My Wonderful World Challenge to expand resources for global learning

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Across
the country, millions of teachers and students are getting a start on the new
school year.

At My
Wonderful World
, we support teachers in their efforts to bring geography
into the classroom and provide rich educational experiences for students. As
part of that initiative, we’re teaming up with Donors Choose this fall to create  the My Wonderful World Challenge.

Founded
in 2001 by a high school teacher in the  Bronx, NY, Donors Choose is a non-profit organization that connects teachers in need
of materials with those willing to lend a helping hand. The process mirrors their
three-phrase mission statement: “Teachers ask. You choose. Students learn.”

Here’s
how it works
: First, public school teachers submit proposals, via an
easy-to-use online-form describing the specifics of their intended
project, the materials needed to execute it, and the exact costs. Next, they
provide a brief demographic profile of the student community and how the new
project will impact it. Once approved by Donors Choose, proposals are placed on
the website for public viewing. Donors from
across the country search the site and select projects to sponsor, committing full
or partial funds.

Donors
Choose takes care of all the logistics and purchasing of materials, and donors
directly witness the effects of their gifts on teachers and students. A
revolutionary concept that maximizes transparency and accountability while
minimizing red tape, http://www.donorschoose.org has been wildly successful.

My
Wonderful World with Donors Choose has created a My Wonderful World
Challenge
. Eligible educators can submit project ideas that creatively
integrate geography into the curriculum. We’ve scoured the existing proposals
for potential candidates and ideas. Some of our favorite examples include:

1)
“Geography  Learning Center."An educator with a large number of special needs students would like a puzzle
globe and GeoSafari talking globe to provide interactive, hands-on resources to
students that often struggle with traditional presentation of geographic
principles.

2)
“Get Outta Town."A sixth-grade teacher seeks to incorporate geography, math, and exercise by
first researching interesting destinations around the local community, then
calculating distances to those places using maps and GPS technology, and
finally encouraging students to virtually travel to those places on a
stationary exercise bike in the classroom.

3)
“Think Globally, Act Locally.” Students from Chicago want to build "earth boxes” with
plants to help mitigate their school’s carbon dioxide emissions. A previous
project served as inspiration: The city mayor challenged students to create
globes depicting ways to reduce impacts on global warming.

Of
course, the possibilities are limitless! So, if you are an educator with a
great idea for a project involving geography, consider submitting it to the My
Wonderful World Challenge
. Once you’ve created a proposal on the Donors
Choose site
and it’s been successfully approved, send a link to the post to
Sarah at scaban@ngs.org. Proposals will be selected based on innovation and
engagement of geographic principles — including helping students better
understand the world’s cultures and environments, both close to home and far
away. Special consideration will be given to projects that explicitly address state
and/or national geography standards. For the rest of the geography enthusiasts out there who aren’t classroom
teachers, we hope you’ll join the challenge as a donor. What better way
to demonstrate your support for geography education and directly impact
students in need!

 

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