“Free” items for back to school!

   Paper, writing tools, and a variety of items – check the treasures in your own back yard for some amazing finds!

The current economic climate contributes to a severe lack of discretionary funds for classroom materials. Because children learn differently, this could put a dent in differentiated activities that lend themselves to a variety of learning styles. How can teachers supplement classroom materials without paying for items themselves? First, make a list – think about classroom activities from last year. What consumable items were plentiful? What consumable items were needed most often? Making a list of needed items and referring to it over time will see you in good stead to find or ask for items from others long before needed. Here are five more tips on obtaining some worthwhile materials for classroom use.

  • Take stock at home – teachers usually have items at home that can easily be transferred to the classroom. Think about the items you purchased on sale that are in the original package, pencils and pens in a desk drawer, and paper you bought intending to use that somehow didn’t find its need. Wooden beaded cars seats make great counting manipulatives and craft items can be used in a variety of educational ways.
  • Ask family and friends – they may have similar items at home. They may also be a good source of “reward” finds such as stickers, treasure box goodies, and other classroom incentives.
  • Find free paper for writing – visit local print shops. Tell the owner you’ll be happy to take print jobs with errors for your classroom. You may find yourself taking home more than enough to share with colleagues. Print shop finds are great for use in any curricular area.
  • Check local grocery stores and drugstores – many display items, shelving, and seasonal items, such as cards, stickers and gifts, are discarded to make room for new seasonal items. Let the manager know you could put these things to good use in your classroom.
  • Search the Internet – search “free stuff for classroom teachers” for other amazing finds!

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