The start of the school year can be exciting and overwhelming for teachers. Whether this is your first teaching job or you are a veteran, starting with a blank slate and a fresh start in the fall can be fun because the possibilities are endless! I love saving a stash of money to purchase classroom supplies, and it’s even better when the school district pays for your teacher supplies. The cost of school supplies can add up quickly this time of year for every grade level, so being intentional about what you buy is vital. Read on for our recommendations:
Let’s get the essential items down first, as these are usually on every classroom supply list and should are purchased at the beginning of the year:
✅ Paper clips– invaluable for organizing student work, especially when you have multiple classes. Binder clips can help you bundle lesson plans or groups of classwork.
✅ Sticky notes– these can be used as reminders and as “tickets out the door” or for labeling groups in cooperative learning activities.
✅ File folders– for organizing your worksheets and lesson plan materials. You are in even better shape if you can access a filing cabinet! As a new teacher, I had to hunt for used furniture that other teachers didn’t want anymore, but it was a great way to get started.
✅ White board– little white boards are great for checking for understanding. You can ask students questions, and they hold up the answers on a white board.
✅ Dry erase markers– also known as expo markers- are necessary for your little white boards and your primary classroom white board if you have one (I hope you do because they are good stuff).
✅ Dry erase pockets– I cannot emphasize these teacher supplies enough! They save on paper and are great for even high school teachers because you can put a worksheet such as a KWL chart or an Exit Ticket, and students write on the pocket with their dry-erase markers. You can also put blank paper in them and use them as a whiteboard to check for understanding, group work, brainstorming, etc.
✅ Flair pens– why grade papers if you don’t have these? They make grading less of a drag.
✅ Electric pencil sharpeners– more than one is ideal because they are usually a hot commodity in the classroom.
✅ Stamp set– even older students need positive reinforcement. I use stamps to indicate that I checked bell work, and they can be fun ways to show approval for work done well. You could also get cheap stickers from Oriental Trading Company if you prefer.
✅ Fine tip Sharpie– I always use these to label folders, make signs for students, and more.
✅ Construction paper– for student projects and posters. You can get all different colors; in my experience, blue, white, and black were used the most.
✅ Binders– you may use binders more often if you prefer paper over online materials, but either way, it is a good idea to keep paper copies of worksheets and lessons in binders. You have backups if you ever move schools or an online tragedy happens where you lose your files.
✅ Stapler– get a good one, end of the story. These get so much use, and kids tend to slam down on them, so if you get a better quality one, it will last longer.
✅ Personal Laminator– Be able to laminate posters and signs yourself! This little laminator is under $100 and lasts through all your projects for years. We all know that laminated items last much longer than paper, so this should save you time and money.
Personal Care Items
Remember, take care of yourself! Teachers give so much to others; you must create a comfortable workplace situation. Here are a few personal care items to have in your classroom.
⭐ Lunch box– lunch boxes can be a status symbol in a school. You should look for a durable, washable one that lasts the school year.
⭐ Water Bottle– you need a nice, durable water bottle for teaching. It is your little best friend in the classroom. Throw a slice of lemon in it and treat yourself!
⭐ Paper towels– you won’t always remember a napkin and the school paper towels are the worst. I always keep my desk stocked with paper towels for random spills during snack times.
⭐ Stain stick– You will inevitably spill your coffee or drip your yogurt on your shirt. Having a Tide stick on your desk is a good idea and will help you clean up quickly and get back to it.
⭐ Teacher planner– may not be the definition of personal care, but this will help your mental health. There is nothing like a pen-and-paper planner to excite you about keeping track of your life! Erin Condren’s planners are the best. They are beautiful, customizable, and they last.
⭐ Hand sanitizer– even though we don’t have to worry as much about Covid anymore (thank goodness), you don’t usually have access to a sink to wash your hands during your busy schedule, so that hand sanitizer can help.
Decorating The Classroom
Beyond the school supply aisle, one must consider classroom decor.
⭐ Posters– if you have bare wall space, it’s time to think of posters, although I recommend leaving room for student work because students love to see their work displayed even if they groan about it, and parents love to see the work at Open House. Additionally, they impress administrators during observations and show that your students take ownership of their work in your class. Read more about classroom posters in our other blog post.
⭐ Bulletin board sets– for these classroom decorations, you can get whole sets for your bulletin boards on online teacher supply stores and Amazon.
⭐ Filing cabinets and other organizational furniture– you need a cabinet or shelving for storing student work and school supplies.
The Fun Stuff
In my personal opinion, if you can surround yourself in a classroom you love, it will spread to your students and help to create a positive classroom culture. Here are a few fun classroom items that may not be on your must-have school supply list but that you will love!
💡 Desk Dry Erase Whiteboard– a little desktop whiteboard for keeping to-do lists and notes. The top even lifts for a bit of storage! You can also put your cell phone at the top or an iPad. This is a new item for me, and I am so excited to start using it.
💡 Classroom Timer– you don’t have to be an elementary school teacher to use one. You can inform students they have a certain amount of time to finish something, which will help keep the time for you and them. These are also great for when you are doing a stations activity, and they have to move to the next station after a certain amount of time.
💡 Magnetic bookshelves– for your classroom library. You can put some of your favorite books here as inspiration or as a reminder of upcoming assignments. If you would rather little knick-knacks, you can use them for that as well.
💡 Magnetic white board clips– use these to clip up assignments, lost and found work, cards you received, or whatever you want with these cute magnets. You can also get circular white board magnets.
💡 Dry-erase wall calendar– keep track of students’ birthdays, vacations, or units on one of these. This can fill a wall near your desk and be a nice visual for you and your students.
💡 Fluorescent light covers– you spend so much time in your classroom, and fluorescent lights can cause headaches and eye strain. These covers make the classroom more inviting and safer for you and your students.
💡 Post It Easel Pad– these are great for station activities, brainstorming ideas in group projects, anchor charts, and many classroom activities.
💡 Flexible Seating- for those fidgety teens, grab a balance ball seat as a flexible option. There are many options for these, and they can become a favorite item for some of your students.
💡 Board Games- our school has “fun days” for students to play games and socialize. Having these on hand is also fun for after-school activities and downtime. My teens like Exploding Kittens, Checkers, Sorry, Battle Ship, and other traditional games.
When setting up a well-equipped classroom, essential teacher supplies are crucial in creating a conducive learning environment for students across different subjects. Each subject demands its tools, from math to science and literature to art. Fortunately, with the abundance of online resources and marketplaces, great deals on these supplies are just a click away.
From colorful posters and charts to engaging classroom games, incorporating vibrant colors and interactive elements can enhance the learning experience. Additionally, organizing and safeguarding important documents is essential for efficient teaching, and having sturdy file organizers and folders can make a world of difference. So, whether you’re searching for subject-specific resources or seeking classroom essentials, grab those vibrant supplies and find great deals to make teaching an enjoyable and practical experience.
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