3 ways you can help schools after Superstorm Sandy

November 11, 2012

in hot topics

I can’t imagine losing all the teaching materials I’ve bought over the years. But that’s what happened to many educators in the NYC area after Superstorm Sandy ripped through.

Far too many teachers in New York and New Jersey found out last week that the roof over their classroom had partially collapsed or that six foot high floodwater had destroyed everything they had. What must it be like to see all your computers, desks, books, pocket charts, manipulatives, paper, pencils, everything–including the things you paid for out of your own pocket–completely gone? And to then put aside your personal losses at home to help clean up the mess and set up a temporary classroom in a new location?

Welcoming students back to school and creating a sense of normalcy is a top priority. These teachers realize that for many of their students, school is a respite from the problems they’re facing at home. Even before the storm, their students relied on their classrooms to be warm, inviting, safe spaces for them to learn. How can teachers meet those needs when they’re literally starting from scratch?

There are three simple ways that YOU can help:

1) Donate money through Literacy Lifeboats or Donors Choose.  Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project have spearheaded an effort to help rebuild literacy-rich classrooms so that students can have inviting, functional learning spaces once again. They’re using donations to buy books, whiteboard easels, rugs, and all the materials teachers rely on to help them teach reading and writing. Click here to Donate to Literacy Lifeboats. Donor’s Choose is also highlighting specific classroom needs related to storm relief efforts, and you can choose the teacher(s) and project(s) you contribute to. Click here to Donate to Donors Choose Hurricane Relief Fund.

2) Donate your own digital teaching resources. If you have a TeachersPayTeachers or Teachers Notebook store, you can donate materials you’ve created through a special effort called Teachers Help Teachers. Laurah J. at The ESOL Odyssey has generously offered to collect and distribute these resources to needy teachers. Over 100 teachers have already offered their printables, centers, and other activities so that those affected by Sandy would have fun and engaging lesson resources once again. Click here to donate to Teachers Help Teachers.

3) Help spread the word about these initiatives! Both Literacy Lifeboats and Teachers Helping Teachers have Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest buttons on their sites–let your online learning network know about these opportunities to help. Many teachers are also organizing within their own teaching communities to collect funds. See if your principal will make an announcement at a staff meeting, or if your PTA is willing to contribute.

On behalf of the teachers and students in the tri-state area who were affected by Superstorm Sandy, THANK YOU!

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Angela was a classroom teacher for 11 years and currently works as an instructional coach and educational consultant based in New York City. She's created a webinar series on pro-active behavior management and has written 3 books for educators. Check out the blog and free teacher resource pages for photos, tips & tricks, activities, printables, and more.

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