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It’s barely September and most schools are already back in session.

You know what that means — time for the annual trek to the store to stock up on everything from crayons and markers to three-ring binders and paper clips. While you’re there, why not purchase additional supplies to donate to the class?

Here’s the thing. You will have to wait till May for Teacher Appreciation Day, or you can take a leap of faith and jump in a little early with a pre-appreciation gift of school supplies for the class.

There is no better way to start off the school year than to donate school supplies that your kids and their classmates are going to need. If you think about it, most employers worry about their workers taking home office supplies for their personal use. Principals, however, know their staff will likely do the opposite. They will spend hundreds of their own dollars to keep their classroom stocked with even the most basic supplies like paper and pencils.

At the dollar store a box of 12 pencils cost (you guessed it) a dollar. And the price of a tall tin receptacle is another dollar. Fill the tin with three to four dozen pencils and your total is up to $5.

Now comes the fun part. Convert the pencils into a floral bouquet by simply capping each pencil with a paper flower. Cut small flowers and add a pop of color in the center. Punch a quarter-inch circle in the center of each flower with a standard hole punch and slide a flower over each pencil eraser. The fit is snug, so the flowers stay in place for a remarkably fun floral display that can supply a class of students with personalized pencils and look great in the process.

Another classroom staple — paper clips — are also inexpensive to buy and fun to present. Purchase sheets of self-adhesive magnet at the office supply store, remove the backing and wrap strips of the magnet material around colored paper or plastic cups. Fill the cups with crayons or markers and toss handfuls of paper clips onto the magnet surface. It looks great and sure is easy to find a clip when you need one.

When you head off to the store to purchase school supplies for your kids, why not grab some extras to donate to the class and set the tone for a great school year?

Contact Sandi Genovese and find free video demonstrations of more photo projects at sandigenovese.com.

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