Teachers Pay Teachers Storefront: Michele Lucks Social Studies
As soon as you hear you’ve been hired to teach, your heart begins to race with anticipation. Suddenly, you realize you need materials for your new classroom. How will you decorate the walls? How will you organize materials? How on earth will you be ready to teach by the ding of the first school day’s bell?
For every teacher, gathering resources for their classes is never-ending. We want the newest and brightest materials for our students, and we want up-to-date lesson plans to teach from. Yet, in today's struggling economy, school funds have dwindled for those in need of classroom supplies. That leaves teachers putting on their frugal hats! Here are some suggestions for locating the best deals when it comes to teacher resources:
1. Always ask your team chairperson or principal! Some schools have funds available for classroom materials. Plus, purchasing online, which increases buying options and offers competitive pricing, is now okay in lots of districts. Also, ask if your district or school has a surplus room where such goodies might be stored.
2. For basic classroom supplies (crayons, decorations, etc.) go to your local discount stores. The Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar stores have great items at super prices. Ask management for extra school or teacher discounts or for sponsorship allowances. You’ll be surprised how generous local businesses are!
3. Become a scavenger! Look in your local newspaper or search online for free items, such as shelves or other storage items. Scour yard sales with teachers or children’s items listed. Check universities and libraries that may have available resources to lend for free, or they may have experts willing to visit classrooms.
4. While there are still some parent-teacher stores around to visit for classroom decorations, venture online for a smorgasbord of great items:
- Oriental Trading offers decorations and goodies for themed events. Also, the company sells classroom supplies in bulk.
- National Geographic and your state's Geography Alliance provides free maps for classrooms upon requests. Orders of up to ten of each map are accepted.
- Teaching Tolerance has valuable teaching resources at no cost to help teachers create and model safe classroom communities.
- The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute has printable resources for every grade level on every topic imaginable. Experts are on hand to help teachers with resources, many of which can be shipped.
- EPA.gov and the Weather Channel offer online interactives and printables, as well as free lesson plans.
- Free.ed.gov has listings of resources too numerous to name.
- At Discovery Education, teachers can browse lessons, make puzzles, or assign learning games for students.
Being prepared with great materials and resources makes the first weeks of school go smoothly and makes the school year less challenging. One last piece of advice—save all classroom merchandise receipts. School expenses can be used as tax credits in most states. Good luck preparing for a new school year!
Visit the Author’s Blogspot at A Lesson Plan for Teachers
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