Free!There are so many opportunities for teachers to get free items for their classrooms. And not just through grants, as those can be really tricky. Check out this list for ideas on how to get items donated, and make sure to send us your own.
Check out our eco-friendly blog, where we give suggestions on how to use free and donated items to make your classroom beautiful and organized! Read now!
Weekly Reader Survey Program- Sign up for this program and take free surveys to earn points. Use these points to 'buy' items for your classroom, totally free! Enter the following referral code to earn extra points when joining: UPPMAN273 .
Highlights School Program- Send subscription forms home with students and earn free 'stuff' for your classroom! Even if students check the 'no thanks' box, you can still count their form towards your total collection amount. I've earned fabulous stickers, pocket charts and cds through this program.
Freecycle.org- Go to this yahoo group and join your local chapter. You will see postings for every free item you can imagine. All you have to do is close your eyes and think 'how can I use that in the classroom??'. I have received animal cages, books, a guitar, small lamps, bean bags/reading pillows, board games, videos, art supplies, holiday decorations, cd players, a laptop, desk supplies, etc. off this list. You can even send in requests for specific items you are looking for, and people will contact you if they have one to donate. It's fantastic!
Craigslist.com- Another place with a posting board for free items. You can find everything listed above at this site as well, so check it out!
Blockposters.com- Make HUGE posters in your room, absolutely free! Upload the picture to this site, and tell it how many pages large you would like. It will print out in pages, you tape it together, laminate it and boom-you've got a huge poster for free!
Plant Supply Companies- There are companies out there whose sole job is to supply office buildings with pretty ficus trees. And these trees are replace every few months, so the company can feel important and lush. The trees that are taken away are still beautiful and alive, just slightly droopy. Call up your local plant supply company and ask if they will donate their used trees/flowers to your classroom. This is especially great if you are an urban school (tons of businesses in big cities), or doing a jungle theme in the classroom. The company I talked to was more than willing to do this, they just asked that I pick it up from them.
Binder Organizers- Looking for a binder organizer? Read this tip from Scott Jones, found on unclutterer.com: Another quick tip - hit your local Staples, OfficeMax, or Office Depot around back to school time. Avery and other binder manufacturers usually produce “shippers” for binders very similar to the image you posted above. After the product is sold, or nearing the end of the back to school season, these shippers are tossed out. Make friends with the department manager, and he’ll let you leave with the shipper when they’re done with it. I used to work at Staples, and there was a friendly customer who I held a couple of these for each year for a similar DIY home binder storage project.
Never be afraid to go into a company, tell them you're a teacher and ask for a service pro bono. I did this the other day at Kinkos, and the guy was happy to to provide some materials and service for free. The manager at Sharper Image was happy to work out a 'deal' with me when his store was closing. I'm eager to try this out at Home Depot in the fall for some building projects I want. Just bat your pretty eyes, pull out your school ID and do some sweet talking.