Recently a colleague of mine ran into a happy problem. His PTO ran a fundraiser for his program and decided to donate about $250.00 for him to spend however he saw fit. I can just imagine the drool running down your chin. :) While a donation from PTO may not be the source of a little extra cash for your program, there tend to be funds from grants or other sources from time to time.
My colleague asked me what I would purchase if I had these extra funds available, so here is the way I usually break down spending money on my program.
1. Immediate needs:
What are the immediate needs for your program. Do you need to repair any of your barred instruments? Is there a costume, prop or sound effect instrument you need for an upcoming event? I usually address these needs first. I don't have to worry about this often because the fees I charge for my performing groups cover the costs of programs but every once in awhile there is a special need like a snare drum.
2. Additional Instruments
While I have a pretty well stocked music room, there are always odds and ends. For example, when my school was built, two quality wood blocks and 4 crappy wood blocks were purchased for my classroom. It always annoys me when we learn how to play the wood block in K and two rows sound good and the other three sound flat and colorless. This would be something I would purchase the next time I have some extra funds. I also look at filling in my sound effects baskets with cool sounds.
3. Supporting Curriculum
All those cool apps, manipulatives, etc. you have been wishing you could have to enhance your program. If there are items you can purchase to support learning, these would be the next on my list. If you're able, an itunes gift card would be a great purchase because you can always be on the look out for new apps or sound files.
4. Children's Books
I L-O-V-E kids books. While you can find great connections to the curriculum, they are just plain fun and they grab the kids attention. Now that we have been open for a few years, our Media Center is pretty well stocked but I still prefer having my own copy.
I don't buy a lot of posters, I prefer to make my own but there are a few that I do purchase. A timeline with composer pictures, instrument families, or large composer posters.
Things I don't spend money on (at least school funds) are:
Resource books -
I want these to be my own copies so that I can take them with me if I change schools.
Stickers, puppets, stuffed animals -
While all of these can be great for classroom management and curriculum connections, I find that you can get many of them for free. Ask for donations from parents.