One might think that ordering is such a simple process, but actually ordering becomes quite complex as you navigate changing school structure, tools and pedagogy.
Our ordering system includes a once-a-year big order and smaller orders throughout the year. We still cull through catalogues online ad off to choose best items for our classroom work. We meet as grade-level teams to determine the supplies that will support our collective program.
So today, while I visit a relative in the hospital, I'll bring my computer and search through numerous websites looking for numbers and prices for materials when the patient is sleeping. I'll also try to envision how our curriculum projects will be revised next year for best effect, and the materials that will support that revision. Our team met earlier in the week for a few hours to create an initial plan, and now each of us is finalizing our portion of the job.
As we use technology more and more, the ordering system will change. It will become a more fluid process of response, rather than a once-a-year endeavor. I liked the way ordering was done at the architectural firm I worked in so many years ago. There was one person who was a supply expert. He knew when and where to get the best deals, and also had his fingers on the changing pulse of supplies and materials. If you needed something, you could always call him and he knew how to guide you with choice, then he completed the rest of the purchasing requirements.
I'm sure that school systems ordering procedures vary. When I started in my system, teachers had little voice about the supplies that were ordered. At that time, curriculum leaders made all the decisions. Even though it takes more time, I like have some say in what we order. The process elicits a good discussion among the team members about priorities, materials use and pedagogy.
Thus, another piece of the education puzzle, supplies.