According to the lengthy questionaire (which for the record I did complete truthfully), I was perfect for not one, but two job titles.
I could have been a beautician or a forest ranger.
Let me repeat that..
or a forest ranger!
Considering that I went through most of high school with my hair in a pony tail and have made it my goal to avoid nature as much as possible, I opted to go with what I had known I would do since I was in 2nd grade and checked of “education” in the “desired major box” on my college applications.
I did have a runner-up career in my mind though: advertising
I thought it would be fun to write jingles and funny commercials. I also enjoy marketing and sales. I was the type of kid who set sales quotas on my Girl Scout cookie sales and attempted to open many a lemonade business.
So you can imagine how serious I take my monthly Scholastic orders. I get giddy when the colorful, new catalogs arrive. I flip through them over and over like a young kid with the Toys R Us catalog in December. I circle. I highlight. I add post-its to mark selections.
Scholastic is great for building your class library for little or no money. When the students place orders, you earn bonus points which can be used to get books, CDs, and software. Many of you are already familiar with Scholastic so I’ll cut to the tips on how to increase your orders and thus earn more bonus points:
The key is getting the students to look at the catalog so that they don’t just get discarded. I have created several activities that allow them to practice language arts and math skills using the catalogs. This greatly increases the amount of books my class orders because it generates interest in the books. The activities are also excellent to use as time fillers when you have a sub or if you find yourself with a few minutes to spare. The pages make great homework assignments too. I just added the complete set to my online store. For only $3.00...the price of a cup of coffee...you could bring quality literature to the homes of deserving students and earn yourself a boatload of bonus points as a result.
See, I told you I was meant for sales and marketing ;P
Place orders for other classrooms. Some teachers don’t want to deal with the process of handling book orders. I’m not going to lie, there is work involved. Since I’m processing orders already, it isn’t a big deal to handle other classroom orders as well. I asked around at school and handle the book orders for 3 other classes in addition to my own.
Team up with another class. A couple of years ago, they were offering 6000 bonus points if you submitted 200.00 in orders. I teamed up with another teacher, combined our student orders and split the bonus points.
Sign up for the online ordering option for parents. They can use their credit card to order and since people are so comfortable with online shopping these days it is a welcome option to many.
“Market” the books. If there is a book available that I really enjoy, I will read it to the class prior to sending out the catalogs. This works well for series also. Reading one book in a series will encourage students to be interested in other books. Ditto for authors.
Send out reminders and request that parents let you know if they are planning to place an order or not. This helps organizationally because a child will always say, “I’m bringing it in tomorrow.” Knowing if there is an intent to order is helpful. It also heightens the awareness of the fact that the catalog exists. I print labels and stick them into the communication folder.
Create a list of recommended titles and send it home with the catalog. Only list quality literature that you do truly support or feel will be useful to the class.
Offer to play the role of “Santa.” I send home a note with the November and December order that reminds the parents that books make great gifts. I let them know that I will glady hold onto the items when they come in and let them secretly pick them up so that they may give them as gifts to their child. I don’t typically send home the software catalogs, but in November I send home a packet of the Click catalogs from Sept through December for this purpose.
Let the class pick out books to add to the class library. I give the children time to look through the catalog and encourage them to write a persuasive letter to the class about why they think a certain book should be added. The class then votes on the books and I purchase the top choices for the library. This typically creates added interest and increased orders on those titles.