Would you like to apply for a grant, but never have time to meet the deadline? Start looking for grants that are awarded on a rolling basis. Two extensive lists are offered by the eSchool News Funding Center (www.eschoolnews.org/resources/funding/ongoing.cfm) and School Grants (www.schoolgrants.org/grant_opps/nation_no_deadline.htm). Both sites direct educators to dozens of opportunities. For example, the Coca-Cola Foundation offers grants of $5,000 to $25,000 for K-12 initiatives such as teaching seventh-graders about the civil rights movement, and Chevron Corporation makes grants and contributions to schools for programs in four areas: math and science education, educational quality, educational equity, and best practices in the classroom.
Once you've found the perfect grant, brush-up your proposal-writing skills by visiting The Foundation Center's online Learning Lab at http://fdncenter.org/learn. This site allows you to work through free tutorials, read condensed versions of the center's how-to publications (or purchase the full versions), e-mail questions to the Foundation librarian, and review frequently asked questions.
Support for Science Teachers
The Children's Book Council and National Science Teachers Association has released their annual list of the best science trade books for K–12 students. Several categories such as life sciences, biography, and technology and engineering make skimming the list quick and easy. Under the archaeology, anthropology, and paleontology category you'll find books such as Dinosaur Parents, Dinosaur Young: Uncovering the Mystery of Dinosaur Families by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld. The annotation includes information on the publisher, number of pages, and cost, as well as this brief review, "Using the latest findings, the author describes some amazing discoveries that changed forever the way scientists think about dinosaurs. The book provides evidence about how some types of dinosaurs tended their eggs and cared for their young. The book includes beautiful illustrations and full-color photographs." Current and previous lists are available at www.nsta.org/ostbc.
Ending Child Labor
To draw attention to the more than 250 million child laborers who are not only forced into harmful working conditions, but are also prevented from attending school, the AFT is an active participant in the Child Labor Coalition. In anticipation of the United Nations Special Session for Children held this May, the AFT co-sponsored a soccer game in Washington, DC, starring rescued child laborers. The game highlighted the World Cup Campaign 2002, designed to prevent children from working in the factories that make soccer balls, apparel, and other related products. To learn more about the AFT's Child Labor Project and link to instructional resources, visit www.aft.org/international/child.
A Map of Freedom for Social Studies Teachers
The annual Map of Freedom published by Freedom House is now available. By categorizing each country as Free, Partly Free, or Not Free, it provides students with an easy and instant portrait of the state of freedom around the world. Teachers can get a free copy of the map by calling Freedom House at 212/514-8040.
The research basis for the map is the just-published, 600-page Freedom in the World 2001–2002. This annual, comprehensive survey by Freedom House evaluates the state of political rights and civil liberties in every country. Its findings are widely regarded as the definitive statement on the condition of freedom and democracy in the world. The book also includes essays by leading social scientists and charts and tables that illustrate the ebb and flow of freedom in different regions and among differing cultures. It's all available on the Web at www.freedomhouse.org.
Helpful Programs for Sparking Student Interest and Effort
As the school year progresses, motivating students to do their best can become a big challenge. Next year, consider a national competition or opportunity for publication to keep your students engaged, focused, and willing to work hard. From history to science, exciting challenges for all students abound.
National History Day
National History Day is not just a day, but a year-long education program that culminates in a national contest every June. While this competition is the core of the program, NHD also offers workshops, seminars, and curriculum materials for teachers, as well as summer internships for students. The program is open to all students (public, private, gifted, and special needs) in grades 6-12. For the local, state, and national competitions, students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries, and research papers related to an annual theme (which, in 2003, is "Rights and Responsibilities in History"). In the national competition, awards are given in several age categories and for a wide range of topics. There are also special awards, such as the Best Senior Student Individual Documentary Presentation sponsored by The History Channel and the prize on Labor History sponsored by the AFL-CIO. There is also an annual award for a teacher that makes an outstanding contribution to history education. To learn more about National History Day, visit www.NationalHistoryDay.org.
DuPont Challenge Science Essay Contest
The DuPont Challenge is a chance for budding scientists to receive national recognition for their research papers. Topics students choose to research and write about are diverse—from astronomy to physics, from biotechnology to paleontology. Top essays always possess careful thought, insight, research, clear writing, and genuine enthusiasm for an important subject. To get a clear sense of these qualities, students can view winning essays on the Web site. The winners of the junior (grades seven to nine) and senior (grades 10 to 12) divisions are flown to Space Center Houston (along with their sponsoring science and English teachers) and receive $1,500. To find out more about the DuPont Challenge, visit www.glcomm.com/dupont/.
Stone Soup is the only magazine made up entirely of the creative work of children. Young people through age 13 from all over the world contribute their stories, poems, book reviews, and art work to Stone Soup. Stone Soup is published six times a year, in January, March, May, July, September, and November. The staff, which includes the two founders of Stone Soup, carefully read through every story and poem sent. If asked, the staff will try to reply to the author with brief comments and suggestions within four weeks of the submission. Items that combine both "beautiful writing and original ideas" are selected for publication. To read a sample issue and learn more about Stone Soup, visit www.stonesoup.com.
National Geographic Bee
Generate excitement around geography with the National Geographic Bee, for fourth through eighth grade. The Bee occurs in three stages, beginning at the school level. Each school winner takes a written test, and the top hundred scorers in each state and territory compete at the state level. The 55 state and territory winners meet at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, DC, for the national competition where the top three students will be awarded college scholarships of $25,000 for the winner, $15,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place. For more information on the Bee, including sample questions through the online GeoBee Challenge, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/geographybee/. An official Bee study guide is now in bookstores. To participate, schools must register by October 15th.