Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting Ready for School

I've been outside with my dog for most of this summer, but yesterday, she snuffed out the first red leaves of autumn. It's no surprise: September is a little over a week away.

But after a wonderful summer, I'm thinking often of the moment in the "You've Got Mail" movie, when Tom Hanks writes about bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils. I have always loved new school supplies: clean, flat sheets of paper and fresh pens with their matching caps. They all say, I have my tools prepared. I will fill these pages with information and thoughts and responses to new challenges. I am ready.

There are some things to do, however, to be ready. And for my math class, this is what I would recommend:

• Plenty of pencils. A bouquet of pencils. Extra lead or a mini pencil sharpener.

• Erasers. The cap erasers are good for pencils, but a large eraser is better for a larger mistake.

• Binder with lined paper and graph paper. I suggest dividing it into four sections: homework, notes, classwork, and assessments.

• Folders to hold old worksheets and printed documents.

• Scientific calculator(s). Our favorite at school is the TI-30x.

• Assignment notebook.

The following supplies aren’t essential, but would be convenient:

• Markers or colored pencils.

• Dry erase markers/eraser.

• Ruler.

• Compass.

On the first day of school, students lay out their new tools very proudly. Their aspirations are obvious. This is going to be a better year. They are ready.

And so am I.