Free Store Interview: Sam Leach and The Basics

Throughout the month of April, we’re partnering with Bank of America to Stock Our Shelves. In honor of that, we’re inviting some of our most passionate teachers, volunteers, and supporters to talk about school, supplies, and some of the key areas in our Free Store: “Basics,” “Math and Science,” “Reading and Writing,” and “Arts.” This week, we’ll be hearing from Sam Leach, a local teacher who you might know from Mr. Leach Is Still In 3rd Grade!, as he talks about the Basics (and why you shouldn’t eat paste).

Mr.LeachWhen you were a student, what was your favorite Basic school supply- and why?
My fondest memories of school supplies was watching my friend Jeff Rodgers eat the Elmer’s School Paste in first grade. Do you remember the ones that were small little plastic jars with the orange lids that had the built in spoon? I think it was a stick- but Jeff called it a spoon. No matter how many times our teacher Ms. Whetherbee told him to stop- he just kept shoveling it in when she wasn’t watching. Even as a first-grader I remember watching him and thinking- that’s not good. Jeff spent a lot of time in the bathroom.

What are the most needed Basic supplies in your classroom today? 
I know we’re running dangerously low on flavored paste. That’s actually a tough question. It used to be that we were always in need of crayons or glue sticks. In the past few years it seems like our Schoolhouse Supplies Community has really rallied to find what schools are low on and have moved in to fill specific needs. I guess if I had to pick one thing it would have to be colored pencils. They seem to always be in short supply.

What’s your favorite aisle/area of the Free Store?
I love the Incentives Aisle. I always find awesome stuff. I remember this fall I was able to pick up a few padfolios. My kids loved them. They used them during Writer’s Workshop. They looked like a bunch of little paralegals working away.

If we gave you a blank spiral notebook and a pack of colored pencils, how would you fill the pages?
Probably a self-help book for kids called: “Don’t Eat The Paste” and Other Advice for Not Getting Stuck in First Grade.


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