In just over 24 hours, all 215 books from our six participating teachers’ book registries were purchased and sent on their way to deserving kids around the country, some of whom may get nothing else this holiday season. Once those original registries were fulfilled, I added one more registry from a teacher who sent me her list on Monday in hopes of getting books to her students, too. Within a couple of hours, all of those books were purchased and sent on their way, too, making a grand total of 250 books purchased in this year’s DW holiday book drive!
Because you’ve been so generous and because some people missed the opportunity to participate in the book drive and others were asking if there was anything else we could do to help these teachers and their students, I asked all the teachers to update their registries with any additional books or items they could use (including wrapping paper to wrap the books you purchased) that would help enhance their teaching and continue inspiring their high-needs students. As some of you may know, many schools, especially those in low-income communities, have shoestring budgets that create a struggle to provide basic necessities, let alone any “extras” like a classroom library or even enough text books for every student. In my son’s school, for example, parents have to supply all the necessities, like hand soap, tissues, cleaning supplies, even printing paper, as well as help build the classroom library and play centers. In schools where kids are homeless or come from families that struggle to put food on the table, meeting even these most basic of needs is a challenge and the burden often falls on underpaid teachers to fill the gaps.
The teachers in this year’s holiday book drive work in some of the highest-poverty areas of the country. They do their best with the limited resources they have, and their students are so lucky to have them. But they could use help. For those who can, please consider contributing to these updated registries to show support and solidarity with the teachers in meeting their students’ needs (and read more about the teachers and their registries below):
Amy is a math teacher at a high school in Saguache, Colorado, where 87% of the forty students are at-risk, and approximately 40% qualify as homeless under Title X (living without electricity and/or water or living without a parent). Amy and her colleagues do their best to provide love and an education for these great kids, as well as access to showers, clothes washing, and even food for the weekends when they are away from school. After her original registry was fulfilled I invited Amy to add any additional items to her registry that would improve the quality of her classroom and teaching.
“I added some gift cards to the registry as well as some colored pencils and dry erase markers. My students enjoy doing problems on dry erase boards when we are working in class and I go through the markers like crazy. I am also going to be teaching a bit of coding with “Scratch and Python” to middle and high school students in the spring. This is new for me, so we will be learning together. I added some books to serve as resources for this new class. I also want to do a book study with my seniors with the Make it Stick book by Peter C. Brown. I would love to be able to send my students into the future with a copy of this valuable book. Thank you so much. I can’t believe how quickly the books were purchased. It’s really heartwarming!”
Alison is an eighth grade ELA/Humanities teacher in Fall River, MA where 59% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch and 70% qualify as having high needs. After her original registry was fulfilled I invited Alison to add any additional items to her registry that would improve the quality of her classroom and teaching.
“We are starting To Kill A Mockingbird this week and I added some posters to the registry to support students in their learning. The individual expo markers are for the students when we’re working on their individual white boards during whole group learning and games. The learners dictionaries are incredibly useful for my students. Too often they look up a word they don’t know, only to become frustrated because the definition includes words they don’t know. My classroom has chromebooks which allow students to utilize their online text book. The textbook has “read aloud” options for students, but we can’t use it because we don’t have headphones for the students to use, so I added headphones to my registry. I also added Amazon gift cards for every day use. I purchase candy, notebooks with cars or cute sayings on them, and pencils for my “prize box” for students who consistently meet expectations.
I am overwhelmed by the generosity of all of you.”
Katie is a sixth grade math and science teacher in Hillsdale, MI. After her original registry was fulfilled I invited Katie to add any additional items to her registry that would improve the quality of her classroom and teaching.
“I added gift cards to purchase new books for the classroom, classroom supplies that we have run out of, math manipulatives, and flexible seating for my students.”
Sheriann teaches first grade at a Title One school in Halifax County, NC. Much of the student population consists of high-need students, many of whom are experiencing instability in their homes and a wealth of other risk factors. After her original registry was fulfilled I invited Sheriann to add any additional items to her registry that would improve the quality of her classroom and teaching.
Ms. Eleczko is a first grade teacher at a title 1 elementary school in rural eastern North Carolina. She has a class full of energetic, eager-to-learn, enthusiastic, and caring 6- and 7-year-old students, many of whom are still struggling to learn to read. After her original registry was fulfilled I invited Ms. Eleczko to add any additional items to her registry that would improve the quality of her classroom and teaching.
“I added some added some more books as I would like to build a collection of books that the students can choose from to borrow to take home to read. Since many don’t have books at home this would offer them the opportunity to be exposed to much more literature throughout the year. I also added gift cards to my registry to purchases classroom supplies.”