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First year teacher in a fifth grade position. What do I need?

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First year teacher in a fifth grade position. What do I need?
Old 06-22-2014, 02:42 PM
 
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I've recently accepted a teaching position for fifth grade--2 sections of reading/writing and 1 section of sci/ss.

I am very excited but nervous! It will definitely be a challenge, but I am ready.

I just need help brainstorming everything that I will need to buy for my classroom. I already have many books (chapter books and picture books) because I started buying them from thrift stores a couple of years ago. Other than that, what are some of the essentials that I will need?

Thank you so much for your input!


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Old 06-22-2014, 03:38 PM
 
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I recommend a great book and website: The Cornerstone For Teachers. If you go there, you will find amazing ideas and organization for all elementary levels, as well as links to many helpful blogs/websites. I'd say start with the basics:

1. Math manipulatives and science resources (make them or buy them--ebay is a great resource)
2. Pencils, paper, chart paper, folders for your files, dry erase markers, paper clips, etc. (basic supplies, anywhere on sale)
3. An organization system (this you have to define, then plan it out)
4. Whiteboards (a class set if possible, small group set if you can't)
5. Signs and labels (Teachers Pay Teachers--most of these are free, search for what you need)

Congratulations and good luck!
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Teaching Supplies
Old 06-22-2014, 03:40 PM
 
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I like having dry erase boards for word work. You may be able to get dry erase markers from school supplies. I bought a class set of erasers at a teaching supply store.

I like having clip boards and a few lap desks so student have the option to write somewhere other than their desks. We take the clipboards outside a couple of times a year to write poetry about nature and seasons.

I bought a used rocker/glider to sit in at my classroom rug for read alouds and class gatherings. It has cushions so it is very comfortable.

I have a tall director's chair from Pier 1 Imports. I use it to sit in when I am teaching from my Innovation Station. I allow the kids to sit in it when they are sharing something they wrote. So, I call it the author's chair.

I really good electric pencil sharpener is needed in my opinion.

I have an EZ Grader for school and home.

In my locked closet I keep an extra jacket, a comfortable pair of shoes, an umbrella, nail clippers, nail file, spot remover, static cling spray, cough drops, pain killer, itch spray....

You will probably need a loud whistle to get their attention at the end of recess.

A tree hole punch is nice to have handy. A small paper cutter kept away from the kids is also helpful. One of those long handled tools that makes getting staples out of your bulletin board is essential. An exacto knife is needed from time to time. Again keep it locked up and away from students.

I do not care for school cafeteria lunches and the teacher's lounge is often loud. I like a nice quite lunch most days. So, I have a small microwave I bought a Sears for $50 in my classroom. I also have a small refrigerator. These items come in handy for science lessons at times as well as for class parties. Some school districts do not allow teachers to have these appliances at school so check before you buy.

Most schools provide colored paper for bulletin boards. But you will probably want bulletin board borders.

I like having some student supplies that belong to me. This is especially true for scissors. Many students lose their own during the year so they can borrow a pair from me.

I LOVE my Tervis insulated cup with a lid. That way I can drink my water often to help my voice. All that talking dries you out.
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Congratulations!
Old 06-22-2014, 04:20 PM
 
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You're very clever to have already started your classroom library. Previous posters had some good suggestions. I would also recommend a few good binders in your favorite colors for your use, and good teacher scissors. Oddly enough, I use painters tape (the blue kind) frequently at school, and I also keep a step stool handy because I'm so short. Have you seen your room? The size & shape might drive how much furniture you can bring in, although a comfy chair for you is a must. Keep a small plastic or metal box with a few snacks handy. Depending on your campus, you might have access to lots of classroom supplies, but this varies from place to place. You don't want to spend a penny that you don't have to, so see if you can find out whether you'll be provided things like Post-It notes, staples, and what not.
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Thank you KCJ
Old 06-23-2014, 07:53 AM
 
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Thank you for suggesting such an awesome resource KCJ! I was able to browse the website and already find some really helpful advice. I think the book would be great to have, but I am on the fence because I already know I need to buy SO much! However, I am definitely keeping it on my list. To buy, or not to buy? What will I do?!

I absolutely love TPT--I have been using that website for a couple of years now. I think at this point I can hold off on math manipulatives because I won't be teaching that subject, but I will definitely be adding everything else you suggested to my list. Thank you!


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Thank you 1956BD
Old 06-23-2014, 08:02 AM
 
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Wow! Thank you for taking the time to reply to my message! I really appreciate it!
It seems as though I will definitely be needing dry erase boards for students.
I really do like your suggestion about giving the students the option to write around the room rather than at their desk. I am trying to figure out the most cost effective way to do this. Whether I buy lap desks or pillows or....? (I'm still brainstorming on that one).

I have always said I want a rocker for my classroom. However, now that I am two months away from school I am concerned about affording it! I think my best option would be looking at thrift stores. Then I could even paint the chair if I needed. I know a comfortable chair is a must have.

I would LOVE a directors chair. However, I don't think I can afford one at this point . I have to keep this in mind though for the future. Great idea!

Thank you for all the wonderful advice 1956BD!
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Thank you Beachygrl!
Old 06-23-2014, 08:09 AM
 
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Thank you Beachygrl for your advice!
I am VERY thankful that I made the choice to start my classroom library a long time ago, or else I would be panicking! I think I am going to continue to browse thrift stores and spend ~50 dollars on some more chapter books for the kids.

Do you use the painters tape for attaching things to the walls?
I saw a step stool at the store the other day and was considering buying one, but at this point I think a chair will do.

Unfortunately, I've yet to see my room. I have been told that it is big though (whatever that means!) The school is under construction so I need to find out when I will be able to access my room. New teacher orientation begins on the 12th of August, but I would just hate to wait that long to find out what all that the school provides. I want to be proactive!
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Author's Chair
Old 06-23-2014, 08:15 PM
 
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An author's chair can be any kind of chair. I just chose to use the tall director's chair. The height of the chair makes it unique which is why the kids like it. There are lots of unique chairs that would make good author's chairs. You could find a used one at a resell shop or even a garage sale and paint it in a fun way.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/345369865147059714/

http://fifth-grade-frenzy.blogspot.c...are-chair.html

http://teachingmyfriends.blogspot.co...nt=Yahoo!+Mail
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DIY whiteboards
Old 06-25-2014, 05:12 AM
 
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I make whiteboards bt slipping a piece of card stick into a crystal clear sheet protector. Inexpensive and functional!
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Personal White Boards
Old 06-25-2014, 06:56 AM
 
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I've seen teachers let the students write on their desks with the dry erase markers instead of using a class set of dry erase boards. Would it still be beneficial to have a class set or just a few?


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White Boards
Old 06-25-2014, 09:09 AM
 
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I like the portable boards because I use them in small group work. I bought mine at Target for a dollar each. They have held up well but are hard to clean to to 100% white. They look a little smudged with dry erase ink. I wish I had bought better quality, but not bad enough to replace yet.
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Alternative to buying individ. White boards.
Old 06-25-2014, 10:52 AM
 
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I think I might get a showerboard cut up at Home Depot/Lowes. I wonder how much that would cost though. I know the board is pretty cheap, but I'm not sure how much it would cost for them to cut it. Hmm...
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Tell them you are a teacher
Old 06-25-2014, 10:59 AM
 
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they might cut it for free. In fact tell them you are a first year teacher. Go on a weekday early when it is not so busy. That may influence them to help you out. You could always start with a smaller number if that helps. It would be a small group activity only. Then later you could add more if you wish to use them whole class. Good luck!
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painters tape
Old 06-25-2014, 12:29 PM
 
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Painters tape doesn't work well on walls. What is best on walls depends on the wall material & what you're hanging. But I use painters tape for many other things, such as temporary labels on desks, books, whiteboards, binders, whatever.

For Social Studies you'll need a globe. Schools usually provide those large roll-up maps, which are great, but most 5th graders need to see a globe to really understand where countries or continents are in relation to other places.

If this is a newly constructed school, all your shelves & desks and things will be new, which is nice. Is there any way you could get dimensions or a classroom map or something? Will you have a window? If so, curtains or a valance would be nice; and if the window gets bright sunlight in the morning you'll need to take that into consideration as well.

Generally, you're better off spending your money on items that are functional rather than cute. That said, if a functional item can be purchased in either plain version or a cute one, get the cute one. Also, stick to a color you really like and have everything coordinate with that. This means you won't be regretting the bright orange file caddy that sticks out like a sore thumb among all your soothing blue desk items.
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I have used shower board
Old 06-25-2014, 04:25 PM
 
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I don't like the way it cleans (or doesn't clean)up.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:39 AM
 
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Luvetc3--

You have used showerboard before? It doesn't erase well?

Beachygrl--

The school isn't brand new. I am not sure what it is under construction for. However, it sounds like I will be able to get into the school tomorrow and see my future classroom! I am meeting with my principal tomorrow. She is going to show me around and what not. I'm so excited!!!
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How Exciting!
Old 06-27-2014, 07:22 AM
 
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Enjoy your tour.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:36 AM
 
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I just back from my trip (the school is about 5 hours away from where I am now). I was able to meet with the principal and take a tour of the school. I also was able to see my soon to be classroom. The classroom is indeed big--which is wonderful! The way the grade levels are organized are in pods. It is a kind of open concept. In each pod there are four classrooms. There are permanent walls between the classrooms but at the end of each wall there is about a 5 ft. opening that takes you through an alcove and leads you into the adjacent classroom.

Anyways, the school is about 30 years old. My classroom does have a older feel to it--it definitely needs A LOT of TLC. However, I am already thinking of ways to make it my own. I am excited! I only wish I had brought a tape measure with me!

I've been wondering...do fifth grade classrooms usually have an area that has a carpet and chair in it for readings, minilessions, class meetings, etc.? (Usually a corner area that you often see in younger grade levels?)
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fire laws
Old 06-30-2014, 12:39 PM
 
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I don't know where you are located, but there are strict guidelines in our classrooms due to fire laws. We cannot have any upholstered chairs, pillows, or curtains. No bulletin board paper or material on bulletin board. Anything hung up must be educational, as only a certain percentage of the wall can be covered due to fire laws.

See if you can contact a team member to fill you in on what the school provides. You may not need to purchase as much as you think.

Good luck and enjoy your first year teaching!
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:52 AM
 
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Out2Recess--

Wow! I've never heard of such harsh fire hazard regulations at a school. How do you feel about not being about to decorate your classroom much (of course you want the room to be safe)? I sure hope my school isn't like that. Nevertheless, if it is I will make do!
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Post it CHART PAPER
Old 08-05-2014, 07:43 PM
 
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In our district we teach TC Readers/Writers Workshop and I find Post-It Chart Paper essential. This way I can easily stick the chart paper around the room! I also ask that rather than a "pencil box" the students bring in a zippered pencil case. I find that 6th graders are constantly walking around with all their books, and seem to place their pencil box on top, which inevitably falls all over the floor. A zippered pencil case can keep all their pens, pencils, markers, Post-it notes etc. and when they drop everything, at least it's not as much to pick up off the floor.
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