February 12, 2013

I've Learned! Help for a New Teacher.

Recently a new teacher wrote to me about how she has no supplies at her new job for her 400 students. She was wondering if I had any lessons that use no or little supplies or suggestions.

This is the state of our countries educational system in more places then we realize. It is certainly coming to this where I am, although despite being an under funded urban school I have support from my colleagues and many administrators. I often find donations at my door of amazing art supplies! I get so many donations I can't say thank you enough!
I want to mention names but I'm not sure if that would be appropriate, but you know who you are. . . the people who bring in glitter, stickers, buttons and glue (from their hairdresser), those of you who scour your basements for your grown children's unused supplies, the teachers who save magazines and bottle caps, my friend who stops on the side of the road to pick up perfectly good frames so I can frame some students art and make their dream of putting their art in a frame come true. Let's not forget all the parents who came through and donated baby wipes while we all struggle to buy diapers and wipes on a weekly basis. The generous business owners who donate carpet squares, scrap mount board, newspaper end rolls, wallpaper books, the list goes on! Then there are the kids. Who bring in their cereal boxes, bottle caps, and anything else I ask them to collect. But still it takes a few thousand to buy the bare essentials like enough glue, pencils, markers, paint and basic papers to start a program. 

So here's my plea to you. . .  will you help her out by finishing this sentence in the comments?

I've learned _________________________________________________


I recently read a lovely poem that started each line like this and thought we could make our own for our anonymous new teacher.

I'll start mine out in the comments below. You can add something you've learned, a quick tip, place to get free supplies, great lesson, good management advice, even link up a great site. Anything you've learned about teaching art! As much or as little as you'd like:) THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for helping because I'm feeling totally overwhelmed by her request!


Here's what she writes.








18 comments:

Art Project Girl said...

I've learned to ask people for what I need. The worst they can say is no. I ask the framer for scrap matt board which is an awesome material to paint, collage and basically make any type of artwork on! I've learned to go on the FREE section of craigslist during the summers.
I've learned that BJ's and Costco have huge pieces of card board that comes between their paper towel cases. This can be used for constructing things for plays, making large portfolios or just about anything (call ahead they need to save them up for about a week!)
I've learned that pencil and paper can sometimes make the most important art experiences if you are excited about what you're teaching!

Marcia said...

I've learned that when you ask, people are usually willing to donate. Talk to everyone you know. Someone will know someone who works somewhere that will have things to donate. Sign up for your local freecycle chapter (google it) and post what you are looking for. I've gotten tons of stuff from there in the past.

Art Project Girl said...

BIG YES to freecycle THANK MARCIA great idea!!!

Hope Hunter Knight said...

I have seen so many great projects done on newspaper, phone book pages, and book pages. I asked my media specialist and classroom teachers to send me any broken or damaged books ready for the recycle bin. One book can have hundreds of pages, making really interesting backgrounds!

Art Project Girl said...

Phone books! We are still getting those! I will be bringing those in now for when I teach charles demuth!
The kids will have no idea what it is I bet:)

Thanks Hope.


Aunt Kris said...

I've learned that - even for children whose life circumstances have already left them with so little - the old adage "less is more" still holds true. Children are naturally curious, imaginative, and unconventional in their learning. Give them paint and no brushes... they'll paint with a twig, their fingers, a piece of sponge, a Qtip, a marble. Paint and brushes, but nothing to paint on? They'll paint a rock, dad's old shirt, a pillowcase, a cereal box, a shoe box, a window, their little brother. =)

I've learned that Freecycle is a teacher's best friend. I've gotten countless things from Freecycle - craft glue, glitter, art sand, fabric remnants, spools of ribbon, pillowcases, tshirts, buttons, puzzle pieces, slate tiles, broken crayons, books, magazines, frames, etc.... in addition to all of the toys in our "indoor recess" chest and most of the books in our classroom library.

I'd be happy to keep an eye out for the things you need if you'd let Art Project Girl know where we can send them.

Phyl said...

I've learned that an 'all-staff' email request will result in an endless supply of toilet paper rolls; fabric scraps from the quilters, yarn from the knitters, ribbon and lace from the dance moms; old CD's, cereal boxes, magazines, Sheetrock, nails, empty bottles, leftover house paint, wallpaper, cardboard boxes, coat hangers, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, shoe boxes, and socks; really anything you can imagine, someone will have and want to get rid of.

And I've learned that kids don't know the difference between fancy expensive supplies and recycled materials, as long as you can add something shiny (dollar store glitter glue is an easy solution).

And, having spent time without a sink,I've learned that a few buckets and a good system is really all you need. Kids will fight for the chance to be bucket-haulers!

And ditto to the may board scraps from the picture framer. As a matter of fact, my framer not only gave me tons of mat board cutouts and foam core, she also gave me dozens of free picture frames, too! (People bring in stuff to be re-framed and don't want the old frames; a little cleaning up, and they are fabulous!)

Art Mama said...

I have learned that a thank you note goes a long way. Small business owners will put your thank you notes up on the wall - and the next time they have something that they think you might need they will give YOU a call.

I am lucky enough to be in NYC where we have a great organization called Materials for the Arts (http://www.mfta.org). Maybe there is something like it near you...

Aunt Kris said...

I've also learned that Box Tops add up quickly! As do pennies! (you could do a penny drive).

Our students wear uniforms, so we do "dress down" days to raise money for different charities, events, school needs.

Phyl said...

Without even asking, someone from the local Nice 'n Easy donated hundreds of giant coffee filters; the local sign shop called me and asked if I wanted their scraps of peel-and-stick vinyl (of course I said Yes!). And you can make great strong paper clay with paper from the office shredders mixed with papier-mâché paste or glue. And plastic bags from loaves of bread or grocery store bags, stuffed with newspaper, make great papier-mâché armatures for cats, pigs, animals, birds... Oh, and the tennis coach gave me dozens of empty tennis ball containers which became terrific armature bases for tikis or mini-totems!

Atif Ahmed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mrs E (in Texas) said...

I've learned to check in with local fiber groups. They are excited to find people teaching fiber arts to children and will usually have left over yarn to donate, and in several cases whole skeins that did not work for them as they wanted it to. I have also learned friends with blogs (art related or not) can share about your work with children and you will receive donations from very unlikely and even far away places!

Jen Carlisle said...

I have learned to call and leave my name... one year I was blessed with a donation of 900+ sheets of HIGH quality drawing paper because I had called the local printing company and let them know that I would be happy to take their "extra" paper. These pages were are 12x36 but I can make that work. Also check with a local newspaper. They often have end rolls from their machines that are lower quality paper but still work.

Aunt Kris said...

I've learned that donorschoose.org is a fantastic place for teachers to get help with things they need for their classrooms!

Jody said...

I've learned that when I'm having a conversation with a parent or really anyone, I ask, "Where do you work?" and then I add, "what does your work throw away?"I have received thousands of pieces of Styrofoam, tablecloths, spools of unused wire from the phone company, crayons and tons of paper. I even had a coffee shop offer me a hundred milk jugs. I also have teachers add my wish list to their newsletters from time to time.

Angie said...

I've learned to HOARD. I've learned to go through the recycling bins in the hallways for paper that has a clean side and cardboard that we can cut up for something. I've learned to look for lessons that use materials we already have. I've learned how to write grants for the most basic materials. I've learned to use donorschoose as well. I've learned to ask for what I need through our corporate sponsors.

Art on my hands said...

I learned to never say no because there are always possibilities in the many materials you might receive as donations. Even if I don't immediately know what I will do with something, I accept graciously and store it away. Don't be afraid to put it out there to the parents. You never know where someone might work. I receive donated heavy stock paper in a variety of sizes from the dad that works for a paper company and magnetic sheets from a company that produces "interesting" magnets for retail sales in specialty shops. I received some very expensive photo print paper that had been mis-cut. And remember to never say no!

Carey said...

I've learned that framing shops will give you mat board scraps and home improvement places will donate old wallpaper sample books. Paper grocery bags also make wonderful projects.