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One Colbert Bump. Ten Great Stories. Thousands of Students Helped.

Colbert Bump: “the curious phenomenon whereby anyone who appears on The Colbert Report gets a huge boost in popularity….” 19,469 students have already benefited from the Colbert Bump, following Stephen Colbert’s call to help public schools in Pennsylvania through his DonorsChoose.org challenge. This installment of great stories features ten classroom ideas that came to life as a result of the challenge – just a small sample of how donors across the country are helping thousands of students in low-income communities throughout Pennsylvania. (Want to know more about Colbert’s challenge? Find out here.)

Peace Rally
This teacher requested battery-powered candles for a school rally to end violence: each candle will be a visual representation of a person who was killed last year in her city. In her thank-you email to the project’s donors, she wrote: “Our elementary school is located in an urban area filled with violence. Some of our students only respond with violence and rage, because it is what they see at home and on the streets. With these candles, our yearly Peace Rally is going to be awesome! Each candle lit during a ceremony will represent a life lost to violence in our city. We are hoping that the students will see how many people really lose their lives, and just how serious it is… Our Peace Rally is at the end of April. I can’t wait to send pictures of our students taking part in this great event!”

Science Exploration Kits
This school district recently adopted a new science curriculum, but did not have the funds to buy the accompanying manipulatives. Mr. B requested the manipulatives on DonorsChoose.org so that his first graders get excited about science and are well prepared for their standardized tests. We love picturing first graders getting serious about science: going on rock scavenger hunts, keeping weather journals, and testing the pull of gravity!

As Basic As You Can Get – Paper and Pencils
It’s hard to imagine a classroom functioning without paper and pencils. More than half way through the school year, this classroom has run out of these most basic supplies. The donation of copy paper and pencils will ensure that these students complete the rest of the year with success.

Partners in Service
Mrs. F’s fourth graders are partnering with a second grade class from another school to complete a community service project. With the support of DonorsChoose.org donors, the students will be making colorful and uplifting “heart pillows” for patients who have undergone heart surgery at a local hospital. The program is highly valued by the hospital, and the students learn the act of giving without expecting anything in return. This great story entails many layers of giving!

Everyone Deserves a Chance
“My children deserve a fighting chance… one of the biggest interventions that a teacher can use to strengthen reading skills is guided reading. I am committed to doing small guided reading group instruction everyday, but my school does not really have any materials.” The teacher who submitted this project idea will be receiving a class set of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to help her students gain a love of reading.

Geometry in Motion
This high school teacher is committed to getting innovative math resources into her classroom: through DonorsChoose.org, she will provide her students with the Geometers Sketchpad program. The interactive computer program will help her struggling students get interested in difficult topics such as geometry and algebra.

Artistic Awareness
Mrs. R’s sixth grade students constantly ask her to do art, but due to a lack of supplies, she has not been able to set aside any art period. Mrs. R writes, “Every child should have the chance to participate in art lessons.” The art materials (drawing books, sketch pads, pastels, watercolors, pencils) funded through DonorsChoose.org mean that the 30 students in Mrs. R’s classroom will get that chance!

Share Learning with an Overhead Projector
The overhead projector being shipped to this classroom will help fourth graders become more involved in their lessons. The teacher has been using chalkboard original to a nearly century old building. We’re very excited that she’ll be getting a great new teaching tool!

Get These Students Communicating Effectively
The tenth grade students at this school are enrolled in a new, mandatory course on Effective Communication. The school is located in a very rural community suffering unemployment and underemployment. The students see a clear link between effective communication skills and their future career success, and are energized by the course. The materials requested in this proposal will allow the students to record speeches on video, and watch the footage of themselves so that they will be able to quickly and easily perceive areas for improvement.

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
Ms. H’s fifth grade students adored the poems she read to them by Shel Silverstein during her read-alouds. Ms. H requested a class set of texts by Silverstein to do an entire unit on his work, with accompanying journals for her students to develop their writing skills throughout the unit.

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