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Sunday, January 11, 2009

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Spending wisely not only can save you money but will make you ready to create fun hands-on activities that jazz up your classroom. Below you will find a list of supplies I always kept on hand in my classroom, and I found that it was easy to plan and implement most lessons with these supplies.

Kitchen Timer -- All activities must be timed in order to maximize time on task.

Construction Paper -- Construction paper is useful for creating visuals, which can enhance any activity. Cutting and pasting always makes any ordinary activity special. For example, you can use construction paper to create collages and brochures to present material.

News print -- This is a thin cheap paper found at Office Max or Staples that is great for group reports. This helps to hold groups accountable and allows an excellent way for assessment. Also, newsprint can be used for graffiti writing, poster run off, or jigsaw.

Colored pencils --
Colored pencils are cheaper than markers and last much longer. Staples, Office Max, and Wal-Mart all have great sales in August on colored pencils. I prefer to replace markers with highlighters, which provide you with another teaching strategy.

Glue sticks -- I love cutting and pasting, and glue sticks are less messy but more expensive. If you do not mind the mess buy bottles of glue. Again look for those August sales.

Poster Board -- Poster board is more durable than construction or regular Xerox paper and should be used for activities that you plan to use over and over again. You can use poster board for choral response activities and game boards.

Card Stock -- Card stock can be run be through your printer or Xerox machine and can be cut into various sizes after printing. I use card stock instead of index cards to save money. Card stock makes creating flash cards faster not to mention works great for stacks, smart cards, and give and receive activities.

Color ink pens (4 different colors) -- Different color ink pens are great for pair’s activities. Also, giving each student in a group a different color pen to write with allows for easy assessment of who is doing what in a group activity. In addition, it is a great way to grade papers in the classroom and eliminate cheating.

Broken Pencils -- Take pencils you find on the floor and break them in half and use them for students who forget their pencil. It is amazing how this can eliminate the "I don't have a pencil" problem.

Old Magazines -- You always need to have items that can be cut up and displayed in different ways. Old Magazines are a must for collages and brown bag activities.

Colored Printer or Xerox Paper -- Watch for sales and once or twice a week run an activity on colored paper. It makes the students think the activity is special. I often put two copies of an activity per sheet of colored paper to save money.

White boards -- These are used with erasable markers and provide a work surface for each individual student. You can get white boards by going to Home Depot and buying a sheet of white shower board ($13.00). Tell the folks at Home Depot you are a teacher and they will cut it into 1 foot by 1 foot squares for you at no cost. Students love to work on these.

Plastic bags -- Cheap sandwich and gallon size plastic bags are a great way to store lessons to use year after year. Individual flash cards, stacks sets, old maid cards, give and receive cards, etc. are stored in sandwich bags and then all the sets are placed in a gallon bag. This helps keep all your stuff together. Rubber Bands are good to hold individual sets together but often do not hold up with use. This is why I recommend having plastic bags on hand. Dollar Tree and store brand bags work just fine and save you lots of money.

Note: If you do not recognize a strategy that is mentioned here, please email me or watch for future postings to this blog.


Find more Teaching Strategies like this on the Teaching Strategies Page

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