Wednesday, February 20, 2013

4-Step guide to purchasing books and materials for your classroom

It’s that time of year again.  The budget is due; grades are due; miscellaneous reports are due.  You are overwhelmed and underappreciated.  You see a mountain of need but a molehill of funds. When it comes to purchasing books and materials for next year’s classes with an ever-shrinking budget, here is a 4-Step guide to help you make intelligent  decisions for a minimum of money to get the most from your district’s allocation.

Step 1 – List the topics you cover in your curriculum on a spreadsheet.  This may seem unnecessary, but it will give you a graphic representation of your entire year. 

Step 2 – When you inventory your supplies, put them into columns associated with your curriculum so you can easily see what you need.

Step 3 – Prioritize your needs.  If you see that you need more books, supplies, and teaching aids to present your unit on the growth cycle, then you would rank that higher than a topic where you had plenty of supplies.

Step 4 – Look for ways to consolidate your needs. See if you can overlap books that cover several topics.  Or maybe a video can be the review for one unit and the introduction for another unit. 

Yes, this process takes even more time from your busy day.  But at the end of the process, you will have a very good idea of what you have, what you need, and how you can most efficiently fill the gaps in the books and resources for your curriculum. Plus, you can use this chart year after year, deleting lost or broken items and adding new resources.

Let’s look at the 4-Step guide in action.  This might be a sample portion of a first grade teacher’s chart:

Curriculum topic
Teaching aids
Other resources
  1. Weather
  1. Tornados
  1. Video on hurricanes
  2. Prism
  1. Cloud paper
  1. Presidents
  1. Kennedy
  2. White House dogs
  1. Computer program
  2. Pictures of presidents
  1. Pattern for Lincoln hat
  2. Washington costume
  1. Cooperation
  1. Three partners
  1. Cooperation poster
  1. Discussion table

From this chart, the teacher sees that she needs more books on weather and cooperation.  She has prioritized them as number one and two.  She investigates individual book titles.  Then she finds the EnteleTrons .  They teach about rainbows and cooperation in the same resource, Where’s Green?.  At the Entelechy Education, LLC website, the teacher finds the FREE EnteleKey Learning Guides that use free and inexpensive materials. 

Use this 4-Step Guide to efficiently use your district's budget and get more resources than if you had purchased individual resources.

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