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Strange school-supply lists explained
Bingo dabbers, Playdough and Ziplocks on classroom wish lists

Evan Kiyoshi French
Northern News Services
Friday, August 21, 2015

The principal of Mildred Hall School said her students won't, afterall, need to bring boxes of tissues when the school year begins, despite a school-supplies list calling for it.

NNSL photo/graphic

Bingo dabbers are among the stranger items on supply lists for students heading back to city schools at the end of the month. - Evan Kiyoshi French/NNSL photo

Katey Simmons, said Mildred Hall School's supply list - which is posted alongside lists for the other Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (Yk1) schools, and includes boxes of facial tissue as necessary school supplies - needs to be updated to reflect what students actually need.

"We don't need tissues really," said Simmons. "Some of these lists have to be revamped.

"I think at the end of the year last year we decided that this year we'd be going through the lists and making sure that all the schools are asking for reasonable things."

Some of the lists have been around a long time, said Simmons, and parents might be scratching their heads wondering what some of the stranger items are for. Students at Range Lake North School are asked to bring two bingo dabbers, Mildred Hall School students need to have pocket portfolios, a variety of Ziploc baggies and a can of Playdough.

Simmons said the pocket portfolios - duotangs with little pockets in them - are needed to help students stay organized.

"It's easy for the students to put work sheets in, or to keep important things," she said, adding that exactly what they'll be used for is up to the teachers.

Grade 1 students at the school are asked to bring three large and three small Ziploc baggies. Simmons said the baggies aren't for keeping leftover food, but rather protecting books.

"It's for their at-home reading," she said. "They get little books here, they put them in them so they don't get damaged."

Playdough, another listed requirement for the Grade 1 students, will be used in sculpting and for teaching math, said Simmons.

Courtney Lizotte, principal at Range Lake North School, said kindergartners are asked to bring a pair of bingo dabbers, which they'll use in learning how to write.

Working in a different medium helps students memorize the alphabet, she said.

"It's just a different way of being able to write their letters - it's sensory," she said. "It's a way of showing their understanding of what a certain letter might look like."

Lizotte said the request for tissues - which appears on nearly all of the lists - are something the schools have always asked students to bring, since germs are a constant concern.

"The school supplies facial tissue as well," she said.

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