Although the back-to-school season is an exciting time for teachers and students, the reality is that not all teachers have the resources needed to fully support student learning for the coming year. According to the Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report, 56% of teachers report spending their own money on books.
That’s why over the past year teachers created over 18,000 campaigns nationwide raising over $2 million on Scholastic ClassroomsCount™, a fully crowdsourced fund for educators to buy resources for their classroom. Teachers don’t have to worry about organizing checks or cash, and contributors can feel confident that their funds stay in each teacher’s Scholastic account. Educators can spend every penny immediately across Scholastic at The Scholastic Teacher Store, Scholastic Book Clubs, The Scholastic Parent Store, and Scholastic Magazines+. In other words, there’s no need to reach a target to use the funds.
This August, we will spotlight educators who have raised funds through the platform to purchase books, magazines, and other trusted products to support students this school year.
To kick off the series, we asked Danielle Iannelli, a Chicago-area fourth-grade teacher, a few questions on her experience restocking her classroom library with the help of the free Scholastic ClassroomsCount™. Read the Q&A below to find out more!
How do your students interact with your classroom library?
When I came to my new school, I came to absolutely nothing. My classroom was actually the junk room. Once I started to put in books that were in good condition, it was still so bare. It was difficult to get my kids interested. We all want a book that looks pretty and nice – not a book that’s falling apart. That’s when I knew I had to do something. That’s when I started my first ClassroomsCount™ fundraiser.
What was your experience in raising funds through ClassroomsCount™?
Social media made it very easy. I had people that I went to grammar school with donating, just because I posted to Facebook. People were eager and they wanted to help. With this fundraiser, I’m not asking for money, I just put it out there and the fundraiser did it all on its own. I love the idea that I don’t have to handle any money.
The kids were excited when they saw the funds go up. I would show the kids that it was growing, and they would go home and tell their parents. They were all very engaged, which was really nice.
What type of books did you choose?
I have a very wide range of readers in my classroom. I wanted to make sure that I had books to meet all of them. Through ClassroomsCount™, I was able to get those easy readers and slip them in at every table.
Could you tell us about the ways you used your new books in the classroom? How did your students respond?
One day I greeted them at the door dressed as a chef, holding a tray of books like a serving platter. They had no idea what was going on. On the door, I had a sign that said ‘Book Tasting, Make Your Reservation.’ They lined up and I had jazz music playing. My classroom looked like a restaurant.
This was the first time they were actually interacting with the books and putting their hands on them. They hadn’t seen them yet. Every table was a different genre and they moved through the tables while I rang a dinner bell. They visited each table and discussed the books with their groups. They ‘tasted’ every genre as they moved and filled out a napkin of what they wish their first book could be. After they had a discussion about what books they wanted, they were getting fired up because they really wanted to get their hands on the books. I was able to do a total of three tastings last year because of my campaign.
If you’re a teacher, you can set up a ClassroomsCount™ campaign in minutes and share it with your friends, family, and community. Sharing on social media makes it four times more likely that your campaign will get funded!
If you’re not a teacher but want to support classrooms, ClassroomsCount™ is a fantastic way to do so. Check out these inspiring campaigns, and fund a teacher’s campaign today to get books, magazines, and products in kids’ hands all year long!