Equipping My Classroom at Dollar Tree

Budgets are getting tighter and tighter. I find I am spending more and more of my own money in my classroom. This summer I made my first trip to Dollar Tree and was amazed at the great amount of goodies I found I could use in my classroom. Here are a few of the items I have purchased from Dollar Tree over the last year.

Cookie Sheets and Magnets

Technically, I did not purchase these myself. My secret pal this year has been awesome and bought me this particular set. The magnets are great for many things: keeping track of points in a game,  showing 1 or 2 sounds to a beat and showing melodic direction. Plus they are great for sticking reminders to my filing cabinets!

Now the cookie sheets – I love these things! They make a nice small display board to hold in my hands in my kindergarten classroom/cafeteria. They are also great to use as individual student work space. Since I don’t use chairs in my classes sometimes it is hard for the kids to keep their supplies separated. It is less of a big deal for pencils and papers but on the days when we are using our Beat Strips (from Music a la Abbott) it makes a huge difference! We work on the cookie sheets, so no more kids that don’t have enough ta-di’s or half notes! Yay!

Small Dry Erase Board

When I teach in the cafeteria, I don’t have any writing surface. Most classes I don’t miss it but there are occasionally days where I need to model how to draw a note or a rhythm pattern. This little board is perfect. It’s easy to store and also to hold while I demonstrate. Since it was only a dollar, I will feel zero guilt about replacing it when it starts to look grubby.


Hula Hoops  

Yes hula hoops! I’ve watching videos where teachers use those stretchy cords to keep a beat as a class. Those cords are really expensive though. So I’ve modified and bought these hula hoops to use instead. About 3-5 kids can sit around each hoop. Everyone picks up the hoop and taps it on the floor to the beat. My kids that are having trouble finding or maintaining the steady beat get a visual and tactile representation of where they are fighting against the rest of the group. It’s wonderful! We start out by imagining a really big pizza on top of the hoop. Don’t let that pizza slide off!

Hula hoops also make finding groups quick and easy. I put all the supplies for the group in the hoop and tell the kids that 4 students can sit by each hoop. Once their pockets touch the ground they are not  allowed to move.  We do our work and before anyone can leave the hoop all the supplies must be neatly back inside the hoop. The only downside is these things are HUGE. Storage is definitely a problem. A piece of velcro, a binder ring and a 3m hook fixed the problem for this year though.

Memory Cards

These memory matching cards are a great way to find a partner. You know that unpopular kid in your room? He hates when you say, “Everyone find a partner.” No one wants to choose him and that’s not fun at all. Using these cards there is no more of that! Yes, I could print my own but for a dollar why would I bother?

 Fuzz Balls, Pipe Cleaners and Small Containers 

There are those cookie sheets again! I told you I use them a lot! Before we draw notes in Kindergarten we make 3-d versions first. The kids get so excited when they see those balls of fuzz and there isn’t a easier way I have found to help them really know the difference between the forms of the notes. Plus fixing the most often made mistake, stem on the wrong side of the notehead, is really easy when all you have to do is flip the note over! When we are done, it all gets stuffed into the plastic container for the next kid.

Foam Blocks 

These are still in the packaging because I can’t decide what I want to do with them. They could be rhythm dice or beat blocks or form markers or a million other things! What would you use them for?

Here are a few other posts that use items from the Dollar Tree:

Music with Mrs. Dennis – Glockenspiel Storage

Mrs. King’s Music Class – Classroom Groups with Craft Sticks


Brenda Muench

music educator tech specialist

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