First year teacher: What do I purchase? - ProTeacher Community


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First year teacher: What do I purchase?
Old 07-21-2007, 12:58 PM
 
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I am a first year teacher who will be teaching 4th grade. I want to start purchasing supplies for my room...what do I purchase? Games? Storage? What are the things a fourth grade teacher must have?


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Old 07-21-2007, 01:29 PM
 
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Typically the school will provide you with the very basics like pencils, coloring materials, etc. They will probably have chart paper and borders (plain colors) for you to use as well. It is hard to say what you should spend money on. It depends how you are planning to structure your classroom.

I would say some organizational materials are important for yourself and your kids. I bought cubbies (there are many options) to use for graded papers and "mail" that needs to go home. A calendar, maybe some fun themed borders. If you want to spice up your bulletin boards and have something that lasts get fabric at WalMart. You can reuse it year to year.

I spent a lot of my own money the first few years. I am buying less now that I have a collection of stuff. Just really think about what you need to keep your classroom organized, inviting and structured... then decide what you need that isn't provided. You don't need to try and buy everything before school starts. You will be buying all year as needs come up. Don't forget that many parents are more than willing to get some things for you. Take them up on their offers. Good Luck!
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I try to make stuff
Old 07-21-2007, 02:36 PM
 
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Congratulations on your position. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the fourth grade!

I have really tried to stop buying things - especially posters. Instead of buying them, I go to my local teacher supply store and take my digital camera. I snap pictures of any posters I like or I cut them out of catalogs. I then use the die cut machine at school to make the words and I print out pictures from the computer to make the same poster. Since I use the school's construction paper to cut out the letters and the school's ink to print the pictures, they only cost me my time.

As for major purchases - I have bought literature sorters to act as mailboxes for the students to pass out papers that need to go home. But you can do the same thing if you have the students bring in an empty cereal box. Just cut off the top and hot glue them together and when you turn them on their sides and they work just them same. You can cover the side with construction paper so that they look a little neater (but I actually think they look neat without covering them)

There are also a lot of games you can have your kids do on the internet (if you want some of the sites let me know) so that you don't have to go out and buy them. I use these as centers.

The most I have spent my money on is books for the classroom and even then I use the used book store and garage sales.

Good Luck!
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Old 07-21-2007, 04:08 PM
 
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If your school has a back to school night, consider this:

If you don't have a lot of money to spend you might consider a "giving tree" or wish list basket. Put one item on a slip of paper. You might put an explanation of what it is next to it, so parents will look at it and take a slip of paper. You might also put on the back of the paper an incentive for the child if the parent sends in the item-like a homework pass or something.
Some things you might consider are classroom games, appropriate classroom magazines-used for cutting letters or pictures, post-it notes, hand sanitizer, wipes, index cards-anything you can think of that your school doesn't supply and is not on the supply list. I was thinking of asking for a donation of a fish tank not being used by a family! I don''t want to spend the $10 for one!
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Old 07-21-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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I'd shop garage sales for some "rainy day" choice cupboard stuff...my kids love Legos, games like Mankala, Jenga, Stratego....I like to start the year with some jigsaw puzzles too...they are good for kids and some have NEVER done them.

Think about using book orders to build your collection. the September ones usually offer 10x bonus points--so if you spend 100 dollars of your money on books, you will get 1,000 bonus points to spend throughout the year on books as they come up each month. I did that my first few years and it really built up my collection. As you get books, you will want storage containers to sort them--plastic tubs of diff. types are available at dollar stores or stores like Target.

Think about how you will be teaching math and make sure you have the resources to help you do that successfully.

i agree with fabric for bulletin boards...the other stuff you can gradually add in the next years (posters, etc.).

I would consider HOW you plan on teaching (ex. will you do readers' workshop?) and look at the supply list your kids get...last year I wanted my kids to have composition books for writers workshop and that wasn't on the supply list so I bought them. This year I put them on the supply list!

Have fun!




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Old 07-21-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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This will be my second year in 4th grade. I taught second for a couple of years before that.

Calendar - I started with a cute one but quickly realized they didn't need it so now I use a white one that was $1.99 at the teacher store and laminated it. I use dry erase markers to write on the dates and anything we have coming up like tests, holidays, events, ect. I bought my own borders to match the holidays and change the background paper. This works great.

Book bins - I have been using odds and ends from stores but I ordered ones from Really Good Stuff for this year. Chapter books fit pretty good in plastic shoe boxes though. The most important thing is to have your books sorted in some way even if you don't have a lot. I have gotten tons of books at yard sales this summer 10-50 cents a piece.

Posters - I bought too many last year. I am going to hang up one fun one and save the space to create charts with the kids this year.

Folders - I buy a paper folder in the same color for everyone to use as a homework/take home folder so it is ready to go and easier to teach the routine in the beginning. After that falls apart they use one of their own.

Desk name tags

My school doesn't provide pencils so I get a lot of them and erasers at the sales.

Before you buy too much find out what your school provides for you so you don't waste your money.
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Congrats to you!
Old 07-22-2007, 09:19 AM
 
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How exciting to get your first teaching job! Everyone who's posted so far has hit the nail on the head...you have visions of how you want your room to look, especially this being your first year, but you can easily find yourself broke if you don't prioritize! Check to see if your school provides any type of "supply money" for new teachers. This is something I've been hearing about recently from some people, and you never know unless you ask. Also, befriend the school secretary, who typically is in charge of school supplies. She should let you know what they already have so you don't go out and buy them on your own first. We used to call it "hunting and gathering"...building up our classrooms. Joining a Book Club such as Scholastic and doing an order with x-tra bonus points will denfinately bulk up your library. Try to level them as you get them. If you need bookshelves, check with the high school and see if they've got a Shop class that someone could make some for you. That's how I scored 4 of them when I first started. They're still with me and I'm 16 years along! Also, when the holiday time approaches, you may want to send a note home that you would appreciate gifts for the classroom such as yadda yadda, instead of something for you personally...written of course with a lot more tact! Good luck and enjoy. I remember so many times my first year being in the middle of a lesson and just thinking to myself "I've made it. I'm really teaching now!" and just beaming! Enjoy!
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