I have been reflecting upon my first year of teaching, and the following occurred to me. If I could go back and save money on all the useless resources I spent money on and never used, I would be a millionaire. If only I had a list last September, of the books which I would actually have used, how easier my life would have been. The biggest waste of money ever was the target board I bought. I used it nearly every day, so it got plenty of use. It is however, the simplest concept ever invented, and I could so easily have made one myself! So yes, a great resource to have, but make your own!
The second most unused resource ever was the number fans I bought. I just think they are useless. I really do. They are so fiddly and annoying, and the children get too distracted and just start playing with them!
The items/books/resources I would recommend the most are as follows:
1. A really good art book. If you have one comprehensive art book, you can base your lessons on it for the term, or even the year. You can order all your art resources you’ll need at the start of the year so that you are prepared for each lesson. There’s nothing more annoying than that emergency dash into town on a Thursday evening in search of hessian or some other art material you desperately need in case the inspector shows up! I used the Usborne Art Treasury and Prim Ed books the most.Here is a link to the Prim Ed one for ten euro-Prim Ed Art Book
2. The Primary Science website is all you need for science. Choose your experiments at the start of the year, stock up your science materials box and avoid last minute panic.
3. A variety of books to use in between lessons to break up the day, or to kill the fifteen minutes between PE and lunch. I used the prim- ed listening comprehension and the Irish equivalent Triail Tuisceana . I also used Usborne’s Shakespeare story book Shakespeare by Usborne.
4. A mental maths/problem solving book. Problem solving is huge now in the educational circles. Everyone is on about it. Obviously it is in every maths lesson anyway, but I would invest in a problem solving/mental maths book and use it for ten to fifteen minutes before starting the topic you are covering in maths. You could also look up ideas on line and print them out and laminate them.
5. A table planner. I bought one in Penney’s for three euro. It can be hard to acclimatise to a busy classroom environment. There’s always notes to go home, money to be collected, all these things which are so easy to forget when you have a classroom full of children to attend to. I used to scribble everything down in my day planner, along with a rough skeleton of each lesson I’d teach.
6. Miniature classroom games: I had some little games which didn’t take up loads of room on my early finishers table. I bought jenga and dominos from Dealz for 1.49 each and they got so much use! They can be stored nice and neatly in plastic containers or buckets.
7. Wordsearch book from Dealz! I had some of these printed and photocopied for emergencies!
8. I used thematic teacher books the most, out of all the books and resources I have. I sought out resource books based on themes such as the rainforest, the environment, natural disasters, the famine etc. These always form the basis of all my lessons.
I hope that helps. Sometimes, there’s just too many resources out there and it can be overwhelming!As well as that you just end up with a desk full of books you never use. I have really become much more selective with the school books I buy and use, and it saves a lot of time and effort!