Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's the small things...

Each summer as August 1st approaches the anticipation becomes a little too much to handle. August 1st my friends is the date when NYC public school teachers can begin using their Teacher's Choice funds. This year, just like last year, our allotment is $150. I, like most teachers spend well over $150. This year however, my goal is to keep better track of how much I spend and stay as close to my $150 budget as possible. My shopping so far has not consisted of my standard Staples and Officemax trips. Instead, I went to Barclay's School Supplies in Brooklyn.

For those who don't know, Barclay's may be THE BEST thing to happen to teachers. It's located in the basement of a building in downtown Brooklyn, easily accessible by many convenient subway lines and buses. As I was walking towards the store my excitement was growing, I kept seeing teacher looking people walking around proudly with great big plastic bags sporting the "Barclay's" logo.

This was going to be great. And it totally was.

As I exited the elevator I entered into a teacher's wonderland. Everything was so colorful and at first, before my eyes adjusted, a bit overwhelming. I just walked around aimlessly for a few minutes, somehow finding my way to the foreign language section. This section wasn't terribly extensive, but I have yet to see a truly impressive FL section in a school supplies store. I was able to get some stickers in Spanish as well as some handy verb posters.

The two things I am most excited about that are also probably the most dorky are raffle tickets and sentence strips. I have struggled with a good way to grade participation and think that raffle tickets may be the answer. When students speak Spanish in class they'll get a ticket, when everyone has their homework they all get a ticket, etc. When students have a certain number of tickets they can trade them in for something, maybe a free homework pass. I imagine it would be an exciting list of prizes Dave and Busters or Chuck-E-Cheese style. You know, like 25,000 tickets for the toaster. I could even have some funny joke prizes like that. I'd have to keep track of who I give tickets to in case they don't trade them in until the end of the year or lose them. I'm super excited about my sentence strips too, I think I'm going to use these to make a word wall of sorts for my freshman classes, and a literary device word wall for my AP kids. Good times.

Since I teach in a public school I was exempt from paying taxes so my rather large bag of goodies came to $56.

I walked out of Barclay's with my head held high, proudly displaying my bag and smiling at all of the other teacher people doing the same.