Thursday, August 7, 2008

And So it Begins...

So, if you aren't a teacher, or my mom, you probably won't be very excited about this post. But for me, one of the biggest and best times of the year is the back-to-school sales. I remember getting excited about school shopping as a kid, and it is ten times as wonderful as a teacher. I just love to go get all my new things, and imagine all the possibilities for my classroom. It's that fresh start, every year. I always end the big shopping day thinking, "this year is going to be my best yet." So, last week I got to do my annual shopping spree, and I thought I would share my treasures with those of you who might actually be interested. (Mom- that means you keep reading, this is not optional!)

The first thing everyone will see when they walk down the hallway to my classroom is my "Welcome" bulletin board, so I will start there. My original plan was to put "Fifth Graders Rock" and then have all my students' names written on rocks. Would you believe it- nobody sells rock bulletin board cut-outs! (Unless they are for a science bulletin board, but then they're labeled and wouldn't work at all). So, then I ran across these adorable penguins, and the cute ice border, and I HAD to have it. So, my new plan is to put "Fifth Graders are CHILL: Creative, Hard-working, Intelligent, Life-long Learners!" Then I'll write all their names on the penguins and igloos. I know- fifth graders are so not into "cute" anymore. But I am, so they will learn to deal!

Every year so far I have tried to go with a theme and then match everything- name tags, bulletin boards, labels, etc. - to that theme. This year there were so many designs that caught my eye, I just picked out all the borders I liked, and I figured I could make them all work. So here are my awesome discoveries! Hopefully you can click on the picture and enlarge it for detail- sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't.

And, as you know, the borders aren't even the half of it. It's what you put on the bulletin boards that count. (Duh!) Seeing as I am the Social Studies teacher for the entire fifth grade, and seeing as how it is an election year, I figured the Presidential Election Process bulletin board was essential. In our district, fifth grade curriculum starts with the Civil War, so I went ahead and grabbed a brand new shiny bulletin board set for that. And what fifth grade classroom would be complete without our wonderful presidents strung up along the wall for all to see?

And of course you can't call it good without posters, posters, and more posters! Birthday charts, Literature Genres, Descriptive words, and blank ones for Goodness-knows-what! You gotta have them all! (Especially when they're all on sale!!) The real trick will be to find places to hang them all.

I don't know if I will even use name tags this year- I am going to "experiment" with letting them be "grown up" and choose their seating, like in middle school. But seriously, I think I would have felt terribly disappointed and just not right if I didn't buy labels and tags on this shopping trip. It's like a teaching staple- like milk on a grocery shopping trip. You just always get it, right?

And last, but not least, all these wonderful supplies. If you're wondering, those pink and blue things are shower caddies that I found in the dorm room department. Weird, huh?

Not when you see how cool they look with all this stuff in them! These are going to be my supply trays- one for each table group. Gone are the days of digging in desks and sitting idle because you can't find the supply you need! In reality, where I work, many kids don't have the supplies they need, so I would never dream of starting the school year without a well-stocked classroom. And don't they just look so cool and fifth grade-ish this way?

So there you have it- my annual back-to-school shopping spree. For real, the main reason I did this post is because every year so far, the first thing I have done after this trip is run over to my mom's house with all my bags and show her all of my treasures. And this year I couldn't do that. So this is my way of showing off. And hopefully there are some others who can at least see a little entertainment value in it!


Barb said...

I love your heart, my Mandy. I think the best thing you said here, and maybe people won't notice it, is that so many of your students come to school without the basic supplies they need.

I don't think people realize that teachers like you buy those supplies and that none of your students ever endure a first day of school being humiliated because their parents couldn't buy their basic school supplies.

I love the things you chose and I hate it that I'm not there to help you put your classroom together this year.

Next year will be different.


Our Home Schooler and Jen said...

its not just school teachers I love the back-to-school sales and Im a home schooling mum
would love to see it all in your room

Lynne said...

You must be such a great teacher! Your love for teaching and the kids shows through. Wouldn't it be wonderful for this country's children if all teachers had your enthusiasm?

Have a great year!

Maxi said...

Love your ideas and kind heart. I'm sure the kids will have an exceptional year. On your "Fifth Graders Rock" theme, since kids are into High School Musical & Hannah Montana, etc. you could use Stars/Music Notes to write names on. Just a suggestion.

Karen said...

I love the "chill" theme. Your students are so fortunate to have a teacher with your enthusiasm! I love the idea of all the presidents pictures lined up on the wall. It makes me want to go back to 5th grade. I'm sure this will be your best year ever!

Tracey said...

WOW!!! YOU DID GREAT! PROUD TEACHER ON THIS END! I LOVE BUYING NEW STUFF FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR! YOU DID GREAT! My welcome board with names is on the door to the room and it says. "BEARY GLAD TO MEET YOU! And their names are on teddy bears and on the first day I take their pictures and but them in the belly of each bear.

Judith said...

Mandy, I will try to not make a book of this, but if I did, I think you'd understand.

Two things, no, More: My grand Ma got me ready to go catch the school bus, complete with syrup bucket lunch, and long green stockings. I waited at the bus stop til grand Ma headed home, then doubled back, and walked through our little town, right up to Morgan & Lindsys, a five and dime two Irish men started. I did all that so I could look through the store room window at the fat boxes of crayons, and the Big Chief tablets, and neatly sharpened cedar pencils.

That was the beginning of learning for me. The only thing else I needed was what you give your students; your unbridled enthusiasm, and your super size caring.

Two more things and I'll end this litany: Do you still need BOX TOPS coupons, and please send your newest address. I am tremendously proud of you.

Gretchen said...

Oh, I f.e.e.l you on the school shopping, Mandy. My son is not looking forward to getting supplies because he knows that means school is all the sooner to start (7th grade), but my dtr, who is an incoming 5th grader is sooo ready to go. And the bonus for her is that her (new) school doesn't have uniforms. She's beyond excited about that.

So sweet of you to have your classroom prepared for your learners of all socio-economic statuses. I know it's a bite out of your budget, and I'm so glad those kids have you.

Kate said... buy your students' supplies?? WE have to purchase everything, and the really annoying part is that after picking all of that out and spending all that money, it often gets POOLED into community property, so while you may have bought the Crayola, another may have bought the generic, and your child ends up with the generic. And it's just not FUN for the child to pick out supplies that they will not 'own' or know for sure they can use. I like your method much better. Do you have to use your own money for it?? Or does the school supply the money, or do the parents pay a supply fee??

Michelle said...

I love, love, love new school supplies! I just think there is something incredibly exciting about brand new pencils and super sharp crayons that have never been used before! Of course, my 6th and 7th grader don't quite share my enthusiasm!

If my kids had a few more teachers like you I think I may have kept them in their public school this year instead of deciding to home school them.