We all know that Walmart, Target, and all those office supply and drug stores have great back to school sales. It's such a temptation every time you pass by those sections to pick up something else (if you are brave enough to fight through the crowds). A good idea is to check those weekly fliers or the online adds to compare prices and shop for the best deal.
One of my favorite places to order supplies, however, is from Oriental Trading. It's for more than just party supplies, you know?!? There are certain things I know I'll want to purchase for projects throughout the year, so I go ahead and order those now as well or else I'm bound to remember them a little too late. Then it's either scrap that idea or pay extra for expedited delivery.
Here are a few items I like to order before the school year starts:
(Click the titles to go directly to the item description pages.)
This link takes you to the search page I pulled up because there are a variety of designs on Oriental Trading that give you the option to personalize. You can personalize with your class name "Mrs. Wilcox's Wildcats" or a cute message like "Welcome 2013-2014 Wildcats!". Give them out at Open House/Registration Day or have them sitting on student desks on the 1st day of school. These pencils are sold in bulk and are about 32 cents each.
I use these constantly for Math! I've made so many different games for Math Stations that practice different skills using these little guys. You get a dozen 28 piece sets in one order for $9.00. If you're feeling generous or don't need 12 sets, give some to your grade level team mates or throw some in the treasure box as a prize. Well worth the money!
I use these in centers for many different activities. One Word Work activity I do is called "Shake and Make Words". Click here to get my free recording sheet. Students can copy the letters shaken onto the grid and write as many words as they can make. Sometimes I make stipulations to differentiate such as "each word must be at least 4 letters long" or "these words should have a short vowel sound". (Makes it much more challenging!)
Again there are 12 cubes in the order so if you don't need 12 of them or are feeling generous . . . share!
4- Name Badges
These last longer than peel and stick name tags. Sometimes it takes just a couple of days to learn all your students' names, but our cafeteria staff and Specials teachers usually request that students wear name tags for the first couple of weeks of school since they see a whole lot more students and only briefly since they are not the homeroom teachers. The name badge holders save you time sticking names on students before they need to go to Specials or lunch.
I use tons of magnets for classroom setup and management. With 200 ready to go magnets it's just peel and stick all year long!
At $12.75 per dozen these are one of my pricier choices, but they're well worth the investment. Use them at centers, for early finishers, practice pages . . . anything! I love putting game boards in them. Students use dry erase markers and wipe clean when done! They last longer than just the one school year because these are extremely durable. Saves you copies and saves trees!
7- Glue Dots
(The link goes to a search results page because there are different kinds and sizes of glue dots to choose from.)
Another item I use year round. Peel and stick. Mount anything from student work to classroom management pieces. Quick, clean, and easy!
These are the other pricier items that I feel are worth the investment. I use these for my guided reading books. Each student gets one to keep their guided reading books, flash cards, and reading responses in. This helps students keep track of their guided reading books and assignments while protecting them from getting wet, sticky, or battered on those trips to and from home/school.
I could go on and on, but these are just a few of my top purchases. There's a whole section on the Oriental Trading called Teaching Supplies and Stationary where you can find great deals. Be careful, though! You can get sucked in with all the great supplies that inspire fun ideas.
Before you check out I encourage you to do a Google search for "Oriental Trading discounts" or "Oriental Trading coupons". You can find some promo codes that can save you some money or get your free shipping. I just did this the other day while placing an order on Target and saved $15 total with promotional and shipping discounts!