We all have our preferences when it comes to school supplies. Composition notebooks or spiral bound... Backpack or messenger bag... Solid plastic pencil case or fabric... Wooden or mechanical pencils... Lunchboxes: patterned or plain, padded or plastic... As a teacher, stocking the treasure chest with fun and inexpensive school supplies was an important part of my classroom management strategy. Once a month, students in my classes who followed the following rules could grab something from the treasure chest:
Explaining that the rewards in the chest were a symbolic representation of my appreciation for their behavior, it was still important that these school supplies were somewhat cool. Team colors or grayscale palettes were usually safe choices for folders, and of course I got a lot with various comics characters. What I can’t resist however, since the days of color-coding the subjects in my binder with different ridiculously bright shades of looseleaf, is paper in any shade of neon. Classic examples of this are the bulletin boards from my time as a 4th grade teacher. For this one students loved picking a neon color for the final draft of their essays on the terrarium we made together, and as you can see I kept neon stickers and printer paper on hand in the classroom:
Markers, highlighters and sticky notes are expected to pop in neon, however I would also stock my treasure chest with rulers, compasses and protractors in these bright colors. This fall, there are additional items one might consider including like stress balls, hand sanitizer holders and face masks.
Regarding my love of neon paper and notebooks, with the shift to laptops and digital learning, writing reports and assignments on a screen is becoming a norm. However, paper products are still necessary - for doodling during lectures if nothing else! Considering the social and emotional needs of kids this fall, a journal or diary for personal reflection is a great supply to add to the school supply or treasure chest inventory. Neon colors and interesting textures will make holding the journal itself a tactile experience, and a lock and key feature reinforces that the purpose of the writing inside is personal.
Finally, neon colors are often used in book design to catch a reader’s eye. When setting up the classroom or school library, make sure to include more than a few covers with highlighter palettes in thematic book displays. For modern reprints of classic books, and reference materials like dictionaries and encyclopedias, consider getting the ones with colorful covers:
Neon colors are extremely bright and vivid "representations of light", just like the students who are returning to school this fall. Reflect their positive energy with school books and supplies that will also bring life to the classroom. The importance of neon cannot be overstated!