Where to Find Free Teaching Resources for Your Classroom

A list of places to find free teaching resources for your classroom!
Good afternoon!  This is Meghan from Vestal's 21st Century Classroom and today I want to share information about one of the most important things to any teacher... how to get free teaching resources for your classroom!  According to researchers, the average teacher spends between $500-$600 out of pocket each school year.  Personally, I have always thought this number seemed a little low but, either way, that's a lot of money!  In recent years, more sites and stores have begun offering free teaching materials and supplies.  You just have to know where to go and what to ask for.  Here is a list I have compiled of some of the best places to find free resources for your classroom:

A list of places to find free teaching resources for your classroom!
Donors Choose is one of my absolute favorite teacher sites and has been a huge blessing to my classroom!  This site operates as a crowd funding site for teachers.  Post a project and then anyone who logs onto the site can donate money towards the project.  The nice thing is donors get to select how much they want to give towards the project.  It can be as little as $5 or more than $1,000.  I have been given games, books, basic supplies, and even a white board through Donors Choose.  Donors Choose is also backed by several legitimate sources including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal.  Keep in mind, if you use Donors Choose, it does require some work.  In addition to writing the initial project summary, you also have to send your donors pictures and thank you notes from the students.
A list of places to find free teaching resources for your classroom!
With Adopt a Classroom, donors are able to adopt a classroom for a year or give a one time gift.  If they choose to adopt a classroom for a year, the donors agree to give a set amount of money to the classroom each month.  The nice thing about Adopt a Classroom is that you do not have to keep posting new projects, like with Donors Choose.  Rather, you can put the money that is donated each month to whatever supplies you need that month.  The downside to Adopt a Classroom is that it is not as well known as Donors Choose.  Since fewer people are aware of it, I have found it more challenging to gain support.
A list of places to find free teaching resources for your classroom!
I just learned about From One Hand to Another and am very excited about it because it primarily benefits Virginia classrooms!  From One Hand to Another was founded in 2008 by music superstar and Virginia native, Pharell Williams.  This organization is guaranteed to leaving Virginia teachers feeling "happy."  Each year From Hand to Another hosts a huge back to school donation program.  If you are in need of classroom supplies, be sure to reach out to the organization soon to see if you can take part.  Also, if you register on the From One Hand to Another website, elementary and middle school classrooms can gain access to free content and lessons.  Finally, if you live in the Virginia Beach area, be sure to look into the From One Hand to Another summer camp.  Each summer, more than 500 students are treated to this free camp.
A list of places to find free teaching resources for your classroom!
Over the years, one thing I have learned is communities want to help students and schools.  Sometimes you just have to be willing to ask for help.  I have received classroom donations from McDonald's, local bookstores, doctor offices, markets, Amazon, and movie theaters.  To do this, I just draft a simple letter that explains what my students need and how the donation will benefit my students.  The important part of writing donation letters is to deliver the letter in person and ask to speak a manager.  This option does take some time but it also gets the community involved in your classroom.
A list of places to find free teaching resources for your classroom!
Teachers Pay Teachers should be saved in every teachers "favorites" folder.  While most products on Teachers Pay Teachers are paid resources, there are also thousands of free lesson plans and teaching activities.  Sellers post free teaching resources as a way to generate interest in their stores.  So, if you download a free lesson plan or activity, be sure to follow the seller's store and/or leave feedback.

Here are some of the free resources you can find in my TpT store, Vestal's 21st Century Classroom:

Fraction Word Problem Task Cards: Superhero Theme          Multi-Step Word Problem Task Cards: Pirate Theme

Finally, if you are looking for free teaching resources and ideas, be sure to sign up for my newsletter! When you sign up for my newsletter, you will also be able to download my Free Ultimate Guide on How to Effectively Use Technology to Teach.

I hope you have discovered some new ways to find free teaching activities and tools for your classroom this school year.  If you know of any places or sites (that are not listed here) that offer free teacher resources, be sure to leave a comment.  


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