By Teachers, For Teachers
At the beginning of the year, many parents generously donate much needed school supplies. Many of us supplement those supplies with insane spending sprees at our local office supply stores. We spend September and the beginning of October lost in a haze of that new crayon smell, sharp pencils and fully functional glue sticks.
But as October comes to a close, supplies start to dwindle and those supplies we do have are starting to look....well, shabby. (In all honesty, I’ve used much stronger language when lamenting the loss of yet another glue stick to the dreaded improperly snapped cap, but I digress.)
I can remember coming up with a brilliant art project, and running to my supply closet only to discover that I only had green, brown and yellow construction paper left.
I can also remember cringing as I watched children pull out such a short nub of a pencil that I couldn’t believe that they were not only able to grasp the pencil in any sort of functional way, but that it managed to actually write.
Once, I even caught a child trying to sharpen a sad pencil with their scissors. Evidently their table sharpener had broken a few weeks ago and they were desperate. If that isn’t sad, I don’t know what is. All of a sudden everyone needed a red crayon, no one could find an eraser and nothing but dried up markers filled the room.
So what to do? Do we spend even more money? If it grew on trees, maybe, but the holidays are coming and most of us are strapped for cash. Do we threaten the children that they will never again receive another new pencil so they better not lose the one they have? Tempting, but unnecessarily mean and unrealistic. Do we put our heads down on our desks and cry? Possibly, but that’s not going to solve anything.
I have learned that praying for a mystical School Supply Fairy to float down from the sky to deliver a new class set of dry erase markers is not the most productive use of my time.
But here are some ideas that are more productive:
Enter School Supply Giveaways
I happen to know that TeachHub is currently sponsoring one! For real! Take a second and get your name in there. If you want to increase your chances, do a quick Google search. They’re out there...
Create a Parent Wish List
Whip up a brief, one page newsletter that details some of the goings on in your classroom. Include a brief Wish List for parents. Keep it short and realistic and wait to be surprised by their generosity.
Get Donations Online
This website is totally worth it. I have been awarded a plethora of beautiful picture books, gorgeous new art supplies and (gasp) my very own laminator! It doesn’t get any better than that.
Contact Your Local Library
Check in regularly with your local children’s librarian to see if there is an upcoming used book sale or any discarded books that they would be willing to donate to your classroom.
How do you supplement your dwindling school supplies during a slump? Share in the comments section!