Schoola Blog

School Fundraising Tips & Success Stories from Schoola

Month: April 2016

Affordable Repurposing Supports Education

affordable repurposing

Guest post by Brittany Coleman, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT)

Instead of turning to affordable repurposing, many teachers and after-school providers spend hundreds of dollars of their own money each month on school supplies and activities for learning. But little do they know that the average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day.

Where does this waste go? According to Duke University’s Center for Sustainability and Commerce, “Approximately 55% of 220 million tons of waste generated each year in the United States ends up in one of the over 3,500 landfills.”

Educators in the United States can and should take advantage of affordable repurposing by recycling  or reusing their own trash. And we don’t mean to literally just put your cardboard, paper, and plastic in their designated recycling bins (which is good too!). But as a school teacher or educator, go through your own recycling bins and see that materials you can bring to life in your classroom!

Affordable Repurposing 4 Ways

affordable repurposing

1. Cardboard cylinders and containers: How many boxes of oatmeal did you buy for your family this year? If you kept all of those boxes for 6 months, you might find that you have quite a big stack of those handy containers! Use these in the classroom to teach design and engineering (build houses or castles, use as foundational supports to a structure, or use as wheels to make something “go”).

affordable repurposing

2. Is your Uncle Henry addicted to burning CDs of all his favorite music and handing them out to friends and family at Christmas? We bet he goes through a lot of those nifty CD holders the CDs come in. These plastic cylinders are perfect for Early Education tactile activities. They can be painted, covered in Play-Doh®, used as sand scoopers, and the long stem on the inside can even double as  a faux jewelry stand (something fun to hang all those macaroni necklaces on!)

affordable repurposing

3. Paper towels are a must, both inside the classroom and at home. We know where the used towels are going, but what about the cardboard cylinders they come off of? Don’t throw these in the cardboard bin! Instead, store them in a cool, dry place (moisture will make these soggy), and use them in the classroom as part of art projects. Anything from painted dolls and spaceships, to cars and kaleidoscopes can be created from these!

affordable repurposing

4. Fabric can be used with any grade range. And even if you’re not someone who sews, chances are you have a family member or friend who does, and they would be very grateful if you offered to take their fabric scraps off their hands. Fabric can be used for classroom artwork, fun upholstering projects, measuring in math,  color theory, and other affordable repurposing projects!

If you’re having trouble finding materials to reuse for affordable repurposing (because you recycled all your own!) and are located in the Bay Area or in Denver, Colorado, please visit Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT). RAFT was created on a simple yet powerful idea: students learn best when they are engaged and are part of the learning process. RAFT supports this mission wholeheartedly by supplying teachers with recycled and environmentally friendly supplies that can be found in RAFT educational kits or purchased in bulk quantities for a wide variety of inspiring educational projects.

RAFT diverts roughly 400 cubic feet of materials from landfills every day. We believe in creating a more sustainable world and a healthier environment by keeping our landfills free of perfectly useable materials.

Sources: Duke University – Center for Sustainability and Commerce

To learn more about Resource Area for Teaching, headquartered in San Jose, California please visit or visit our online store here.


About Brittany Coleman: Brittany’s favorite school memories are the ones of story time in her elementary school’s library, and of getting to choose a book to take back to class and read on her own. Brittany’s love of words progressed through high school where she joined the Newspaper class and later earned a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She still immensely enjoys words today and tries to read at least two books per month.  




Gifts for National Teacher Appreciation Day

Thank a teacher for Teacher Appreciation Day

By Bryan Carey of the Examiner

Teachers have a difficult yet very important job and it’s time that we honor them with National Teacher Appreciation Day. We entrust them to take care of our children, to teach them important skills, and to offer guidance when needed. They work tirelessly to educate our young people and prepare them for success later in life and they deserve a great deal of gratitude for the work they perform every day.

I have two grade school age children of my own and they, too, realize the importance of their teachers and like to recognize them whenever possible. On May 3, they and other children like them, as well as their parents, have an opportunity to recognize the teachers in their lives for National Teacher Appreciation Day., an online service dedicated to schools and fundraising, knows well the importance of those who teach and they want to help parents and students find the right gift for these crucial influencers. asked teachers directly what they would like for this day of recognition and here are the top ten items, selected by teachers themselves:

National Teacher Appreciation Day: Top 10 Gifts for Teachers

1. For the teacher who loves greenery, consider a potted plant from a nearby nursery. Kids can contribute a personal touch by decorating the pot and adding a personalized message.

2. Teachers have to rise and shine at an early hour to make it to school. This is why caffeine is so popular and why a gift card to Starbucks or Peets is likely to make any teachers day.

3. Most people in local neighborhoods know their teachers very well. Why not support the community and honor your teacher at the same time with a gift card from a local small business? It’s a win- win situation for everyone involved.

4. Teachers like to promote good health, so why not surprise your favorite teacher with a basket of fresh fruits and vegetables? They can be obtained from a local farm or, if possible, from your own backyard if you happen to have a garden. The personal effort will be much appreciated.

5. Since summer is just around the corner and is commonly associated with travel, a good gift idea would be a basket of items pertaining to a specific part of the world. Find out your teacher’s favorite vacation spot and load up a basket of related goodies.

6. Teachers have a tiring job, both emotionally and physically. Another great gift idea is a gift card to a local movie theater or even for a massage or pedicure. They will never forget this act of kindness.

7. Does your teacher have a pet? If so, then consider a gift from a local pet store. It can be a gift card or, if you know exactly what pet your teacher has, an assortment of treats and accessories.

8. For the teacher who teaches music or just can’t get enough of his/her favorite tunes, a gift card to iTunes or something similar is a great idea. Your teacher can crank up the music with ease and remember your thoughtfulness in the process.

9. Teachers often need items not for themselves, but for the classroom. It’s common for teachers to purchase their own things due to school district budget limitations so why not help your teacher by purchasing something from their classroom supply wish list? It will go a long way toward helping your teacher fulfill his/her educational goals.

10. A final gift idea?- a fundraising drive. In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day, you can logon to and start a clothing fundraiser of your own, earning money that can be used to pay for needed supplies, a field trip, or other activity.

Teachers are important individuals and we all owe then special thanks for their hard work and dedication. Look over the list above and consider one of these ten suggestions for the great teachers in your life. May 3 is only a short time away so spend some time with your children, ask them which idea they like best, and recognize the teacher in your kid’s life on National Teacher Appreciation Day, a time to honor the individuals who have shaped our lives in so many important ways.

A version of this article was previously published on April 18th, 2016 by the Examiner.

Reuse K-Cups for Earth Day

Reuse K-cup for GardeningPhoto Credit:

By Gennifer Rose

In honor of Earth Day we compiled a list of ways to reuse K-cups. Many of us enjoy a nice hot cup of joe in the morning courtesy of our little Keurig machine, but what you may not realize is the impact it’s having on the environment. As cute and compact as they are, K-cups are very difficult to recycle.  The cup is made of plastic integrated with a filter filled with coffee grounds. It is a very manual process to separate all these items for recycling and they usually end up in landfills.

While we wouldn’t want you to give up your favorite morning ritual, there are things you can do to make your Keurig a little more environmentally friendly. The little K-cups are actually the perfect size and shape for lots of fun craft projects. After you separate the filter and grounds from the cup (perfect for composting), the reuse possibilities for your K-cups are endless.

We’ve scoured the internet and found some of our favorite ideas on how to reuse K-Cups and give them new life.

Reuse K-Cups 10 Ways

Reuse K-cups for Stamps

  1. Stock up your craft supplies and make stamps for future projects (via Entirely Smitten).    

Reuse K-cups for Seedlings

      2. Use your green thumb and reuse K-cups to make plant starters for the garden (via Simm Works).

reuse k-cups-hold-craft-supplies

3. Use K-cups to organize your craft supplies and keep everything tidy (via Happy Hooligans).

Reuse K Cups Hanging Planter

      4. Bring your garden indoors and make DIY hanging K-cup planters (via Off the Beaten Path).


5. Let the kids get creative with K-cup wind chimes (via K Blog).

Reuse K-cups for Bath Bombs

      6. Kids driving you crazy? Take a load off and relax with K-cup bath bombs (via The Good Stuff).

Reuse K-cups for Peacock

7. Get into the party spirit and reuse K-cups to create fun party favors (via Divine Lifestyle).

Reuse K-cups for Painting

8. Bring out the paint and let their inner Picasso run wild with this reuse K-cups painting project (via Crafty Morning).

Reuse K-Cups-Birds-Kids-Craft

9. Have an arts and crafts day with the kids and celebrate spring with these adorable reuse K-cup birds (via Artsy Mama).

Reuse K-cups forCupLightGarland

10. Add some sparkle to your home and parties with a DIY cup garland (via Hey Gorgeous).

Still looking for more ideas? Check out our Pinterest board full of more projects!


Gennifer’s favorite school memories were doing art and craft projects at her bilingual elementary school. The school subjects were taught in both English and Spanish and the class celebrated many hispanic cultural events. She enjoyed crafting paper mache piñatas for Cinco de Mayo, making sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos and creating Mexican fiesta lanterns with colorful tissue paper. Her love of handmade goods continues to this day and remains one of her favorite pastimes.

Earth Day Meets Fashion

Schoola Earth Day Blog Post

By Gennifer Rose

This month we’re celebrating our planet with Earth Day and learning ways to preserve our natural resources. We all know how serious the ongoing struggle for clean water and air is, and every person needs to play a role in preventing more pollution and waste. While we all need to use the Earth’s resources, we can make changes in our daily lives that have a big impact on the planet. A desire to protect our planet is something we all have in common and connects every person on Earth.

Fashion’s Carbon Footprint

The fashion industry historically has had a tremendous impact on the environment and unfortunately it’s been mostly negative. From the manufacturing process, transportation of goods and the disposal of used clothing, fashion leaves a big carbon footprint. Did you know that 98% of the clothing purchased in the U.S. comes from abroad? This means that all those garments had to be shipped thousands of miles to American consumers. The carbon emissions from transporting products have a serious impact on the environment including air and water pollution.

Thrift store shopping

Shop Thrift

While we’re encouraged to limit our overall consumption as much as we can, there are times when we still need to buy products. With growing kids and the changing seasons, we often need to purchase new clothing. One way to help minimize your impact on the environment is to consider shopping secondhand before heading to the department store. Thrift stores can offer a wide variety of shopping options at discounted prices. Many thrift stores benefit social causes so you can feel good about supporting the community and keeping clothing out of landfills. You can even thrift online. Americans send 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills every year and most of the clothes could have been worn again if they were donated to a thrift store.

Donate clothing


When the time has come to part with your clothing, you have many options. Donating is one of the solutions to reducing waste by extending the lifecycle of clothing. Schoola is an online clothing retailer that sells gently used clothing to fundraise for children’s education. When you donate clothing to Schoola, 40% of the proceeds go to the school of your choice and the Malala Fund.


Photo Credit:

Celebrate Earth Day With an Upcycle Project

Sometimes clothes just aren’t in good enough condition to donate, but are perfect for a fun upcycle project. Pinterest is a great resource for DIY projects as well as crafty eco blogs. Marisa of New Dress a Day takes outdated vintage garments and makes them new and modern with a few sewing tricks. Gina of Gina Michele teaches you couture tricks for the gal on a budget using thrift finds. Learn some DIY style tricks from Ashley of Make It Love It and Jeanette of Craft Whack. Teens can get in on the action with this t-shirt project from Swell Life. Or, make some eco friendly home goods with Sisters, What! The ideas are infinite so take out the sewing kit and get inspired to celebrate Earth Day.

Remember, this Earth Day buy secondhand, donate, or roll up your sleeves and start a DIY project.

A version of this article was published on April 16th, 2016 on The Mogul Mom.


Gennifer’s favorite school memories were doing art and craft projects at her bilingual elementary school. The school subjects were taught in both English and Spanish and the class celebrated many hispanic cultural events. She enjoyed crafting paper mache piñatas for Cinco de Mayo, making sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos and creating Mexican fiesta lanterns with colorful tissue paper. Her love of handmade goods continues to this day and remains one of her favorite pastimes.

Schoola Coupons and Deals

Schoola Coupons and Deals

You can always get Schoola coupons and deals! Here’s a roundup of all the ways you can get discounts and earn credits. And of course make sure you’re signed up for our e-newsletter and follow us on social media to stay up to date on the latest promos. The best part about shopping at Schoola? You’re doing good while getting a great deal, because for every $5 you spend, $2 is donated to schools. 

Ongoing Schoola Coupons and Deals

  • Referral Program: Give $10, Get $10 in Schoola credit. It’s as easy as sending your unique referral link to a friend.
  • Free Shipping on Orders over $25: Get free shipping on all orders over $25. Valid for a limited time.
    • Shop now and find 1,000s of new items daily!

Have an idea of a promo you’d like to see? Make a comment below. We love hearing from you!

Thanks for shopping to support schools! With 40% of proceeds donated to schools to fund programs like art, music, and P.E., it’s a win-win. 

Three Bloggers Share Their Versatile Style

Versatile Style with Mom Bloggers

Bloggers Camp Patton, Design Mom, and Tales of Me & the Husband share their versatile style.

From getting kids ready for school to running around town on errands or rolling up their sleeves to work, these three moms have versatile style covered. Each blogger—Grace of Camp Patton, Gabrielle of Design Mom, and Bridget of Tales of Me & the Husband—takes one style staple from day to night. Read about their inspiration and get parenting tips in the interviews below.

Versatile Style 1: Grace of Camp Patton Styles an Oxford Shirt

Versatile Style - Oxford Shirt

Grace of Camp Patton takes an oxford shirt from day to night.

Stay-at-home mom of five kiddos and former high school English teacher, Grace, shared her versatile style by accessorizing a basic oxford shirt for a day with her family. Shop the collection of clothes Grace donated to benefit Mount Vernon Community School before they sell out or browse all oxford shirts. Here’s what she has to say:

We love how you styled an oxford shirt for day and night. Can you tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you?

Our days are pretty routine with set nap times and school drop-off and pick-up dictating our schedule but I love taking my four younger kids on walks to a nearby playground as often as possible to help burn off some energy in the mornings. Sometimes it feels like it’s time to start making lunch as soon as the breakfast mess is put away (because it is! ha) so we all spend a lot of the time in the kitchen prepping food and doing dishes. Most of my kids still nap so I like to blog in the afternoons before the dinner and bedtime rush begins!

As a seasoned mom, what’s your biggest piece of advice, or something you wish someone else had told you?

I wouldn’t say I’m seasoned but I think it’s important to go easy on ourselves and give ourselves grace when necessary. Every day can be rebooted and given a clean slate especially with little kids and their (generally!) short-term little memories.

What was your favorite subject in school (or extracurricular activity) and why? How has that shaped you into the person you are today?

I always loved English—both reading and writing. I still read a lot and love getting lost in a really good book at night to decompress from any stress during the day.

Versatile Style 2: Gabrielle of Design Mom Styles a Little Black Dress (LBD)

Versatile Style: Little Black Dress

Gabrielle of Design Mom takes an LBD from day to night.

Gabrielle is a DIY and design guru and mother of six. She spent a year in France with her children and husband, and now they live in California. Her versatile style is balanced between days of working from home and days out and about town. Nab something Gabrielle donated to support her children’s school before they sell out or scoop up an LBD of your own. Learn more by reading our conversation with her.

We love how you styled a little black dress for day and night. Can you tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you?

I tend to have at-home days, and out-and-about days. Today, was an out-and-about day. I had a book event in the morning, then a café date with a friend who is in town, then an appointment to sign papers at a notary office after lunch, then a photo shoot, then school pickup. On days like today my goal is to look polished and put together. Think: a simple dress, layered with a blazer or jacket or cardigan, and paired with good shoes. I also pay more attention to the details — I’ll choose a necklace, a specific shade of lipstick, and make sure my sunglasses are in my bag.

On my at-home days, it’s pretty much me sitting like a lump with my laptop — but working really hard (even if it’s not very glamorous looking). I’ll take breaks to switch a load of laundry and grab a snack. Totally boring, but very productive! If I’m mostly working from home, I’m all about the stylish sweatpants trend. Good-looking sweats may be the greatest thing that has ever happened to fashion!

As a seasoned mom, what’s your biggest piece of advice, or something you wish someone else had told you?

My advice? I say this in my book, Design Mom, but a well-designed home is the best gift you can give to your kids. I don’t mean that you have to have an expensive home created by an interior designer. Not al all! What I mean is creating or designing a home that is intentional. A home that works well for your family. A home that inspires the kind of conversations you want to have with your kids. A home that feels safe and cozy and welcoming after a hard day. A home that tells the story of your family and what they care about. Your home will be the backdrop of most of your children’s memories. Will they remember it as a happy, calm place? A creative, exciting place? A loving, thoughtful place? Maybe all of the above?

What was your favorite subject in school (or extracurricular activity) and why? How has that shaped you into the person you are today?

Oh that’s easy. English! I loooooved English. Partly, this was because I adored reading. But it was also because I had an excellent teacher, Ms. Wenzel. She taught me how to write clearly, she pushed me to try harder, she introduced me to great books, and she taught me how to debate too — although I probably also learned how to argue growing up in a big family. Hah!

Even though I loved English, when I got to college, I figured out I wanted to study design. I started in interior design, but then discovered graphic design and completely fell in love. I ended up getting a BFA in graphic design and had a career in New York as an art director. In fact, I was in the middle of that career when I started Design Mom! I thought the blog would be all about visuals, but pretty quickly, my writing came to be the focus. Thank goodness Ms. Wenzel taught me well!

Versatile Style 3: Bridget of Tales of Me & the Husband Styles Denim

Versatile Style: Denim

Bridget of Tales of Me & the Husband takes denim from day to night.

Meet Bridget, mom to six children. She calls Boston home, but has also spent recent time abroad in Italy. She savors every moment with her children as she starts each new day. You’ll want to swoop on her donated collection benefiting the Malala Fund or hit up the denim section to steal her style. Peek her interview below and learn more about her versatile style.

We love how you styled denim for day and night. Can you tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you?

Let’s see. An average day looks like being woken by Anders around 6:30. I let him roll around me for 15 minutes or so, trying (and failing) to half sleep while he chirps at me tilI I wake up. Sometimes I even, shamefully, let him watch a bit of the PBS app on my phone. That depends on how late I stayed up the night before! Sometimes Parker creeps in and cuddles with me too. Then, we come downstairs for some play and some breakfast. The older kids are off to school very early, but the rest of us don’t usually have to be right out the door. I’ll put some music on and make eggs or yogurt, berries, and granola. It’s slow, and I like it that way. Then, who knows where the day will take us (if Parker ever gets dressed, which takes a lot of urging lately!)—to a playdate, the library, the farm. My favorite days are when we get out of the house for a bit and things just go smoothly. Recently, I took the boys to the library and then we stopped at our favorite coffee shop for some tea (a steamer for Parker—frothy milk and a pump of vanilla syrup) and to browse the books we’d just gotten at the library. Everyone was in a good mood, and it was one of those days when I thought to myself, “I don’t want this to ever end.”

As a seasoned mom, what’s your biggest piece of advice, or something you wish someone else had told you?

Seasoned mom?! Well thanks, but I’m not sure if that’s true! Nevertheless, here’s my advice: everything’s a stage. That’s a big one. When you’re in the middle of teething woes with a cranky baby who refuses sleep, it can feel like it’ll go on forever. And then you wake up one day and wonder, “When was the last time XYZ?” It’s always moving. That’s the only constant!

What was your favorite subject in school (or extracurricular activity) and why? How has that shaped you into the person you are today?

English! And, as a blogger, the writing portion of that serves me well! I love to journal, write down what’s going on in our day-to-day. Otherwise, I know I’ll forget it. So, I’m writing almost all the time in some capacity.

We’ve heard from Grace, Bridget, and Gabriel—now what’s your versatile style staple? We want to hear from you in the comments below!

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