Saturday, August 22, 2015

Back to School Shopping, The "Not" List

I made the mistake of going shopping yesterday, the Friday before school opens for the 2015 academic year here in the county where I live. It was not quite Black-Friday-after-Thanksgiving shopping, but close enough that I should have known better than to darken Walmart's automatic sliding doors.

All I needed were name tags and ink pens, my assignment for tomorrow's annual homecoming at the church I attend. In the process of searching this megastore with the hordes, I happened down the same aisles as the back to school crowds doing some searching of their own...for ink pens...and note cards and lined paper and whatever else was on the list. Yes, they each had a list specific to his or her own classroom. Cool idea.

If only I could have given a list to my students back in my teaching years! I would, however, have given a "not" list. First on the list, please do not purchase paper in spiral (wire) bound notebooks. Years of picking up shreds of paper bits taught me that precaution, not to mention the straggly papers causing havoc in the stacks of my homework each night.

Please do not purchase high school ruled paper. Fourth graders' cursive writing is still developing and thinner spacing between lines makes for difficult days ahead. (It's the simple things.) Grade a math paper done by a fourth grader on high school ruled paper and you'll know exactly what I mean.

Don't waste money on 132 count fancy crayon boxes. I had plenty of long nubs left from accumulations in years past. Besides, by fourth grade, crayons are the least needed of instruments that were once so necessary.

Don't invest in ink pens. I did not accept work done in ink simply because of the strike overs that are so frequent in children still learning. They need the possibilities of correcting mistakes with old fashioned erasers in orderly fashion.

Don't buy flip flops for school shoes. Walking through crowded halls in flip flops is torture. So is gym class.

Don't spend money on scissors (provided) or rulers (provided) or calculators (yes, provided) or noisy electric pencil sharpeners (hand crank models provided).

I'm "Old School." I expected my students to come prepared to work with loose leaf paper, number two pencils, a belly full of breakfast (provided) and an open mind.

That worked well.

Catch of the day,


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