Seventh-grade social studies teacher, Megan Shaw, recently received three gifts from DonorsChoose.org: A mural-sized (6’x9’) world map, a document camera, and a “Where in the World” rug.
“DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students,” said Shaw. “Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on the website. Projects can be anything from pencils to microscopes. People can give any amount to a project that most inspires them. Once a project is fully funded, the items are shipped directly to the classroom.”
A first year teacher at the Robert R. Lazar Middle School in Montville Township, Shaw discovered the charity on-line last summer and decided to post her wish list of items. If funded, she was confident the items would help make the world and its history exciting for her students.
It took several months, but ultimately ten different donors, who gave varying amounts, funded the project. The items were then purchased and delivered to the school by DonorsChoose.org.
The extraordinary mural-sized world map features land masses, borders, winds and ocean currents at sea, world vegetation, land use, and world population density. Shaw credits its vibrancy and size with promoting class discussions. “It is referenced on a daily basis,” she said. “Studying the geography of ancient civilizations has become much more hands-on. Students walk right up to the map and get an incredibly detailed view of any area of the world.”
The document camera has afforded students a more interactive learning experience. Anything placed under the camera is projected onto the SMART Board. Rare books, 3D objects, content from an iPad, and demonstrations are shared with the entire class using the camera. Additionally, when making presentations, students are able to put their poster, paper, or any other visual aid under the document camera for the entire class to see.
A visual map of the world, with graphics native to each land, the Where in the World rectangular rug not only brightens up the classroom, but it makes learning about different parts of the world fun. “During group work, there's always a group of students vying for a spot on the rug,” Shaw noted.
“The kids love the rug,” added Principal, Sharon Carr.
Shaw and her students wrote hand-written letters of thanks to nine of the ten of the donors. One donor asked to remain anonymous. Additionally, Shaw thanked the donors electronically.