I received a message from a fellow teacher a few days ago. She was getting ready to attend her first Orton-Gillingham training session, and asking what supplies to pack in her bag. I was instantly transported back to when I first started. Those nostalgic thoughts of nervousness, excitement and the “Yikes! Can I really do this?!” feelings all came back. Taking the leap of faith into Orton-Gillingham certification training was the best move I made in my teaching career and I have never regretted one day of it. Once you have the training under your belt, you carry it with you for life, and make a serious difference in the lives of many children.
SOOO… What should you pack if you’re like the teacher who contacted me? I questioned my fellow group of OG teachers and we came up with an amazing list to share with all of you. Take a deep breath, squeeze a stress ball, grab a pen and a notebook, and then prepare to fuel up and make a trip to Staples or Office Max later, or order it all online like I do for most everything now. (Hello, Amazon Prime! 😉
Depending on the length of your training, some items may not be necessary, but this is a pretty fabulous list to follow.
- Binders: I needed several LARGE two inch binders. One was for all the handouts I received, and the other was for all the lesson plans I wrote that year I was in training.
- The official Orton-Gillingham Manual: This green book may be a prerequisite to order to take the class. Even if it’s not, buy it and read it anyway. It provides the background and foundation of all OG methodology and everyone should own a copy.
- Three hole punch: You never know if instructors will print out all those wonderful handouts.
- Writing utensils: Favorite pencils, pens, Flair pens, Sharpies, highlighters
- Lots of sticky notes in a variety sizes
- Index cards and a box to store them
- A small plastic box for storing phonogram cards: You may be getting a deck with all of the phonemes, morphemes and grapheme cards to use during tutoring sessions. If not, I have a set here.
- Plastic sheet protectors
- Page dividers
- Post-it flags or plastic tabs
- A notebook or the app Evernote for notetaking
- Red and green crayons: These are for creating bumpy words for reading red words, learned words or otherwise known as sight words.
- Label maker: You might want to start storing the materials you are given or create right away. Having a label maker may help you get organized, but isn’t essential.
- A laptop or iPad. One gal in my training typed all of her notes and lesson plans on her laptop. This worked very well for her. It’s not necessary, but if you’ve gone digital, go for it. Hopefully, the training site shares a WIFI password while you’re there. 🙂
OK! We’ve got your supply list covered. Now comes a few extras that may come in handy.
- Advil or Tylenol: Learning massive amounts of new information is enough for any teacher to feel headachy. Just think of all the amazing things your braining is holding! Whatever your pain reliever of choice, you may want to pack some.
- Snacks: Whether you are doing a two year, one year, one month, one week or weekend warrior training, stock up on snacks that will help sustain you and give you energy. Forget that vending machine down the hall. Plan ahead. You WILL get hungry! 🙂
- Favorite drinks: Raise your hand if you need a caffeine boost! I am not a coffee drinker in the afternoon or evening. My training was in the evening after a long day of teaching, and let me tell you. I WAS EXHAUSTED. So, a little jolt of caffeine from a diet Coke helped me. I always had water, too.
- Chocolate: Who doesn’t need a little extra sweetness in their life? And the best way to make some new O.G. BFFS? Pass around a bag of mini chocolate bars. They will LOVE you.
- Pillow: Some teachers decided carrying a small travel pillow to help their backs while sitting in those super soft, conference room chairs (Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice?) or worse, student chairs made training more comfortable.
I think I’ve covered the essentials and non-essentials. No! Wait! These are the non-tangible essentials you will need to pack. Are you ready?
- A sense of humor: This is important, If you don’t have one, please get one. Things will get intense at times. Depending on your training, you may be taking tests, a final, preparing for observations. And if you’re like I was, that will all be taking place while you’re teaching full time. Breath. And laugh. It’s all good. Trust me.
- An open mind: What’s that old saying? A mind is like a parachute. It only functions when it’s open. You are about to learn a way of teaching a child how to read that is highly effective. But it may be contrary to the way YOU were taught in your college teacher preparation courses or literacy workshops. Get ready for a whole new perspective. It’s awesome!
- Build friendships: Now I’m not saying you need to walk in and try and find the cool kids table. Forget that. They talk too much anyway and you have a lot of work to do. Find a table of people who seem friendly and genuinely interested in LEARNING O.G. Eye rollers, long sighing, frequent yawners… Scan the room. If there’s anyone appearing to be less than thrilled to be in the training, please sit elsewhere. Here’s the biggest reason: You will probably have to do a lot of collaborating, and table work with these people and then have to share with the class. Who wants to share with ole Debbie Downer “because my district is forcing me to come this training” to your right? Not me. So choose carefully.
- Share! Thankfully, most teachers are good at sharing. It comes with the territory. I met some wonderful women who shared so many ideas and resources, made extra copies, and best of all had a sense of camaraderie. Keep in touch with them. It’s a great way to network.
- Bring curiosity and wonder. Curious minds are willing to branch out, take risks and grow. This is the time to do it. Be sure to ask lots of questions. Chances are, there will be someone wondering the same thing.
- Celebrate tiny victories! Give yourself a pat on the back every time you complete a homework assignment, lesson plan, observation, or test. You’ll be one step closer to completing your training.
- Finally, keep in touch with me! I love helping teachers and their students. Email me, message me, bug me with questions, sign up for my newsletter, (It’s on the right sidebar. *wink*wink*) make requests, spread the word about my blog and my store. I’m here to help you succeed.