Funding Your CS Classroom: 3 Mindset Shifts to Make If You've Never Written a Grant Before

When I was a kid the community college in my town had a continuing education class called Swimming for Terrified Adults. Not only was the course titIe marketing genius, I was fascinated by the spirit behind that class. I was certain the instructor had genuine empathy for people who wanted to learn to swim but we're definitely challenged by the notion of exactly what it would mean to do that very thing. 

This post is part of my attempt to do something similar - but for teachers who are feeling overwhelmed by the idea of writing a grant. For now, I will resist the urge to title this series Grant Writing for Terrified Adults and use the same name as our handy dandy guide, Grant Writing for Beginners

In this blog, we’ll start with three key mindset shifts that need to happen before you create your first grant funded project. 

Mindset Shift #1: Visualize grant writing as nothing more than formal fundraising.

If you've ever asked someone to give you money for your students or classroom, you've already done some grant writing. It's just that you actually did grant talking and not grant writing. It’s helpful to think of grant writing as a formal request asking someone to support you in your endeavor to bring the best to your learners.

After all, human beings are natural fundraisers. If there are things that we need for our survival, we figure out a way to acquire them.

Mindset Shift #2: Think of your classroom as your project. 

You already spend time thinking about what you want to do with your students over the course of the year or a lesson unit.  You think about what things you want to try, how your students might respond, and what the outcomes are going to be. Then at the end of that lesson or unit or school year you evaluate whether or not it went well and make some decisions about what you want to do next time. 

A grant project is no different. Again, it's just a highly formal way to talk about what happens in your classroom.

If you've ever thought about a class you want to teach differently and the products or tools you would need to accomplish that with your students, you've already done the heavy lifting. Start by making a bulleted list of those kinds of ideas. Once you see them on paper, you can shape them into full sentences that describe a project.

Mindset Shift #3: Realize that grants come in all different shapes and sizes.

Not every grant is going to require a 30 page application. Some grants are as simple as answering 2 or 3 questions and providing a budget. Don’t let intimidation stop you from looking into different funding opportunities. Many grant dollars go unawarded because people didn’t take the time to apply.

So there you have it. Three mindset shifts that can make the process of creating your project easier. After all, finding a grant is only half the battle.

You’ll need to be able to tell the funder how you plan to use the money they give you. More often than not, you’ll be asked to provide that description within the context of a project.

Remember it's likely you already know why you want to make a change as well as the difference that change will make for you and your students. Be courageous and share that vision with others in the form of, you guessed it - a grant funded project.

Ready to apply for your first grant? Great! 

Click here to access our My First Grant Project Template. Use this template along with our Grant Writing for Beginners and you'll be well on your way to funding the CS activities in your classroom.

Until next time!