Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Give Me Five" - A Way to Help the Sandy Hook Teachers

I haven't blogged since the tragedy in Sandy Hook. I've started to write a few times - to post my 12 in 12; to show a really cute craftivity that I can't wait to do with my class; to share a new set of January Calendar Cards. Each time I've tried, however, I've found that my heart just hasn't been into it.  At all.  I've been feeling almost guilty worrying about what I should add to my math stations next week when the Sandy Hook teachers are facing the overwhelming challenge of getting themselves and their new classrooms ready to welcome their beloved little ones back to school.  I've been stuck in a place somewhere between really wanting to do something to help, but not knowing what to do.

Then I spoke to my oldest friend, Karen, who I've known since we were about 10. Karen's also a teacher and she and I have been partners in crime for years. She's the one that I volunteered with at a special needs camp every summer growing up. She's the one I tasted my first beer with. She's the one my parents caught me on the roof with trying to sneak back into the house. She's the one who got me an interview at the school where I've been teaching at for 14 years now. She's the one I've cried with, laughed with and endured with. She's the one that just reminded me that sometimes the only thing that can comfort you when you face something this tragic is to do something good with it.

So we put our heads together to come up with a plan to help the Sandy Hook teachers.  (A plan which, I have to say, is much better that our infamous Food Fight of 1987 plan...)

The Sandy Hook community has been overwhelmed with donations, both of money and materials. Newtown is making plans on how best to use donations such as these to help in the near future. I think the long term is covered for the teachers having what they need, but what about the short term?  How can we help those teachers and their kids have the least traumatic return to the classroom?  The boxes of donated materials that the teachers have waiting for them are great, but were all selected by somebody else. Especially in a crunch, who knows what we need for our kids better then we do? If it were me, I'd want lessons, station activities, classroom decor, etc. like the ones I used before the tragedy to make things as familiar as possible - the shiny new textbooks can wait. For these teachers to get up and running next week and to just get through the first couple of days seems insurmountable, and having the things that THEY think will best help them do that is crucial.  How can we get materials directly to the teachers as quickly as possible?
After bouncing some ideas around in the TPT forum, we've came up with the "Give Me 5" project.  TPT teachers are signing up to "adopt" the Sandy Hook teachers that teach at the same grade level that they do. The Sandy Hook teachers can then choose any 5 items from each store at their grade level and they will be sent to them via email for immediate download.   Maybe Mrs. Smith thinks a Monster Truck Math game will make her returning first graders smile, or Ms. Jones thinks that turtle name tags will make her kids feel at home. With over 60 TPT teachers signed up already, each Sandy Hook teacher should be able to choose at least 20-30 new goodies for their classroom.  Since Sandy Hook is right down the road from where Karen and I live, we have some contacts in the district who are helping us to make the connections we need to, and we're looking into getting printing and/or laminating donated for the teachers as well.


We know it's not a lot, but it's something we can do to lighten the load of our Sandy Hook counterparts by just a little. By taking some of the prep work and planning off of their plates, we hope to give the Sandy Hook teachers the gift of what they need right now - time to be with their kids and help them heal.

If you're a TPT seller and you'd like to join the project, you can read more about it here or fill out the form to get involved.  We have mostly K-3 teachers signed up and could use some more 4th & 5th grade teachers as well as Specialists (Gym, Art, Music, etc).  We're hoping to get the list of donors to Sandy Hook by Tuesday so the teachers will have some time to choose materials before they start back later in the week. Feel free to grab the graphic if you'd like to pin, blog or post to social media.

Thanks so much to everyone who is getting involved - you guys are awesome!

If you're not a TPT seller but would like to help, we're putting together a way to donate TPT gift certificates. Check back for an update later tonight.

Update 11:30 pm
The number of people who have been emailing about wanting to donate gift certificates has been amazing!  I think we;re going to be able to send a lot of help to the Sandy Hook teachers. We're calling this arm of the project "Honoring Angels" If you'd like to donate a gift certificate, this is the plan we have in place:
Kim, another childhood friend of Karen's who lives in Sandy Hook, is serving as our liaison to the teachers. Kim's children thankfully survived the tragedy and she is very active in the PTO's efforts to get the kids and teachers back to school. She is thrilled about the project and will work with school officials to distribute the gift certificates amongst the teachers.

If you'd like to donate a certificate, you can do the following:
1. Log on to TPT and purchase a gift certificate in the amount of your choosing.
2. Download your certificate and email it to Karen at klmcteach5@gmail.com
3. Karen will send the certificates to Kim for the PTO to distribute to the teachers. (She will cc you so can be sure your certificate went through).

Please contact Karen at the above email address if you have any questions.
Thanks again for supporting this project!!

42 comments:

  1. Donna, We start back to school on Tuesday. We are a 1 thru 5th grade school in Longview Texas. We have 100% participation from our parents. I know that I can get some parents to help us out. We are not on TPT, but use them consisitently. Please contact me and let me know how our School (Hudson PEP) can do their part.
    Cat Morgan
    cmorgan@lisd.org
    903-472-8469

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi all! So far we have 22 gift certifictaes totaling $575 dollars to hel Sandy Hook Teachers! Thanks so much for your generousity and kindness! PLease feel free to keep the gift certificates coming to klmcteach5@gmail.com - it will certainly be a long school year for the Sandy Hook Teachers - thanks you all so much on behalf of Donna and I for your generous donations in an effort to Honor the Angels! With much appreciation, Karen

      Delete
  2. Just signed up!
    Thank you for letting is know about it!
    Jennifer
    First Grade Blue SKies

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful idea! I will be looking for the information about donating a gift certificate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi all! So far we have 22 gift certifictaes totaling $575 dollars to hel Sandy Hook Teachers! Thanks so much for your generousity and kindness! PLease feel free to keep the gift certificates coming to klmcteach5@gmail.com - it will certainly be a long school year for the Sandy Hook Teachers - thanks you all so much on behalf of Donna and I for your generous donations in an effort to Honor the Angels! With much appreciation, Karen

      Delete
  4. What a beautiful post and such a thoughtful gesture! I would LOVE to help! I can not imagine how it will be returning and facing those babies and getting back to "normal". I will gladly pin and blog about this.
    Gina
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a lovely gesture! Sandy Hook is always on my mind, too! I just signed up! Thanks so much for organizing this.
    Ѽ Lori
    Teaching With Love and Laughter
    luvyorkies@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just filled out the Google Doc. I'm "adopting" fifth grade. Thanks for doing this Donna. I student taught in Newtown and have been overwhelmed with grief.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a thoughtful idea. I will keep an eye out to help with TPT gift certificates. Thank you for coming up with this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi all! So far we have 22 gift certifictaes totaling $575 dollars to hel Sandy Hook Teachers! Thanks so much for your generousity and kindness! PLease feel free to keep the gift certificates coming to klmcteach5@gmail.com - it will certainly be a long school year for the Sandy Hook Teachers - thanks you all so much on behalf of Donna and I for your generous donations in an effort to Honor the Angels! With much appreciation, Karen

      Delete
  8. I just signed up as well! Thank you for doing this!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love this:) I am not a member of TPT, but will be watching for info about gift certificates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi all! So far we have 22 gift certifictaes totaling $575 dollars to hel Sandy Hook Teachers! Thanks so much for your generousity and kindness! Please feel free to keep the gift certificates coming to klmcteach5@gmail.com - it will certainly be a long school year for the Sandy Hook Teachers - thanks you all so much on behalf of Donna and I for your generous donations in an effort to Honor the Angels! With much appreciation, Karen

      Delete
  10. Already signed up to adopt K. Thank you again for organizing this! You are a blessing to all of these teachers!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for organizing this! What a loving and giving thing to do! We just signed up to give away items from our store! Happy New Year!

    Amanda and Stacia
    Collaboration Cuties

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a fantastic idea!!! So excited to sign up and be a part of this. Thank you!
    Colleen :-)
    Fun and Fearless in First

    ReplyDelete
  13. So happy to help in this way!!!! Very, very special.
    Growing Firsties

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you so much for doing this. We all want to help in some way, and don't always know how. You've come up with a creative, thoughtful solution.

    Marion
    mentoringinthemiddle.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just signed up. Thanks for organizing this great effort.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you for doing this. I signed up for 5th grade and blogged about it on my blog and on Fifth Grade Freebies and on my blog to try to spread the word. I love that this idea will help make those first few weeks a little easier.

    -Mercedes
    Surfing to Success

    ReplyDelete
  17. Donna, I am so glad I read your post today. I just sent off a gift certificate. If everyone were to do the same we could make a difference! Thank you for organizing this !!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh my goodness! This is absolutely amazing and I am so excited to be a part of it. I have been searcing for a way to make even a small difference and this is such a wonderful way to reach out & help. I appreciate you organizing this and I am going to sign up right now!
    *Khrys

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is a WONDERFUL idea. Thank you so much for organizing this. I just filled out the form... I hope it's not too late. =)

    Thanks!
    Ms. Smith
    Adventures of Ms. Smith

    ReplyDelete
  20. DONE!!! thanks for the great idea!
    Dawn

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hey! I tried to fill out the form, but guess I just missed out. If there's a way for me to still join or if you do this again please let me know. I love this idea!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I want to donate from my store but the form says no more submissions. Can I still help?

    Thank you for organizing this. You're a wonderful person,

    Greg
    Gregsmedley@gmail.com


    Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten

    ReplyDelete