The Grant Seminar
* Getting Started
* Developing Need Statements
* Developing Project Activities
* The Grant Budget
* Evaluating Your Proposal
* Putting It All Together
* Sample Grant Proposal

Developing Project Activities

Your assignment for this week was to write your needs statements (at least one need for students and one need for staff). This week we will continue to develop the body of our proposals. We will look at how to write activities that "fill the gap" from what is to what we want it to be. Remember that granters fund programs and projects, not "stuff." Programs and projects are fundable when they solve a problem, fulfill a need, and fill a gap. Your proposal must clearly show that your intervention, plan, and set of activities will make a difference.

From our goals, supported by our student, staff, and program needs, we develop a solution procedure, or a set of activities. Whereas we use the "needs" to formulate the general program goals and specific objectives, we look at "activities" to describe the solutions that will help us achieve our project goals and objectives.

Let's look again at last week's example. The proposal we are focusing on for the sake of example is a primary and sheltered English language instruction intervention with the goal of providing access to the science core curriculum for limited English speakers. Science is often language-intensive and students in primary and sheltered programs need rich visual images and specialized instruction in the use of graphic organizers to develop science concepts. The expected outcome is that English language learners will continue to learn core curriculum as they progress in their English language acquisition.

For this program we identified student-made, collaborative HyperStudio Projects (the activity or intervention) as a way for students to make learning their own by creating collaborative projects and developing English language skills.

We identified the following two student needs and gave information on how we determined the need.

Students need:

A1. Sheltered instruction and/or primary language instruction to fully access the core curriculum in science and social studies (bilingual program regulations, large numbers of Limited English Proficient students on campus, 44%).

A2. Instruction which uses visual aids and short presentations of content followed by practice, comprehension, and follow-up for English language learners (44% of students are Limited English Proficient, low reading, and composition test scores).

It should be clear from our proposal abstract that the student-made presentations are the products of the project. However, the process students go through is actually more important than the final product. Student collaboration requires the use of English language skills, and the technology presentations they are creating act as a catalyst for high interest and challenging situations for our high school students. We now must build activities that highlight our "solution procedure."

Developing a Format for Your Activities

First, we must consider:

who is the target group of the project?

what will the target group be doing or receiving?

what is the anticipated result?

how will we be able to measure the result?

Use the following suggestions about activities to help solidify in your mind "what kids will do" in your project. Consider activities that can be described easily within the text of the proposal.

Your activities could address the:

instructional strategies that will be used.

innovative curriculum materials that will be developed.

staff development procedures, plans for community involvement, and/or parent participation.

creative, innovative aspects of the program.

timeline or event schedule that shows when the major activities will take place.

I often write the activities section within a chart format. Using the table functions in Microsoft Word or ClarisWorks, you can easily create a chart that will help you get a lot of information into a very small space. By placing a table and a timeline within your proposal you help to break up the text and provide the proposal reviewer with an easy to use guide. (When I format a grant, I rarely fully justify the text; the white spaces add to the ease of reading the document.)

The way you describe your activities will depend on the specification in the agency's request for proposal (RFP). For our example, I would chart the student objective and expected outcome. These would be stated at the top of my table. I would then highlight the major activities, the person responsible, and the approximate timeline. The timeline would be broken up to the months of the project, or on a longer project, the year in quarters. My headers would be: Activities - Person Responsible - S - O - N - D - etc., for the months of the year or Fall 97 - Winter 97 - Spring 97, etc., for longer programs.

Activity Examples

To recap, at the top of the activities section, I would provide a brief overview statement such as "Through primary language and sheltered language instruction, students access core curriculum in science appropriate for their grade and language level by completing a series of collaborative multimedia-based HyperStudio projects." Note how this statement shows both the need and the expected outcome. Now I add detail by showing the project activities in the approximate order they will take place. For example:

A. A cadre of teachers is self-selected and the first data points are collected by the project evaluator.

B. HyperStudio training for teachers, parents, student peer aides, and others.

C. Computer equipment is ordered. Teachers select CD-ROMs and other support materials from a hands-on preview day.

D. Schedule project classes in the Multimedia Lab, volunteers in classrooms, and student peer aides.

E. Monthly project meetings to share progress and provide collegial support. Key planners meet for additional time to manage learning resources.

F. Students create first projects.

G. Mid-year evaluation of program.

H. Students continue building HyperStudio projects and prepare for culminating Science Technology Fair.

I. Final evaluation and retooling for following year.

As you can see from the above activities, the table you create lets you write in sentence fragments and you are often able to get more information into less space.

Next to each statement I would then show the person(s) responsible and place a mark under the milestone date. For our first activity (letter A above) where teachers self-select to form a cadre and initial evaluation data is collected, under the heading "person responsible" you would write something like "Key project planners, site instructional technology specialist, University evaluator, and teachers." On the timeline, I would mark September and October as the months for these activities. For each activity, you would continue to fill out your chart.

Painting a Picture

Following the chart, if space is available, I always try to "paint a picture with words" and describe what kids will do. This is rarely asked for in an RFP, but I believe it adds invaluable information for the reviewer. As the proposal reviewer quickly reads through your proposal, the easier you make it for the reader (headings, well formatted, simple explanations), the higher your score.

So, in our example I might add the following:

A Sample Classroom Project

Students in bilingual and sheltered life science classes study plants, animals, the human body, living systems, and the interrelationships between members of the biosphere. The classes use textbooks, school library materials, on-line resources, laserdiscs, and CD-ROMs for information gathering. The teacher assigns a project such as animal research and divides the class into groups of three to five students. The groups select anywhere from one to three animals to research, depending on their language skills. The students will use a project-developed "research guide" (a graphic organizer), devised by the bilingual teachers to serve as a road map for the group. It is arranged in order of language level so that the more advanced bilingual students are able to complete the entire organizers (the animal's classification, geographic locale, physical description, habitat, natural enemies, food, type of eater, etc.). The groups at the highest language skills will extend their critical thinking by comparing and contrasting their animals, identifying where in the world they live, and locating environments in which the animals could live. Some may select to look at the effects of shrinking habitats. The groups research, select, organize and synthesize the information into a meaningful project. Each group plans a HyperStudio project, an electronic environment, where students create their multimedia presentations. Working collaboratively, students create a storyboard for their project, determine card design and layout. Once their cards are created, students select appropriate animal sounds, graphics, or QuickTime movies from resources such as CD-ROMs and laserdisc sequences to incorporate. Some may select and use background music. Students will draw and scan pictures and type the necessary text. The groups complete and present the projects to the class. The project is "printed" to video and a copy is included in the student's portfolio. An additional copy is sent home to share with their families.


Your homework for this lesson is to:

1. Clearly state your program objective and expected outcomes.

2. Develop a list of activities and who will be responsible for each task.

3. Order your list in chronological order and add approximate months for the activities to take place over an academic year. Some activities may overlap and extend over several months.

In the next lesson we will look at Key Project Personnel and Budget.

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