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Ms. Stanley from Atlanta GA is requesting Books through DonorsChoose, the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.

Connecting 5th Graders Through Reading and Social Media

My students need two class sets of "The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963" by Christopher Paul Curtis.

  • $305 goal

This project expired on March 27, 2012.

Hooray! This project is fully funded

My Students

By the time we were in fifth grade, we had unveiled new authors, genres, and had really begun to hone in on our favorite types of literature. Unfortunately, most of my ten-year-olds have not yet read a novel cover to cover.

I am a Teach For America teacher working in a low-income school.

About half of my students are reading on grade level. Their biggest issue is reading comprehension. Instead of reading true literature in class, my students read from an anthology. Few of these stories offer opportunities for critical thinking and insightful discussion. These skills are the first step in creating students who are passionate about reading and in turn, learning. When I told my students about the idea of developing technological-based literature circles, they looked at me very curiously. I explained to them that along with a 5th grade class at a neighboring school, we would read books, write about them, and have class discussions. The fun part comes in when we blog and Skype with the other class about our discoveries and interpretations of the books. My students were thrilled to jump start our new reading cycle. As a teacher who believes in the power of literacy, I was encouraged by their eagerness.

My Project

I am requesting a class set of a book entitled "The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963" by Christopher Paul Curtis. "Watsons" was named a Newberry Honor Book, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. It is the fictional story of a family that travels from Michigan to Alabama in September 1963, the month of the Birmingham Church Bombings that killed four children. Narrated by ten-year-old Kenny, the story highlights the Civil Rights Era from a child's perspective and allows the reader to see how the movement continues to have an impact in the 21st century. As pre-teens in the south, my students will be able to identify with Kenny and get a glimpse at the social implications and context offered by this novel. By collaborating with another class they will have an amazing opportunity to understand other points of view and use a variety of technology to communicate and express their thoughts.

As my students make the transition from elementary to middle school they will be faced with many new triumphs and trials.

Having the chance to finally read a complete book above their grade level (with my assistance) will equip them with self-confidence they need to try their hardest in sixth grade and beyond. Connecting with other students will enable them to see the similarities between themselves and others. My students and I thank you for taking the time to read our story!

Ms. Stanley
Grades 3-5
Nearly all students from low‑income households

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8 donors8 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 40 students.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
The Watsons Go to Birmingham (pbk) • AKJ Books $5.17 40 $206.80

Materials cost


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Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


Total project goal


How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


8 Donors


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Project Activity

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