In an effort to do more hands-on learning with my 7th graders, I've just started a project with them to make their own globes out of papier-mâché. (More on that later.)

Balloons - $4.50
Clothesline - $1.50
Clothespins - $.97
Three dishpans @ $1.97 = $5.91

Subtotal = $12.88

Subtotal (year so far) - $356.55
The door to my classroom has absurdly strong springs. There is virtually nothing you can put in front of my door to prop it open. It shoves a two-gallon bucket of sand out of the way without a thought or care in the world.

This year, I decided to get serious. I've brought a couple of exercise kettle-bells in to school with the optimistic-to-the-point-of-fantasy goal of using them during my lunch break each day. That clearly hasn't happened, but they DO do an excellent job of actually propping the stupid door open.

Unfortunately, they also leave black marks on the floor that don't come off. So, in an effort to buy some good will with our hard-working maintenance staff, I picked up a doormat to keep the place spiffy.

Doormat - $6.97

Subtotal (year so far) - $343.67

For the first Food of the Month this year, I decided to go with jackfruit.

When I went to my favorite Vietnamese grocery store to buy six or seven cans of jackfruit, I was shocked - absolutely flabbergasted - to see that they had a small amount of fresh jackfruit on hand. 

For those of you who don't spend a lot of time shopping for jackfruit, let me assure you that this is a Very Big Deal. The fruit - which can grow as large as 80 lbs. - isn't grown in the continental United States and rarely shows up in its fresh form here in the NorthEast, outside of New York's Chinatown. I had hear rumors about a market in Massachusetts that apparently stocks it from time to time, but this, THIS is unprecedented.

Anyway, I bought it.

It doesn't come cheap.

(And I was so excited, I forgot to take a picture of it. Sorry)

Fresh Jackfruit for 70 - $26.74

Subtotal (year so far) - $336.70
These 13¢ goldfish are getting expensive.

New air pump - $21.82
Aquarium plant bulbs - $3.57

Subtotal - $25.39

Subtotal (year so far) - $303.96

Over the course of the school year, I show my 8th grade classes the mini-series Roots. Every time I see a used copy of the book, I pick it up. I hope to have a classroom set sometime within the next five to ten years.

The Great Train Robbery is an excellent, excellent book set in Victorian London. I'm hoping to use it when we develop our Victorian England unit for the 7th grade, later this year.

I got both of these at my favorite used book store, for very little money.

Two Used Hardcover Books - 2@ 25¢ = 50¢

Subtotal (year so far) - $278.57
My 8th Grade Advisory (we call them Magnets) and I held our first Tasting of the school year, yesterday. The ginger candy and - surprisingly - the fermented tofu in chili oil were hits.

Pandan Coconut Candy (Vietnam), Fresh Rambutan, Ting Ting Jahe Ginger Candy (Indonesia), Fermented Tofu in Chili Oil (China) - $14.01

Subtotal (year so far) - $278.07

I have a eBay alert me when an item comes up for sale having to do with Deerfield, New Hampshire - the town where I teach. I used to be able to pick up vintage postcards of the town pretty cheaply, but as dealers and collectors have started to realize how awesome these things are, the price has gone up considerably.

So when one becomes available for a reasonable price - ESPECIALLY if it actually contains a message - I pick it up for potential, if unspecified later use in my classroom.

Front Message: "Deerfield Center, NH"

Rear: To: Miss Ruth Doe, #344 Park St., Dorchester, Mass.

"How do you like my pets? Just a flurry of snow on the ground to remind us of winter. Nov. 24th. - H.C.M.

Vintage Post Card, purchased on eBay - $9.24, including shipping
Subtotal (year so far) - $264.06
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