Unfortunately, I've not always been the best at remembering what we need, or being able to produce a list right when parents ask. I've missed out on opportunities because I didn't have a way to quickly and easily communicate what our needs were. This year though, I have that problem solved!
I'm talking about the Wishlist feature over at Oriental Trading. I buy from OT for my classroom and my family all the time, so I know they have great prices and fun items. With their Wishlist feature, I can add items for my classroom to the list and direct parents straight to it. I included the link in my Meet the Teacher night powerpoint, in my Remind app announcements and also in our newsletter! One thing that I did was make a custom link - to make it easier for parents to type in the url and find my wishlist (just go to a site like tinyurl.com or bitly.com to make a short and sweet link that will be easy for parents to remember!)
This way, any time a parent feels like donating, they can go to the site and buy something for our class! I can also add things throughout the year, and remove items as we receive them. It takes just seconds for me to log in and add items to the list, and since the link never changes, I can leave it on my newsletter and not have to worry about it!
My wishlist is here, in case you want to see what I'm asking for currently. I received some free products in return for sharing my Wishlist with you. I use everything I mention in my classroom and always love OT products, and I know you'll love this feature, so I feel confident sharing this post with you!
I love their Rolls of Stickers - we use them as story starters - put a sticker on your page and write a sentence about it! I also give them to students who are working on task and following directions - they're great, inexpensive motivators.
This year I can't wait to use the Alphabet Rolls of Stickers! Look at this - a roll for each letter of the alphabet! There are 100 stickers per letter, so the possibilities are endless! As we study each letter, we will have a day where everyone wears the letter on their shirt! Another idea is to put the sticker on a sheet of paper and have students glue pictures that start with that letter in a collage!
The Mini Eraser Assortments are amazing! I've already used them this year! We had a sorting lesson where each group of students was given two big handfuls to sort. We then placed the erasers into pencil boxes. We keep the boxes at the front of our carpet as Fast Finishers activities - they sort them, pattern with them, and later in the year they'll use them to help with addition and subtraction!
I always do a Brown Bear unit at the beginning of the year - and check out all of the Brown Bear items Oriental Trading has! I love these 24 piece Brown Bear puzzles - just the right difficulty level for my students!
And the Eric Carle Animal Stress Balls are perfect for my friends who need some fine motor strengthening. I just hand them a ball and have them squeeze and play with it during calendar time or a read aloud!
I also have many items on my wishlist for my treasure box to use as small rewards. I love it when parents donate these items, because it saves my pocketbook and saves me from having to run to Walmart to refill the Treasure Box on Thursday nights! This Bubble Assortment drew gasps of joy from my students when I added them to the Treasure Box!
One of the items I'm really hoping some parents buy us is this Mega Stamper Assortment - it would be great for our Writing Center! Right now its on sale for just $16.98 for 100 pieces - think of all the stories that could start!
Can you just imagine the possibilities if you create your own Wishlist and get your parents (and PTA!) on board with funding some of the items you need for your classroom? It's great to pass the link on at church and on your social media sites too! Often times someone will be shopping for a birthday party or graduation, and need to buy one more thing in order to qualify for a free shipping deal or coupon code, and its so easy for them to just grab a little something from my wishlist!
Here's hoping that you have many generous parents this year who send a little OT goodness your way! I hope you all have a wonderful BTS Season!