Creating classroom magic on the cheap

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by Ms_B, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. Ms_B

    Ms_B Rookie

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    Aug 6, 2008

    Hello All,

    I am just wondering how everyone creates a magical place to learn in their classrooms on teeny, tiny budgets? The school I just got hired at is very rural and poor-with virtually no budget for setting up my classroom. Everything I have done so far has been out of my own pocket-but being that I am fresh out of grad school I no longer have much of a budget of my own either. I guess my main questions are:

    Where have you gotten things for your classrooms cheap or free?
    What do you think is absolutely necessary in a classroom?
    What are some inexpensive or creative ways you have dealt with a small budget?

    Thank you all for your help!
     
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  3. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Aug 6, 2008

    You can get posters from chambers of commerce or DNR, etc. for free. They look great! Oh, the chamber of commerce will often give free maps which you can hang up and refer to.

    Hit garage sales. Grab some table and floor lamps. The indirect light adds so much warmth to the room!

    You can create a lot as you go along... make it a part of building your classroom community! Ask parents if they have anything to donate- throw pillows, curtains for the windows, an old couch or loveseat...

    Do you have an overall theme?
     
  4. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    Aug 6, 2008

    My school is very similar, I have supplied nearly all of my classroom materials from my own pocket. One piece of advice I can offer is to maybe ask fellow teachers if they have materials/supplies. I have several "seasoned" teachers in my building that have accumulated so much over the years that they are more than willing to donate to you. Let your students decorate your room, you don't need expensive posters or bb sets. It will seem bare at first, but once you start posting student work it will look great!
     
  5. Alegre

    Alegre Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2008

    Instead of buying and making bulletin board letters, I do my own lettering on colored construction paper with a thick marking pen using some decorative lettering (dots on the ends of each stick or some other decoration) and then cutting around the page into a sort of cloud. It would work just as well putting up the whole page, too.

    I've read that some teachers create their own borders using gift wrap. I've gotten lots of unusual gift wrap at the 99cent store, or even Dollar Tree. I suppose you could get some from thrift stores, too. Oh! Maybe you could use the comic strip section for those borders. Use them on all the boards so they look like you're using them for a theme.

    For math manipulative, I've seen lots of teachers (or have your students do this at a center) use beans for counters, or even gluing sets of 10 beans on a craft stick for their 10's sticks. and gluing 10 sticks of 10 beans onto a piece of cardboard to make 100's boards (flats)

    I've also seen teachers spray paint lima beans one color on one side, and a contrasting color on the other side for counters and/or game pieces.

    Another great resource, of course, is the internet. These days there are soooo many sites with free printables, or sites where teachers are willing to share materials they've made for their own students. If you need any of these 'printables' sites, let me know and I'll be glad to post some for you! (You'll need some paper and ink, tho!)
     
  6. zoodies

    zoodies Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2008

    If you do a lot w/ animals, plants in science, hit up your conservation. Ours is awesome! They come and do 4 presentations through the year that tie in w/ our curriculum for free and bring lots of goodies. They also have trunks of material for lewis and clark when we do this in soc. st. that may be loaned out.
    Go to Beth Newingham's website and download her posters about reading for free. She has a lot of neat ideas.
    Having students create the BB in your room is the best. You have student work displayed and they took part in the creation.
    And the best advice is to copy, steal, and take anything other teachers are willing to give you!
     
  7. Ms_B

    Ms_B Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who responded. I think my themes for the year are going to revolve around what we do in social studies. 4th grade in Oregon heavily revolves around the Oregon trail-so I think I am going to email as many local organizations as possible to get pamphlets, posters, etc about Oregon and it's history...we shall see...
     
  8. 2tired2teach

    2tired2teach Companion

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    Aug 13, 2008

    Google your theme and you'd be surprised at what you might find! You can paint your bulletin boards - saves paper - have students make the trim --- Dollar stores? Oriental Trading Company....
    Yep we all spend too much of our own $$ - but oh well!!! We still love it!
     
  9. Mr. K

    Mr. K Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2008

    Check it out

    If you are in Oregon, check out the site of Mrs. Renz...just google her. She has some Oregon specific things in her site as well as a lot of great projects...check out her file cabinet. I also would check out Beth Newingham's site as a previous poster mentioned. The Dollar Tree is great and so is the dollar section of Target. Check out Vistaprint.com some stuff is free, you just pay postage. Ask parents for gently used books. Most of the time they will be happy to have them find a good home:)
     
  10. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I think you can create that atmosphere without money. All it takes is to connect with your students, some imaginative and interesting activities and lots of praise.
     
  11. Nessy

    Nessy Rookie

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    Aug 17, 2008

    For equipment and teacher stuff, I went to the free section on Craigslist.org. Look specifically in your town. I got free rugs, lamps, etc. People are always getting rid of stuff. I also put on a post of the wanted section of the website and listed what I was specifically looking for for my classroom. People are so generous and want to help new teachers. The only problem with this is it's a lot of running around to pick everything up.
     

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