Thursday, September 3, 2009

Using Vintage in the Classroom

Next Tuesday school starts in the Toronto District School Board. I'm looking forward to the school year. I've got a great class and it's a straight grade five this year. I thought I'd share some snaps I took today.
The calm before the storm. I have 28 students so far. I guarantee the room will never look this tidy again, but that's alright. I'd rather have a cluttered room with a lot of learning going on, than a super neat room that looks like kids never cross through the doorway.
I bought these two old wooden chairs last summer in St. Catharines. They were two for $5.00. Dad, Ken and I painted them in my parents' driveway. I bought gingham seat cushions at Ikea for the chairs this summer. I prefer teaching on the carpet than at the blackboard. The children can sit on the chairs or flop on the carpet if they want to get away from their desks.
This neon orange magazine holder isn't vintage, but I love it. I bought it for $2.00 at a driveway sale in East York last summer. It will hold magazines (natch) and maybe graphic novels/zines for the students.
I bought this breakfast-in-bed tray at a local garage sale a few years back. I forget how much it cost, but it wasn't much.
It now provides extra space for completed work.
Here's an old tin picnic basket that I bought for $1.00 at a church rummage sale in East York last year. I'm now using it for oversized picture books.
These old flour/sugar/tea containers now hold math manipulatives. I think the green tin on the end came from Japan.
Gorgeous anthuriums make math more appealing.
Lastly, here's my grandmother's old Brownie Target camera. When I was a pre-teen, I found the right film for it and actually took some pictures using it.
Now it sits on my desk as a conversation piece and a reminder of my grandmother, who died when I was 11. The kids are fascinated with it.


  1. Man! I cannot wait to have a classroom! I cant wait to be done with school and become a teacher! Your room looks great! I know my room will be filled with garage sale and thrifty finds!

  2. I'm glad you dig it. Are you at teacher's college? Fill me in.

  3. I love the idea of having vintage in the classroom... I'm in graduate school to become a professor (of photography) but unfortunately that means I won't have a permanent classroom though I'll deck out my future office in vintage! Love the brownie on your desk and the tins with math pieces. :)

  4. I don't know where to begin, but I love your classroom! Can you find film for the Brownie again? How much would the kids love to see their photos taken with it! Curiously, I am most taken with the non-vintage neon orange magazine stand: she is BEAUTIFUL! And your storage for the GINORMOUS picture books = genius level! Good luck in the start of your new year!

  5. Thanks for the enthusiastic comments, Leilani and Madge. Perhaps Leilani might know if Brownie film is still available. There's some serious camera stores in Toronto, so I could do some investigating. You're right, the kids would love to use the camera. I'm all about letting kids try things out. I'd love to make pinhole cameras, but I'd need someone to help me figure out how to build them in the first place. I'm running a photography club with another teacher this year. Perhaps we could try it then.
    All the best,
    P.S. I'd love to have teachers and non-teachers share great ideas on my Foolscap Flyer blog. If you know anybody who would be interested, please send them the link. Ta!

  6. The classroom is such a cool place for vintage! You can teach your students about recycling and thrifting.

    Funny that I follow both Leilani's and Madge's blogs as well...It's a small world!

  7. Hey Vonlipi,
    Nice to have you back. I actually discovered Madge's blog through yours. Solid Cherry is amazingly beautiful. I'm so glad you had it linked or I wouldn't have found out about it. As for Thriftaholic - I stumbled upon it maybe a year and a half ago and I just thought it was the coolest thing on the internet. I wish I had been half as cool and together as Leilani in my twenties. Those dresses...
    I love this community. Most of my friends and family don't quite get the blogging/thrifting obsession, but I don't mind.
    I've posted a comment on your terrific blog.

  8. Hi Erin,
    I an super interested in attribute blocks for my little ones. Can you give me any resources in the Toronto area? Much appreciated! Cheers, Jennifer

  9. Hello Jennifer,
    Believe it or not, I bought those attribute blocks at one of those giant book clearance centres in St. Catharines at a half-price Boxing Day sale. In Toronto, you should be able to get them at a teaching supplies store. My favourite is My Gifted Child on St.Clair (East) just west of Victoria Park. There are other stores such as Scholar's Choice, which has an outlet on Bayview (near Eglinton). If your children are in school and you have a good relationship with their teacher, you may ask him or her if they could order attribute blocks for you through the Scholastic Classroom Essentials catalogue. You may get a better price that way.
    Hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by. I'll be adding more ideas for teaching kids on my Foolscap Flyer blog.

  10. Erin,
    Many Thanks for all the suggestions! Love seeing all your fun thrifty finds.


About Me

My photo
I'm a slightly off-beat Toronto-area teacher who enjoys writing and photography. I come from a family of collectors and now I'm dragging my own family around to yard sales. It's just a bit of fun. Enjoy the scenes.