What is the Best Classroom Purchase You Have Made?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by CFClassroom, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I know we all do a lot of shopping for our classrooms and I'm just wondering what you think has been the best purchase you have made?

    I was thinking about this on my morning walk yesterday and decided that for me it was my bell. I wrote all about it here. I love that thing.

    [​IMG]

    So what was yours? A book? A tool? A manipulative? What am I missing in my classroom that will rock my world?
     
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  3. S Dubb

    S Dubb Comrade

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    A spray bottle from the dollar store.

    We don't have air conditioning in our school, and my classroom gets incredibly warm during the beginning and end of the year. If I notice that the temperature is affecting the kiddos' attention, I'll just stop what I'm doing and walk around the room with the spray bottle to give them about 4-5 sprays in the face. They know to make an X in front of their face with their arms if they don't want it (thus cutting down on time lost by me having to ask each kid if they want a spray). I'll also give them sprays upon returning from gym class if I notice that they're really out of breath and/or sweaty.

    They absolutely love it (and I'll admit...it's fun to do it, too)! It takes no more than 30 seconds to do and it cools them off without making a mess. After I make the rounds, we just jump back into what we were doing.

    Oh, and this. Two years running and no problems yet (even with letting the kids use it). A hard price to swallow at first, but it's been worth every penny.
     
  4. JTeach619

    JTeach619 Companion

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    A classroom set of whiteboards!!! My kids will do just about anything I tell them when they get to use these babies! lol I use them for "Show Me", "Brainiac Basketball", spelling practice, partner work, guided reading groups, the possibilities are endless! I love, love, love, them!
     
  5. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    I just spent 40 minutes on your website! I LOVE IT! I too, "heart organization". I will definitely be checking your site each week!:) Thanks for sharing!
     
  6. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    An electric pencil sharpner.
     
  7. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    I have that same bell! I got it at Pier 1 almost a full year before I actually started teaching because I loved it so much. My students loved it, too, even the boys!

    My favorite thing last year was my set of multiplication facts monsters. They were just so cute, and we used them for lessons on symmetry and congruence, too. Whenever we played around the world, it gave me something to look at and help me decide which facts to choose. If left to my own devices, I'll accidentally ask 7x8 three times in the same game.
    [​IMG]

    I just had the monsters, without all those extra pieces. I'm a little sad that they're going to be retired this year (my 4th graders needed them...I hope my 6th graders won't.), but maybe they'll come in handy at some point in the future.
     
  8. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    My classroom library and the baskets it's organized in. When a pipe broke in my ceiling last winter break and damaged over half of my library, I was devastated. Luckily, the school district replaced every single book!
     
  9. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Don't retire them too soon. I work with lots of seventh graders who don't know their multiplication facts. Our elementary curriculum focuses on problem solving rather than learning facts. I'm teaching my daughters their math facts here at home.
     
  10. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Hmmmm... I have a few :). I teach self-contained and do have a classroom budget to buy materials/supplies from.

    Here are some of my best purchases for this year:
    - The STAR Program (STAR stands for Strategies for Teaching Based on Autism Research): this curriculum and the information related to teacing approaches is potentially going to change three of my students entire day. I'm excited to implement this curriculum and strategies.
    - A book called "Teaching Conversation Skills to Children with Autism: Scripts and Scprit Fading". This one has allowed me to make some major changes to some of my communication tasks and I think its going to be helpful to almost all of my students.
    - A set of 50 "voice overs" - they are little devises that you can record messages on and then push a button to play the message. You can re-record on them when needed. They can easily be adaptd to be able to put a picture of an item on top and then the student would just pick up the picture, push the botton and it will talk for him/her (for those who are non-verbal). I'm excited about all the ways to use these in my room!
    - P.O.D.D. materials. P.O.D.D. stands for Pragmatic Organzation Dynamic Display and its a way to organize visual communication books that I'm really excited about. I'm planning to set these books up for 4 of my students right off the top of the year and then perhaps more as the year goes on :).

    As for classroom decorations and what not, I have to keep things relatively neat and organized as my students do not do well with the over stimulation of too much on the walls. I'm planning to buy velcro strips and lots of material so that I can cover my shelves from view in a way that still allows the staff in the room to easily get to materials. I'm also thinking to use material rather than paper for the backs of my bulliten boards. My bulliten boards are simple - one is a staff information board (as I have 9 learning assitants in my room) and the other is a prayer board (students bring in intentions and we post them visually on our prayer board... I teach in a Catholic school) and then I have two large ones in the hallway where we celebrate student's accomplishments and work throughout the year.
     
  11. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Agreed, but I didn't purchase mine. I was lucky enough to inherit them my second year! :D
     
  12. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    I bought chair pockets from someone on ebay. I love those things. I began teaching Kindergarten, and they had nowhere to put their supplies, so I was stuck using bins. I hated it. I got disorganized by it. So the next year for 1st grade, I bought these chair pockets. They go over the backs of the chairs and have 2 pockets for small objects, and one large pocket for books and folders. It was a really good deal. We get teacher's choice money from the city, so I didn't end up spending my own money for it.
     
  13. 100%Canadian

    100%Canadian Companion

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    In terms of the kids, it has to be the bean bag chairs at the reading carpet; they're always in high demand.

    Personally, my fridge - use it every day! :)
     
  14. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Great ideas! I do have enough white boards for small group work, but I do think I'll buy a class set now. I love the spray bottle idea. Keep 'em coming.
     
  15. tb71

    tb71 Cohort

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    I love the bell. I bought a bell last year and thought it would help me get their attention when they got too loud. I'm definitely going to use your idea and make it a "reward" bell instead. Of course, I'll be adding some bling before school starts.:whistle:
     
  16. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    The best classroom purchase I have made is a classroom set of calculators that I actually made yesterday. It was a costly investment for me but I am tired of some students programming everything into their calculator for a test. The best purchases my school has made for me are my tablet laptop and document camera.
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    It was a big investment, but I haven't regretted buying my own projector last year. We only have 3 in the school, so you can't always get one when you want. Although I don't use mine everyday, I keep it set up on a cart in my office and know that I can grab it and get it up and running in a minute (I teach English in the classroom next to my office).
     
  18. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I almost bought a green version yesterday! I knew I should have picked it up.

    Let's see... The best purchase I've made... This is a hard one since I've got several. I would have to say the best thing I've received from Highlights was the Time Tracker. I love the visual cue of the timer. The kids have really responded to it. I got my first one 5 years ago, and really saw a good reaction from my students. One of my students accidently broke it last year, and I was able to order another one with my Highlights points. Best free purchase!
     
  19. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Me too but this year, the use was limited. The class I had would waste too much time in fussing over them so I put a break on it. They would use it during rotation in small groups, when I had a small group in the class at lunch time & after school tutoring.

    There's also so many things I'm sure but right now just one other one comes to mine & it's this chime. Couldn't upload the pic but it's the one with the little rod or whatever it's called.

    Where did you find that bling, bling bell?! LOVE IT!

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...rls=en&biw=800&bih=600&tbs=isch:1&um=1&itbs=1
     
  20. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Pier 1 has them, and right now they are on the clearance table at our store.
     
  21. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    I'm on my way! :D
     
  22. texteacher

    texteacher Companion

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    The best purchase I bought was a rotating book rack. It let me store all my chapter books in a small space and the kids could easily get the books and organize them themselves. They loved it.
     
  23. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    Hmm.. I think the rugs for my reading/meeting areas or my shorter director's chair. They are both fabulous investments!
     
  24. SunnyReader

    SunnyReader Companion

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    are we getting this money again this year? I heard it was gone.
     
  25. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    The two items I've had in all my rooms: a red basket that was given to me and about two yards of sheer black silky fabric with silver stars. Everything that is turned in to me- notes, forms, homework, ect.- goes in that red basket. I can ea
    sily say 'stick it in the red basket' and there is no excuse for it being lost. I can also grab it on my home if I want to grade there. The fabric goes over my door. I use to have one for each season, but I've downsized...
     
  26. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    This was something inherited... But I have 30 muti-colored and very sturdy "portfolios." They stand upright and I line them up against the shelf on the wall and they're used as the mailboxes for each child. In the past I have admired how teachers use the "mailbox kits" from really good stuff or Staples, but they are SO pricey. I also dislike how high they are as they often would cover a window in my class (I love lots of light). Also, when I have viewed the mailbox sets from really good stuff, they often do not have enough mail slots for my class -- I have had up to 32 students in years past! :)

    I also adore this tiny "pocket" from Hallmark. It's a pocket shaped tin.. which used to hold greeting cards. I use it daily as a "pocket person" incentive. I select one name from my whole class at the very start of each day and their name goes into the pocket. If they stay on green (behavior color) the WHOLE day, they get a very small prize (pencil, sticker, seasonal/holiday item, etc). My second graders LOVED this last year and would ALWAYS remind me toward the end of the day "Mrs W! Don't forget pocket person!!" :)
     
  27. sundrop

    sundrop Cohort

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    I love gadgets and gizmos. I saw this wireless mouse/keyboard at a conference and just had to have it!
     
  28. roseteacher12

    roseteacher12 Habitué

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    where did you buy from??? I know I wont have a projector and would love to have one, as well as a document camera but I wouldnt know where to begin for the projector
     
  29. teachgrade5

    teachgrade5 Comrade

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    I just purchased a tic-tac-toe pocket chart made by Carson-Dellosa. I am going to use it as a choice board for spelling assignments or any other subject that I want to give choices to the students. The thing that my students loved was Homeworkopoly. I made it myself two years ago. I now have one that I made to use on the Promethean Board. The best thing the district bought for my classroom was the Promethean Board and the ActiView (document camera).
     
  30. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I bought from Costco--ordered on a Monday and it was delivered to school before the end of the week. No bells-and-whistles, but it's quick and easy to set up and serves my purpose.
     
  31. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    How often do you count up their tallies? What is the reward? I do table tallies, but I like the idea of individual tallies. That way the kids can't get angry with others at their table, and they aren't all punished for one noisy, off-task kid.

    I think my best purchase was The Daily 5. I know I'm always "yapping" about it on here, but I LOVE it! I remember thinking to myself last year (when I first started it), "This is the best thing I have ever done in my classroom."

    I also can't imagine life without my Smartboard! :D
     
  32. roseteacher12

    roseteacher12 Habitué

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    never would have though of looking there! thanks =)
     
  33. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    My laptop!!! (oh, and laser printer, too!)
     
  34. Alegre

    Alegre Rookie

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    Best purchase for classroom

    My best purchase has been my paper cutter! I can't imagine not having it for the many times I need to cut large amounts of paper or when I've unexpectedly come up with a need for cut papers. I've had mine for so long that it's a full-sized paper cutter that I just don't see available in regular office supply stores anymore. These days I see 'half-sizes' or plastic boards, but none of them are the quality of the one I got way 'back in the day':p

    I've even purchased them for close teacher friends who've borrowed mine over and over again, so they'd have their own. As a matter of fact, they were teasing me saying they've learned that if there's anything they want, just borrow it from me a few times and I'll go out and buy it for them!:lol: At least I know they'll make good use of a gift I give to them!
     
  35. jday129

    jday129 Comrade

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    This was provided by my school, but I love my Fountas and Pinnell calculator for running records. It easily calculates accuracy and self correction rates as well as words per min.
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mathtype (though I have it at home, not at school.)

    It makes it so incredibly easy to type a test or quiz!!!!

    They do have a 30 day free trial if anyone is interested. And teachers qualify for the cheaper "academic" price.
     
  37. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Oh yes. It saves a lot of time! Each of our regular classroom teachers ended up with 3. The school purchased one for everyone 3 years ago, then we purchased the Fountas & Pinnell LLI kits last year with stimulus money. Two more came with each classroom kit.
     
  38. Braydon's Mom

    Braydon's Mom Rookie

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    Where did you get that cute bell??? I have to have one!!
     
  39. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    A class set of clipboards.

    I bought them last summer for $0.50 each at Wal-mart. I bought 25 so there are 5 colours, 5 of each colour. It has been an absolute life saver! They are plastic, so a couple chipped this year, but they are still fully functional. The kids can now "work on the go" and I keep my assessment papers on multiple clip boards.
     
  40. Scout About

    Scout About Rookie

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    I saw the bells at Pier One. If you go to their website, they have them with pink sparkles or with green sparkles.
     
  41. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I'm currently looking for cheap clipboards!
     

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