There is a running joke about the basement to this house. Every time I've had someone over to work on the furnace, electricity, plumbing, or haul away stuff, I've heard the same comment: "This place has potential!"
Why, yes it does...however, I'm sure they didn't realize all of the potential hidden away in storage boxes. When I moved out of my classroom and down to Curriculum, I packed up all of the teaching things I'd accumulated over 15 years. There are files, bingo games for science vocabulary, books, and other ephemera sitting there in testament to a science teacher.
I searched through a couple of them on Friday morning, looking for a few materials to overhaul for current kiddos. Time and space is a wonderful thing. As I poked through some of the boxes, I realized that I was ready to let most of their contents go away. But it brings up an interesting conundrum. Where do old teaching materials go to die? (without exploiting the potential of my basement, of course)
The older lesson plans---the museum quality ones---are in many ways outdated. I wouldn't want to give them to a newbie teacher as they don't really reflect best practices in instruction. I have a stack of lab ideas in a box. They were printed on a dot matrix printer and sent to me by a friend of my parents when I was a new teacher. None of the activities required much in the way of materials---a good thing, since neither the school nor I had any money to buy things. I think most of these things are taking one last journey...to the dump.
The books are another matter. They are all science related topics, but I don't think I'll make use of them. Maybe some time in a used book store will help them find new owners. I do have some items I want to keep. I'm not ready to let go of them yet, but they deserve better care than a cardboard box. I'll find some Rubbermaid containers for them---hopefully far fewer than the boxes currently occupied. If anything, I'm all about being pared down to what's essential.
The games and ephemera would probably benefit a beginning science teacher who is trying to build up a collection of activities. I'm not sure who or how to get them where they should go. I'm certain I am not the only teacher who has a basement (or other space) full of things for the classroom. We need some sort of education oriented thrift store where they can be donated.
I had heard an idea once about having a day in August when district teachers (and recent retirees) could show up with "stuff" and have something akin to a massive rummage sale. Everything would be classroom supplies---and all of it free. The goal was simply to help new teachers or other teachers in need get materials.
Are there any other ideas out there with potential?