Limited financial resources in school districts across the country leave teachers and principals in need of free stuff for educators to use in their classrooms.
Local Education Resources
Teachers may be surprised to learn they can call upon local groups and organizations for classroom supplies. Some groups may be chapters of national organizations, while others may be strictly local.
The National Dairy Council's local chapter may have food and nutrition resources that would supplement a health unit. Other agriculture-related groups to check with include local chapters of National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Council or even the local American Farm Bureaus.
More local places to check for free educational resources include:
- County extension offices may have pamphlets, facts, books, worksheets and posters related to science, agriculture or health.
- Police departments often have materials related to keeping kids away from drugs, and tips for bicycle safety or driver's education.
- Fire departments have information about forest fires and home fire safety.
- News stations may offer science materials related to weather or teaching support for current events for kids.
- Non-profit organizations, like food banks and environmental groups, may have social studies, science or cultural diversity information for use in the classroom.
- Hobby clubs, like travel clubs or running clubs, may have information related to the activity that could be used in the class.
- Local libraries might have books on teaching strategies, classroom discipline or educational videos to rent with a free membership.
The best way to find out what free school stuff local groups offer is to speak with each group personally. The list above is only an example of what might be available. Groups may even offer to provide a free speaker or presentation within a classroom about a particular subject.
National Teaching Support
The United States government provides a number of free resources, materials and educational supplements online. For information on a specific topic, visit a particular department's website, like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to find educational information and materials. Larger databases include a long list of materials and resources available to teachers free.
The official website of the United States government, USA.gov, has a page with links to Teachers' Educational Resources. Resources include information related to topics such as national parks, NASA, energy education and African American history month.
Kids.gov is the official portal for kids from the United States government. Click on the "Educators" button, which has a list of topics, ranging from arts to careers to math. Link to state government websites through Kids.gov.
Consumer Information Catalog
The Consumer Information Catalog has listing of publications available for ordering that are either free or low-cost on topics ranging from a "We the People" poster to food safety at home to preventing peer pressure.
The Federal Resources for Educational Excellence, or FREE, website offers teachers links to resources from federal agencies on eight major topics:
- Arts and music
- Health and phys. ed
- Language arts
- World studies
- U.S. history
- U.S. time periods
Each topic has a list of subtopics that link to information suitable for use in a classroom setting.
More Free Stuff for Educators
Teachers can find free stuff by checking out money saving sites like Freaky Freddies for places to find freebies. Many freebies for elementary teachers and high school instructors are available just by doing a simple Internet search.
Educators can also send for free samples from educational and office supply companies; simply call the 800 number on the back of the catalog to ask if a free sample is available. Schools may receive free units from publishing houses who want the school to purchase their materials. While some companies may want supplies back if not ordered, others may allow the district to keep the sample units. Teachers should check with administration or the central office to learn more.
After books and major purchases are made with budget money, little is left for most teachers to buy support resources. Educators often spend money out of their own pocket to supply their classroom with materials. Teachers can save their money by finding and using freebies in the classroom like:
- Computer freebies
- Free interactive kids e-cards
- Free sample awards certificates
- Free children's magazines
- Free health books and magazines
- Free craft stuff
Procuring free stuff for educators helps both the school district and teachers save money. Educators can enhance lesson by using free posters, workbooks and interactive websites geared towards children; even free items not aimed at school use augment class activities.