Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Back to School Series: Back to School Shopping

Today, I'm starting a new series of posts entitled 'The Back to School Series'. Over the next few weeks, posts will cover a variety of topics from how to prepare your classroom to how to deal with the dreaded first day back, class bonding activities and much more. I hope this series will be useful for NQTs, teachers teaching in a different class level for the first time and some of you looking for some fresh ideas!

This week I embarked on a back to school stationary shopping trip and for that reason,  I am writing my first post of the series about some of the things I picked up and what I will be using them for. I visited a variety of places to find these things including Mr. Price (after seeing Múinteoir Valerie's post about the amazing value to be found there!), Tesco, Homebase and Ikea.

Here is what I found:

1. Folders:

I picked up a set of plastic pockets, a lever arch folder for my Fortnightlies, one for my Cuntas Míosúil and one for assessment records, an A4 plastic wallet for storing important sheets in the first week or two, a small ring binder for my yearly plans and a set of dividers. 

2. Copies:

I bought an A4 project book which I will be using for observational records on the children and an A5 notebook which I use to plan and organise my lessons every day.

3. Stationary:

I picked up permanent markers, whiteboard markers, pencils, a pen, tippex, blu tack, thumbtacks, post-its and sticky flags.

4. Organisational Solutions:

I bought magazine files to store and organise my books for each subject on my 'teacher' shelves. I also bought an expanding accordion file for storing worksheets for each subject throughout the year. You can read more about my worksheet storage system in detail here.

5. Rewards:

I use raffle tickets with senior classes to reward good behaviour so I picked some up in Mr. Price. Click here to find out more information about this reward strategy. Along with these, I bought some stamps for using on children's copies after being inspired by this article in The Guardian about time saving marking tips.

6. Posters:

Mr. Price has a range of posters available to buy - even ones as Gaeilge! These posters are mostly suitable for younger classes, however I did manage to find a lovely set of 'Na Míonna as Gaeilge' posters. I also picked up some fluorescent flashcards for labeling charts, etc.

7. Storage:

This year I will have a severe shortage of presses and storage options in my classroom. I spent a lot of time trying to decide what would be the best solution for this problem. Originally, I set out to buy some sort of drawer unit that I could put under the computer bench to keep resources organised and hidden away. Unfortunately anything that would have been remotely suitable size-wise was quite expensive and didn't provide very usable storage space. I eventually decided that buying good quality storage boxes might be the best way to go as they could be moved from classroom to classroom and would allow far more storage space at a cheaper price. Ikea's boxes were by far the cheapest, but when I went to check them out, they only had translucent options available, despite the website showing black and green versions. I didn't want to get translucent boxes as they can look untidy and the quality of them also seemed quite poor. I decided to go with some Homebase 48L storage boxes to stack in pairs under my computer bench (which takes up one wall of my classroom). They come with lids, are opaque, colourful, quite durable and a good size for storage. Storage boxes are on sale at the moment in Homebase which was a great plus too. While I was there, I picked up a 35L storage box for my paints and paintbrushes in the art press, along with 2 12L storage boxes to store miscellaneous art supplies in.

Hopefully you found some inspiration in this post for your preparations for the year ahead and don't forget to follow me on Facebook or Twitter to make sure you don't miss any of my 'Back to School Series' posts!

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