Last night I had the wonderful experiencing of going to RAFT. RAFT is the Resource Area For Teachers and because my wife and I homeschool our kids we get to access the awesomeness that is the RAFT showroom.
I was totally amazed at how cool this place is. They receive lots of teaching, classroom, office and business supplies from all over and sell it at stupidly low prices to teachers. Some of the stuff they sell if brand new stuff (like notepads, pencils, stickers and some books) while other stuff is used (some books, furniture, computer equipment) while other stuff is donated new stuff (company embossed shirts, coffee cups, mouse pads, computer bags). I was blown away at the sheer magnitude of the place, the inventory they had and the brilliant ideas they had for using some of the things there that you would never expect to see or use in education.
Like sport water bottle lids. Did you know you could use one of those, a CD and a balloon to make a hover device? They sell a kit for that for like $1. Everything the sell is typically below $2 though there are a few things that they sell for more (nice corporate apparel can get as high as $5 while computers and servers can go as high as $115). But the ideas they package with old unwanted material is amazing. And the amount of stuff they have there to test your imagination is even more awesome.
I saw CDs, CD cases, CD tube bases (excellent ring toss posts), CD tube bodies, scrap clothing material, scrap wood, butcher paper, binders, tinsel, medical pipette racks, food trays…. the list goes on and on.
So if you are a teach in norther California you really owe it to yourself to get to RAFT. You can get a lot of great ideas, a lot of great stuff and have a great time for just a little bit of money.