5 MUST-HAVE BACK TO SCHOOL SUPPLIES
1. Art supplies are an absolute must. No matter what your age or artistic ability, we have a selection of crayons, markers – even oil pastels – that will work for every child or teen. They come large or small in quantities ranging from washable markers in eight classic colors to the 152-color ultimate crayon case with sharpener caddy. For the younger family members, we offer washable crayons, as well.
2. What are your kids going to bring home their works of art in? Folders, of course. You name it, we’ve got it. Twin-pocket, tri-fold, satin finish or fiber, we offer a wide selection of options and colors to choose from.
3. One-subject or three-subject, college-ruled or narrow, notebooks are crucial for taking great notes and staying organized in class. With a variety of colors and styles to choose from, there is something everyone will like.
4. The kids will need something to take notes with in their well-organized notebooks. This brings us to the most obvious and necessary school supplies – writing utensils. For the younger ones learning to write, pencils are the obvious choice. For your high school or college student, our selection of pens and highlighters will make note-taking and study time a breeze.
5. With the hustle and bustle of the school year, keeping track of sports games, penciling in study time and scheduling appointments will make time management an important life skill for every kid to learn. Teach them how to get organized and stay organized with a daily planner. Setting your kids up to keep track of their own schedule will give them a sense of responsibility and independence.
5 WAYS TO INDTRODUCE READING AND BOOKS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SHCOOL YEAR
1. START WITH A FAVORITE
You’ve introduced yourself to your students, checked all their names, put books and stationery into some sort of organization. It’s time to start teaching. You might have a great getting to know your students activity planned, but it’s worth waiting for just a moment to read them your favorite picture book.
Why? First of all, picture books are great transition tools. They show the students that it’s time to move from organization mode into learning mode. They’re a quiet and calm way to get things moving. Secondly, you’re letting your students get to know you a little through your book - they know that you value reading and that this is one of the books you really value. And finally, it gives you, the teacher, a moment to breathe and enjoy what you’re doing.
As a bonus, it never hurts when someone from administration pokes their head in and sees reading happening on the first day
2. CREATE A LIST OF TOPICS TO READ ABOUT
In the first few days of school ask your students what kind of books they would like to read or what topics they would like to read about. Use this list as a display in the classroom, use it to guide some of the reading choices or book choices throughout the year and return to update it as the year progresses.
By asking students what books or topics they want to read, you’re giving them some ownership over the reading environment. You’re telling them that their reading preferences are valued in the classroom and that it’s a safe place to read all kinds of books.
3. "SELL" A BOOK OR TWO
At the beginning of the school year it’s good to use books which might be unfamiliar to the students. This lets the students know that you love finding books they might not know about and that it’s ok to read and enjoy unfamiliar books.
Book talks are great for generating excitement about a book and therefore excitement about reading. With lots of enthusiasm, or a well placed preview of a book, you’ve shown students that it’s ok for books to be exciting. Be aware that a really exciting book talk might generate a lot of enthusiasm for the book - you might need to create a ‘next in line’ list for potential readers.
4. ASK STUDENTS TO WRITE ABOUT THEIR IDEAL BOOK
What would the best book in the world look like? This is a great question to pose to students early in the school year. As well as getting students interested in what books could be (or what books they may not have found yet) this is a great way to learn a bit more about your students.
Be aware, though. There’s a very real possibility that you’ll have a students or two who’ll say there’s no such thing as a good book. It’s ok to get them to explain why that’s the case (they’re still writing and you’re still learning about them!) or to challenge them a little to write about what a book would have to have to be readable by them - they might like to link it to what they like about games, television shows or other activities.
5. LET STUDENTS KNOW WHERE THEY CAN FIND BOOKS
Once you’ve got students excited about reading, you need to let them know where they can find books. You may have a complete classroom library or a small collection of books in the classroom - let students know what they can access at any time or what books you’ve set aside for classroom lessons. Take your students to the school library and talk about some of the borrowing they can do there.
You might also like to introduce the local library to your students. You can do this by visiting yourself and taking some photos of the different areas or you might like to arrange a visit from a librarian at the library who can help your students to understand what’s available to them there (it’s not unusual for people to think they need to pay to borrow books from the library.
THINGS TEACHERS NEED TO KEEP IN MIND ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
Have you had it yet? Is it next week? Or still a few weeks off? The first day of school.
I remember my first day of teaching in my first year. I started my career in fifth grade. I had butterflies in my stomach that first day. I had planned everything the best that I knew how, but really I had no clue what I was doing!
1. FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
Have something for students to do when they walk in the door available on their desks so that you have time to greet each student and talk to parents.
2. PLAY A NAME GAME
There are tons of name games. Play one. Anyone. Just do one.
As I mentioned earlier, every opportunity you have to say and interact with students names will help you learn them that much better. Once you learn their names, your brain can move onto other things, like figuring out their learning styles and personalities.
Name games also help students learn each others’ names. For smaller students, make it simple. For older students, make it more complicated. Either way, make it FUN!
3. SEATING ARRANGEMENTS
One, let students sit wherever they want to on the first day. Shocking, I know. You do this because you don’t know the students yet, but for the most part, unless you teach kindergarten, they know each other. We want to see who students sit next to and choose to talk to. The aim is to sit back and observe how they choose to interact with one another. This gives me a pretty good idea of classroom dynamics and personalities. On the first day, students are usually so nervous that they don’t act out too much, but you can get an idea of the kinds of choices they make.