Thursday, January 3, 2013

Our New Brand Excellerations™ Launches for 2013!

We are so proud to introduce the Excellerations™ brand of classroom products! We’re the lucky folks who get to write this exciting blog post as two in a cast of many players involved in developing, designing, and delivering our newest brand: Excellerations™! We’re Loretta Ehrhart and Cory Smith, members of Discount School Supply’s fine product development team.

Developing this brand was a long and exciting process that started over two years ago. With Excellerations™ we researched and developed creative new product solutions for math, science, language, dramatic play, active play and more. We listened to parents and teachers and improved on classroom favorites you have loved for years. As always, we bring them to you priced right for your budget!

Excellerations™ joins Colorations® and BioColor® in a growing brand family – all available exclusively from Discount School Supply®. Look for the Excellerations™ logo next to products throughout our new catalog. When you find one, you will know you can trust that product’s high quality and great value, just as you do with our other brands.
Like our other brands, we work to make Excellerations™ product embody our 4-point checklist before earning this brand name. Those four measures are:

1. Designed to Inspire Children to Excel! Excellerations™ products must be creative and innovative. Each item must be visually exciting and offer a hands-on tactile appeal.

2. High-Quality! Inspired ideas should also be durable enough to last a long time, so each Excellerations™ product is manufactured and designed to incite discovery and survive safe daily use in your classroom.

3. A Good Value! Excellerations™ is a line of high quality products at affordable prices with value-added extras to stretch your dollars. Helpful teacher’s guides highlight the versatility of our products and list the standards they address. Their clear instructions and extended enrichment activities have been written by education experts just like you!

4. Convenience! Often overlooked by so many classroom product manufacturers (who rely on teachers’ creative use of shoeboxes), our products are organized and packaged in reusable bags or plastic bins, or arrive to you in sturdy storage boxes. Plus, we clearly define the recommended ages and grades for all of our products, both in the catalog, on the web and on the package.

Seaking of packaging, every great product idea needs to be packaged just right to make a strong and lasting statement. Anyone on the Excellerations™ brand development team will tell you that watching our Art Director present dozens of creative logo and packaging ideas week after week was an enjoyable part of the process for us. In the end the ‘futuristic teacher pointing to floating orbs of knowledge’ logo design was selected. We sure hope you like it too!

It was so touching when we sent the new logo out to all of our manufacturing partners across the globe, and we received some very special replies. One colleague overseas wrote back, “Your logo character is so loveable! We wish it much good luck for many years!”

Thanks for reading this blog entry. If you visit right now you can view our entire line of Excellerations™ brand products all together in one place. Our purchasing department has done such a great job coordinating product delivery that we expect to launch well over 100 Excellerations™ products in January! Keep checking back every so often to see our new brand expand!

When you have a choice, please choose Excellerations™ products with the adorable ‘futuristic teacher’ logo and join Discount School Supply® in inspiring children to excel!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Singing Tree Marble Run!

Greetings! It is Barbara Riffert Glick the Central California Account Manager at Discount School Supply®. This is the time of the year that many of us are starting to think about moving learning environments inside and about new wonderful items to keep the children engaged. The Singing Tree Marble Run (SINGTREE) from Discount School Supply® is a wonderful product that can be used in the home as well as the classroom.

Children will enjoy the sturdy wood construction of the colorful tree. As wooden balls wind down along its branches, the “singing tree” creates tones similar to those of a vibraphone or xylophone, which is so much more calming than the sound of metal instruments. The wooden balls included with the tree are of different sizes, so they cause tonal changes. Children may also try different rolling objects to create experiments with sound.

When we display the Singing Tree Marble Run in the Discount School Supply® booth at early education conferences, I love watching teachers gather around it. They really enjoy watching and listening to the tree. And in just the same way, the Singing Tree fosters social interaction among children. This is one of those great gathering devices for children of different ages, sizes and developmental levels who can all play together and have a wonderful experience. In addition to its music, the Singing Tree Marble Run offers learning opportunities about color, gravity, and cause and effect as it develops fine motor and listening skills.

Please see the video below for more information!

The Singing Tree Marble Run is in the Manipulatives section of the Discount School Supply® catalog, and it’s in the Music Domain in the Discount School Supply Head Start catalog. I hope you’ll look for it, and I’d love to hear about your experiences with this product or any others you choose from Discount School Supply.

* originally published on 4/5/12

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Our Center Board in Action!

Hi! My name is Loretta Ehrhart, and I develop products for Discount School Supply®. My two children aged 2 and 6 have served as an unwitting focus group over the years. Countless prototypes and samples from “Mommy’s office” have been tested and tried out and refined with their input.

I’m always so pleased to see one of the finished products that I developed go on to be used in my own children’s classrooms. About a year ago I finished work on Our Center Board (CNTBOARD). It’s a great tool to help teachers manage center time in the classroom; but, even better, it allows the children to become involved in managing themselves, too. In August, my older son Rainier started first grade. At back-to-school night, his teacher explained that she sets up learning centers and schedules a few times a week for the children to work independently at each of the centers. The centers reinforce daily lessons in math, reading, spelling and writing.
When I asked her how the children know where to go and what to do, I was so pleased to hear that she uses Our Center Board to help her! During the first week of school, she took a photo of each child, and put each child’s photo into one of the red photo pouches included with the product.

She hung the Our Center Board in a central location and explained its use to the children. The children know which centers are open by checking to see which illustrated Center Cards are in the pockets. If there is limited seating or access, the teacher will place a specific number of yellow sticky “dots” under the appropriate center card. The children’s photos are lined up along the bottom of the chart, easy for them to access. They select their red photo pouch and place it under the Center Card for the center they wish to visit. If time allows for multiple visits, they can move their photo to another place on the board to indicate where they are. The teacher and the children can see at a glance which centers are full and which have room for more.

The teacher reported that, after a day or two, they all got to know the rules and the routine and can now function quite well and very independently, practicing skills like self-regulation and time management.

Next, she plans to take photos of her centers and use them in Our Center Board in place of the generic illustrated cards. That way she will make Our Center Board that much more meaningful to the children and distinctively “Ours.”.

I look forward to visiting Rainier’s classroom soon to observe Our Center Board in action.

Be sure to watch the video below for more information!
* originally published on 3/22/12

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Insta-Snow® is Great for Indoor Activities!

Hello. I’m Regina Eardley, Discount School Supply® Account Manager for South Texas. I’ve been working with children and art for more than 15 years, and I have found many art materials that children really enjoy. But I think that Insta-Snow® creates Insta-Fun!

Even if the weather outside isn’t frightful, you will find Insta-Snow® (SNO) delightful! As an educator I have found so many wonderful things to do with this product. And it’s something that can be adaptable for students of most ages and abilities.
This polymer product comes in a powder form and when mixed with water grows to more than one hundred times its size to create a wonderful sensory product with the look and feel of real snow. I use the twist-top Nancy™ bottles (NANTWS) filled with approximately 4 ounces of cold water and about ½ scoop of the powder to produce about two cups of snow. You can use water at room temperature, but if you use cold water it really feels like snow. I love the reaction of someone touching it for the first time. I hear comments like, “Oh, it’s really cold to the touch!” or “It really feels like snow!”

There are many fun ways to incorporate Insta-Snow® into your daily lessons. I love lessons that can cross curriculum areas such as math, science, language arts, geography and art. Here are some of the things I have done with students. To begin, I have two students paired at a 14” x 8 1/2” tub. I like the translucent bins with lids in clear (BBCL, BBLCL) or aqua (BBCA, BBLCA). One student will measure out 1/4 scoop of Insta-Snow® powder. The second student will hold his hands cupped together over the bin. The powder is poured into the second student’s hands along with about 2 ounces of water from the twist-top Nancy™ bottle. After the snow has formed, we repeat the process, allowing the students to switch roles. This gives each student an opportunity to measure the substance and feel the chemical change taking place in her hands. When both students have completed the process, I have them repeat it. But this time, instead of using plain cold water in the Nancy™ bottles, fill them with one of two primary colors of Liquid Watercolor™: red, blue, or yellow. For example, one student may use blue and the other student may use yellow. When they each add their colors, the snow will begin to turn green because blue and yellow make green. They have just completed both a science lesson on chemical change and an art lesson on color-mixing.

We take the project a step further by putting a lid on the container. The bins have a nice slot for an index card, so I like to label the bins with the student’s name and the date on which we did the project. We set the bins on a shelf in the room, and each day we graph how long it takes to begin to see condensation on the lid. We discuss absorption and how the water is separating from the powder. This is a great way to introduce academic language and teach basic math graphing skills.

During the weeks we are watching the condensation, we may also introduce a literacy lesson and read stories with a snowy setting or write a story or poem about snow. We many also look at our classroom maps or globes and discuss regions that get snowfall and those that don’t.

In South Texas, my students don’t see snow frequently, and, if they do, it is usually very short-lived. This product offers an exciting, interactive way to experience snow, and it is an opportunity to develop knowledge across the curriculum. Insta-Snow® comes in two economical sizes including a 100 gram jar or a 454 gram class size, and it can be found in the science section of our catalog or on our website at

So, if you are looking for a great hands-on activity for the classroom, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…Insta-Snow®, that is! Your students will love it.

* originally published on 1/12/12

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Colorations® Wheat and Gluten Free Dough Helps Children with Food Allergies!

Hi! My name is Allison Craig, I am the Customer Product Advisor, and I have worked at Discount School Supply® for 16 years.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my position is to help parents and caregivers find products to meet their child’s needs due to allergies.

According to the Asthma, Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 6% of allergy sufferers have food/drug allergies as their primary allergy. Food allergy is more common among children than adults, and 90% of all food allergy reactions are caused by only eight foods: milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.

Discount School Supply® has many products to meet the needs of children with food allergies. Discover them all on the Discount School Supply® website at Common-Allergen-Free products.

My personal favorite allergen-free product is Colorations® Wheat & Gluten-Free Dough (COLORDO). It comes in a 5 ½ lb. bucket with eight individually-wrapped, assorted vibrant colors. It is soft, pliable, long-lasting, easy to clean up, and it works well with all of our clay tools.

Colorations® Wheat & Gluten Free Dough is perfect for the classroom or at home. It can be used with children young and older, so, no matter the age, it provides hours of fun for all. Plus, it’s so affordable! You just can’t go wrong with this great dough. It’s an excellent sensory tool, and it’s great for developing fine motor skills. It also promotes problem-solving and social skills when children are sitting at the table together, sharing ideas and discussing creative options.

So sit down and have some fun with our Colorations® Wheat & Gluten-Free Dough!

Be sure to visit us online at Discount School Supply® and check out all of our Common-Allergen-Free products.

Watch our video for more information:
* originally published on 3/8/2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sunprint® Kit to the Rescue!

Hi, I’m Laurel Johnston of the Discount School Supply® Sales team. I have had a great time playing with so many of our amazing products, but one of my favorites is the Discount School Supply® Sunprint® Kit (SUNPRINT).

A friend of mine -- who happens to be a curriculum developer -- was looking for an activity to accompany a science lesson about sunlight. She needed the activity to be hands-on and something that a group of children of multiple ages could enjoy. Many activities she researched were too complex for younger kids; however, she wanted the activity to challenge older kids as well as younger ones, so it couldn’t be too simplistic. She also wanted something eco-friendly and low-mess since she wanted to encourage teachers to complete the activity outside in a natural setting. She was stumped.

Discount School Supply® to the rescue! I suggested she try our Sunprint® Kit. It’s super easy to use for children of all abilities, exciting for people of all ages, and a great, no-mess activity.

The kit comes with light-sensitive paper that children can use to create interesting and one-of-a-kind prints. They can use items from nature, found items, paper cut outs or any favorite object to place onto the special paper. Exposing the paper to sunlight for a few minutes will create a reaction on the areas of the paper where there is no object covering it. The paper will turn white, and, after rinsing with water, the prints will appear. Anywhere an object touched the paper (and blocked the sunlight) the image will appear! This proved to be a great science activity that teachers could use in classrooms and with children of many ages.

Check out this video about this great product and to see more ideas for cool creations kids can make with the Sunprint® Kit available at Discount School Supply®.

* originally published on 2/23/12

Monday, October 22, 2012

Visit Booth # 1720 at NAEYC®!

Discount School Supply® is a proud sponsor of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC®) and this time of year we are busy preparing for the NAEYC Annual Conference & Expo which takes place Nov. 7-10 in Atlanta, GA. Thousands of early childhood professionals will attend the conference to attend workshops, listen to experts in the field and to visit the display booths of early childhood supply vendors and other companies that serve the education marketplace. Our booth (#1720) will have free crafts, a “Wheel of Fun” with amazing prizes, new products on display, contest entries and friendly Discount School Supply® staff ready to answer any questions and listen to educators’ supply needs.

All of the elements in our huge Discount School Supply® booth take a lot of coordination and planning to be sure that everything makes it to the conference center on time, and that all booth areas have all the items they need for a successful show. NAEYC® conference time is an especially busy time for the departments who coordinate all of the booth elements: Brand Marketing, Graphics, Merchandising, Sales, Operations, and, of course, the intrepid travel coordinator who handles travel, lodging and unexpected crises for all of us! These crews work day and night to be sure everything for our booth gets set up as planned, and that the conference runs smoothly.

We hope you'll stop by the Discount School Supply® booth #1720 where we'll showcase a wide variety of early childhood educational products. In our booth you can explore fun-filled arts and crafts activities at our make-and-take tables, spin the ever-popular "Wheel of Fun" to win terrific prizes and enter a contest to win your choice of an Angeles® crib or MyRider® trike. Each day we'll have educational consultant Sharron Krull on hand to get everyone moving with her “Circle Time” demonstrations! While at our booth, be sure to check out our popular furniture collections and browse our innovative products in Arts & Crafts, Active Play, Curriculum, Special Needs, Infant & Toddler and more!

We're looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta!