Five Free and Frugal Ideas for Your Classroom

Here’s five free and frugal ideas you can use for educational pursuits today!


1. REPURPOSE plastic pieces leftover from broken or partially misplaced games.

Use them for new game markers for:

  • homemade or TpT games (like the ones in my store)
  • sorting
  • matching
  • counting
  • one-to-one correspondence


2. ACCESS to read and/or listen to thousands of FREE books with audio and highlighted text.


  • You can sort by type of book, age, reading level, etc.
  • If you have an account with your local library, be sure to ask if they have a tumblebooks account. We are able to access it completely FREE with our library’s code!
  • This site is formatted to work on tablet devices as well as your laptop!


3. TRY simple scientific experiments with your students!

They can be done with items you DEFINITELY have on hand and will DEFINITELY inspire your students to seek out even more LEARNING opportunities!




  • A review of the Commutative Property with four glasses of water, two with a smaller but equal amount and two with a larger but equal amount.
  • Does it matter if you add the glass with the lesser amount of water to the glass with the larger amount OR if you add the glass with the larger amount to the glass with the lesser amount?
  • No it doesn’t! Whether you add 4 + 6 for instance or 6 + 4, you still get 10!
  • Try it especially if your students are struggling to understand why the two amounts are in fact equal no matter which way you add them up!




  • All you need for this experiment is MAGNETS of various sizes and objects to test whether they are magnetic or not!
  • If you have them, brass brads are the MOST FUN, especially with a large and very attractive magnet!
  • Challenge your students to see how many they can pick up with just one magnet!

4. GO OUTSIDE and explore in nature.


Whether you can find a nearby creek or just a nearby tree or field to explore, get outside and see what you can discover with your students! The world is our classroom!


5. SAVE PAPER and packaging you find in products you buy.

It has so many uses, not to mention it doesn’t end up in the trash or recycling bin quite yet!

  • Paper piecing: you might notice the chicken pictures in the picture below. They were created with scrap papers including another piece of brown paper that was salvaged from packaging!
  • The history projects on the top of the shelves in the picture below were also saved from the round file! They were intended to be the back of some cubeical shelves, but my Dad made me real wood back instead. These very sturdy (but still paper) boards were the perfect size for 2nd grade history projects!

Here is a close-up shot of one of the projects in progress!


  • Instant mural! (this paper below that our children turned into a mural of space “and other things” was wadded up as padding in a package of books I ordered.

These ideas are free and frugal, yet they are sure to enrich the education of those you teach! If you have some more ideas, PLEASE do SHARE in the comments!

Another Post About My Desk

How is that for a hook?

Yes I have rearranged my desk again. Actually, I never really arranged it. Until now. It has looked like this … well usually messier … than this. For nine months.

Not bad for nearly one year since we purchased our new home, and nine months since we moved in. Mind you, things weren’t finished when we moved in (and still aren’t), but the library was a top priority and was *mostly* finished.


But my desk. That is another story. The word piles comes to my mind. A fairly accurate description actually. Workspace would definitely not be an accurate description of my desk these last nine months.

IMG_8880 Continue reading

What Is Homeschooling?

I get asked a lot or rather people will just say (rather than ask): “I don’t see how you do it. Teach all of them at different levels and ages. I couldn’t do it.”


{Deep breath.}

I don’t teach them all.


GASP. (Did any of you just gasp?) Continue reading

What Is On Your Desk?

A recent thread on a forum I visit on a popular teacher site got me to thinking about coming clean (no pun intended). I am quite organized overall, BUT I have issues when it comes to my desk.

I thought it would be therapeutic perhaps and hopefully helpful to a fellow teacher with desk organization issues to write out a list.

5 Things I Don’t Want Anyone to Know About My Desk

1. I can’t actually sit there and do anything.

Well I do have a chair but there is absolutely no space on which to do any work, especially involving a space to perhaps lay a piece of paper upon it.

IMG_7096 Continue reading

A Peek Into Our Day

I’ve had people ask me how I manage to teach six children with so many different needs and levels of learning taking place. I honestly have been thinking on this for the last couple of days as I’ve worked on putting this on virtual paper.


I do not have a schedule laid out minute by minute. I have tried that, but I’m going to be honest in saying it just doesn’t work. And that stressed this Type-A person out, so I threw it out … literally … one day. Continue reading

Setting Them UP for Success!

My goal this year in classroom/library set-up is “Setting them UP for success!” from the moment our students enter the room!



I hope I have achieved that through some of the ways I have set up our classroom, which I call the library because our family uses it for much more than “school.” I am sharing some ways I have set our classroom up for success below!

1. Each of our students has a shelf for their books. At the end of the day, they know where they are supposed to go and have hopefully placed them there. For those books that are shared by some, their is another shelf and they are replacing books as they finish. While some books are for individual students, others are shared by multiple students. It is good to practice sharing, even as older students! Continue reading

‘Twas the Night Before …

… the first day of school and all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring … except maybe a mouse spider!

The children were all nestled all snug in their beds,

With visions of glow sticks dancing in their heads!


When what to my sleepy eyes did appear …

A printer out of ink and a message that read “ERROR.”

Before Momma, the teacher, went fast asleep in a flash,

She decided to take one last dash …

To the library for a view of the place


Where growth and learning would happen in the coming days.

If you are racing and last-minute planning on the eve of the 1st Day,

Take heart and know that everything will be O.K!


“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Mathew 5: 14-16