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?
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!!