Classroom Wish List (Updated 8/28)

Classroom Wish List (Updated 8/28)

Hello!  I’m applying for a Reddit teacher gift package, and to make it easier for people who might adopt my classroom, I’m posting my wish list with links and explanations here.  Regular readers, Facebook friends, and everyone else, don’t feel pressured. Unless you’re easily pressured, independently wealthy, have money to burn, or any of combination of those three, then feel free to embrace any invisible pressure you may be feeling.

Here is my Amazon wish list link.  I hope it works. I’ve been fiddling with it.

If it doesn’t, on Amazon, go to the Wish List Tab, and select “Find a Gift Registry or Wish List.” Search for Mrs. Saunders; I’m the lady with tiara (it’s the same picture as my profile here.) The list is called “WTTCHS ELA Wish List.”

Thank you!


Over the summer I did some Pinterest-inspired making over of my classroom, and while it’s not done, it is in progress.  Most of the supplies I’m asking for go along with the changes I made this summer.

UPDATE:  Thank you so much for your generosity: Jen, Gwen, Tammy, Nioka, and Cindy!  I am so excited about how this school year is progressing.  Your help has made a huge difference, and I am humbled by and thankful for your generosity.  

FOR STUDENT SUPPLIES:

Here is where my student work supplies are stored; please ignore the mess.  It’s a work in progress, I have drawer labels almost made, and zip straps and tape to deal with all the cords and wires. Once that’s done, it’s gonna look amazing.  (Thank you Debby for the drawers!!)   I’ll post the after pics in another piece, hopefully at the beginning of next week.

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Right now, each box contains between four and six miniature marker boards, what’s left of my marker supply from a purchase four or five years ago, some mostly dried up glue sticks, and a pair of scissors, and a pair of socks.  I color code things, and have my students do the same, on a regular basis. For that to work, this is what I need:

  • 12 packs of colored pencils (Thank you and CH!!)
  • Black chisel permanent markers (other colors welcome, too!  (two dozen)
  • glue sticks(Thank you CH!!)
  • 12 SIX packs of Crayola markers (Thank you NT!)
  • 12   SIX packs of six color highlighters (pink, orange, yellow, green, blue & purple) ((Thank you, T&DB and NT!!)
  • Notebook paper
  • Copy paper in any color you’d like to send!!

FOR ORGANIZING

For right now, this is what suffices for each table’s folder.

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However, with the supplies below, I could make this much easier, more efficient, and longer lasting.

  • 6 binders in 6 different colors (My groups are labeled by colors, based on the paper I could find to identify the tables) (Thank you NT!!)
  • 6 sets of dividers

FOR CLEANING/HEALTH MAINTENANCE

Once kids get past fifth grade,  parents don’t help much with tissue and cleaning supplies.  I’m not sure why, but trust me, we still need the help.  If there is tissue or sanitizer or cleaning supplies in my room, it’s because I’ve bought them, or a parent has sent them in after seeing my wish list at the bottom of a mass email.

  • Bleach wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Facial tissue  (Thank you J.F.!!!)

FOR CHROMEBOOK CORNER

Again, this is a work in progress.

At the end of last school year, I got a grant for eight Chromebooks for my class room. Thus summer, I bought/picked up the tables, rugs, pillows and the lamp seen in the picture below.  I’m currently looking for two baskets for under the tables to hide the cords and wires, but that’s assuming I can find two matching baskets in good shape, that will fit, and still hold everything. Everything in the picture, (except the computers) was purchased via yard sales, or Facebook yard sale groups. (Thank you Gwen, Gwen’s friend down the road, and three other nice ladies who sold me stuff for pretty cheap!)

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Ideally, I’d like to have at least eight to twelve good-sized throw pillows or bean bags for student seating.

**Pillows or bean bags


MISCELLANEOUS

Here is where my yoga balls spend the night; they earn their rest, as they are used all day, every day.  They’re great for kids who are twitchy and wiggly, and for kids who are either to short too tall to fit comfortably in our desks.  I’d like to get more, because my students love them.  I bought three of them in yard sale groups, and had one given to me when she realized what I was getting it for (thank you Debby, Gwen, and two nice ladies whose names I don’t remember!).

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Again, for my regular readers, this is not a plea for you to send me stuff (unless you’re purging things and have items to get rid of).  I’m doing this for a teacher supply giveaway being done here.

And to all those ladies I bought items from, or who gave me supplies for my classroom this summer, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Comments, suggestions or ideas?  Add them in the comment sections.  Thanks for stopping by!

Dear New Teacher,

Dear New Teacher,

Hi, I’m Tracy.

I was once where you are: happy to be in a job, but exhausted from the first week and already feeling behind.

And sadly, not much has changed in 18 years. My room wasn’t as ready as I wanted it.  I didn’t get to read or plan as much as I would have liked to. But there wasn’t enough time, there never is, and I have finally, after 18 years, realized you have to let that stress go.  If you don’t, it will eat at you.

There are some things that I have learned over the years that have made my professional life better.  And if it please my readers (all four of you), I’d like to share some tidbits.

First, find a good mentor. If you’re lucky your school system’s new teacher induction program will find you one.  If you aren’t, ask three people for recommendations:  the media specialist, your AP, and your department chair.  Best two out of three wins.  I was lucky in that my first few years were spent with the amazing Rachel; we were fast friends, and she had a few years classroom experience in her pocket.  If it weren’t for her, I’m not sure what I’d be doing right now, but it darn sure wouldn’t be teaching.

Then, get more sleep. It’s a cliche, but it’s a seriously accurate one.  You can only run on coffee and energy drinks for so long before the bags under your eyes start shopping for luggage, and you are getting snippy even with your best students.  You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people.

Order a yearbook.

Let your students take the lead on some things. Contrary to all the media gripes, students in general like to be trusted to do things, even if it is just dusting the bookshelves, and emptying the recycling. Assign volunteers to help in your classroom–passing out graded work or handouts, making flash card sets on Quizlet (one of my all-time favorite apps), or spot cleaning the area where the hole-puncher played snowstorm again.

If you read no other book about education, read “The First Days of School.”  It is the single best classroom management book ever. Period.  I’m serious.  Go get it.  It’s important enough that my district gives copies of it to new teachers.  And for a district to part with money for nearly 400 copies of anything, you know it’s got to be good.

Drink water.  Really, really ice cold water.  It’s refreshing, and it’s good for you.

Don’t be afraid to play music in the classroom.  Pandora has become one of my favorite websites.  The Piano Guys channel, with Lindsey Sterling added in, is great classroom background music.  Not quite classical, and just funky enough to keep the kids awake.

Keep it simple.  In decorating, projects, expectations, lesson plans, documentation…  It doesn’t have to be museum quality to keep your classroom going.  It does need to be thoughtful and age-appropriate, but if all you have time and money for is cleaning it, then go with clean.  You can’t go wrong with that.

Always keep a folder with a review packet or a set of articles on the same issue from different perspectives, copied and ready for the whole class.  Just in case you need a back up plan.

When all else fails, look to Pinterest for a journal prompt, or a grouping activity.  I’m convinced there has to be a way to get professional development for time spent on Pinterest, but no one I know has figured it out yet.

At the end of the year, have your students make scrap book pages. The years I haven’t squeezed this in, I have regretted.  Make them use their full name on it, so you can say you knew them when.

Ask for help when you need it.  It’s not embarrassing, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t good at what you do.  I still need help, and I’ve gotten better at asking for it when I need to.

And that rule about not smiling?  Forget it.  Smile with, and at, your students.  It counts for something.

Here’s how I know.

Every night before bed, my five year-old, N. asks hopefully, “Do we get to go to school tomorrow, Mama?” And when the answer is affirmative, she does a fist pump with an excited, “Yesssss!”  I know it’s in part because every teacher I’ve met there smiles at their kids.  Even the ones they don’t teach. You have to work for N. to like you, and even more so to keep her attention.  Once she’s smiled at you, you’re in.  And for her to be so excited about school, it’s made a huge impression on her. So smile if your personality allows.

As long as you can stay one step ahead of the students, you’ll be ok.

And on the days you aren’t, you’ll improvise.

Finally, look back to your favorite teachers, and choose one.  Remember those “WWJD?” bracelets that used to be so popular?  Insert one of your favorite classroom teachers in there, and ask what that teacher would do.

Hang in there, Newbs.  It might not always be awesome, but you can almost always make it good.

Sincerely,

tracy

PS: Breathe.