I’ve been incorporating making into my classroom in the past few years. Some of my biggest challenges and one of the things I spent the most time on was sourcing different needed materials and supplies. Knowing what to get, what was the best buy, what works well with students – all things that took some trial and error. I don’t claim to be the expert on these things, and things are constantly changing, but here are a few products that worked well for me and links to them.

General All-Around Great Vendors to Source Supplies

  • Kidder (great for design & build stuff – gears, pulleys, motors, tools, etc.)
  • B&B (great for Lego Robotics kits, etc.)
  • Sunwind (great solar powered project kits)

Consumables

Resources

Organization/Setup

Books

Furniture

  • Peel Creative Zone – warehouse with used furniture, free for Peel employees (& delivered right to your school!) – you never know what you might find – if you’re from a different board, ask around to see if you have something similar. Paint an ugly old table with whiteboard paint to make it look fresh and new again!
  • Hokki Stools
  • Fatboy Junior bean bag chair/pillow (be warned – they will flatten out over time and you will have to refill them – keep that ongoing cost in mind)
  • Fatboy Avenue Ottoman – these are super lightweight but sturdy, not as comfy as a bean bag but lower ongoing maintenance, easy to rearrange flexibly on the fly – combine several for modular seating
  • Global Citi 3 Seater Sofa

2 Comments

Kristen Garvin · April 25, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Hi Erica,

Thanks for sharing your resources. Did you use your own money, or was there a budget for your classroom furniture? Do you have to have your Principal’s permission to transform your classroom? Thanks!

    Erica Armstrong · April 25, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Kristen!

    I’ve done this twice now. The first time I had a budget for furniture (see 2015 Classroom Tour). The second time, I did not have a budget for furniture (see 2016 classroom tour) but did not spend much of my own money either – much of it came from Creative Zone for free, or I was able to find unused stuff hiding in storage rooms or asked colleagues if they would trade me furniture. Some of it was stuff I had at home that I was ready to part with or family members were getting rid of from their homes (once you know you want to transform your space – your eyes and ears are constantly on the lookout!). I did spend a little bit on new stuff at Ikea – some $7 stools, some cushions, the smaller carpet, the supply cart and the bins on it that I used to organize the school supplies… I can’t remember but I’m estimating I spent around $300.

    Another spot I have sometimes hit upon great finds is https://www.govdeals.ca/ – right after the Panam Games, for example, they sold off everything!! It was all used for just a couple months and so I got some practically brand new things for next to nothing.

    The first time around, because my principal approved the budget necessary to buy the furniture – that was “permission” I guess 🙂 The second time around, because I wasn’t asking for any money – I just went ahead and did it, setting up my classroom in August just like anyone would 🙂 She was aware, though – and seeing was believing – she loved it and was super supportive of it once she saw it in action.

    In both cases, I did have a budget for supplies – consumables, resources – and was careful to spend those very differently in order to meet the needs of a transformed space. For example, I didn’t get duotangs or notebooks for every subject but probably spent a lot more on creative supplies than others did.

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