Teachers and students at Lida Hooe Elementary had quite the surprise on the morning of Tuesday, September 13. Expecting a normal school day students and staff arrived for the day but found their school transformed. When a special assembly was scheduled for that morning, there was a lot of whispering as they tried to figure out why their auditorium had been draped in Purple and a giant Yahoo! logo stood mysteriously in the corner. All was revealed moments later with Ron Corning of Channel 8 welcomed everyone and explained that Yahoo! had big surprises in store for them. Instead of their routine day of learning, the classrooms of Lida Hooe would celebrate literacy and use digital tools to bring storytelling to life. This was the first of many surprises.
Weeks earlier elementary teachers Mrs. Munoz, Mrs. Salamat, Mr Guittierez, and Mrs. Covarrubias entered their projects in the Yahoo! Homepages for Homerooms program sponsored by the Internet giant Yahoo! in partnership with DonorsChoose.org. The requests were simple – they wanted items for their students to write stories such as blank books, journals, pencils, and poetry kits were listed. When Yahoo! heard about the requests, they were inspired and wanted to offer their expertise and resources to give these teachers more. They “upgraded” the projects to equip teachers at Lida Hooe with “Digital Storytelling Kits” which included state of the art laptops, digital recorders, and more to enable students to tell their own story, 21st century style. Yahoo! donated more than $40,000 to the school along with professional development throughout the year to ensure these teachers and students feel supported.
Throughout the day the classrooms came alive with learning as over 300 students created their own movies with Digital Storytelling experts that correlated with lessons that they were currently learning in the classrooms. Over 30 Yahoo! employees, including Yahoo! CMO Elisa Steele, worked side by side with students and staff to ignite a new love of storytelling. Movie making isn’t complete without a trip to the theater, so Lida Hooe’s auditorium was transformed to a movie theater complete with popcorn and treats. Squeals of delight and thunderous applause echoed through the room as they saw themselves on the larger than life screen.
You too can get involved! Yahoo! is helping to give teachers the tools they need to make their students dreams come true. Yahoo! Homepages for Homerooms program provides an easy, no-cost way for anyone to fund classrooms and teachers by simply making Yahoo! their homepage. Public school teachers who place a project on DonorsChoose.org are eligible to receive funding for their projects from Yahoo!. Yahoo! will donate $200,000 across the projects that generate the most homepage sets.