My 8th grade advisory - the Food Magnet - goes on three field trips throughout the year - one to Boston (our nearest big city). While we are there, we do a mini-food tour of Chinatown, the North End and hit a few other food-ish places.

This episode of Sugar High from the Food Network is about hot desert destinations in Boston, so I thought it would be useful in terms of planning out our December trip.

Sugar High, Episode 3 - $1.99 from iTunes

Subtotal (year so far) - $254.82

Five more feeder goldfish - $.65
1 bag gravel - $16.99

Okay - two observations need to be made at this point:

A) What kind of opportunistic jerk-faces charge seventeen dollars for a bag of gravel?

B) What kind of idiot pays seventeen dollars for a bag of fish gravel?

As I've pointed out, I'm not very bright and I don't always read receipts carefully.

Subtotal (year so far) - $252.83
I walked into my classroom yesterday morning and immediately asked myself why I didn't see any bubbles.

Then I asked myself why I didn't see any fish swimming around.

Then, because - let's face it - I'm not very intelligent, why there was ten gallons of water on my floor.

Sigh... Let's try this again.

New 10 gallon fish tank - $12.97

Subtotal (year so far) - $235.18

Powerstrip - $5.00

TopFin 10" Bubble Wall - $4.99

Fish Food - $5.99

More Fish Food - $2.45

Fish - $.65

Subtotal (year so far) - $222.21

I have no idea what this is.

It frightens me.

A normal person would carefully and cautiously put it down and back away.

A teacher thinks, "Is there any way I can use this in the classroom."

Brace yourself, Magnet. We're having a Tasting.

Walden Farms Calorie Free Whipped Peanut Spread - $2.99 at Christmas Tree Shop
Subtotal (year so far) - $212.13

My classroom could charitably be described as having a "utilitarian" look to it. A few years ago, I was interviewing a prospective intern and he asked my if my room was this ugly on purpose - was it uglied-up for some kind of project or something?

So, anyway, for the past few years, each year I've tried to do something to make my classroom a little bit less like the waiting room of New Jersey bus station.

This year, fish!

When a not-very-bright person like myself considers the expense of setting up an aquarium, he generally assumes that the most expensive component will be the big glass tank, itself. I thought I'd lucked out when I found a good-condition 20-gallon fish tank at the swap-shop at our town dump. I'd just have to pick up a cheap pump or something and I could dump the fish in. (To which the Universe and thousands of bitter pet owners say, "HA!")

It turns out that it is actually pretty expensive to set up a classroom tank. Fortunately, my son was willing to donate his 10-gallon tank and its hardware to the cause. (After recently losing his long-time goldfish Carl, he decided he wanted to give up on the onerous responsibilities of fish ownership.) All I really needed was a filter. I also decided to pick up a new air stone while I was at it.

(The 20-gallon tank will have to wait for a parent or other benefactor to donate the hardware we need to run it.)

Aqueon QuietFlow 10 Water Filter - $14.39
TopFin 12" Air Stone - $2.69

Subtotal (year so far) - $209.14
[Note - the air stone was broken when I took it out of the package. Sigh...]
The Teachers Calendar 2011-2012
  • Calendar: 1125 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (April 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007176108X

I've written about this before. I find it useful to the point of being essential.

$16.50 - From Amazon.com

Subtotal (year so far) - $192.06

10 blank notebooks @ $.20 = $2.00

Speaker wire - $10.99

Subtotal (year so far) - $175.56
When I bought a set of speakers for my classroom, I had assumed that I could pick up a cheap amplifier at RadioShack for $15 or so.

Apparently, that's no longer the case. (My template for judging what things should cost was set in the 1980s. Every December, I'm still somewhat shocked that Christmas trees don't cost $12 anymore.)

After some searching, I found this Kenwood stereo receiver at a second-hand shop for $40. To describe it as solid-state would be an understatement. You could knock a rhinoceros unconscious with this thing.

Kenwood KR - 1400 stereo receiver - $40
Subtotal (year so far) - $162.57

Because my school (a very good one, by the way) has been classified as a School In Need of Restructuring, each teacher in my school is required to post which State standards he or she is meeting in his or her classroom each day.

These boards will allow me to post a schedule of what I will be teaching in my classroom each week and what standards those lessons will address. 

I already attach a message board to the door of my classroom, to let students know what they will need to bring to class. I'll use these whiteboards to do the same thing for the class schedules and State Standards. I already have some magnetic strips that I bought a couple of years ago for another project, so I'll glue them to the backs of the whiteboards, so I can pop them on and off my metal door.

Mini-Whiteboards from the dollar bin at Target - 2 @ $1.00 = $2.00

KrazyGlue - $1.99
Subtotal (year so far) - $122.57