It's summertime. Rest, relaxation, vacation...no? Well, if you're like most teachers, you want to make the most of your summer by getting ready for the school year. Most veteran teachers use this time to organize their files, books, and other materials while new teachers struggle with where to begin. Here are some great tips to give you a head start on getting ready for the school year.
Get into your classroom as soon as you can!
The week you get before school starts is NOT enough. Start setting up your room two weeks before you are required to report to work. That way you can work on it leisurely and not feel rushed or overwhelmed with staff development meetings.
What do you need? What could you do without? It's hard to make decisions when you've no idea of where to start. The best place to start is with the school secretary. He/she will know what materials your school already has available. You definitely want to take advantage of those materials as much as possible, otherwise you'll be spending half of your salary on decorations for your walls!
Ask about the following:
die cut machine? (for letters, shapes, etc)
laminating machine? (who can use it?)
what kind of furniture is available?
(I always ask this question because you never know when you'll want a nice reading chair, bean bags, carpet squares, lamps, round or crescent tables, etc.)
Find out when you can get into the school to start finding and using these materials.
Definitely call your secretary or the district and find out whether or not you have a media center nearby. It may be called something different, but basically it is a place where teachers can go to make borders, get poster-board, die-cut letters and shapes, laminate materials, and basically make their "decorations" for a reduced price. Generally the prices in the district or area media center are not nearly as expensive as the local teacher store. They should have almost everything you need to "get ready" there including name tags, button makers, bookmark makers, etc.
What you can safely purchase:
a couple of wire notebooks
a couple of pocket folders
a plastic or glass jar
These items can be used for almost anything: reward system, organizing yourself, a place to put books & other materials, etc.
There are many ways that you can save money when trying to set up your classroom. Will you have a reading corner? Go to carpet stores and ask for old carpet samples to put on the floor. If you have room for a chair or couch, go to Salvation Army or Goodwill and buy a couch for $30 or less. You can always cover it up with a nice sheet. Sometimes Wal-Mart or Garden Ridge Pottery will give away old pillows that haven't sold. When looking for prizes or other rewards, ask places like McDonalds, a local movie theater, Wal-Mart, Target, local ice cream shops and other local food places if they would donate gift certificates. They often will, especially if the prizes are used for a reading or math program of some sort. Lastly, search through the Teacher's Lounge, Teacher Workroom, and School Library for items that other teachers don't want anymore.
Remember the old adage: One man's Trash is another man's Treasure