First-grade yard sale to help buy new classroom technology
by Staff Writer
While several years of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools budget cutbacks have forced many teachers to either apply for grants or wait until the economy picks up to bring cutting-edge technology into the classroom, one local teacher is taking a more creative approach.
Torrence Creek Elementary School first grade teacher Amy Pearce and her students are teaming up for a yard sale Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to noon in the school’s bus parking lot. The event’s proceeds will go toward bringing technology into the classroom that the school cannot afford to buy.
“I wanted to do something that wouldn’t cost parents money,” Pearce said. “With a yard sale, parents would just be donating things that they planned to give or throw away anyway.”
Funding for one of the school’s computer labs fell victim to the latest round of district budget cuts, leaving 1,300 kids to share a single lab and unable to have one-on-one access to computers and technology. Although the school launched its Invest in Your Child at Torrence Creek Elementary (IYC@TCE) direct giving campaign a few weeks ago to raise money to restore the lab, Pearce decided to do some fundraising of her own to put even more sophisticated technology, such as iPads, into students’ hands. Wells Fargo also plans to match the funds raised by the event.
Pearce said she has actively involved her students since the event’s inception. Together, the class brainstormed items their families have sitting around their houses that could also sell for a good amount of money. One student, Megan Kirby, even volunteered the use of her families’ ponies, so that the group could sell pony rides during the sale.
Students divided up into groups Tuesday, Nov. 1, to prepare for Saturday’s event. Benjamin Passiglia, Cole Carlisle, Miguel Strozier and Lindsey Kranz created marketing materials, such as signs and flyers to post throughout the school, while Megan, William Ponzil and Caleb Stangfield drew a map of the yard sale’s layout. A group in the back of the classroom priced items that had already been collected.
“First, we decided how much each thing costs in the store, and then we made the price less,” said Giselle Almeida, who helped her classmates price the items.
To encourage community members to shop at the yard sale, students discounted each item by about 50 percent of its in-store price.
During the weeks leading up to the sale, students have helped their teacher prepare for the big day and will even get a say in whether the funds raised will go purchase a SMART Board or a projector with six iPads for their classroom. Pearce had her students create a “pros and cons” list to weigh the perks and disadvantages of each item.
“I’ve tied all the aspects of preparing for the yard sale into their first grade curriculum,” Pearce said. “Map making ties in with their social studies curriculum and uses their special reasoning skills. The pros and cons list allows them to compare and contrast, which is a big part of their curriculum.”
Aside from the yard sale, the event also will include $5 pony rides, face painting, bake sale, games and prizes. Items for sale include furniture, toys, baby clothes, electronics–such as TVs and iPods–video gaming systems and at least one computer.