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I have three suggestions to offer. One...before you start shopping/buying
things for your classroom, take an afternoon and go over to your district
warehouse where they keep old desks, chairs, file cabinets, tables, etc.
that nobody wants this year. I happen to stumble alone upon this mecca
quite by accident four years ago and I always "shop" a month before school
starts. I've found almost new tables, cabinets, even a piano no one seemed
to want that year but worked perfectly. I've also gotten an old 5'
paperback book rack that makes a fabulous yarn rack that spins and a large
5' library magazine rack that displays diff. artbooks for kids to thumb
through when they finish early and which has become popular. I've also
found a large architect drawing table which has been my desk for 4
years...sits up real high so I can see ALL the kids at one time. You can
find old junk and almost new if you're willing to investigate and climb
over furniture to discover hidden surprises at your district warehouse. Not
many teachers know about this goldmine!
Another suggestion. Next to my room is the woodshop classroom. The teacher
taught me how to use the drill press and there were old wood pieces he
wasn't using so I made a block of wood with 36 holes just for my pencils, a
block for 36 pens, a block for 16 handheld pencil sharpeners and I have a
sm. plastic basket which holes 36 erasers. All have to be filled before
anyone can leave the room. I can see at a glance if anything is missing
just by viewing any leftover holes. I can even tell the kids how many are
missing easily. Been doing this for 12 years since I figured out this
system. I don't find my supplies all over campus like I used to.
Stools vs. chairs....When I arrived on the scene, there used to be
stools...both wooden and metal. On a cement floor, both drove us bonkers.
The noise was horrendous. We found pads and that helped for awhile but the
kids' backs were really getting sore. I like to have faculty meetings in my
room twice a year for the other teachers to see our room, view our work.
They didn't like to sit on the stools either and it was a chore to get them
Five years ago, I made the decision to get stackable chairs...all
black...so they didn't compete with the room's decor nor show dirt or
marks. What a difference! No complaining about back problems, they are
comfortable, and they stack even BETTER than the stools used to. Five years
now and I've not had to replace a one like I used to do with stools. I've
had no problem getting the faculty to spend an hour sitting for a meeting
either. I found chairs with slight pads on the feet so that's cut down on
noise too. For us, the chairs made a world of difference. I can understand
why some others prefer the stools but for us the chairs were a godsend.
Bunki Kramer - Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Rd., Danville, California 94526