Back To School Blog Hop

I am excited to take part in another fun blog hop!  This is the "Back to School" blog hop and it is full of awesome ideas, freebies and giveaways to help your make the transition back to school a little easier.

Back to School WITHOUT Breaking the Bank

It is back to school time again and as much as this time of year excites does not do any favors to my bank account! I cannot go into a store without finding something that I feel I NEED for my classroom. Pinterest has been both a blessing and a curse for me...especially this time of year. Seeing all of the adorable ideas for classroom decor and organization tips is enough to make your head spin! Over the years I have become pretty good at using recycled materials to take the place of more expensive options. You know what they say, "One man's trash is another man's treasure!" Today I will share some of my favorite items you can easily use or dress up to become a staple in your classroom!

1. Egg Cartons and Ice Cube Trays - I am sure this is something that you probably already have in your house and the uses for these items are endless!  Some of my students' favorite games have been made with ice cube trays and egg cartons *Write a sight word on each space and have students toss a pom pom in and read out the word they land on.  For a math twist on this write a number in each space and toss 2 pom poms - students must add or multiply the numbers they land on.
My favorite use - PAINT PALLETS!  
When you use an egg carton as a paint pallet you can keep paint colors separated better than plates and have fewer spills than when you use cups.  A win, win for everyone!

2. Coffee Cans - Forget about spending money on cute pencil/scissor/crayon organizers...simply cover a coffee can with your favorite wrapping or scrap book paper and you have a whole new look.  I love the versatility this offers you!  Just think of all of the prints and color combination possibilities to fit any classroom theme you choose!  Check out these adorable coffee can pencil holders by Modern Mrs. Darcy

This same principal could be applied to any container you find useful.  I have used decorated Pringles containers to hold larger items like rulers, Ball Jars with a cute ribbon and so much more.

3. Cereal Boxes - I have used cereal boxes for so many things so I always have friends and family saving them for me.  Student "book boxes" or magazine holders are so nice to organize for your reading center.  Students can easily keep their belongings in one place to "grab and go" when they are ready to read.  These magazine holders can be anywhere from $2.50-$10.00 each.  To buy a class set is a HUGE cost, so why not make them?  All you need is a cereal box, scissors and a favorite paper to cover with and you have something to perfectly fit your taste and classroom.  The Sits Girls have a tutorial on their blog for this project!

Another expensive classroom item is a classroom mailbox system.  Tracy from Creekside Teacher Tales explains how she turned boxes like cereal boxes into a mailbox system to easily organize classroom notes and messages.  


4. CD Cases or Plastic Plates - Need a class set of dry erase boards, but don't want to spend the money on it?  Try old CD cases or plastic plates.  The plastic plates work just like a dry erase board.  Buy them in different colors for added fun.  They can be used and reused until they break!  CD cases are really neat to use because you can print off a template or guide for students to use with it.  Just put the guide behind the case cover and students can follow along with ease.  For example, when teaching about telling time print out a blank analog clock.  Students can draw on the hands to follow along with your lesson.  The guide can be easily changed out for different subjects and lessons.  Perfect for differentiation!

5. Cheap Plastic Table Cloths - These beauties come in any color imaginable and can be found at dollar stores around the country!  Best use I have found for them?  Bulletin board covering!  So fast and easy to put up (you can easily fold over excess or cut it off) and it doesn't fade nearly as much paper.  I have found that table cloths can hold up for several school years!  While I love the way fabric looks on a bulletin board it can get extremely expensive!  This a great alternative that won't break the bank!

These bulletin boards are covered in table cloths that have been up in the same classroom for 2 years!  I have since moved out of this classroom, but the teacher in the room is keeping the background colors the same for a 3rd year!

Keeping your budget in mind I am offering a limited time freebie from my store!  This will only be free for this week only!  Stop by my store and check it out!  My Back To School Survival Pack has many great resources to get your year started off right!  As always your feedback is greatly appreciated!

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