The winner by a mile here was -- no surprise -- the Internet. Teachers reported, in their response to another survey question, that many spend $500 or more on classroom supplies, so this category should help balance the books. Alas, many Web freebies illustrate the adage "You get what you pay for." As one disenchanted hunter and gatherer responded, "I haven't found one source that does not send you anything but junk."
But fret not, foragers; respondents reported that local businesses are also a significant source of freebies. Approaching shops and companies in your community for donations is a solid way to get things for the classroom.
As a side note, parents got only three votes on this one. No need to explain to us the frustration of trying to get parents involved, but we suspect that many parents are owners or employees of those very businesses you may not have tapped yet.
Classroom Freebies Hot Links
A to Z Teacher Stuff | Classroom Connect | Education World | About.com: Freebies | Scholastic.com | DiscoverySchool.com | Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators | 4Teachers.org | Answer.com | Craigslist.org | DonorsChoose | Fishing for Deals | Freaky Freddie’s Teacher Freebies | Federal Resources for Educational Excellence | Freebies4Ya.com | Freestuff.com | iLoveSchools.com | Just Free Stuff: Teachers | Internet Magic!: Free Stuff for Educators! | Thinkfinity | National Aeronautics and Space Administration | National Science Teachers Association | Public Broadcasting Service | Video Placement Worldwide | Tolerance.org | Internet4Classrooms | Reading A-Z | TeAchnology | Discovery Education: unitedstreaming | OnWEAC
The Upside of Downloading
If that free El Niño poster isn't the gem you've been looking for, the pickings are still good elsewhere. One teacher wrote, "It's ideas that matter, not items." And countless sources of ideas, lesson plans, and free software exist on the Internet. At the Teaching Tolerance Web site, not only will you find some really good ideas, you'll also be rewarded with some really good stuff. The site contains twenty-five free lesson plans and ten free kits, three of which include Academy Award-winning documentary films and the materials to teach them.
The PBS Teachers Web site is another trove of free material. You can download science-experiment plans, creative writing plans centered around the life and personality of Mark Twain, and, for drama and history classes, the full text of Sophocles's Oedipus Rex. No free sandals there, but don't gouge your eyes out -- the play comes with a good lesson plan.
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