I haven't been able to get a Serious Post™ done on Donors Choose yet, because I've been pretty busy with research-related activities. But this is too important to put off any longer!

From now until October 22, Donors Choose is running its yearly Science Bloggers for Students campaign, wherein science bloggers and readers of science blogs donate to support science education in classrooms in low-income neighborhoods across the country. All of the money donated goes directly to the teachers who have requested the funds. This is a very good thing, and I support it. Click here to give.

I've pre-selected three projects, all from extremely low-income Los Angeles classrooms, to draw attention to - but any project that strikes your fancy can certainly benefit from your generosity:

1. Mrs. Rivas wants her 4- and 5-year-old students to begin to learn about sensation and perception by paying attention to their own senses. She writes:

Children love to explore, touch, listen and observe everything around them. The more ways that they can explore, the more that children will learn. The challenge is that I was lacking sensory tables that will provide that exploration.

Sand and water tables will foster learning in all developmental areas. It will provide opportunities for my students to experiment with math and science concepts, strengthen their physical skills, advance their social and emotional skills, and enhance language development.

2. Ms. Telebrico wants to take her second grade class to a science museum. She writes:

We desperately want to visit KidSpace Children's Museum! Our school district doesn't allow field trips to places that charge admission, but even if they did, we couldn't afford the $10 per child fee. Please donate!

Our second graders are the coolest cats you'll ever meet, but their world is very small. Because their busy families cannot afford to visit expensive museums, our kids miss out on the enriching experiences that their wealthier peers have access to... experiences that all children deserve! Some of my students have never even been to the beach, less than 6 miles away. Our school is a magnet, which means that many students start and end the day with a bus ride of up to 90 minutes. Our school is also a high-poverty one, which means that many students do not have access to the luxuries, let alone the basic necessities, that other children have. These kids are sweet to their core, curious about EVERYTHING, and hungry to learn! Please help open widen their world by sending us to the children's museum.

3. Mr. Vizthum wants to teach his middle schoolers about evolution. The problem is, for most of his students English is their second language, and there are not many texts that are accessible to students at their age and reading levels. He writes:

Evolution is the cornerstone of biology, yet my ESL students can not access the books that teach about it. They need books written at their reading level that explain the concepts of evolution theory.

My students are wonderful hardworking students, though they often do poorly on our state's standardized tests. The reason for this is that they are recent immigrants hailing from the Philippines, Mexico, Korea, Peru, China, Guatemala, Korea, El Salvador, and Vietnam. Some received state education from their home countries, others did not. Despite the challenges faced by my middle school students, they have positive attitudes and are ready for the challenges of academia.

I am requesting 25 books of the same title to use as a supplemental resource along with our textbook. We will read the book together as a class, digesting the material. What I like about this title is that it is written in basic English and has visual clues which help struggling readers.

Update: we got Mr. Vizthum his books! His project is funded!

In order to give to these amazing teachers, head on over to my Donors Choose page, scroll down to "Projects," enter in the amount you'd like to give under the project you'd like to support, and click the green GIVE button. If you don't want to choose a particular project but still want to give, enter the amount you'd like to give near the top of the page, and click GIVE. This way, your donation will go to the classroom that is nearest its funding goal.

Remember: Every dollar helps! If all you can afford is $5, then that is $5 closer to the amount the teachers must raise. The thing about Donors Choose is that unless the project becomes fully funded, the teacher won't be able to access the funds. So a $100 project that has only had $95 given still means $0 to that teacher.

Again, CLICK HERE to help science teachers nurture within their students a love of science!