[This is a great guest post for anyone that is a teacher or home schools their kids. Not being a teacher, I’ve never really considered all of the great things that you can get at Costco for the classroom. This thoughtful guest post is brought to you by Alicia. She’s been a Costco member since 2003 and now does her shopping in the Seattle area. Currently, she is working toward earning a teaching degree. Alicia is particularly interested in how the advent of the Internet and technology are changing the educational landscape. When she is not exploring the future of education, she enjoys writing about literature, languages and online resources for teachers, as well as writing for her site onlineteachingdegree.com.]
The ability to compete in a global market combined with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has created a heightened awareness of the importance of focused and intentional teaching. At the same time, schools all over the nation are losing funding due to budget cuts at the district, state, and federal levels. In fact, CNN Money reports that many teachers will spend up to $1,000 of their own money each year on school related items. With school districts freezing or cutting salaries due to their own financial constraints, supplementing existing curricula, as Online Teaching Degree points out, is becoming increasingly difficult for teachers. Fortunately, Costco has a lot of great educational tools that teachers can use to provide students with the enriched learning experience that so many parents and community members have come to expect.
Research conducted by SRI International for the U.S. Department of Education showed that when students use technology they take a more active role in their own learning. Teachers can easily find grade-level appropriate software at Costco for students to practice what they’ve learned. For example, Jumpstart software teaches keyboarding and typing, and reinforces math skills. The program also covers spelling, phonics, grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension. For less than twenty dollars, a teacher can set up a computer learning center which reinforces students’ literacy skills and gives them a much-needed opportunity to work on spelling. Jumpstart Advanced Preschool (Item #506533), Jumpstart Advanced Kindergarten (Item #506880), Jumpstart Advanced 1st Grade (Item #506874), and Jumpstart Advanced 2nd Grade (Item #506542) all sell for $19.99.
In addition, Costco has plenty of educational games, like The Learning Journey: ABC Melody Maker and Match It! Spelling Bundle (Item #627683, $32.99) , The Learning Journey: Shop and Learn Cash Register and Shopping Cart & Bundle (Item #627610, $39.99), that teach young children how to count and add money. Not only do these games put students in charge of their own learning, but they also can be invaluable as informal assessment tools. For instance, a teacher can sit with a student and ask to be shown how something works. Likewise, if students are using the games as part of their learning center time, the teacher can walk through the room observing students using them, recording anecdotal records for documentation of how they are progressing.
Educators can also use the supplies found at Costco to stay organized. Teachers who use hanging pocket charts but have nowhere to hang them need look no further. They can purchase a laundry sorter (such as the Seville Classics laundry sorter II with adjustable hanger bar (Item #206472), which sells for just $44.99.) with an adjustable hanger bar for those pocket charts. As it is a laundry sorter, any markers, sentence strips or word tiles will have a home in the bags hanging from a bar on the bottom. This keeps everything together while the wheels at the bottom of sorter allow for it to be rolled away into a corner when not in use.
The current economy has affected teachers’ bank accounts many times over. Families are unable to purchase basic school supplies for their children, schools no longer have the resources available to provide them and teachers are having to pick up the slack. While in the past many schools and parent-teacher organizations have been able to reimburse teachers for some educational supplies, recent budgets have made it so a lot of these schools and organizations can no longer afford to reimburse their teachers. Undoubtedly this can make teaching as expensive as it is rewarding. Luckily purchasing one of the many great educational tools Costco has to offer can help defray the cost, making students and wallets everywhere truly grateful.