Teacher Week '13 - Teacher Tips

Hi everyone!
I decided to change up my blog look already! I hope you like it!

I'm linking up for the last day of Blog Hoppin's Teacher Week '13! Teacher Tips!

I'm actually going to cross-post from my previous post on Teacher Tips! Here it is!

Today I wanted to talk about a few tips I've picked up as a new teacher. I recently had to think about all of these strategies because one of my kindergarten team members is new this year and needed help getting started! 
Being a brand new baby teacher is scary, intimidating, and sometimes confusing! I feel like I am still brand new sometimes. Here are a few tips that I've picked up over the first 2 years of teaching:

1. Craigslist
Craigslist isn't just for selling your old couch and finding apartments! You can find some great garage sales on craigslist. The summer before I got my first job, I scoured Craigslist almost daily for teacher resources. I was on the lookout for children's books to beef up my nonexistent classroom library and maybe some cute furniture to spice up my room. Here's what I do: Click on the "For Sale" heading so that you can search everything that's for sale. I like to type in "classroom" or "teacher" to see if I can find any teachers clearing out their stash. It's actually pretty common to find retired teachers or teachers that are no longer in the classroom clearing out some of their old stuff! I've also found that teachers are really reasonable about pricing ;) Here is a haul that I got yesterday from a craigslist ad:

I was originally attracted by the big books (!!) because our district is a little low on funds so we won't have many (or any really) big books provided for us to use. I was so excited to find Planting a Rainbow, one of my favorite books as a big book!! I also scored on the puppets that go with popular stories. Here's a close up of the old woman who swallowed a ...

There are little animals you can actually stuff in her mouth! Ha!
I also got a sentence building pocket chart set, lots of good picture books, some books on dvd, some word builder cards and small letters, and a magnetic board with magnet letters and pictures. I got all of this for less than $100, which is a steal in my book! 
Here's a complimentary picture of my puppy, who wanted to eat my little letters SO BADLY:

If you are lucky enough to live near an IKEA, you should definitely visit!! There are SO MANY things in my room from IKEA. One thing that many teachers in my school LOVE are their big plastic bins. They used to be blue, but this season they are a light green, which I don't mind. Here's the best picture I can find of one in my room:

They are the green bins on the left.
They hold a TON and are pretty sturdy. The best part? They're less than $2 each!! Many teachers at my school use these in their classroom library (I have a few for my bigger sections, like Animal Books and ABC Books). I also use mine for storage, like in my art closet in the picture or above my sink to hold extra tissues, ziploc bags, etc. 

Another awesome find at IKEA are the little stools. I use these at my computers and at my teacher media station. 

It's the teal stool seen here. They are $6 each, which is about half the price of anywhere else. I saw some cute stools at Joann's on clearance, but they were still double the price of IKEA. Stools are a great way to keep your space open and still provide seating. They also stack nicely :) Here's a link to the IKEA page.

Another great IKEA find is the FLYT magazine holder. LOTS of teachers at my building grab these for their students' book boxes each summer. They're $2 for 5, which is the best price I've seen anywhere! I don't personally use them, but I did my very first year of teaching. They're such a great deal! My advice is to GO EARLY. Last summer they actually ran out and didn't get any back in until after September. 

I could go on and on about IKEA, but I'll stop for now. Just don't forget to get these things on your way out:

3. Goodwill
Check out your local Goodwill or Value Village for children's books. Both sell books for less than a dollar each (Goodwill sells kids books for about 78 cents each and I think Value Village is even cheaper!). I would say that 70% of my classroom library came from Goodwill. I've found everything from fabulous hardbacks to whole phonics sets. Just be diligent and go through every shelf. My strategy was to have something in mind, like "I must find level A-C books!" and set out on your mission. I'd also keep my eye open for books that I know I like or that I'd read during the year. I'd look for particular authors and grab any books by them (Kevin Henkes, Eric Carle, Leo Lionni, etc).

4. Utilize Stores like Michael's, Joann's, and Target
All three of these stores carry supplies for teachers! The Target Dollar Spot is my favorite place to find goodies. You can find plastic bins like table caddies and book boxes! You can find name plates, name tag stickers, googly eyes, pom poms, and even pocket charts!
Michael's and Joann's also carry teacher supplies similar to the Target Dollar Spot, but they also carry some Carson-Dellosa items. They have borders, bulletin board sets, and pocket charts and they even go on sale pretty often in the summer. I've seen the "Buy 2 get 1 free" on all teacher supplies a lot. You also get at 15% discount as a teacher, just be sure to have your teacher ID with you. I found that these places are great for all those consumable items that you need for the beginning of the year and it's WAY cheaper than going to a teacher supply store. Why pay $5 for a pack of name tags when they'll just get ripped up in about 5 seconds? Target is your friend :)

That's all for now! I hope you learned something to help you this summer! Hop on over to Blog Hoppin' to see more Teacher Tips today!


  1. Hi! Craigslist is such a good idea, but I am always too scared to use it because of strange people, haha... but you got some amazing things in that haul!

    Your blog is so cute! I just became your 10th follower. :D


    1. I actually made my mom come with me--I never go to Craigslist ads on my own! I'm scared too!! But it was worth it for all the big books!!!
      I followed you back, Yay for Kindergarten blogs!!

  2. Soo jealous you have an IKEA!! The closest one to me is in Mass and I want to go desperately!!

    First Grade Lyons' Den

  3. I love Michaels! They always give teachers 10% off here in Las Vegas!