For those just getting started in Second Life, and not wanting to pour a ton of US$ into your virtual wallet, there is now a useful guide to locations in Second Life offering free stuff.
We got a lot of our stuff for the PacRimX Islands from freebie locations. Linden Lab allowed us to have an avatar on the main grid for a few weeks prior to rezzing our islands. We loaded that avatar with everything we could find that was free, and some stuff that we purchased, before getting transplanted to our private islands.
You do need to be careful with boxed items and students, as some of the freebie packages have adult objects in them. So always test before handing freebies out to your students.