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Fantastic and Free:
Materials for Teachers

How can you add to your classroom and curriculum without depleting your pocketbook? Request free teaching materials and other items from organizations that appreciate the services educators perform. Here you will find out how to obtain hard copies of terrific lesson plans, videos, and other resources for your classroom. Included: Discover more than 20 tangible freebies for educators at all levels!

Considering all they do for children, educators deserve a break once in a while! Some companies, such as Staples and Jo-Ann Stores recognize teachers' contributions through discount programs. Other organizations deliver tangible "freebies" for teachers -- including instructional materials, books, supplies, and more. So where can you find them?

Start gathering your free resources at two sites designed to put free materials into the hands of educators: Video Placement Worldwide distributes educational videos, CD-ROMS, and teaching materials that are made available by corporations. Items that can be ordered online include a video tour of the Jelly Belly factory and a video of the evolution of the bicycle! FREE helps users locate materials sponsored by federal agencies. This site provides access to free resources from the Smithsonian, the White House, the Library of Congress, and other federal agencies.

Continue your complimentary tour at any of the Web sites below. Just fill out an online form or submit a request in writing to take advantage of more great free stuff for teachers.

EARLY GRADES

Visit the U.S. Fire Administration Publications to request the "Sesame Street Fire Safety Station" activity book and cassette of songs and stories. The kit, which features a reproducible coloring book and poster, conveys the message of fire safety to preschoolers in a simple, reassuring way.

Kindergarten teachers can request from Colgate a free Bright Futures, Bright Smiles kit to promote oral health. If you are not a kindergarten teacher, free activities and printables for grades K-3 are featured on the Web site, and a colorful area for kids teaches about healthful snacking, visits to the dentist, brushing well, and more. Free registration is required to access the teacher's materials.

Share Your Freebies

Do you know of a great free resource for teachers? Share the information with fellow educators on an Education World message board.

The Web site of author/illustrator Jan Brett is a treasure trove of teaching materials to enhance the learning experience for young children. There is much to print and share online, but Brett also offers a "teacher's pack" that can be obtained by writing to Jan Brett, Post Office Box 366, Norwell, MA 02061.

Nutrition education materials can be secured for free from Dole 5 A Day. The Web site has recipes, interactive learning games, puzzles, and other cool stuff. A cookbook, CD-ROM, cassette, and other free resources can be ordered online after your school has registered with Dole. Check out the site to print a form that can be faxed or mailed to register.

MIDDLE AND UPPER GRADES

To help kids through a time of change, P&G School Programs offers the Always Changing/About You Program for fifth graders. Schools can request free sample packs of deodorant, information booklets, and so on for their fifth grade girls and boys. Classroom materials also are available, including a 25-minute video and classroom guide. Orders can be placed online.

The National Association of Home Builders introduces middle schoolers to the process of home construction -- from choosing a site to final sale -- in the CD-ROM simulation game Building Homes of Our Own. Complete an online registration form to receive a free copy of the program.

Bring the world of business into your classroom with The Wall Street Journal. A guide to stock markets is available online, and a video about the publication, a resource guide, and up to one hundred student guides can be ordered free of charge through this site.

The National Science Teachers Association and the Food and Drug Administration provides an array of free and inexensive materials for teachers in its http://www.nsta.org/publications/grabbag.aspx" target="_blank">Science Teacher's Grab Bag.

If you enjoy the educational programming of A&E Classroom, plan on getting more from the experience with The Idea Book from A&E. This biannual magazine for teachers contains teacher's guides and a printed A&E Classroom Calendar. Use the online form to order, and you won't miss another pertinent program from A&E! (Teacher's guides also can be accessed online.)

ALL GRADES

Nutrition Explorations from the National Dairy Council's Tools for Schools helps teachers with activities, a teacher idea exchange, and more in Journey into Nutrition Education. Educators can examine the Nutrition Explorations catalog and find such classroom resources as videos, handouts, and more. Although it isn't possible to order the materials online, print copies of the catalog can be requested through the Web site.

Science on a Shoestring

Get more from your science activities with free teaching helpers!

Teachfree.com has educational materials to order and download for grades PreK-12. They include video kits, flyers, posters, and more on such topics such as food safety, caring for the environment, and the food pyramid.

If energy is a subject that appears in your curriculum, you need a free classroom pack from the National Energy Foundation. Natural Gas Free Materials provides seven different sets of materials that span the grades and can be requested online.

Designed for grades 6-12, Women Are Scientists is a series of free videos and posters that highlights successful female biomedical scientists -- surgeons, pathologists, and researchers -- at work.

Teachers can obtain an Earth/Mars Comparison Poster from NASA, a National Wildlife Week Poster from the National Wildlife Federation, and several Science Education Posters from the Wright Center.

Request a school food service and/or educator kit from USA Pears and learn more about how the fruits can be eaten, how they ripen, and how you can get them on the menu. The USA Pear Educator Kit for grades K-12 can be obtained by writing to Pear Bureau Northwest, Dept. USAPEARS, 4382 SE International Way, Milwaukie, OR 97222-4635. For pear-related activities, stories, and recipes for young children, see the site's Just for Kids area.

If your class has questions about money and monetary policy, the dozen Federal Reserve Comics will answer them in an authoritative -- but entertaining -- way. From coins to inflation to saving, these light and engaging stories show kids how our monetary system works. Up to 35 complimentary copies of most comics can be ordered online.

At George Washington: A National Treasure, you can order a 30-page teacher's guide and poster reproduction of George Washington's "Lansdowne" portrait by Gilbert Stuart from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. An online form is provided, or you can call 1-866-NPG-KITS (1-866-674-5487). If lessons about George Washington for elementary, middle, and upper grades are your focus, you can download a PDF of the teacher's guide from the site.

Get a free subscription to the Teaching Tolerance online newsletter, as well as free curriculum kits about musical activism, Rosa Parks, peaceful classrooms, civil rights, intolerance, and injustice from Tolerance.org. Also view handouts online or order them in bulk when you discover the Teacher resources offered by this organization. Inexpensive films to accompany the materials also can be purchased.

Order a free sample of Crayola OverWriters, markers that can write on top of each other. Just register as an educator on Crayola.com and complete an online request form.

A product of the Cartoon Network, Animate Your World: Shaping Character is an interactive CD-ROM designed to help teachers incorporate character education into classroom activities. The program is built on three character behaviors: respect for self, respect for others, and responsibility to community. The educator's guide and CD contain lesson plans, rubrics, and teaching masters. Copies can be ordered online.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Ocean Surface Topography from Space Request free or inexpensive posters, brochures, CDs, and slides from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • The Chocolate Dream Machine This online video and teaching guide instructs classes about the making of chocolate.
  • DrillMasters Band leaders who are not existing customers can request a free pair of Drillmaster marching shoes (even in a student's size).
  • Service Band CDs Many government bands offer free recordings of their music for schools. Find out how to get them!

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