Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The SECRET Teacher Supply List

I consider these items to be absolutely indispensable in the classroom. They have multiple uses and help you avoid problems that you probably haven't thought about.
  • Painter's Tape - This special tape doesn't stick to anything permanently, but sticks strongly enough to leave until you're ready to take it off. You can use this to section off your board, floor, walls, or desks. It makes cleaning up throughout the year (especially at the end) much simpler.
  • Duct Tape - I can't even predict what will need to be taped down with this, but there will be something, and you will thank me later.
  • Deck of cards - Besides the obvious applications in math, a deck of cards can be used to assign groups or seats randomly. More importantly, there will be a day at some point, perhaps not until the end of the year, that no learning will take place. Your responsibility will be to keep your students quiet, seated and inside the classroom. This is when you pull out your deck.
  • Strong magnets - Something in your classroom will be magnetic, and there is never a time when you don't need to post something. You'll also be able to use less of your standard supplies and save time and effort when you have something that has to be posted up and taken back down in the span of a period (painter's tape can also help with this sometimes)
  • Index cards - Whether you use them for having students make flash cards, an information card on the first day of school, or create custom decks of cards for learning games, you will need them!
  • Scanner or multifunction printer - It doesn't matter if you only have one at home or are able to bring in one to your classroom. There will be times when the copy machine is unavailable or you can't get to it, so having this kind of technology around will save you a lot of stress and frustration. Also, you can significantly reduce the amount of paper you use and keep by scanning things into your computer and saving them as PDFs (or other formats). Every scanner/printer on the market comes with software that does this, and quality ones are very affordable.
  • File crates - These are very flexible and don't necessarily have to be used for hanging files. They can hold just about anything, can be stacked in any number of ways, and are easy to break down and put away as well.
Veteran teachers, share your secrets in the comments!