6 Things Teachers Can Use for DIY Projects

by David Sung

It’s hard to think about school during the summer but when one season ends, another one has to begin. Don't worry teachers, no one wants to cut your summer vacation short, but it never hurts to start preparing for another successful school year. During the 2012-2013 school year, K-12 public school teachers spent $1.6 billion of their own money on classroom tools!  That number is up from previous years as some school districts suffer budget cuts. Some of the financial responsibility is passed on to students and their families, but teachers pitch in a great deal. The average individual contribution is around $485, but some teachers spend a lot more on their students. The do-it-yourself (DIY) community has, in some cases, been the saving grace for teachers who need to create the perfect learning environment for their students on a budget. Take a look at some of the more inexpensive and creative DIY ideas that we found. 

Water Jugs

– If you buy your water, then buy the 2.5 gallons (or know someone who does), instead of throwing them into the recycling bin, turn them into cubbies or storage bins. Stack them on top of each other and label them for added convenience.

Paint Swatches

– Head over to Lowes, Home Depot or just about any home improvement or paint store to stock up on the free paint swatches. There’s no limit on how many you can take, but just to be safe, visit at least two places so you don’t take away from actual customers. Teachers are using the paint swatches to create calendars or a flip chart.

Dish Drainer

- Is your class plugged in? You can use a dish drainer as a charging station for all the devices your class might need. You can find these for less than $8. Bonus: Use the charging station in your reward system by allowing your students to use it for positive behavior or high grades.

Wooden Blocks

– The classic Jenga game is making a comeback, but you don't have to spring for the official game to use in your classroom. Any set of wooden blocks game will do. Label each block with vocabulary words or math problems. When a student pulls a block, they have to define the word or solve the problem before placing the block on top.

DVD Cases

– Cross whiteboards off your student’s school supply list and replace it with a DVD case. Replace the movie cover with colored paper and you have a handheld dry erase board. The dry erase marker comes right off the plastic covering and you can glue pom poms at the end as an eraser.

Tin Cans

– Just about everyone has a collection of canned goods for those “emergency” meals, but the empty tin cans are also great for organizing a classroom. You can arrange the cans by height on a lazy Susan or hook them on a towel bar. Want to add to our list? Leave us a comment with your suggestion. You can also check out these 5 games that your students can play to learn about money management.

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