1. The Container Store has tons of storage options that can work great in classrooms. Check out the “Dorm,” “Toy Storage” and “Kitchen” categories for great solutions that can be transferred easily to the classroom. The really great part? Teachers get 15% off. Check out their affordable stack baskets and the oh-so-useful wheeling set of drawers.
2. Pick up some Velcro dots (available at Wal-Mart, and most office and craft supply stores) for hanging posters, art work, class info etc. Everything will stay in place and be easy to rearrange.
3. Discount School Supply has great classroom furniture and storage solutions, especially for elementary schools. Their mobile storage unit would be especially handy for teachers that work in several classrooms.
4. Could your classroom use a DVD player? Check out Freecycle. It’s a great place to find electronics, furniture and even kids books. On the website you can find a Freecycle network near you, then just post a message with what you’re looking for to your local group. People LOVE donating things to teachers!
5. Think outside the box when shopping: laundry baskets, cleaning buckets, and hanging closet organizers are just a few examples of things that could be used for storage in your classroom and, in some cases, they are cheaper than products designated for classrooms.
6. Oriental Trading has a wide variety of classroom storage options.
7. If your classroom needs bookshelves or cubbies but you’re having trouble finding room in your budget, find out if there is an unfinished furniture store in your area. You can often find furniture that’s unpainted and unvarnished for much less than the prices at classroom furniture stores. All it needs is a couple of hours and a bit of paint. This could be a great project for your class.
8. For storing smaller items, don’t buy new products – recycle. Use egg cartons, resealable yogurt containers, baby wipe tubs, and other recycled containers. If you need more, send home a note to parents asking them to send in used, washed containers.
9. Hang on to your stuff! Use the return address labels you get from advertisers in your mail to mark your supplies.
10. To brighten up a dreary classroom, hit the remnant bin at your local craft store. You’ll often find great seasonal fabrics that can be used to cover bulletin boards, tables, or storage spaces. Wrapping paper (pick up cheap rolls at dollar stores) and wallpaper can be great for bulletin boards. HINT: Check with your district to see if you can purchase items for your classroom tax free!
11. Be selective about what you store in your desk. If you don’t use something several times a week, store it somewhere else. If you can keep clutter at a minimum on your desk you’ve taken the first step towards keeping it down in the rest of the classroom.
12. Want more? Some of these tips were adapted from Scholastic’s™ 100 tips for classroom.
For more information on differentiation strategies to reach ALL learners, see Susan Fitzell’s book, Special Needs in the General Classroom, Strategies That Make It Work. Available in both print and electronic versions!
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