Fund raising is, unfortunately, a fact of life with our school. A lot of our funding got cut this last year, even our Title 1 funds, so we've been scrambling to figure out how to pay for things like, say, copies, incentives for the kids, and new materials.
One of our biggest fund raisers over the past few years has been our Fall Festival. Most of the schools around here have them, and they bring in a lot of money, even in our zone. They're kind of fun as they bring in the families, not just the students, so you see the parents and often times the siblings of the kids you currently teach. We also get a kids from the high school we feed into who come over to help run booths. They're mostly from the ROTC program and the Band and it's nice to see how some of our kids turned out after we've set them free from middle school.
So, Mrs. Eagle and I were wanting to come up with an easy fund-raiser for seventh grade science. We're in need of money to buy some materials to go with our new standards so we're submitting grants and doing whatever we can to get some money, realizing full well that it may take a few years before we get enough to do anything with it.
We've done hair painting int he past, but have grown bored with it. Besides, it costs money to buy the colored hair spray and you get tired of breathing in the fumes after a couple of hours. We let student council take over that booth this year. What we wanted was something that wasn't messy, that didn't cost hardly anything to do, and that appealed to the middle school mind. The middle school mind, after all, will spend money on some of the dumbest things.
We came up with the Pillow Fight booth.
All we needed were four pillows ($2.50 a piece at Walmart), some pillow cases ($1.00 a piece at Dollar General) and some football helmets (borrowed from a football coach). I had a timer, we made a sign, grabbed some chairs, roped off a ring with yarn and basically charged the kids a dollar each to beat each other with pillows for one minute.
We made over a hundred dollars.
Talk about an easy way to make money. The kids loved it, although some of them didn't think a minute was long enough until they actually did it. We probably should have sold bottled water to the combatants after they finished since most of them were panting and pretty worn out. It was pretty good entertainment, to be honest. Most of the boys just whomped away at each other, while the girls would start giggling so hard they could hardly swing a pillow. We had some sibling pairs duke it out, plus a few parents who let their kids beat at them with a pillow.
My favorite was an 8th grader who let his little brother, who may have been all of four, beat at him with a pillow. The little guy was going wap-wap-wap-wap with the pillow and every once in a while his older brother would tap him on the head with his pillow. Not often you see a kid that age being that nice to a little sibling. The little guy was beaming when he finished.
Gotta love it when you score a hit with the kids, and make money to boot!