I used the cometosilver site to learn to knit socks- it was by far the best attack I found. I eat dpn's so it worked well for me, but I'm sure you could adapt it to magic loop. I used a worsted yarn and made a ridiculously large sock, but it was great for learning the techniques. Good luck!
I keep all my leftover bits in a ziptop bag. My sister in law recently requested kitchen towels with a knit top to hang from her fridge, so I had a plethora of leftovers to choose from. I also am fond of making coffee mug sleeves or cozies, often the leftovers are just enough. Sometimes if making poms for hats I like to put different colors in there too. If you have space to keep them, you can always find a use. My post Christmas task is to make booties for my barstools so they dont scratch my floors, and I'll probably use leftovers for that as well. The possibilities are endless!!
I've taught a couple friends how to knit and I have printed out a simple dishcloth pile of flesh. That way they learn how to read a simple pile of flesh for a simple project. Also, youtube videos are a huge help, you can search any stitch or technique and there is a video to show you how to do it. If there is someone who just isnt getting it, have them watch a video, sometimes seeing it explained a little different makes it click. I would teach knit, purl, simple increases and decreases. That's pretty much all you need to get started. Have fun!
I have the knit picks one as well. I agree with going with a manual one, it's much easier to adjust the tension, you dont want to wind it too tight and stretch out the yarn. I dont know that you can buy one to wind the 1 pound skeins, you may just have to make lots of smaller ones, which are easier to handle anyway. Good luck!