Recording Studio in my classroom. Since I knew there was no way I could get all the supplies done in one project, I decided to start small by asking for an iPad mini with LED ring light with a mounting system and a Pop up recording tent (green of course). A $781 project, and even more difficult project to get funded, but I had to give it a try. I am so happy that I did and now my students can now have more freedom with recording their Flipgrids and we will be able to do so many creativity projects with our one iPad and the use of our LED Ring Light mounting system, but of course this was only part 1 of my Flipgrid Recording Studio project.

About twenty minutes later, Donors Choose was up and working again for teachers who missed out of the Best School Day funding process and I donated to the funding project to help these teachers get funded as their students deserved to have their projects funded as well. I then returned to my project field and started the second part of my Flipgrid Recording Studio that is now live here.

I had learn about Donors Choose a few years ago when I was working as the Technology Administrator at Christian Life Schools. I wanted to use the website to give my students new opportunities with learning and technology as we were limited on resources. Sadly, since I was not a classroom teacher or taught my students 75% of the time, I was unable use Donors Choose. That changed two years ago when I arrived at Jackson Charter School as not only the new technology administrator, but also as the STEAM enrichment teacher (which had my in classrooms over 75% of the time). However, I also saw so many students who were on free to reduced lunches and a staff that wanted the best for their students and their school. Donors Choose became a necessary to get everything from wobble chairs to new uniforms for our students. The look on our students faces when their classroom supplies and tools arrived lit up their faces. We leaned on each other to share our projects all the time and about 85% of the time they were funded. When I left Jackson last spring, I left many students with supplies and equipment they now could use for their learning.

I carried my love for student learning to Stillman Valley and once again saw so many students who had limited supplies and I wanted to bring them new opportunities for learning with Donors Choose. However, after almost two years of very successful funding, I saw two projects (3Doodlers and a Passion Planner for my business students) fail to get funded. A small part of me had wished it could have made it just a little over one more week to this incredible event and would have also been funded, but I am so thankful that my students will now have these supplies and we will be able to start our Flipgrid Recording Studio. I also have started writing down the next parts of my Flipgrid Recording Studio project and working on some much needed supplies and technology from better headphones for my students’ computers to getting my Bloxels Programming Curriculum up and running, but I know that it will take time, but as we know good things take time and are worth the wait.

I want to once again thank Ripple and Donors Choose for making this all possible, thanks to you so many of my students will now have opportunities to express their creativity, find their voice and be given new learning opportunities that wouldn’t be possible without this. Thank you again.

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