Monday, August 6, 2012

Don't short-change your local 5 and dime!

Back to school mode has set in for most of the teachers I know.  We're shopping, rearranging, crafting, lesson planning, and just generally starting the school year the usual way: Excited, a little nervous, and running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

What I want to encourage you to do is check out your 5 and dime.  (Let's be honest- most every teacher I know adores Dollar Tree and dollar/ clearance sections everywhere else.)  I drive past it ALL the time, and I went in once during college, but that was about it.  I recently went in because it's in the same plaza as the laundromat and I got bored while doing laundry.  It's full of whimsy, but there are some hard-core treasures in there if you're willing to go on a treasure hunt.  AND EVERYTHING COSTS LESS THAN IT WOULD ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD!!  Honestly, I don't know how this gem of a store stays open, but I have a friend who's dad has been using it for teaching supplies for at least 20 years, so it's doing something right.  I didn't buy anything but stored this new knowledge in the memory bank.

This morning, I stopped at the local 5 and dime again.  I found so many treasures, but hadn't been into my new classroom officially yet, so didn't want to make any big purchases until I'm a little more settled.  I've been using stressballs in my classroom since before they made the big waves with the lightbulb stress balls from Target.  Nevertheless, I was disappointed that every time I went to a Target (I checked out FOUR of them!), there were no lightbulbs.  I'm always looking for more stress balls, particularly free or cheapies.  There was an entire aisle of balls and plastic animals in the five and dime.  It was science teacher heaven.  Not to mention the fact that they have beyond boatloads of posters, butcher paper, patterned thick butcher paper for backgrounds, a gazillion and one theme decorations, teacher books, school supplies, and probably a million other things I found less fascinating.

Thanks to my morning stop, I now have bouncy balls that look like human organs (brains, hearts, lungs), and stress balls in various sports themes, human body organs, and two of the ones that actually look like a globe (labeled and all).  Nothing I bought individually cost more than a dollar.  Even the teacher posters/ bulletin board sets/ books I passed on were 1/2 to 1/3 the cost at a teacher store or on amazon.  Go check yours out, and help your local businesses out!
The animal section.  I see some great pranks in my future!

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