Getting All the Back to School Supplies you NEED!
It is absolutely that time of year. Teachers in North America have either started back with students already, are in the midst of professional development and planning, or are a few short days away from officially “reporting back.” It is EASY to get overwhelmed during the “Back to School” rush whether this is your first year or your fortieth. Don’t be dismayed. You can do it. You are smart and capable. You will have a fantastic year!
#1 – Ask People at School
It’s cold and flu season and kids are quickly going through tissues! I know that some grades require students to bring Kleenex, lysol wipes, and hand sanitizer every year with their school supplies. If you have a surplus of either and could spare a box of Kleenex or a bottle of hand sanitizer it would definitely help keep noses and hands clean in the music room!
Thanks so much,
#2 – Back to School Supplies Wishlist Poster
Last year the art teacher at my school put a poster just like this one outside her classroom. She listed all the back to school supplies that she would like to have for the classroom on separate post its. Whenever a parents walked by, they could look at what our teacher needed for her classroom and pull down a post it as a reminder. Parents quickly responded and filled all her classroom needs (and even asked her to keep updating the poster with new requests)!I like this idea because it doesn’t put any pressure on parents and is open and honest about what teachers really need. Parents can see the poster and then come and have a conversation with you about what they can do to help. This system is also great because parents can pull down one item/one post it and take care of that supply for you. You’re not asking for 25 kleenex boxes per parent, but instead you are giving them the option to contribute what they want and what they can.
Love the idea but drawing a blank on what you might ask for? Here are some items that you could easily ask for on your own Music Classroom Wishlist poster!
Ziplock Baggies Small
Ziplock Baggies Medium
Ziplock Baggies Large
Lysol Disinfecting wipes
Dry Erase Markers (Expo Brand)
Colored Copy Paper
#3 – Using a Student Concert to Connect with Parents
Ask parents for help in the weeks leading up to the concert. Consider sending out a note to the parents of all students involved in the concert to ask for help building sets and coming up with costume elements. If you sell concessions/flowers/something else at your concerts ask parents to organize and facilitate that process. Consider using something like www.signupgenius.com to coordinate volunteers or get supplies you need. You really don’t know what could happen until you ask. One year a friend of mine sent a note home to parents asking for help creating basic sets out of cardboard boxes. The parent of one students was a contractor and ended up getting heavy-duty supplies donated to the school. He then set to creating a stage, sturdy wooden backdrops, and lots of extra scenery. Another parent loved to paint and came in to help finish up and decorate the stage. My teacher friend asked for help making basic sets and when parents were done the gym had been transformed. You never know until you ask!
Are you going to make masks, props, or other items for the concert? Ask parents to pitch in during the creation process or (if nothing else) help supply the materials you need. For instance, if you’re going to make bear masks for the whole group to wear during a certain song, ask parents to help donate the paper plates the masks will be created with. Are you going to do a ribbon movement piece? Ask parents to donate old spools of ribbon so that you can make new ribbon wands in lots of colors.
One ideas I’ve toyed with through the years is asking for a “suggested donation” at the concert. Instead of charging money for a concert, ask parents to bring in a box of kleenex/hand sanitizer/something else you might need in the music room. Even if you ask for “one item per household,” you could have a huge stockpile in just one night. Say that it’s a “suggested donation” and parents will not only be happy to bring things in, but will be alerted to your needs as well.
Feel free to ask parents for help on the night of the concert as well! Put a little note at the bottom of the concert program directing parents to your DonorsChoose.org account or your SignUpGenius account. Have an upcoming field trip and need chaperones? Mention that over the microphone right before the concert starts and see what happens. It would be easy to put a little sign by the door into your performance space that lists your classroom needs or how the parents can get involved in your classroom. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A lot of time parents and community members WANT to be involved but just don’t know how to help.
If nothing else, ask for parent help tearing down and cleaning up. Last year right before our last song I said, “Thank you all so much for coming. We have one more song to perform tonight and we can’t wait to get to it. I know that I speak for all the teachers here when I say that we really appreciate your support and encouragement tonight and every night. You are welcome to stay after the concert and get pictures with your students in front of the decorations or up on the risers. If you would be willing to fold up your chair and put it on the chair racks before you leave tonight, it would save the other teachers and me an hour or so of work. We really appreciate your help! Now, to our finale song!”
I hope that this blog post gave you a few ideas to get you started on your year. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the things that you COULD be doing right now. You are probably doing exactly what you need to do. Just take little steps and always keep the kids in mind as you work! You’ll be great!