Book Hustlin'

Starting My First Donors Choose Project

When I was a kid I used to love shopping for new school supplies. I meticulously searched for the right backpack, perfect binder, and colorful pens and pencils. I always liked the feeling of starting a new school year as a kid. Now as a teacher, I’m going through a similar process of searching for new things to start the year.

Bare Classroom

One thing most people don’t see is how incredibly bare a classroom is without the teacher’s belongings. Aside from the furniture, computers, and Smartboard most of the things in a classroom were acquired by the teacher. He or she either purchased the items personally or took the extra time to get the items donated.

This will be my second year teaching. My entire first year I assessed the resources I needed to make my classroom more efficient. The one thing I was missing the most was a quality classroom library. I didn’t realize before that in most classrooms the huge supply of books belonged to the teacher. Last year, most of the books were either from my school or my own. There weren’t very many books. I researched this summer how I could get funding for more books for my classroom. Books are expensive.

Donors Choose

I decided to create a Donors Choose project. This amazing site is a crowdfunding resource for teachers. Teachers can post projects on their site and people can donate to their projects from all over the world. My project qualified for donor matching from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation. I sent an email this morning to friends and family. By this afternoon my project was fully funded! I was nervous to ask people to donate, but I’m so glad I did.

Other Resources

I used a few other resources to find children’s books.

  1. Goodwill Retail

Children’s Books are about 50 cents. Every last Friday of the month, they have a storewide 25 percent off sale. I bought a lot of quality chapter books. I grabbed entire series off the shelves.

2. Gardner’s Used Books and Music

This place is a gem here in Tulsa. If you don’t live in Tulsa, I highly suggest seeking out a used bookstore in your area. I traded in a lot of books around the house I did not need. I received 50 cents — $1 for each book I traded. You can also trade in DVDs and CDs in for books as well.

3. First Book:

I haven’t used this resource yet but I’ve set up an account. This is another great source to purchase books at a low price. They also have giveaways teachers can apply for to receive free books.

I was really encouraged today to get my project funded. If anyone is hesitant to do a donors choose and to ask friends and/or family for help, please take the time out to make an account. More than likely, people in your life will be happy to support your classroom.