Sunday, April 22, 2012

Free Stuff and Pencils

Free Stuff

Everyone loves to get Free Stuff!  Especially teachers...  Feed the Children is an international charity that distributes food to children all over the world.  They also have distribution centers where teachers can go to get free items for their classrooms.  (Visit to see a map with locations.)  Schools must be registered and only teachers who have proper ID may enter.  Over Spring Break four of my teacher friends and I piled into the corporation van and drove two hours to the distribution center nearest us.  After filling out the necessary paperwork and showing our IDs, we got to "shop!"  Everyone gets as much stuff from one area that can be fitted into a shopping basket, and as much stuff from another area that you can fit in your vehicle!  Needless to say we were more comfortable on the trip there than we were on the way back!  It was lots of fun sorting through all of the donated items.  We were able to find things that will be used in our own classrooms as well as items that were brought back and shared.  Here are some of the items I found for my classroom.

Three-ring binders.  We were allowed to take a full box of binders!  Everyone should be organized now.

 Glitter paint.  Another "all you want" item.  I took one of each color.  We got some for our Art teacher, too.  I wish I'd had these when we made our butterflies...  Oh well, there will always be something else to paint.

Wall stickers.  Yet another take all you want item (I took two - one for me & one to share). I stuck one package's worth around my room - the Kinders think they're cook!
Items from the "limited quantity" area.  I am excited about the pencil boxes (lower left) because I found something on Pinterest to make using them and didn't want to pay full price for them.  I'd hoped to get them during the Back to School sales this summer.
Finger puppets.
Colored pens, Sharpies, and thumb tacks.  Another item I usually spend my own money on at Back to School Time.
A nifty collapsible vase.

Pencil boxes, accordion folders, paper clips, stickers, page protectors.
My "Big Item."  Everyone gets to pick one big item.  There are all sorts of "Big Items."  This is a super cool colored masking tape dispenser.  One of my teacher friends got a fireproof safe as her big item!  It is amazing the items that are donated.


As you know, pencil sharpeners and Kinders do not mix (at least not very well...).  I keep a supply of sharp pencils on hand for a quick swap whenever a pointy pencil is needed.  In order to keep a constant supply available, I have enlisted two parents to be my Pencil Parents.  About twice a month, I send home a zipper bag full of dull pencils and my wonderful volunteers sharpen them for us!  What a time saver!  This is a great volunteer opportunity for parents who work or have small children at home and cannot come into the classroom, and it is incredibly helpful.

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