- backpacks stocked with games and supplies, one for every child to take home at the end of the year (...twice)
- a workbench and tools
- a puppet theatre and all the goodies to go with it
- oodles and oodles of sensory equipment (fidgets, raised-line paper, ball chairs, sit disks)
- oodles and oodles of PE equipment (ribbon wands, balance boards, scooter boards, a tunnel)
- an ipod dock and speaker system
- a mobile kitchen, including plates and silverware
- science units
- math games
- reading games
- chair pockets, bookshelves and a rolling cart
- wall mazes
- extremely nifty arts and crafts supplies
In short, I've been very lucky to have had many generous private citizens and foundations support my students. I am also an eager grant writer; for the last two years I have always had a project up on Donors Choose - except when all eight allowed have been filled and I am working on thank you projects. And I can write a pretty good grant. A colleague of mine says it's free money being wasted if you don't get those grants up, and I agree.
Also: I'm shameless. Are you my friend? Frienemy? We went to second grade together and I have your email address? Prepare to be solicited.
I am also asking for things that sound good. I've had a couple of grants filled by the same foundation because I write grants for a specific area in which they are interested. I have written some other grants to attract the interest of certain funding streams (and have been gratified by managing to get that interest, and the cash that accompanies it).
The problem is that not everyone is quite the grant-writer I am. Not every teacher has the time to pull a grant together. And some very basic needs - like school supplies - do not sound as awesome as "Help my students make extremely awesome sewing projects about their science learning" or "Caitlin Flanagan sucks: we want garden tools."
So while I certainly hope that all the world continues to enable my students a world-class, interactive and project-based Kindergarten, I'd prefer that all students could have the same experience through public funding. The system we have now is unfair. My students and my school do not have the advantage of generous local funding; we are lucky to have Donors Choose as a resource. But there are equally-deserving schools that aren't able to make up the difference this way.
So far I am batting 1.00 on conferences: no no-shows three days in. This is very exciting for me, since I really need to get them all done in a week and not try to run clean up.
In other school news, I am wearing my spiffy new school hoody featuring art from a well-known children's book author (sadly, not Tomi Ungerer, but almost as good) made specifically for our school. The shameless scrounging to awesome thing is a staff trait; one of the teachers got the art and another got us a deal on the printing. If we can just arrange for a Banksy mural we're so set. Also, I had a cute little plaid-and-crinoline number to wear with the sweatshirt.