I am going to entering into my first year as a teacher next fall. There is a good chance I will be in the 5th grade since that is where most of my experience is. What are some things that you would say are VITAL to have in the classroom. I would like to get a jump on purchasing things as soon as I find out for sure so that I am well prepared when it's time to set up my classroom. I need tips for organization, good learning centers, good resource books, etc. I appreciate your advice and experience!!!
I will also be a 1st year 5th grade teacher in August and I am also trying to get prepared with supplies and great advice. I have found that Harry Wong's book, "The First Days of School" is a must have. Several teachers recommended that I get it and I am finding answers to almost all of my questions inside. I also like "First Year Teacher's Survival Kit". It is a big book full of ideas, and charts, and lots of things to copy and use right out of the book. I can't wait to hear some of the responses your post will receive and I would love to trade any ideas you may have as well.
Harry Wong's book, "The First Days of School" is a must have.
baskets for organization
a small book collection for a classroom library
plenty of pencils and ink pens just in case
any of Dinah Zike's big books (for creative hands-on ideas)
generic sub plans to be ready at a moment's notice
a coffee pot....or anything else that can get you going early in the morning
First of all congrats!! I will be starting in my first class in August also to be fifth grade. I have been talking to teachers in fifth grade they say also Harry Wong is a must have!! Good idea for posters is a Science and Math themes. You may also want some comfy pillows for your reading corner if you are going to have one. Good Luck next year!!
is a MUST have. I am sorry that I didn't mention it in my previous response. It's not something you use everyday (you could, but I don't)...but when you need to write your name over and over - it is GREAT to have. I paid about $14.00 for mine at a local printing shop. You can also get them at Staples and other office supply places. I would have paid much more for mine if I needed to. You can use it to stamp report cards at the beginning of the year, notes home, classroom books and supplies, etc... I stayed late at work last night stamping my name in a class set of novels which is why I realized I needed to post this.
My stamp says "Mrs. Doe".....but you can have it say "Jane Doe". Personally, I do not like having my first name all over things that my kids see all the time. It seems to encourage them...
I've mentioned this in posts before, but I really like the Mailbox Superbook. You get it for the grade you're teaching. It's about $30., but I've used it year after year (and even use it for grades I'm not teaching - it has great ideas!). That's my favorite resource.
For organization, I have a table with trays on it. One tray is for each subject. I copy anything I need for the week (on the Friday before) and put them in order (last day on the bottom) in the trays. I also have a tray for "office", so anything that needs to be copied or laminated goes in that tray. Also, if I need to make a phonecall (or any other note to myself) I jot it down and throw it in that tray. That way there is no thinking involved on my planning time - I grab what's in the tray and get it all done. A last tray is for "home" items. That's the tons of flyers and other papers that need to go home with students. I can glance in there at the end of each day and pass them out. They don't get stuck under papers and forgotten.
Another "must have" is my mailbox. It's the big wooden one with a slot for each student. Mine has 24, so if I have more students than that, I put trays on top. I put graded papers in there (by their number) and it's so easy to sort them and then put them in each child's graded paper folder on Fridays.
Expos, Visa-vis, tape, chartlet paper, sentence strips, index cards, posterboard, pencils for the kiddos, spiral notebooks for the kiddos, folders for the kiddos, classroom set of colored pencils and markers, pencil-top erasers for the kiddos, large-size white construction paper, map of the world and U.S.A... I keep my order list every year, so I could send you a more complete list of specific supplies if you want.
Also, gallon-sized bags, quart and snack size bags, (to keep classroom manipulatives in), and tons of baby wipes! They are crazy handy!
I work at a high-poverty school, so most of my kiddos don't come with the usual school supplies, like pencils, notebooks, folders, and erasers. Every year I buy lots and lots in early August when the school suppliues go on sale. This year, I bought two notebooks and folders for each student, but have run out by now.
Always, always order more than you think you will need. You will always, always use more than you expect...I am still learning this after three years.
One thing I have done the past couple of years for 5th, with regards to homework, is have 4 wire baskets on the shelf, which contain a "cover page", and three assignments (Grammar, Reading, Spelling). The cover page is a weekly agenda allowing the parents to see what each student has to do each night, but I can also send home a note to parents reminding them of the weekly events. Each Monday, the kids will come in and staple the cover page to the other three assignments... this is the homework for Monday evening. On Tuesday, they come in, add three new assignments (Grammar, Reading, Spelling), and we immediately grade Monday's work. (I record their grades daily by them telling me in class).
By doing this, the students are forced to follow an organizational format, parents are seeing the work due and weekly notes, and it keeps papers from getting lost!