Today was “meet and greet” for my kids before school starts Monday and I really enjoyed meeting their teachers. My boys walked up with a smile on their faces and shook hands with their new teacher, the one they’ll spend nearly everyday with for almost an entire year. I noticed every teacher had their own unique presentation of asking for additional supplies they need that go beyond the rather detailed supply list each student is instructed to purchase. One of my son’s teachers had a cute flower pot with each flower as a different need in the classroom – science kits, an electric pencil sharpener, gift cards to amazon, target and other items to help make their classroom even better.
I deeply appreciate a creative, well organized teacher that can lead 20+ kids to a love of learning. It’s a hard job. They need stuff in the classroom to make learning fun, interesting and help tell stories. As a parent, I want to help provide it. They spend a lot of time with my kid and make a life long impression, so any contribution I’m able to extend, I do.
Here are a three back to school lists to remember. Teachers and homeroom parents are staying organized using ThingToBring to know who is contributing what to an ongoing supply list, party or fundraiser.
1. The Year Round List – Date the event for the last day of school and keep an ongoing list of items needed in the classroom – tissues, glue, sanitized wipes, etc. Everyone on the list will be notified when a new item is added and someone signs up for something. Parental camaraderie helps keep the classroom stocked all year long without the teacher having to personally ask for it.
2. Classroom Parties – Create a sign-up sheet for the Halloween, Holiday and Valentine’s parties. Add the arts and crafts, games and snacks you need. Your previously invited parents will be saved from your Year Round List so it’ll be fast and easy to create new lists.
3. Fundraisers & Donations – Our school does annual can drives, auctions, shoe drives and more. At times, classrooms put together baskets, or a collection of items that specifically represent the class. It’s nice that the list is open for all invited to see. This helps parents support each other and reach out if it appears one needs help gathering items or financially needs help with their own child’s supplies.
The needs haven’t changed and the lists are long. Teachers don’t have a supplied budget for classroom enhancement and back to school lists. They lean on parents for support. In fact, majority of teachers purchase student supplies with their own money as reported by The Journal from a recent study. According to the report, teachers expect to spend a total of about $500 on school supplies by the end of this school year, 47% of which will come from their own pockets. I’ve watched every teacher I know stretch an inch into a mile with creativity. They’re experts on conserving resources based on the experience of not having much.
It’s hard to ask for stuff. Let technology help ask for the items needed with a list in ThingToBring so your kids can gather, create, give and learn more often. Getting the kids involved by participating in the list assignments gives them responsibility and they actually might get a kick out of using the iOS or Android app to add items they’d like in the classroom (of course with teacher approval) . . . the ipads and xbox may have to wait for larger contribution back to school lists.