Jul 31

Must-See Teacher Resources

Posted by Pamela M. Jones in Fair Is Not Equal on Jul 31, 2012

Girl Reading

Just the other day, a teacher shared these wise words with my advisee: NEVER STOP GROWING! This sage advice is key if we want to evolve in our craft because after all, our students' learning is dependent upon the depth and breadth of our knowledge and skill base. The more we know and are able to access the information and tools we need, the better situated we will be to support our students' emotional and behavior growth. With that said, check out this posting on must-have resources for your teacher tool kits.

Books

Books are a teacher’s best friend and to that end, here is a “beginning list” that should help you get a good start to your year. As our blog is one devoted to supporting students' emotional and behavioral growth, the books we suggest below are ones that do the following: (1) provide you with wonderful food for thought on subjects such as creating and sustaining community within your classroom and (2) present approaches for intervening successfully in your students' lives when behavioral and emotional problems and situations arise. 

  • Teaching Children to Care: Classroom Management for Ethical and Academic Growth, K-8, by Ruth Sidney Charney
  • Because We Can Change the World: A Practical Guide To Building Cooperative, Inclusive Classroom Communities, by Mara Sapon-Shevin
  • Building Community from Chaos, by Linda Christensen (an article you can find by typing this information into a search window)
  • Lost at School: Why Our Kids With Behavioral Problems Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them, by Ross Greene

Classroom Supplies (Big & Small)

Who knows better than we do that we always need more supplies for our classrooms? To support our students' emotional and behavioral growth adequately, we often need to avail ourselves of key supplies in order to operationalize our interventions. If money is in short supply, check out these places for everything from classroom furniture, binders and notebooks, or other items to support your students:

  • Donorschoose.org: Donorschoose.org is an organization that, in a sense, comes to the teacher’s rescue by providing small grants for requested classroom items. Need disposable cameras for a classroom project? What about composition notebooks, in bulk, for your students? Log onto donorschoose.org, submit a written request, and wait for word of their decision. If your request is granted, all that you’ll need to do in return is to send them a quick write-up detailing how you used the granted resources.  Not bad, eh? 
  • Craigslist: I know, you’re probably thinking, “Craigslist?  Really?”  Well, you’d be surprised what gems are floating around on the site (if you search smartly). You could find just about anything you’re looking for—from chairs, to couches, you name it (and, depending on the seller, you could obtain these items for little-to-nothing). 
  • Your Local Thrift Store/Goodwill/Salvation Army: Don’t discount your local thrift store! Since one person’s junk is another person’s treasure, you just might find the item of your dreams! 

Therapy Tools

Even if you don’t teach in a therapeutic setting, you can definitely incorporate therapeutic approaches into your practice! When used thoughtfully and consistently, these tools can support your students while they are in the midst of socio-emotional, behavioral, or sensory-related events. You can find these, and many other tools, on any number of therapy sites (and one of our favorites is www.therapro.com. Check these out!

  • Disc-o-Sit: This tool is a disc with a raised surface, designed to provide students with much-needed sensory input. If a student needs this support, the disc-o-sit (more commonly referred to as a sensory cushion) will help him or her stay in a seated position.  
  • Therapy Putty: Available in a range of consistencies (from soft to tough), this putty can be used to help students manage moments of stress and anger. 
  • Sensory Brushes: If your students are feeling physically dysregulated (i.e., as if they aren’t in control of their bodies), a sensory brush just might be one solution. Used in an up-and-down motion, the sensory brush can provide your student with the input necessary to help them feel more in control of their bodies.  
  • Sensory Balls: Sensory balls, which also come in a variety of tactile presentations, can help students manage moments of stress and anger much in the same way that therapy putty does.

Have you seen and/or used any of these tools before? Are there others that you might recommend? Please share! 

tagged books, resources, supplies, therapy tools
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