Tag Archives: a gift for teaching

Idea: Amazon School Supply List

Today, my son and I picked up some last minute supplies for his first day of middle school tomorrow, and this idea popped into my head.

Amazon.com is in a perfect position to make this a reality, though other online retailers could do it.

Image

Amazon will allow school districts, schools and/or teachers to create school supply lists through an easy interface in their system. Families will be able to log on to Amazon.com, find their school or teacher, and see the whole list of supplies needed for the school year. The families can then buy the whole list, or edit the supplies if they already have things on the list. When they do buy the items, they will have the option to ship the supplies directly to the school, and the student will be able to get them on the first day of school.

Teachers will also be able to post wish list items for the families, instead of having little slips of paper at the open house asking for Clorox wipes or Kleenex. When the families are checking out on Amazon.com, they can choose to add one of the wish list items.

Prices will be kept low because they will be supplemented from the companies whose products are featured through the list process. For example, Elmer’s Glue will be the only brand of glue that teachers can add to their supply lists, and this exclusivity would be paid for by Elmer’s, which would pass savings on to the consumers. (Families could deselect a brand if they would like a different one.)

The student won’t need to worry about forgetting an important supply at school, or losing something before the first day because it was bought weeks before. The parents won’t need to worry about wasting gas and time trying to find the supplies going from store to store. They won’t need to worry about getting the supply list from the teachers.

The teachers will be confident that their students have access to the list and to the supplies, and that the students will have what they need. There will be consistency in the products the kids are using so there’s no confusion about white glue versus glue sticks or something other than a No. 2 pencil.

Another option that will be available through this service will allow people to donate school supplies. This can be done either through an add-a-dollar process, that adds money onto the final amount of the sale, or the donor can select a school district and donate a full supply list to the school to give to a student in need. Schools would be able to sign up for up to a certain amount of donated supply lists.

In Central Florida, 172,000 children are enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program and 10,000 are homeless (source). If their families have difficulty putting food on the table, you know they will be unable to purchase school supplies. This opportunity to help other students would be a great benefit to all communities.

Since this is just an idea, I would encourage you to find a way to help out students in need this school year. Here in Central Florida, we have an organization called A Gift For Teaching that helps meet these needs by allowing teachers to shop in a Free Store for donated school supplies. They are associated with the Kids in Need Foundation who can help you help others in your own community.

So what do you think of the idea?

And how do we make it happen? Well, if you happen to work for Amazon, or another internet retailer – just run with it. If you don’t work for a company like that, this could start from the grassroots – send a letter to Amazon, to your school district or both. It seems like a win for students, parents, teachers and the community, as well as for the school supply business.

The school supply industry is pretty recession-proof. Kids don’t stop going to school when the economy is down. According to this article in the Porterville Recorder, “Total spending on back-to-school is expected to reach $26.7 billion; and total back-to-school and back-to-college spending combined, $72.5 billion.”

If I had a blank, I could blank!

If I had a       (school supply)     , I could         (verb)       .

How would you fill in those blanks?

That’s what A Gift for Teaching is challenging you to ask yourself during the 2011 PUSH campaign that’s going on this month. When given the right tools, a child’s potential is limitless.

I would fill in the blanks as:
If I had a      book      , I could       go on an adventure       !

When I was growing up, I loved books… and I still love books!
I love that books can take me to other worlds.
I love that books can let me experience things I’d never do in real life.
I love that books let me use my imagination.
I love that books inspire me to write.

Here are some books that meant a lot to me when I was a kid, in order of influence.

  • Any of the Little Golden Books, like The Little Red Caboose
  • Winnie the Pooh books
  • Everything by Dr. Seuss
  • Beverly Cleary books like Ralph S. Mouse, The Mouse and The Motorcycle  and all of the Hennry Huggins books
  • Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain, on which Disney based The Black Cauldron
  • C.S. Lewis  books (Narnia and his space trilogy)
  • Anything by Stephen R. Lawhead
  • John Steinbeck’s The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights 
  • Everything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Those are just ones of the top of my head. There were so many more.
What books do you remember reading as a kid?
Of course, so many kids aren’t able to afford to buy books. They have to rely on public libraries and school libraries. And these days, school library funding is in trouble.
But you can help a child have access to books!
A Gift for Teaching offers a free store for teachers that has a corner devoted to books! Teachers can come to A Gift For Teaching and shop for free and take books for their classrooms and students.
Please consider donating the price of your favorite book to A Gift for Teaching. You can do that by going to my fundraising site at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/matthew-hoskins-1/agiftforteaching-matthoskins.
Right now, I’m almost halfway to my goal of $200. With AGFT’s stewardship, they can turn that $200 into $2000 worth of school supplies. Including books!
Thank you so much! And don’t forget to fill in the blanks in the comments below!

A Gift for Teaching PUSH Campaign 2011

It’s that time of year again, when the asphalt begins to bubble and parents start to buy school supplies for their kids to go back to school.

Last year, I introduced you to Pencil Boy. This year, I’ll just give it to you straight.

Did you know in Florida, about 50% of kids qualify for the Free or Reduced School Lunch Program. You can look at statistics here:http://www.fldoe.org/eias/eiaspubs/pdf/frplunch.pdf

In Orange County for the 2008-2009 school year, the percentage was 48.55%. In Osceola County, it was 65.11%!!

If these kids can’t afford lunch, how will they afford pencils and other school supplies?!

But there’s help!

A Gift For Teaching is an organization that distributes school supplies, including pencils, to teachers and students in need! They operate a Free Store for Teachers where the teachers can come in and shop without spending any money and get supplies for their students and classrooms. Through their excellent staff and kind donations and volunteers, they are able to take a $10 donation and stretch it into $100 worth of school supplies. That’s a LOT of pencils!

Please visit their website and find out more about them!

And you can help, too!

Please visit http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/matthew-hoskins-1/agiftforteaching-matthoskins and consider donating even a small amount to A Gift for Teaching. Every little bit counts! Skip today’s Starbucks run, and give that $5 to them so kids can have pencils and erasers, glue, paper, scissors, etc.

It only takes about $7 to fill a backpack with supplies for kids. Could you give $7 to fill a backpack?

Thank you so much for donating!

Meet Pencil Boy

Meet Pencil Boy.

He wants to teach you about pencils.

pen·cil
[pen-suhl] noun, verb, -ciled, -cil·ingor ( especially British  -cilled, -cil·ling.
1. a slender tube of wood, metal, plastic, etc., containing
a core or strip of graphite, a solid coloring material,or
the like, used for writing or drawing.

  • Did you know that even though the center of the pencil is called lead, pencils have never contained the element lead?
  • The graphite core of pencils is not poisonous, and is harmless if swallowed.
  • The first American wood pencils were made in 1812, but erasers weren’t attached until 1858. I guess we didn’t make as many mistakes back then.
  • The metal band that holds the eraser on is called a ferrule.

Famous Pencil Pushers

From Reader’s Digest:

  • Henry David Thoreau was the son of a pencil maker.
  • Thomas Edison The inventor had his pencils specially made by Eagle Pencil to be three inches long (6.6 centimetres), fatter than ordinary pencils and filled with very soft lead.
  • Vladimir Nabokov The Russian writer famously stated: “I have rewritten – often several times – every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasures.”
  • John Steinbeck The author wrote obsessively in pencil, sometimes going through 60 in one day. It is said that he used 300 pencils to complete his novel, East of Eden.
  • Vincent van Gogh The Dutch artist is reported to have preferred a Faber-Castell pencil for his large studies. He claimed, “they are of ideal thickness; very soft and in quality superior to carpenter’s pencils, a capital black and most agreeable …”

Herman Miller suggests the best pencils to use, including some that smell like root beer and watermelon: http://www.hermanmiller.com/lifework/pencils/

Forbes.com recognizes the pencil as number 4 in their list of most important tools.

More than 2 1/2 billion pencils are sold each year in the United States alone—about 11 pencils for each person in the country!

For a tool that has been so important to so many people for so many years, can you believe that not everyone has access to pencils?

In Florida, about 50% of kids qualify for the Free or Reduced School Lunch Program. You can look at statistics here: http://www.fldoe.org/eias/eiaspubs/pdf/frplunch.pdf

In Orange County for the 2008-2009 school year, the percentage was 48.55%. In Osceola County, it was 65.11%!!

If these kids can’t afford lunch, how will they afford pencils and other school supplies?!

That’s where Pencil Boy comes in!

Pencil Boy is the mascot for A Gift For Teaching, an organization that distributes school supplies, including pencils, to teachers and students in need! They operate a Free Store for Teachers where the teachers can come in and shop without spending any money and get supplies for their students and classrooms. Through their excellent staff and kind donations and volunteers, they are able to take a $10 donation and stretch it into $100 worth of school supplies. That’s a LOT of pencils!

Please visit their website and find out more about them!

We’ve learned a lot about pencils today! But now I have some homework for you!

Please visit my fundraising site and consider donating even a small amount to A Gift for Teaching. Every little bit counts! Skip today’s Starbucks run, and give that $5 to them so kids can have pencils and erasers, glue, paper, scissors, etc.

It only takes about $7 to fill a backpack with supplies for kids. Could you give $7 to fill a backpack?

Thank you so much for donating! Pencil Boy thanks you, too!

For the kids!

You all know that school budgets are getting slashed left and right, and teachers are undervalued and underpaid. And here in Orange County, Florida, over half of the kids are on the free or reduced school lunch program. That means those kids can’t even afford to eat lunch, let alone buy school supplies.

So that means those underpaid teachers end up buying supplies for their kids out of their own pocket. On average, teachers spend over $1000 a year on supplies for their classroom or for their students. Sometimes it’s a LOT more than $1000.

But there’s hope. A Gift For Teaching is an organization that distributes school supplies to those teachers and students here in Central Florida. Every day, A Gift for Teaching provides nearly $40,000 in donated product to teachers.

I’m helping raise money and school supplies this August to make sure the teachers and students start the year off right. I’d love it if you could donate some money to help this great cause! I volunteer often with A Gift for Teaching and their staff are wonderful stewards of donated money and supplies. Through their organization a dollar donated can be stretched to $10 worth of school supplies.

Please consider giving even a little bit! Thank you so much for an outstanding committment to this extraordinary cause!

Click here to donate: http://www.firstgiving.com/brermatt

If you would like to make a supply donation, let me know. While the kids always need standard school supplies, they take all kinds of other items as well, new or gently used. Teachers are very creative and can find uses for all kinds of things. Let me know in the comments if there’s something you’d like to give!