Free Money Resources for Teachers

Free Money Resources for Teachers

It’s a tradition in teaching to reach into your own pocket to cover classroom supplies and those fun ‘extras’ that make learning memorable. Educational grants can help. From pencils to white boards to field trips, these grants can offset your expenses and, in some cases, boost your school’s budget.

Unlike other types of funding, grants do not have to be repaid. Most grants require an application, and a report on how the money was spent. Some can be competitive. If you meet the criteria and the deadline, however, you’re on your way to earning free money.

We did a deep dive to discover some of the best and most innovative grants for educators, both on the national and state levels. Here’s what we found.


Colibri Special Project Grant

Up to $5,000

These grants fund projects that significantly advance student learning and create engaging student experiences. Grants are for grades K-12 in public schools. Please note however: these grants do not fund textbooks for schoolwide use, technology or A/V equipment, travel, admission fees, or field trips.

Dollar General Literacy Foundation


Dollar General offers youth literacy grants to help students below grade level. The grants can be used to implement new or expand existing literacy programs, purchase new technology to support literacy initiatives, or to buy books, materials, or software.

Kids in Need Foundation

Boxes of supplies

The Supply a Teacher program seeks to provide necessary resources for teachers in underserved schools. These grants are open to teachers at schools where 50% or more of students qualify for the National School Lunch Program. Applications are accepted year-round.

NEA Foundation

$1,500 – $5,000

NEA Student Success Grants are meant to elevate and improve student development through project-based learning in public schools. Funds may be used for materials, equipment, transportation, or technology. To be eligible for this grant, you must be a member of the NEA.

Pets in the Classroom

Award varies

Grants are available for PreK through 9th grade teachers to purchase and maintain small animals in the classroom. There is also a Dogs in the Classroom program that supports animal-assisted therapy.

Toshiba American Foundation Grants

Up to $1,000 (K-5) and $5,000+ (Grades 6-12)

These grants are for project-based learning in science, technology, engineering, and math. Note however that the Foundation does not fund computers, laptops, or tablets.

Voya Unsung Heroes

$2,000 – $25,000

Voya funds innovative projects for K-12 classrooms, both public and private. Project areas span the curriculum, and include history, social sciences, psychology, economics, political science, career technical education, English, music, art, physical education, nutrition, and wellness.


Arizona School Boards Association


Each quarter, the ASBA awards grants to enhance PreK-12 classroom learning. Teachers must describe how the project will impact student achievement and how it reflects the priorities of their district. Grant winners must attend a board meeting where they will be recognized.


California Retired Teachers Association


This organization provides funds for teachers to use in their classrooms however they like. There also are local CalRTA divisions that offer direct support for local schools.


Professional Association of Colorado Educators

Up to $500

PACE Classroom Grants may be used for a variety of projects and materials, including but not limited to books, software, calculators, math manipulatives, art supplies, audio-visual equipment, and lab materials. Awards are competitive and PACE members are given preference.


Idaho CapEd Foundation

Up to $800

These grants are for PreK-12 teachers in Idaho. The funding is to be used for specific and innovative educational classroom projects and school programs. Projects should enhance the state or district curriculum for the grade level.

Northwest Professional Educators

Up to $500

Grants may be used for books, software, calculators, lab materials, art supplies, audio visual equipment and other materials. Awards are competitive.


Casey’s Cash for Classroom Grants

$3,000 to $50,000

These grants cover physical improvements, material needs, professional development, and community engagement. Applicants must be a K-12 public or nonprofit private school in Casey’s 16-state footprint, which includes Kansas. Submissions are due in the fall and awarded in the spring.

Kansas Association of American Educators

Up to $500

These grants may be used for a variety of projects and materials, including but not limited to books, software, calculators, math manipulatives, art supplies, audio-visual equipment, and lab materials. Awards are competitive, and preference is given to members of the Kansas Association of American Educators.


Oregon Education Association Foundation

Up to $100

These grants are designed to help students meet basic, urgent, and immediate needs so they can succeed in school. Importantly, these needs must be unmet by any other source. California Casualty has proudly worked with the Oregon Education Association (OEA) as their exclusive auto & home provider since 1974, and regularly donates to the Foundation.


Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium

Up to $500

This funding is available for Wyoming educator professional development, and can include attending workshops or seminars, hosting events or activities, purchasing materials for use in the classroom or out-of-school educational settings, continuing education, and other related activities.

Provided by California Casualty

California Casualty Music & Arts Grant


The California Casualty Music & Arts Grant was established to provide support for K-12 public schools negatively impacted by reduced budgets. To apply for this grant, you must be a member of an education association that partners with California Casualty. Learn more at the link below.

Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant


This namesake program was established 2010 based on California Casualty Chairman, Emeritus Tom Brown’s belief that lessons learned through athletics – teamwork, trust, communication, and confidence – translate in the classroom and beyond. The program is open to middle and high school employees who are members of participating education association. Learn more and apply using the link below.

Do you have a grant that’s not mentioned here? Share it with your colleagues in the comments.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

The Best Gifts for Teachers

The Best Gifts for Teachers

Ask any teacher. They love getting gifts, but there’s a limit to the number of coffee mugs and candles that any one person can enjoy. We’ve asked teachers what they really want, and they’ve answered. Here’s the definitive guide on the best gifts for teachers this holiday season.

Fun Classroom Supplies

Most teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies, so these are sure to be a big hit. Consider putting together a gift basket with a few items. Package them in a plastic container like a shower caddy that also may be used for organizing supplies for a practical twist.

Dowling Magnet Adhesive Tape

This tape turns anything into a magnet. It’s an easy way to hang up posters, decor, and more.

Fancy Pens or Expo Markers

We love these pens for their inspirational sayings and vibrant colors. But any set of quality pens for grading and notes will work. Don’t forget the Expo markers, too.


Post-it notes come in so many fun shapes and sizes. Not only are they useful for teachers’ organization, but they are also ideal for students sharing ideas in large group activities.

Label Maker

Help your child’s teacher stay organized with this handheld label maker.

Personalized Stationery

Personalized notes, including those that depict the subject area that teachers teach, can be fun. You can find personalized stamps and stickers, too.

Self-Care Items

Here’s how you can provide thoughtful gifts that promote self-care in the classroom and beyond. These useful items can make a teacher’s life much easier. For higher ticket items, consider going in with a group of parents or the class.

Rechargeable Hand Warmers

These will be much appreciated on those cold days for recess duty.

Electric Kettle

Your favorite teacher can enjoy a hot cup of tea in the classroom anytime with this cordless kettle.

Comfy Seat Cushion

Elevate the teacher’s chair with this ultra-comfortable cushion.

Food & Snacks

Chocolate, baked goods, and gift baskets of food and snacks are always appreciated. Just be aware of any food allergies or dietary restrictions.

Gift Cards

Choose gift cards for the places that teachers shop, such as Target, Amazon Prime, Michaels, or Teachers Pay Teachers. During a busy holiday season, teachers would also appreciate gift cards from Door Dash, Starbucks, Dunkin, grocery stores, gas stations, and local restaurants.

Other Ideas

AirTags or Tile Trackers

These Bluetooth trackers help find lost items. AirTags only work with iPhones but Tile Trackers work with both Apple and Android products.

Personalized Keychains and Lanyards

These fun lanyards add some pizzazz to an everyday badge. Find one with your teacher’s subject area or interest.

 Personal Notes of Thanks

Handwritten notes by students cost nothing but mean so much. They are among a teacher’s favorite gifts.

What to Avoid

In searching for the perfect gift, you will want to stay away from the following.

  • Avoid alcohol unless you know the teacher enjoys wine, beer, or spirits.
  • Let the teacher choose his/her own beauty products from hand creams to perfume/cologne, jewelry, and makeup. These are highly personal choices.
  • Stay away from apple motif items and desk display items that are essentially “dust collectors.” Chances are your child’s teacher already has more than they need.
  • Teachers also get a fair number of mugs, candles, and ornaments. They probably don’t need any more.

Do you have other great ideas for teacher gifts? Share them in the comments. See our blog on teacher stocking stuffers and how to thank a teacher for some more great ideas.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Music & Arts Grant Recipients – 2023

Congratulations to all of the recipients of the 2023 California Casualty Music & Arts Grants! Our field team had the opportunity to do in-person presentations to award all the very deserving recipients with a check for $250 to put towards supporting their schools’ music or arts program.

Learn more about the California Casualty Music & Arts Grant, and our other Community Impact Program, the Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant.


Music and Arts Grant - Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark Elementary

Local President Melissa Funk, recipient Mckenzie Pollano, and Dee Dee Templeton from California Casualty.

Music & Arts Grant at Tenaya Middle

Tenaya Middle School

Music & Arts Grant recipient Nickie Seno and Chris Nieto from California Casualty

Music and Arts Grant - Adams City High School

Adams City High School

Jason Malmberg – District 14 Classroom Teachers Association President, Brendan Parker – Recipient, Jolie Spence – California Casualty, and Chris Garcia – Principal

Music and Arts Grannt Stonecreek Junior High

Stonecreek Junior High School

Chris Nieto from California Casualty and Music & Arts Grant recipient Kimberly Aguayo

Music and Arts Grant Edith Teter Elementary

Edith Teter Elementary School

California Casualty Music & Arts Grant recipient Kim Green

Music and arts grant Topeka High School

Topeka High School

Paula Reilly, Associate Principal; Dustin Dick, Principal; Josh Davis, Grant Recipient; Angela Neuroth, Topeka NEA President; Lindsay Buck, KNEA UniServ Director; Rebecca Stumpf, California Casualty

Music and arts grant South Elementary School

South Elementary School

Jolie Spence, California Casualty; Jessica Bush, recipient; and Kathey Ruybal, BEA President

Music and arts grant Liberty Elementary

Liberty Elementary School

Dee Dee Templeton from California Casualty and Music & Arts Grant recipient Stacy Ryan

Music and arts grant Sabin Middle School

Sabin Middle School

Daniel Carragher, Principal (it was pajama day); Megan Langdon and Jessica Medina, recipients; and Jolie Spence, California Casualty

Music and arts grant West Putnam Elementary School

West Putnam Elementary School

Patrisa Espinosa, principal at West Putnam Elementary, and recipient Stephanie Adegbenro 


Music and arts grant Woodglen Elementary School

Woodglen Elementary School

Jolie Spence from California Casualty and Music & Arts Grant recipient, Devan Willis

Music and arts grant Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School

Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School

California Casualty Music and Arts Grant recipient Lindsey Sparacino 

Music and arts grant Joe Stefani Elementary School

Joe Stefani Elementary School

Jessica Coronado, recipient of the California Casualty Music & Arts Grant

Music and arts grant Ella B. Allen Elementary School

Ella B. Allen Elementary School

Chelice Gilman, California Casualty Music & Arts Grant recipient

Music and arts grant Bear Creek K-8 School

Bear Creek K-8 School

Jolie Spence from California Casualty with Music & Arts Grant recipient, Angelina “Crow” Medina

Music and arts grant Hugh J. Boyd Jr. Elementary School

Hugh J. Boyd Jr. Elementary School

Nancy Corsaro, recipient of the California Casualty Music & Arts Grant

Music and arts grant Midway Elementary School

Midway Elementary School

Mitzi Hull, recipient of a 2023 Music & Arts Grant from California Casualty

Music and arts grant Cheldelin Middle School

Cheldelin Middle School

Music & Arts Grant recipient, David Blake and Dee Dee Templeton from California Casualty

Music and arts grant in Idaho

Koelsch Elementary

Lara Luthy, Boise Education Association president; Marci Greear, Music & Arts Grant recipient; and Layne McInelly, Idaho Education Association president

Music and arts grant - Charles in Idaho

Owyhee Elementary

Lara Luthy, Boise Education Association president; Charles Diemart, Music & Arts Grant recipient; and Layne McInelly, Idaho Education Association president

Music and arts grant - Emily in Idaho

Hillside Junior High

Lara Luthy, Boise Education Association president; Emily White, Music & Arts Grant recipient; and Layne McInelly, Idaho Education Association president

Music and arts grant - Miano Elementary School

Miano Elementary School

Monique Mowad, recipient of a California Casualty Music & Arts Grant

Music and arts grant Powell Middle School

Powell Middle School

Amanda Crosby, LEA President; Mindy Enley, recipient; and Jolie Spence, California Casualty

Diablo Vista Middle Cchool

Diablo Vista Middle School

Chavonta Edington, Music Teacher Ben Loomer, Principal Jeffrey Osbom, and Angie Rajczyk from California Casualty

olympic high school

Olympic High School

Angie Rajczyk from California Casualty with Grant recipient Unjoo Chang, and Principal Courtney Lyou


Mark West Charter School

Mark West Charter School

Angie Rayczyk from California Casualty with Music & Arts Grant recipient Lisa Chapman, and Principal Michelle Franci


valley verde elementary

Valley Verde Elementary School

California Casualty’s Angie Rajczyk with grant recipient Criag Yen, and Principal Mignon Perkins

olympic high school

Tynes Elementary School

Music & Arts Grant recipient Mary Stuckmeier, APLE President, Linda Manion and Principal, Tonya Gordillo


Barton Elementary School

Barton Elementary School

Principal, Sandy Bartoldus, and Music & Arts Grant recipient, Rosa Guzman


Locke College Prep Academy

Locke College Prep Academy

Music & Arts Grant recipient, Larry McDuffie with Principal, Peggy Gutierrez

lindstrom elem

Lindstrom Elementary School

Principal, Dr. Olga Rios, Jana Charles from California Casualty, and grant recipient, Lara Cummins


Madison elem

Madison Elementary School

AVP, Vivian Hanson, Santa Ana USD Trustee, Katelyn Brazer Aceves, Principal, Sara Marin, Grant Recipient, Maria Hollingsworth, (student aide, unknown) and President of SAEA, Sonta Garner-Marcelo


Beating the Winter Blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Beating the Winter Blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder

If the winter months get you down, you’re not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects millions of people, and it’s more than just the winter blues. It can affect your mental and physical health.

Here’s what you need to know about SAD, including how to recognize signs and symptoms, some available treatments, and how to help those around you if you think they suffer from this condition.

What is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression. It is more than feeling sad or unhappy, and it is not a condition that can be wished away. Symptoms start in the late fall and continue into the winter months. They are most severe during December, January, and February. Generally, SAD resolves itself during the light-filled days of spring. (There also is a form of summer SAD, thought to be caused by the heat, humidity, and allergies. Summer SAD is much less common.) SAD usually starts in adulthood. It is rare among people who are under age 20. It is more common among women than men.

What causes SAD?

The exact cause is not known, but it is thought that SAD is linked to reduced exposure to sunlight. Light stimulates the hormone, serotonin, in our brain which makes us feel happy. Increased darkness on the other hand prompts the brain to make more melatonin, causing sleepiness and reduced energy.

What are the signs of SAD?

SAD can affect how you feel, think, and behave. The symptoms are persistent and can be severe. While not every person experiences all the symptoms, here are some common ones for winter SAD.

  • Losing interest in activities: If the activities that usually interest you lose their appeal, that’s a symptom of a low mood or depression.
  • Low energy and sluggishness: You may find it difficult to muster the energy to do the most basic tasks. You might experience extreme fatigue.
  • Sleeping too much: You find yourself sleeping more than usual, and you have difficulty waking up. You may experience daytime drowsiness.
  • Appetite changes: You crave the mood and energy boosting comfort of carbs. However, overloading on carbs can lead to weight gain.
  • Difficulty concentrating: You may be unable to focus and have trouble thinking clearly.
  • Negative thinking: You may feel hopeless, worthless, or even suicidal. You might be anxious and irritable.

What are options for treatment?

Without treatment, SAD can last months. However, most people who seek help can see improvement in a matter of weeks. The symptoms of SAD may look like other mental health conditions, so it’s important to get a diagnosis. A doctor or mental health professional can diagnose SAD and offer options for treatment. Treatments may include:

  • Light therapy: This involves sitting in front of a special light in a lightbox or panel for a specific amount of time each day.
  • Sunlight exposure: Spending more time outside during daylight hours can help. Consider a daily walk or outdoor exercise.
  • Psychotherapy: Talk therapy can help you to understand SAD and manage its symptoms from anxiety to depression.
  • Medications: ln some cases, antidepressants may be prescribed to correct the chemical imbalance caused by SAD.

Here are some ways to help prevent SAD.

You can take steps to prepare for winter SAD, which may help to reduce its effects.

  • It may be tempting to go into hibernation mode when it starts to become dark early. However, that can perpetuate the feelings of depression. Instead, plan activities to stay social. This will help to boost your mood.
  • Exercise regularly. If you can exercise in the sunlight, that’s a double boost.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet. If you’re tempted by carbs for a quick energy boost, go for complex carbohydrates instead. For example, choose whole grain breads and fruits over sweets and chips.
  • Maintain a consistent sleep routine. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol, especially before bed.

Finally, seek professional help if your symptoms persist. SAD is treatable, and fortunately, does not last forever.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

20 Best Gratitude Quotes

20 Best Gratitude Quotes

It’s time to stop and reflect on the good that is around us. Starting each day with an inspiring message of gratitude not only sets the tone for positivity, it also benefits you in numerous ways. Being thankful increases feelings of happiness and optimism. Gratitude fosters positive self-esteem and improves relationships. It helps to reduce stress.

Embrace the power of gratitude with these inspiring quotes.

  1. “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse
  2. “If you want to find happiness, find gratitude.” – Steve Maraboli
  3. “Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault
  4. “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” Alphonse Karr
  5. “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
  6. “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
  7. “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Aesop
  8. “The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” –  Special Olympics CEO Mary Davis
  9. “An attitude of gratitude brings great things.” – Yogi Bhajan
  10. “The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now.”  – Oprah Winfrey
  11. “Remember that what you now have was once among the things that you had hoped for.” – Epicurus
  12. “Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin
  13. “This is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before.”  – Maya Angelou
  14. “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” –  John F. Kennedy
  15. “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” – Cynthia Ozick
  16. “Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” – Jim Rohn
  17. “Gratitude sweetens even the smallest moments.” – Anonymous
  18. “All that we behold is full of blessings.” – William Wordsworth
  19. “Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.” – Zig Ziglar
  20. “The more you are thankful, the more you attract things to be thankful for.” – Walt Whitman


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Incorporating AI in the Classroom

Incorporating AI in the Classroom

You could use an assistant—someone to help with lesson planning and grading, someone to work one-on-one with students who need extra help, and someone who can help lighten the load of your never-ending to-do list. Meet AI, a.k.a. artificial intelligence, the latest trend in classroom support.


What is AI and how can it help?

AI refers to software that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. This includes learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making. AI can help engage students, create interactive learning experiences, and foster critical thinking skills. It can offer personalized learning geared to student interests and ability, presenting tasks of increasing difficulty with real-time feedback.


A word about AI concerns

AI is not without its concerns. Educators worry about plagiarism and cheating, where AI does the work instead of the student. There are also times that AI is inaccurate because its source is the Internet. That requires teachers to do some due diligence in identifying appropriate tools and discussing expectations and ethical considerations with their students.

How do you help students understand the proper use of AI? Teach a lesson on ethical considerations and appropriate use of AI. For example, it is not okay to use AI to write your essays or do your work. However, it is acceptable to use AI to:

  • Check your finished paper for grammatical errors.
  • Brainstorm ideas for an assignment or a project.
  • Simplify complicated text so that you understand its meaning.
  • Research a topic as long as you are also planning to fact-check the results.

As an educator, you can help manage the use of AI and address potential misuse.

  • Try out the AI platforms before you use them in the classroom, so you fully understand them.
  • Model the AI tool in class for appropriate and inappropriate use.
  • Get to know your students’ writing so you know their style and voice and can detect when they may be leaning on AI too heavily.
  • Ask students to personalize their writing with their own experiences. This is something AI is unable to do.
  • Use formative assessments to evaluate student progress.

While you may use AI in preparation for instruction, student use generally starts in the upper elementary or middle school years. ChatGPT, for example, recommends age 13 years and up for its program.


AI for Teachers and Students

There is value in AI and teachers appreciate this time-saving tool. Here is a look at some popular AI tools for the classroom. Many of these are paid versions but there are free options, too.

Grading & Assessment

Classpoint AI can create quizzes from PowerPoint slides based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Essay Grader can grade an essay against a rubric of your choice in about 30 seconds. It also can detect if an essay was written by AI.

Formative AI automates the grading process and provides insight into student performance. It also generates assessments, including multiple choice, open-ended, and more.

Gradescope offers rubric-based assessments for paper-based and digital student work.

Socrative generates interactive activities from polls to mini-competitions and exit tickets.


DitchThatTextbook provides ideas for lesson plans that go beyond the textbook.

Education CoPilot offers lesson plan templates, writing prompts, and handouts based on grade level and curriculum standards.

Nearpod offers interactive and engaging lessons, learning through gamification, differentiation, and formative assessments.

Parlay Genie provides discussion-prompts and higher order questions about a custom topic.

Teachmateai is a digital assistant with a wide variety of resources from report writing to class behavior and management to lesson planning and more.


ChatGPT can generate a passage about a topic at a certain grade level. Use it to create leveled readers for students. (Try Bing Chat as an alternative to ChatGPT; it often cites where it gets information whereas ChatGPT does not.)

Diffit helps you adapt materials to different reading levels, adjust for students with IEPs, and accelerate for advanced learners.



Hello History allows students to have lifelike conversations with historical figures.

PhotoMath offers step-by-step solutions for arithmetic, algebra, and calculus, including alternate ways of solving equations.

Soundraw enables students to compose music by genre and speed.

Slides & Videos

Bing Image Creator allows you to produce images from a text description.

Canva Magic Write and Magic Design can create templates for classroom presentations.

SlidesAI produces professional and engaging Google slides from your text.

VideoAnt allows you to annotate a publicly available video with comments and questions for students.

Homework Help

Brainly is the place where students can ask academic questions and get real-time help with homework.

Homeworkai is an app that offers homework help, including simple explanations.

Oddityai provides answers to homework. Students need only upload a picture of the worksheet.

Do you have a favorite AI tool that’s not on this list? Please share it in the comments.



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