Thursday, July 26, 2012

Free Stuff/Donations

So, I am like most art teachers in that my natural tendency is to stow away supplies, objects, odds and ends like a squirrel; positive that it can be used for something, but forgetting I have it more often than not.  When I moved into the new art room, I promised myself that I would collect more carefully.  I would decide what is actually usable in my art room, and how I would store it before bringing lots of clutter in.  And, it's working well for me.  I know what I have, the kids and I have a blast using unconventional materials, and I have not lost a kid in the clutter for some time.

 Then there is the other side of me.  The one that knows how much materials can cost in an art room.  The one that says to parents and teachers and community how expensive supplies can get, and how it's always a struggle to stock the cabinets.  When opportunities arise for donations and give-aways, I feel that I owe it to my school community to go, and harvest whatever I can for free, so that when I ask for something, it is truly needed.  Today was one of those harvesting occasions.  MNPS is a huge district, that sends out mass e-mails regarding assorted programs.  I received one such email, saying that the science kits were changing over, and that teachers were invited to the warehouse during the designated hours to have first chance at whatever was available.  One might think "Science? that's not me", but I thought- I wonder what stuff they have?  You never know what you might find.  So I went, and here's the results.  Dowel rods, funnels, wooden rolling pins, clothes pins, blotter paper, clear plastic containers with lids, muffin foils, and paper making screens.  My favorite find was the Tinker Toys.  Great for sculpture, drawing, and the occasional center activity.  The point?  Don't turn down a donation without at least looking at what it is.  Set limits (I counted out what I took to get class sets), be ready to share the over fill, and think about what purpose it will serve in your room rather than just what it might be.  Incidentally, I ran into at least 2 other art teacher digging around in boxes-maybe it's in our DNA. 


Mrs. Forney said...

I mis the MNPS giveaways! I wonder if I can talk my district into doing the same thing!

Mrs. C said...

I wish my district had something like that! We have a share table in one of my schools. Teachers put items they no longer want or can use on the table to share... there is rarely anything I can use. You're so lucky!

Mrs. Skojec said...

That giveaway would be wonderful! Our school also has a table for sharing. Occasionally I find something useful, but, as you said, I need to be more discerning.

A parent gave me a box full of really nice pens when their business moved to a new location. I use them for all kinds of projects and every so often as carrots since the student LOVE these pens! Also, since the address changed, they had tons of paper that was no longer wanted, so I have boxes of scrap paper!! Bonus!

I also check out the local thrift store for art supplies. Surprisingly, I find oil pastels and paper there sometimes.

Doing a post on this subject was a great idea!