Where can teachers get free supplies?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacher_cc, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. teacher_cc

    teacher_cc Rookie

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    I'm wondering how much a teacher spends out of his/her pocket for school supplies each year. I've heard that some schools will give teachers anywhere between 0-100 bucks to spend on the classroom. I am a new teacher, and will have my first classroom this year. Are there any websites/resources any of you have turned to for support? I've found some freebie websites, but was wondering if there are more out there.

    Thanks a bunch!:)
     
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  3. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    The average teacher spends hundreds of dollars out of pocket from what I've read.
     
  4. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    I, fortunately, spend very, very little of my own money. My school district is very generous in their allotment of money to each teacher. The district supplies all texts, workbooks, art supplies, office supplies, tech equipment. The students are also asked to bring in their own supplies of crayons, markers, pencil case, etc. If you must purchase using your own money I would definitely wait until the end of July and August when WalMart, Target, and Staples begin their back to school supply sales. The Dollar Tree also have nice teaching supplies. You might try googling "free teaching supplies" and see what happens.
     
  5. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    I spend less than 30 dollars a year on school supplies, work at a 99.9% poverty level school, and didn't get any money from the school last year for supplies. I hit the sales over the summer and did without a lot of things I would have had. I guess I am just "against" spending my money for a job. Its possible to teach interesting lessons without the high cost...
     
  6. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    I agree. You do not have to spend hundreds of dollars. Many times you just have to ask friends, neighbors, family and your students if they have what you need. Hit garage sales, salvation army stores, thrift stores, and don't be afraid to pick up something you see on the curb being thrown out. My son works for our townhouse complex and he picked up a 40" flat screen TV the other day. He couldn't get it to work so I told him to go and ask at the house what the problem was.(he was very reluctant to do this) Apparently a bulb needed replacing. It cost $30.00. Now guess who is happy he knocked on the door!
     
  7. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    If you've got the chutzpah to do it...

    ASK!!!!

    I've approached store managers at wal-mart, target, office max, office depot, k-mart, shipping and packaging stores, pet stores, grocery stores, ect and told them that I'm a teacher in an inner city school and I was looking for supplies and would they be willing to donate to my classroom. I always carry my union card and a letter from my P confirming I am who I say I am so they know I'm not bsing them. The response is almost always positive. Sometimes they don't have anything to donate, but they frequently do. The larger stores often can't donate off the shelves because of protocol, but I've gotten a lot of "damaged" stuff that the only thing wrong was the packaging. The managers and owners of the smaller, locally owned stores are usually more generous. A few of them kept my phone number and call me when they have things they think I might be able to use.
     
  8. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    clearly you haven't read the vistaprint threads floating around here. LoL. You can get some stuff from there for the cost of shipping. its vistaprint.com

    Also I know you can get free post it notes http://mmm.apfco.com/w1286/index.cfm

    The amount you get to spend on your room varies from school to school. Honestly, I wouldn't "depend" on any money from your school. Look at it as a perk.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The amount of money and/or supplies your school is willing to provide will totally depend on the school itself, your principal, and your district. Whatever you do, don't spend tons of money preparing for your new classroom, because you might find that all those supplies you bought were provided already by your school.

    I spend a couple of bucks each year on my classroom, but I try to keep that amount small. I'd say that I probably spend about $30-50 in any given year, and at least half of that money is on books for my classroom reference library, which means that I'll probably use them more than my students will. I don't mind spending my own money in this way because I know that I'm the one who's benefiting most from it.

    I also hit up the dollar stores once or twice per year. I look in the teacher/school supply section and usually find some really neat things there for a buck or less; sometimes the items are 2 for $1.

    Where I really do most of the damage is at the penny sales at office supply stores like Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples. Last year I went to every single OD two or three times during the sale. Every time I went, I chatted it up with the cashier and mentioned that I was a teacher and politely asked if I could go over the 3-item limit on whatever thing, and they always let me. During that week, I spent just over $3 of my own money and ended up with hundreds of folders, glue sticks, pencils, crayons, and protractors.

    Don't be afraid to look at http://www.Freecycle.org where people list stuff that they're giving away for free. I haven't had a whole ton of luck with it yet, but I know others who have found amazing items there.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I thought of more. :)

    You might want to find out whether your school allows you to have a Wish List or a Giving Tree or whatever you want to call it. Basically, you post or send home a list of items needed in your classroom and hope that parents will donate them. Parents usually do. I did it at my Open House last year and asked for paper plates, Ziploc baggies, and wrapping paper, and I was bombarded with those items during the next week.

    Also depending on whether it's permitted at your school, you could consider giving some bonus points to students who bring in classroom supplies. I have done this both years I've been teaching, and it's been pretty successful for me. My policy is that extra credit will not increase a student's grade more than 3 percentage points, so this destroys any chance of a student "buying" their grade with classroom supplies. I do feel like it's okay to award a few bonus points here and there in this way because being a charitable classroom citizen is important and should be rewarded. (I also offered plenty of bonus points for research assignments and such, so that even students who couldn't afford to donate items to our class could benefit from some extra credit.)

    If you haven't begun to get discount cards from major bookstores yet, do that. Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc. all have discount cards available for teachers, which comes in handy.
     
  11. MS Candy

    MS Candy Comrade

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    I also gave my students homework passes for bringing items....such as Soap and Kleenex Wipes, etc... this was toward the end of the year.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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  13. Momzoid

    Momzoid Companion

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    We get a generous amount amount of money to to use in the classroom but it is not available until Oct-TWO MONTHS AFTER school starts! This year we are getting less, but I still spend a lot of my own money too-pencils, paper, kleenex, handsanitizer- those type of things. My biggest weakness is books. Especially when I find them at yard sales. Too bad yard sales and thrift stores don't take credit cards or purchase orders!:lol:
     
  14. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    I think it depends a lot on grade level and what your school provides, plus what you WANT to spend. When I taught 8th grade science, I spent very little - save for some organizational tools for myself and some grocery-type lab supplies here and there. I now teach first grade, and I find I spend hundreds of dollars now, but it's more because I WANT to have the things I buy for my students, like extra books I think they'll enjoy and stuff like that.
     
  15. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    :woot: Whoot Whoot :woot: I just had delivered to my front door 5 bank boxes (which I get to keep) FULL of 3 ring binders!!!! FOR FREE!!! :2up:

    Last Sunday at church I just happened to casually mention I was waiting for binders to go on sale at Wal-Mart so I could buy more for my class. One really, really nice guy said, "you need binders - how many? We throw away binders everyday. I bring you some on Monday" Hurray - some turned out to be 5 boxes full and they are the good ones.

    So I would say to let people in the coporate world know what you are looking for. Maybe you will hit pay dirt :)
     
  16. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Wow, INteacher, I need to go to church more often :)

    Good score!!!
     
  17. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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  18. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Cool on the binders! Too bad I'm not in corporate world--- I haven't had any luck yet on finding cheap binders.
     
  19. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I had a parent donate a TON that she got from her business. At the start of school I send a note home that mentions I appreciate all donations etc. She sent a tonnnn of other things as well.
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I rarely spend my own money. I'm always on the lookout. Heck, I've chatted up business men in bars and wound up with stuff for my students. I have more luck with store managers, but I'm not shy about telling random strangers what I do and what I need.
     
  21. positiveautism

    positiveautism Comrade

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