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.

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Sweet! Our New *Still in Development* Writing Station

For now, just some photos … (Edited to add: some more explanation!)


I recycled this tub from the garage. 🙂 DH wasn’t really using it. Each side has notebooks and writing tools for each of my 2nd grade students.


Some of the items I’ve included in the tub: notebook with blank lined paper, small notepad for list-making, envelopes to actually mail hand-written letters, erasers, scrap papers for rough drafts, notes, etc. Continue reading

Game On! and a Giveaway!

If you are a large family or just a group who likes to play games that appeal to multiple ages and abilities, this post might be one to read on to the bottom!

In the spirit of giving I thought it was high time for some giveaways here!


My Teachers Pay Teachers store has a few games in it and some of my most popular have been my BINGO

I have BINGO games for the youngest of learners and older learners too. I will give away ONE copy of each of my FIVE BINGO games from my store. The choices are:

NOUN Bingo


VERB Bingo



FARM Bingo


and my MOST popular BINGO Game … 2D Shapes Bingo!


Please post away if you’d like a set. Let me know which one you’d like and be sure to put a valid email in with your comment (no one but me will be able to see the email addy). The first one to comment for each set will get the one set of their choice. For those who aren’t first to comment, I will have all of my BINGO sets on sale in my store at 10% OFF through December 31st!

If you need something fun and educational to do on these long winter days or even during an indoor recess for your class, these make great resources! The Noun and Verb Bingo boards are completely black-and-white for easy printing, but they look amazing on colored copy stock which is how I printed ours.

Oh and one more gift for my readers: I have a FREE Preposition BINGO game in my store.

You might want to go and download it today! Please let me know how you like it if you download it! I always appreciate feedback on my TpT products.


**GIVEAWAY ends on January 4.**

Making Meaning from Math

I like math because it is useful. I don’t enjoy math though.

But, our little ones love to learn and exercise their math skills with hands-on activities. I have to admit this keeps it interesting, usually results in greater meaning for them, and it allows me to see exactly what they know regarding math fundamentals.

Here are some recent math lessons with a hands-on approach:

Skip counting with ice cream cones


You can grab this great freebie at Krista Wallden’s TpT store!

Numbers 11–20 Review in 10 Different Ways


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SHAPES Freebie!


This FREEBIE has been in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for a long time, but I recently updated it due to some customer requests. After an appearance in the TpT Sunday FREEBIES Newsletter, it has been downloaded a LOT and the feedback has been positive. I wanted to be sure all of my blog readers knew about it and also that anyone who has it might want to download the updated version, which includes 3 new shapes: cone, hexagon and octagon!


We use this a LOT in our homeschool, particularly my three-year-old, but it is so versatile you can use it with many ages and abilities. It has a self-correcting version of shapes names as well as two more versions that require your students to read and decipher which name matches which shape.


As for that TpT Sunday FREEBIE newsletter, you might want to sign up for that if you are not already on the e-blast distribution for it (scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email in the box at bottom left). It comes out almost every Sunday of the year, and always includes 10 FREE downloads available at Teachers Pay Teachers. If you haven’t stopped by my store lately, why not come by and check out my FREEBIES or my recently uploaded products? I’d love to have you visit!

Throughout 2013, I am giving 10% of all net sales from my TpT store to the Love Without Boundaries Unity Fund.

Please know that for every purchase through my TpT store, you will be directly helping children in China to NOT become orphaned and to have the blessing of staying with their birth families, and you will be helping those families who find themselves in a desperate and seemingly hopeless situation with an ill child for whom they have no means to provide medical care. You can help make a difference!



Math Monday: SHAPES!

Li’l Bit loves to do “calendar time” with her big brother and sister. While she doesn’t have an actual Page Protector Calendar yet, I did create a special set for her using pieces from the Page Protector Bundle 2, which I created to use with 10-pocket business-sized page protectors.


She loves to point to the colors as I name them and point to the shapes as I say them. She already can point to the circle, heart, star and triangle.

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Happy LEAP Day!

Y’all have got to check this out! Whether you homeschool or not, some of this stuff is bound to be useful! Notebooking pages for vacations … for “traveling” across the USA … check it out!

You can find the FREEBIES that are being downloaded one at a time as I type on CurrClick’s FB page.

I think this LINK will take you to the freebies, but I think you’ll need to refresh as they are giving away of total of 9 FREEBIES and so far have only shared the first five.

FWIW, CurrClick is an awesome site, and our favorite publisher over there is LightHome Publications (their copywork and handwriting books are superb!).

Don’t miss the NINE FREEBIES today only until midnight!

*I did not receive any compensation for this. I am just sharing so others can enjoy the FREE goodness!*