Uncategorized – School Outfitters Blog http://blog.schooloutfitters.com Furnishing Great Places To Learn Fri, 05 Feb 2016 21:51:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.11 Extra Classroom Space in a Snap http://blog.schooloutfitters.com/2014/04/extra-classroom-space-in-a-snap/ Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:31:54 +0000 http://blog.schooloutfitters.com/?p=2839 PlayPanel Activity Center

PlayPanel Activity Center by Children’s Factory

It’s true. Space can become an issue in classrooms. As a pre-K teacher, having the ability to keep young students engaged in separate activities throughout the day is important. But children can become easily distracted; we’re talking about high-energy early learners here. So, it’s beneficial to visually divide your space, and I’m happy to suggest some helpful products that don’t break the bank: preschool room dividers.

While we carry an assortment of partition options like Angeles’ Sound Sponge Quiet Divider and Jonti-Craft’s Mobile Library Bookcase, my favorites can be found with Children’s Factory. What I like most about their PlayPanel products are the custom possibilities. The PlayPanels can be combined with durable, trouble-free attachments. Then, with just a few snaps, you can change the setup of the panels and move them around your learning environment with ease (each panel weighs less than six pounds).

Dramatic PlayPanel Set by Children's Factory

Dramatic PlayPanel Set by Children’s Factory

With vibrant images and built-in activities, these panels keep students busy and maximize the use of your classroom space. Dramatic play, mirror play, sorting, drawing and reading? Yep, you can accomplish a lot with these multicolored vinyl rectangles.

Plus, the budget-friendly Big Screen PlayPanels can be purchased individually, which allows you to build upon your classroom designs over time. Whether you have plans for creating an elaborate discovery center or just a small quiet reading area, check out our selection of preschool room dividers to see what classroom ideas you can dream up for your little ones.

How do you make the most of your classroom space? And what’s your favorite PlayPanel? As a fan of these prehistoric pals, mine is the Dinosaur PlayPanel Set.

Dinosaur PlayPanel Set by Children's Factory

Dinosaur PlayPanel Set by Children’s Factory





Everything I Need to Know http://blog.schooloutfitters.com/2014/01/everything-i-need-to-know/ Tue, 28 Jan 2014 22:24:49 +0000 http://blog.schooloutfitters.com/?p=2590 You may be familiar with the popular series, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned…” Whether it’s “from my cat,” “from the 80s,” or the original, “in kindergarten,” these are seemingly simple lessons that end up carrying great importance. While these lists are often made up, and not based on actual lessons, I’m happy to say there’s one day from kindergarten that has stuck with me.

Our teacher had grouped us into pairs and given each pair one candy bar. Then, one of us was to break the bar in half. But after that, we had to let the OTHER student choose which half he wanted! It was my first introduction to a very basic etiquette. And while the lesson was obviously practical – this is expected behavior – it also presents a larger principle: The Golden Rule. Of course, we all appreciate it when someone offers us the larger piece; it’s how we want to be treated. And so it follows that treating others in the same manner is an act of decency.

While we may look back on our years of early learning as filled with crayons and instructions not to eat the glue, it’s important to remember that some of our most important lessons were learned here – lessons that make all the difference.

Malala Yousafzai’s International Fight for Education Equality http://blog.schooloutfitters.com/2013/10/malala-yousafzais-international-fight-education-equality/ Wed, 30 Oct 2013 21:29:12 +0000 http://blog.schooloutfitters.com/?p=2429

Malala Yousafzai

You’ve probably heard by now of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani who survived a gunshot to the head in the name of education equality. As jihadists took over her region and began prohibiting women from receiving an education, Yousafzai – at age 12 – spoke out against the blatant injustices imposed on her and those around her. While her thoughts were originally expressed anonymously, her name was eventually made public and, consequently, she was attacked one day while riding the bus. After being flown to the UK for treatment, Yousafzai made an incredible recovery and has since been traveling the globe to advocate for equal rights education. Recently, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, which would have made her the youngest laureate ever.

While not ultimately awarded the prize, Yousafzai and her story continue to offer inspiration and hope for people across the globe. Her memoir, I Am Malala, has just been published, and Yousafzai has been persistent in promoting its message of fighting injustice through education. (Watch her poignant interview on The Daily Show here.)

In the United States, where (equal) education is a federal mandate, it’s nearly impossible to imagine schools being destroyed and children being told they are simply not allowed to learn – or, more grimly, literally being shot for trying. It’s probably safe to say that, at times, we even take it for granted. Learning Malala Yousafzai’s story can be a powerful way to talk to students about the importance of education. Have you shared it with your class? If so, how did you approach it, and how was it received? Please discuss in the comments below.

Winter Break: Top Tips for Rest and Relaxation http://blog.schooloutfitters.com/2011/12/winter-break-relaxation-tips/ Fri, 16 Dec 2011 19:33:49 +0000 http://blog.schooloutfitters.com/?p=929 As Christmas approaches and the time for most schools to go on break finally arrives, teachers must decide how they want to spend their well-earned time off. The following list offers some helpful tips for the best ways teachers can relax and recuperate:

  • Forget work. The most important thing for educators to do while on an extended break from school is temporarily forget the classroom. While it can be hard for anyone to clear their mind of work stress, it’s absolutely vital for teachers. Working long hours outside of the classroom, pouring your time and money into your teaching efforts and getting personally involved in the lives of students is emotionally and physically exhausting. Making time for yourself and forgetting the troubles of school, just for a little while, will refresh both mind and body.
  • Consider your motivations. As with any job, the longer you work it can be harder to remember why you wanted to do it in the first place. Motivation is especially important for teachers, who decide to teach not just for money but for the sense of fulfillment that comes from helping a child. After a long period of time in school, the reasons that you teach can quickly be buried under a sea of paperwork, administrative duties and difficult students. Once you decide to remember your work life, take time to remind yourself exactly why you got into teaching.
  • Reprioritize. While planning for the second half of the school year, it’s a good idea to rearrange priorities based on what you’ve already experienced with your class. Your summer plans for the year may have hit a brick wall because of any number of circumstances, and creating new goals to fit the situation will help you finish out the school year smoothly.
  • Lighten up before going back. The winter break is meant to be a time of frivolity and joy, so make it just that. The stresses of daily life in today’s school systems can seem overwhelming, and it’s hard not to take things so seriously that you can’t see past your own issues. Use the upcoming Christmas time to step back, put all of these problems in perspective and settle down. A calm teacher is a wise teacher.

If you have any other helpful tips that will help educators enjoy their winter break, share them in the comments below.

Giving Thanks http://blog.schooloutfitters.com/2011/11/giving-thanks/ Wed, 23 Nov 2011 16:05:35 +0000 http://blog.schooloutfitters.com/?p=803 As Thanksgiving approaches and the impulse to express gratitude grows stronger, I recognize that one of the things I’m most grateful for is my education. Not necessarily all the math and reading lessons, but all of the wonderful teachers who taught me, cared about me and generally enriched my life. As a gesture of thanks, here are three qualities I’m so glad my teachers possessed.

  1. Bringing oneself into the classroom. My kindergarten teacher only had four toes on one of her feet. I believe she shared this with us as part of a cautionary tale, as she lost it due to reckless bicycle riding, but this fact immediately endeared her to us. I’m sure that as a seasoned teacher she was aware of the effect this would have, but she didn’t have to tell us. Certainly taking off one’s shoe and sock in the middle of a classroom comes with a bit of discomfort, but she knew it would help build a relationship between her and her students, and so she did it.

  1. Going against the grain. I went to a small, fairly rural high school where “normal” classes were our only option – except for select students, for one semester, at one grade level. If a student were lucky enough to be scheduled into the American Studies class – a combination English/history seminar – she found herself under the tutelage of two of the most experienced and knowledgeable (and underrated) teachers in the building. They envisioned a class based on the discussion and generation of ideas, and had to fight for its creation, as it was not a style to which our administration was accustomed. I’m indebted to these teachers for doing what they did; not only did it break the monotony of the norm, giving us the opportunity to stretch our brains in ways other classes didn’t allow, but, in hindsight, it was the most tangible preparation for college that high school gave me. These two teachers taught us critical thinking.

  1. Passion. My senior year of college, I took a course with a professor I’d never had, based entirely on a quartet of books I’d never heard of. It could have been a disaster, but instead turned out to be my favorite class out of four years of classes – due in more than a part to the passion of the teacher. The books were set in the city of Alexandria (in Egypt) and had themes, as most great books do, of love, truth and art, as well as moorish mysticism. We only had class once a week, for several hours in the evening. In order to bring us into the books, the professor would frequently bring elaborate spreads of Mediterranean food for us to sample while we talked, and more than once he had us over to his house to take part in hands-on art seminars. He even went so far as to take a small group of us – on a Saturday, no less – to a city several hours away to see a performance of the Whirling Dervishes, as it was relevant to topics in the novels.

Had I read these books on my own, I certainly would have had a much less dynamic and meaningful understanding. And while I haven’t gone back and read them a second time and couldn’t talk about plot details, these books remain some of my favorites – and that is due entirely to the passion of one professor.

What do you remember about some of your favorite teachers? Please share your thoughts below.