That time of year has come where ‘Back to School’ signs adorn the shops. Truth be told they’ve been hanging up since a few days after Christmas, but I have been ignoring them with my hand covering my eyes. If I can’t see them, they don’t exist, right? I’m intending to enjoy my last week and a half of holidays, but I also need to start planning going back to work. I watched You’ve Got Mail (again) a couple of weeks ago, and loved when they were talking about stationery – Tom Hanks’ character promises to send Meg Ryan’s a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils as Autumn always makes her feel like buying school supplies. He would certainly know the way to my heart! Today I’m sharing a few of my favourite teacher things that are staples in my classroom.
A great diary
Since I started teaching I have experimented with a lot of different diaries. The first few were specialist ones made for primary teachers and then I used a couple from Kikki K. After getting frustrated with bits of paper everywhere, a separate diary and assessment record book, I decided to try something different for this year. Etsy and Teachers Pay Teachers are a gold mine when it comes to teacher organisation resources and I spent a couple of nights scouring both sites to try and find a diary that suited me. In the end I chose this editable planner from a Brisbane designer called All About the House. It comes with 295 pages that you can customise to suit you and your class. Be sure to check out her blog to see how she put her planner together. I’m looking forward to being ultra-organised this year!
I had planned to have the diary bound at an office shop when I discovered a few ‘systems’ that other teachers in the US are using. A special paper punch is used, and you then insert the paper onto some special rings. This means that you can take out and add pages as needed which is super handy.
While there are several companies that have similar products, I ended up choosing the Levenger Circa. I bought a starter pack on Amazon that came with the rings, front and back covers, dividers and some note paper. You can find the travel punch I bought here. It can punch one or two pieces of paper at a time, but there are larger punches that can do a larger capacity if you need to.
Pens and textas
I’m a self-confessed stationery nut and like a bower bird when it comes to brightly coloured writing implements. I bought these markers last year in the supermarket for about $15 and they’ve been great. There are loads of colours to choose from, and they’re very handy when I’m making posters and signs.
These Kikki K felt tip pens are wonderful for marking work. I like using colours other than red, and this pack gives plenty of choice. They write really nicely, and don’t bleed through to the other side of the page too badly. I picked them up with my birthday voucher, but they retail for around $10.
I’m a loyal Apple girl, but have felt wary about taking my iPad into school for student use. A couple of months ago I saw a cheap tablet at Coles and decided to take the plunge to the dark (Android) side. The Pendopad runs on a Google operating system and you can download apps from the Google Play store. I’m looking forward to using it more in class this year and being able to store all my syllabus documents on there. I picked up the superseded 8 inch version for $59, but the new 7 inch retails for $99. They are often on special, so keep your eye out if you’re looking for a tablet.
Last year I was lucky enough to win a bluetooth speaker through a blog competition, and it’s fantastic to use in the classroom. The sound quality and noise level is great, and I use it for music and meditation with my students. Some smart boards have an adapter for iPods, but if yours (like mine) isn’t one, a speaker like this is a great option.
Teach Starter is a resource subscription service. You pay a set fee for the year, and that allows you to access all of their pre-made resources, as well as creating your own. There are also lots of freebies that you can access if you don’t want try before you buy. They have a huge range of printable classroom decorations, name labels, worksheets and activities. If you’re quick, you can claim four free posters when you sign up now. I got mine last year and they were a great addition to my classroom. Signing up to their mailing list may also bring a freebie or two your way – I was sent a great sticker pack just before Christmas and I can’t wait to use them this year.
What teacher doesn’t love stamps and stickers? I found a great stamp pack on my last trip to Costco for $15. I love the Facebook ‘like’ stamp! They are all re-inkable so I will be able to use them for a long time to come. Aldi currently have stamps and stickers on special. There is a great range of stickers and they’re very good value at $2.99 for 12 sheets. I bought three packets last year and still have lots left over. Bargains like these deserve to be shared!
What are your teaching essentials? Where do you buy all your bits and pieces?