Creating a teaching center or a teacher resource center is fun.
It is a task that is never really finished and there is joy in
adding the new, culling worn out materials and rearranging the
stock. A well-stocked resource center is a wondrous thing to behold,
as there is a certain reverence that comes over a new teacher
as she finds herself in the resource center of a vet.
A teacher center should echo the feel of the classroom. In classrooms
for younger students the teacher center should be bright and colorful,
the books should be suitable for little hands and there should
be a lot of hands-on materials. Puzzles, blocks, dolls, puzzles
and a globe would all be great additions to the class. Laminated
pictures, mix and match flash cards and memory games are all resources
to aid in teaching. An abacus and some handheld calculators are
popular items, too.
In classrooms for children who are a bit older, a globe is still
a great resource. Make sure to have an atlas nearby and as many
maps as possible to go with it. Magazines and travel brochures
are another way to learn about faraway places. A variety of worksheets
in a plastic file organizer box come in handy for the students
who enjoy a challenge. A flannel board with lots of story possibilities
is a lot of fun, if space allows.
For older children, a resource center should be more organized
and reflect a more mature user group. Still, magnetic poetry is
a fantastic resource and you'll find that if the magnetic board
is easily accessible, the constantly evolving poem will be a source
of amusement and amazement. Children of all ages dream of travel,
keep a globe in the center, as it is still relevant. The magazines,
almanac, atlas and various maps complete the travel section. Photos
are nice, too.
No matter what age group the teaching center is geared to, it
has to have books and plenty of them. As teaching units come and
go, so can the focus of the resource center. When the science
lesson is on the solar system, load up the reading center with
books that are on that topic, but not part of the lesson plan.
This allows the students to make choices that are not required
reading, but piqued their interest. Make sure there are choices
for every holiday and season.
Building a decent teaching center can take a few years, but there
are ways to get a good start on it. First, go to library book
sales in the community. Books there sell for less than a dollar
and there are a lot to choose from. On the final day of a weekend
sale, the libraries are practically giving the books away and
there are still some good ones available. Another way to add to
your library is to ask for donations from the families at your
school. As a matter of fact, this is no time to be proud, ask
for donations from anywhere that has books. Sometimes it can be
easier for a bookstore to donate books than to return them to
the publisher. The publisher pays only a small percentage for
some returns, but the goodwill and tax deduction from a donation
may be worth the difference for the owner of an independent bookstore.
Many printable resources are available online, free of charge
and copyrights. We also offer a fantastic educator
membership program. Most bookstores give discounts to teachers,
just ask and save your classroom money for the best sales. During
"Banned Books Month" ask parents and friends to donate one of
the books off the list, it raises awareness and boosts your inventory.
You can also sponsor book sales at your school and earn free books
for your class. Your resource center is an important part of your
classroom, for some kids it may be the only place for them to
feel comfortable reading or working. Make sure it reflects your
love for learning so the children feel it, too.