There isn’t a specific list anywhere to help you know exactly what you’ll need for supplies for virtual school. It was probably one of the more daunting tasks for me this past year. We seemed to always be running out of something! What I thought were brilliant ideas last year will not be making their way back into our classroom this year. For example, oh how cute the little red buckets on each desk for their pencils were. WRONG! They never seemed to have pencils. The buckets got knocked off onto the floor, and it just became more of a pain then it was worth. So we will adapt something more traditional for this school year. One very easily overlooked aspect of virtual school is that you are not only getting supplies for the students but also things to help you as learning coach as well.
First things first, it’s never too early to get your students organized. What they learn in the classroom will carry on to their adult life as well. For older students a calendar or assignment notebook might be helpful for them, or if they have an iPhone or iPod they could use apps for this as well. The schedule for 7th grade to 12th grade is much different than the k-6th students. With a different teacher for each subject and assignments that for high school (or middle school students that are taking high school classes) must be turned into the teachers by a certain date, staying on task and meeting deadlines is very important. A folder and notebook for each subject allows them to keep their papers sorted and notes together per subject. It’s a great way to teach them to take notes from an early age. They can take notes while doing the online portions, in class connects or while you are teaching them a lesson. You could also purchase a three ring binder with tabs that also have folders on the tab. This would give them somewhere to keep everything one location, but still separated. I would still recommend a separate notebook for each subject even when using a binder.
We weren’t sure how much we’d be writing, but we found we had lots of worksheets in our workbooks to do. You will need pencils, pens (blue or black and red), highlighters, dry erase markers, colored pencils, crayons, markers, and chalk (either for your chalk board or the sidewalk makes a great place for learning too). It’s best to over purchase on these supplies. They are much less expensive just before school begins then they are later in the year when you are running low. You can either have a community location for these items or choose a more traditional option and have a pencil box for each of the student. I would figure the following quantities listed below in the chart.
|Colored Pencils||1 (for 3rd -6th graders)||1 pack|
|Markers||1 pack (for 3rd-6th graders)||1 pack|
|Pens||2 red, 2 blue or black (3rd-6th grade)||2 red, 12 blue or black|
|Dry erase markers||6||2|
|Highlighters||1 or 2 (2nd through 6th grade)||2 to 4|
Although most of the worksheets are in the workbooks, there are times you will want to print off extra resources online, emails from teachers, ect. If you can find a good deal on a case of paper this is the way to go. It’s always better to have it on hand, then realize that you are out and need it. It is also a great idea to have an extra set of ink cartridges on hand as well.
Now that the kids have their supplies, it’s time to talk about what the learning coaches may find helpful. For myself, I have six kids that can be a lot to keep track of. I choose to use a binder to help me keep track of things. Inside the binder I had plastic folder tabs that had a folder on either side of the tab for each one of the kids. One side was for papers to be graded. If the kids were working on something on their own and I was with someone else, they would put their worksheets or papers in this folder for me to grade. On the other side I kept anything miscellaneous for each child. This might be a spelling list, a supply list for a project, notes from a teacher, ect. Behind each tab I used a three hole punch to insert the teachers welcome letters and contact information, scantron and other test results, some notebook paper to take notes of things I need to do with that student or ask their teacher. For my older students who were taking high school classes I keep a copy of their syllabus for each class here. I also kept a master list of their student id’s and logins and passwords for the OLS and Study Island. This binder helped me keep organized, but also gave me reassurance that if something were to happen to me and I was unable to be there someone could step in and help them as needed.
The last thing you may want to consider can fall into the category of supplies and decorations. If you have a separate space that you are using for a classroom, I would recommend getting some educational posters to help with common tasks. The writing process, measurements, letter, numbers, number chart, ect, based on the grade level your students will be. These add a colorful life to the room, and allow you to reference them when helping our students. The Dollar Tree has many of these throughout the year. Target is also a great place to check out toward the end of summer for useful things for your classroom.
Being organized from the start will help ease a lot of the transition anxieties and stress before they even start, so sit down and decide what method you will use to keep your students organized. Then make a list of the supplies you will need, so you can watch for the best sales and stock up while they are often half the price they will be later in the year.