Photocopy limits are the pits! I once taught at a school with a ridiculously tight budget and found myself almost in tears when something copied out wrong - all those wasted copies! They can be particularly frustrating when we come across wonderful printable resources which we'd love to use with our students. Luckily, thanks to the help of some of my fellow 'Down Under' teachers, I've discovered some great workarounds which allow teachers to use the printables and stay within their copy budget.
1. Embrace the Laminator
Laminate, laminate, laminate! One of the best purchases I've made as a teacher is my own laminator. You can laminate fact sheets, task cards and task cards to be used over and over again. You can also laminate worksheets to use with whiteboard markers - allowing you to use them with different groups of students. (I particularly loved these as a substitute teacher!). One excellent tip from Mrs Manning's Classroom is to use magic erasers to help clean the laminated sheets when students are finished, while Teach Travel Learn recommends laminating a few extra for the inevitable use of permanent markers.
2. Laminator Alternatives
Don't have a laminator? Run out of sheets? Don't have the time to laminate everything? Tech Teacher Pto3 shared these awesome ideas with me - reusable write and wipe sleeves, where you just stick in whichever sheet you're working on (these would also work great to protect task sheets or fact sheets) and the DIY alternative, using plastic sheet protectors and folders.
3. Work in Groups
I love rotational groups. My photocopy budget does too! Breaking the class down into four or five groups allows you to change up what they're working on - some might be engaged in discussions, writing tasks, games or work with the teacher, while another group engages with the printed resources. Using the laminator or laminator alternatives, you can simply prepare enough printables for the group, then reuse them as the groups rotate around. If your students aren't great at returning the materials, nominate one student to be the collector or number the materials to allow students to keep track of what's coming back in.
4. Reduce and Share Space
Lots of printables take up a full page - this means it's time to make friends with the reducing option! Some printers will help you reduce sizes as you print, or you might like to use the features on the photocopier to reduce the sizes. When you have 2 reduced copies, you can print them side by side - effectively getting twice the copies! Little Library Learners suggested the use of miniature clipboards to hold the reduced copies - perfect for smaller hands!
5. Check The Work
Sadly, some printable resources just won't work with your photocopy budget, no matter how much you laminate, use group work or reduce. So how can you avoid buying resources which won't work for you? One thing you can do is read thoroughly through descriptions which come with the products - many include page counts and descriptions of the included features. Check out any previews which come with the product - many of them show you exactly what you're getting. Look for resources which include task cards which can be shared between students, files which can be displayed on devices or with projectors or other resources which can be reused within the same class or from year to year. When you're well informed about what you're purchasing, you'll feel good about what you're buying and using it in your classroom!
Looking for some resources with presentation files? These Getting Involved citizenship resources allow you to cut down on photocopying by providing a file which can be easily viewed with projectors or on devices. Get them at Galarious Goods today.