Thursday, August 18, 2011

Q-tips, Soap Dish, and a Vegetable Strainer

Carrefour (french Wal-mart) is my favorite school shopping location. Sure, they don't have any actual art supplies. The department TA gets most of those from the art store in another part of town.*

But wandering the aisles of Carrefour (as long as it's not Sunday afternoon) is just so much fun!

Carrefour is my main source of plastic containers.

It began in my first year when I spotted these strainers. The colors caught my attention, as my tables are labeled red, yellow and blue. I picked up a few, and then continued to buy more over the years. Round, small rectangles, large rectangles (perfect for A4 paper), two-layer trays. As my teaching progressed, I found myself sorting some supplies into warm, cool, and neutral. The red containers became perfect for the warm paper scraps, blue for the cool, and yellow was the closest to neutral.

Over time, I've collected Great Lakes juice bottles, Skippy peanut butter jars, and illy coffee cans to hold other supplies. Free containers for the art department, and further justification of my daily orange juice ritual.  You can see that some of the containers are extra colorful.  The Great Lakes rectangular juice bottles are my favorite water containers.  They hold enough water for two students to use without changing water during class.  The shape is very stable and never tips.  The ridges in the corners also provide a great texture to help loosen paint from the brushes.

While I love these containers, I recently wandered Carrefour looking for something to hold crayons. These containers are too tall, making them impractical for crayons and little hands.

I first spotted soap dishes and noticed the similarity between the lid and a crayon box. (I also had a regular size crayon and large size crayon in my purse to confirm sizes.)

At $.50 each, I bought 10 for crayons. I also picked up some new spongebobs. After three years, they were looking a little worse for wear and I was a few short in the larger classes.

When I was unpacking the items in the classroom, I realized that the soap dish lids were the perfect size for spongebob! In the meantime, I'd also noticed that my Chinese Q-tips came in the cutest little transparent plastic container that seemed like they were meant for crayons. So bring on another trip to Carrefour and 20 more soap dishes. And, well, two different brands of Q-tips had two different size plastic containers---same height, different diameters---so I had to get 12 of each. And now I have great little cups of crayons and thousands of Q-tips in two large plastic bags.

*The art store is half the size of the average convenience store in the states, or smaller, and packed floor to ceiling with high school, college, and professional level materials. Acrylic, oil, tube watercolors---but no tempera. Absolutely no Crayola products, but they do stock Prismacolor Markers. Colored pencils, oil pastels, but no crayons. My markers and crayons are imported. And if you had any thoughts about crafty stuff, like pipe cleaners, pop poms, and tacky glue---nope. Just the basics. We have to run around town to many other stores to find all the random supplies I want.

1 comment:

kszwahl said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing ideas.
Recently a kinder teacher asked if want her "extra" pencil supple boxes. If I could think of something besides pencils in there I may just grab some! Any ideas.
Thanks again for sharing.

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