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Back to School Preparations

July 6, 2014

July 4th has come and gone.
Stores are now setting up for Back to School.
Teachers are getting the jitters thinking about what they need to set up the classroom.
Before you rush into an educational store or order from catalogs, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I need in order to design a student-centered classroom?
  • What will help me create a safe and comfortable learning environment?
  • How can I make the students feel ownership and pride in their classroom?
  • What will help me organize materials for the students and for myself?
  • What manipulatives and resources are already provided by the school?

For years, I would walk into an educational store and purchase items that really had nothing to do with promoting a student centered classroom.
Cute posters, center activities, teaching charts, and workbooks are eye candy and sometimes distractions.
Workbooks are outdated and are not aligned with how today’s students learn.
They also are not guaranteed to be aligned to the needs of the students in  your class, the state standards, or the standards that your school’s data shows you must be targeting for instruction.
I look for ideas that can be adapted to more updated techniques, but I do not purchase any workbooks.
Anchor charts made by students and teachers are more effective teaching tools than ready-made posters.
They can be made on chart tablets that are usually provided by the school or purchased with grade level funds.
Anchor charts can also be created with technology and projected on the screen/Smartboard as needed.

These are the only items that I would consider placing on a purchase list:

  • Seasonal Stickers
  • Book marks
  • Borders ( Keep it simple and purchase one style for all of the classroom bulletin boards. For hallway bulletin boards, I purchase seasonal and solid border. )
  • Word Wall chart holders ( I prefer the felt background type for the reading word wall. For math, science, and social studies word walls, I create interactive walls with the students. We use an iPad and QR codes to create these. There will be more information about this in another post.)

Walk around a school and you will probably see many classrooms that reflect the teacher’s personality and taste instead of the students’ work and evidence of learning.
Student learning is enhanced when the room is centered on the students and not the teacher.


Students are given a school supply list, but I purchase a class set of supplies during the Back to School sales.
I never use the student’s personal supply as a class community supply. I believe they need to have their own.
I use what I purchase as the classroom supply.
Many parents often offer to purchase what is needed throughout the year.
For organizational purposes, I usually purchase the plastic folders for the following subjects:
Leadership/Communication folder – Red
Poetry Folder-Purple
Composition folders (Students at our school come with 2. I purchase 2 more for each student. They are used as notebooks for writing, reflection, math, and science.)



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