6 ways to get materials/technology for your classroom

“I can’t believe I have all of this extra income just sitting in the bank…My paychecks are HUGE…I have everything my students could ever need…” said NO teacher, ever.
We all know the statistics.  Teachers spend large portions of their income on things for their students.  I’m constantly finding things that would improve my students’ ability to learn.
Here are 6 things you can do to get free supplies/technology for your classroom…
1. Go to www.donorschoose.org and create a project-
Donors Choose is a website that connects teachers with people who would like to fund their dream projects.  It’s simple to use.   Create an account, begin a project, shop for the items you want from a list of suppliers (Best Buy is the one I usually use), and post your project.  Once your project is funded your items will be shipped directly to your school.  After you’ve had a chance to play with your new toys, Donors Choose asks that your students write thank you letters to the donors.  This is a skill I think students could use anyway.
Last year I wrote a proposal for 2 Snowball microphones for my newspaper class.  Within 4 weeks my project was fully funded (thanks to donations from family and Starbucks).
This year I’m working a project that’s a little bigger, a Macbook Pro for my students to create a wide range projects.  You can see the project here:
2.     Use social media to your advantage-
I’ve found that most people have junk they want to get rid of, and most of that junk can help me in my classroom.  I’m constantly posting requests on Facebook for items I need.  For example, just recently I requested some comic books for my classroom and within 24 hours I had 3 offers for old comic books friends and family were wanting to get rid of.
3.     Create a wish list on www.amazon.com-
This suggestion I just discovered this summer and I’ve been dying to try it out.  The idea came from a blog post I read on ways to expand your classroom library.  This is another simple way to request items for your classroom.  It is a lot like registering for a wedding or a baby shower.  You go through Amazon and make a list of all of the things you want for your classroom.  Making my list was like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one.  I looked up every book and game I could ever possibly want for my classroom.
Then all you have to do is give people the web address for your wishlist.  They can purchase items and the items get sent directly to you.
Here is a link to my wish list:
4.     Let EVERYONE know what you are looking for-
I feel like most people would be more willing to help people out if they knew what they could do to help.  People like being able to know where there money is going and what their money is going toward.  Suggestion 1 and 3 both tell the donor exactly what the money will buy.  Don’t be afraid to make it known what you are looking for.
Obviously, don’t hound people to give you money.  A few posts every once in awhile will be enough.  Most sites have links to post directly to a Facebook or Twitter feed.
5.     Become an active member of Facebook and Twitter-
Getting classroom donations is all about networking and connections.
6.     Create a blog :)-
That is only partially a joke.  It’s important to have credibility when asking for donations.  People want to know that their donation will be put to good use and make a huge impact in students’ lives.  A professional blog lets people know you are serious about what you do…
On that note good luck, get out there and write some proposals, and feel free to donate to any of my projects!