teacher grants come in all shapes and sizesKeeping a classroom well-stocked with supplies can be a bit of a challenge for any teacher. You want to give your students the best possible learning experience, but expenses can be tough to work out depending on how limited your budget is. There are grants out there that can help—but how do you know which ones to choose, and how can you set your submission apart?

The answer, as it so often does, lies with your students. By putting together and publishing a professionally bound classbook that will really blow your application out of the water, you can stand out from the competition. This will give you and your students your best shot at securing grants that will cover all your basic classroom supplies and then some.

Loosening Up a Tight Budget: Title 1 Grants

Title 1 grants, named for the section of the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) from which they originate, are high-value teacher grants for low-income schools. In order to qualify for a Title 1 grant, your school must meet a number of federal requirements based on factors such as local and national poverty estimates and how high the cost of education currently is in your state.

When applying for a Title 1 grant, be sure to choose a topic idea that highlights what amazing things your students could accomplish with that money, given the chance. What kind of field trips would be possible? Would they be able to redecorate the classroom? Even something as simple as brand new boxes of crayons can make a kid’s day!


Showing is always more effective than telling. Don’t just talk about how deserving your kids are of the classroom supplies this grant could buy them—show it with a forward-looking classbook project that puts their talent and their potential in the spotlight. “Faces of the Future” by Mrs. Volbrecht’s class, for example, shows off her students’ imaginations and ambitions by professionally showcasing what they’d like to be in the future—while subtly reminding readers that, as the saying goes, our kids are the future.

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Your Friendly Neighborhood Benefactors: Local Grants

Local teacher grants are a great place to find funding for classroom supplies because competition is more localized so you have the best shot of getting funding for the materials your students need. The prizes may be smaller, but you’ll still be able to enhance your students excitement for learning with a few key purchases. To win over judges for this type of grant, try putting a creative twist on a topic that’s tailored to your city, state or region.

Crowdfunding campaign sites like GoFundMe, meanwhile, offer an easy fundraising alternative that’s just a click away. Your best options, should you choose to seek your funding here, are campaign sites like Donors Choose that have been designed for classrooms or sites that include classroom-specific options, such as PledgeCents or AdoptAClassroom. This method rarely requires application paperwork or a project, but a classbook can still be an excellent opportunity to show off what your students can do to potential backers—or a creative way to show your thanks once you’ve received your funding.


A local grant is an excellent opportunity for you and your students to do a little hometown exploring, either physically or through research. In “Winter in Wisconsin,” for instance, Mrs. Oster’s class tells some truly entertaining stories—some more believable than others!—about what the snowy season is like in the midwest. Not only does the classbook highlight local students, it does so in a beautiful, professional book that can’t help but impress.

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Seeking Out Subject-Based Grants

As with local grants, subject-based grants offer teachers opportunities for funding for tools perfect for their favorite subjects and unique learning styles. The biggest difference is that, with local grants, you will only be eligible for opportunities in your immediate area, while with subject-based grants you can choose which subjects to pursue. The key here is to play to your students’ strengths—choose subjects and topics which will put your students’ most developed talents on full display.


Classbooks are perfect projects for submitting to subject-based grants—and not just for English, either. In fact, a unique classbook take on a subject that doesn’t obviously lend itself to a narrative may be that much more impressive than a regular storybook in this particular case. “Along My Way… Math Everyday” is one fantastic example. Written and illustrated by Mrs. Pruett’s class, this lovely classbook explores how elementary students put their math skills to good use on a daily basis.

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Going for the Big Win: National Grants

The Olympics of the educational grant arena, national teacher grants such as the National Book Challenge often offer the biggest rewards—up to thousands of dollars in cash or materials. They’re also the most competitive, as they are generally open to schools of all kinds, all across the country, and tend to be the most well-known. In order to stand out here, you’re going to need to come up with something special, something your students will be motivated to put 110% effort into that will impress your judges.


For national grants for classroom supplies, always go all-out for your entry. Encourage your students to get as wild and creative with their ideas as they like, and use this opportunity to explore and push the limits of their imaginations. One great example is Mrs. Bollen’s class’s book of “Fables.” This past National Book Challenge winner is a unique collection of Aesop-style stories written and illustrated by students that really shows off their creative potential.

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A Creative Way to Gain Classroom Supplies

The fantastic thing about using a classbook project as part of your grant application process is how easy it is to publish a truly stunning book. With a free, classbook kit with everything you need or the help of an online publishing platform tailor-made for use in the classroom, you can turn your students’ work into an impressive classbook in just a few simple steps.

The even better news is that you don’t need fancy or expensive supplies to do it. With little more than a pen and a handful of markers or colored pens, your students can write, illustrate and publish a classbook that’s every bit as beautiful and impressive as their favorite author’s latest release. Even if your classbook doesn’t win you grants or awards, you and your students will still walk away with memories and a priceless keepsake that will always have a special place in your hearts—and on your bookshelves.

For more free teaching resources—including more information on educational grants and project inspiration—be sure to visit our online teacher’s lounge, and don’t forget to sign up for your free classbook publishing kit!


Image sources: Lead image via Pixabay;