With small classroom budgets and the high cost of classroom supplies, teacher guides, and other miscellaneous goods, resourceful educators are looking for some relief from this financial burden.
One way to lower the cost of teaching is to supplement your curriculum with free teaching kits that are made available through private companies and the government. The Canadian Teachers’ Federation warns that “materials intended for classroom use should be subjected to rigorous evaluation” in its Education-Corporate Partnerships policy. Teaching kits are made available for a variety of purposes, the good ones are furthering the education of students and others are merely self-promotional.
The following points are important to consider before integrating them into your programme. First-rate teaching kits promote social awareness without marketing. They broaden students learning experiences by providing real life manipulatives to supplement traditional educational methods. They evolve with and enhance the current curriculum. Some large companies offer free materials to help promote their products in the school environment. Their intent is that in using the materials, the educator will be encouraged to be committed to a product line, and eventually buying their products.
As well, materials may become available because a company is trying to clear out warehouse space. Companies may also be trying to give away damaged or older merchandise to make way for newer goods. Corporations and the government also want to increase the general understanding of their product or service. Public relations departments may be trying to encourage educators to use their kits in order to bring attention to the value of their product or service, and to pass this value on to students.
Now keeping these points in mind, here are a few free teaching kits for your consideration. They vary in subject, grade level, and availability. You will need to decide on their appropriateness for your individual classrooms. Activ8 TM program is a curriculum-based initiative designed to make physical activity fun and rewarding for students of all athletic ability. Call The Foundation for Active Healthy Kids at 1-888-446-7432 or visit http://www.ophea.org. State Farm Insurance TM education kits cover topics related to student safety and behaviour. Kits include videos, duplicatables and teacher resources. Call your local State Farm agent or visit http://www.statefarm.com The Journey Inside: The Computer provides easy-to-use materials for science, math and computer teachers of grades 5 to 9. The kit contains a teachers’ guide, introduction video, classroom video, poster, and hands-on computer chip kit. Call Intel TM at 1-800-346-3029 or visit http://www.intel.com/education/. The Changing Program and Vibrant Faces is a set of instructional materials designed to help teach girls and boys about growth and development during puberty. You receive a teacher guide, videotape for girls and boys, take home materials for students, which include free product samples. Call the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance at 1-800-663-8708 or visit http://www.cahperd.ca. Teaching Tolerance is a kit for Teachers, Counselors and Administrators. It includes 101 Tools for Tolerance, Posters, Teaching Tolerance Magazine, and Responding to Hate at School. You can call The Southern Poverty Law Center at (334)264-0286 or visit http://www.tolerance.org/.
Originally this article appeared in the December 2000 issue of Professionally Speaking/Pour Parler Profession, published by the Ontario College of Teachers. The author, Quentin D’Souza is a Teacher and Editor of TheCanadianTeacher.com, a web site dedicated to connecting educators to resources on-line.