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July 29, 2021

7 School Supplies Teachers Must Have in Their Classroom

Cha-Ching! There goes the register adding up all the useless purchases I have made throughout my 15 years of teaching.

I have followed fads with things I thought I must have - toolboxes for school supplies, adorable miniature erasers, countless items from Target's dollar spot, and so much more!

Some items have been spectacular hits while most have just turned out to be duds. 

You don't need all fun new must have items. You do, however, need these 7 School Supplies! They are a must in my classroom and they will be in your room too!

*Disclaimer - This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on them will not cost you any money but may earn me a small commission if you make a purchase.

7 - Toolkit

This may seem like something that is frivolous and not necessary, but let me explain! A toolkit will help you with tasks like these:
  • Using pliers to pull a too short pencil from the pencil sharpener.
  • Using a screwdriver to fix a loose screw on a student's desk.
  • Measuring anything with the tape measure (or using in a math lesson).
  • Creating even bulletin boards with the level.
  • Having on hand whenever my Dad comes to visit. I always have something for him to fix!
My toolkit has also come in handy in an emergency! 

At the end of the school day a couple of years ago, a teacher was returning to her classroom to find the lock stuck. Since it was the end of the day, our regular maintenance guy was gone for the day. 

Instead, there were two cleaning ladies, our dean, and our principal all trying to open the door without success because they couldn't find the right tools. 

My trusty toolkit saved the day, opening the door to let everyone get their supplies to go home! 

I've now had my toolkit for about 10 years! I can't go back to not having it around! It's a must have!

6 - Pencil Sharpener

I am a bit of a snob when it comes to pencil sharpeners. The one pictured above is the ONLY one I use (and I use it for colored pencils too)! 

I have one for home and school. When the school one finally dies, I bring my rarely used one from home and get myself a new at home sharpener. I find that I only have to get a new sharpener every 2 and a 1/2 to 3 years. 

I know that some teachers do not let students use their pencil sharpeners. I don't have the time or energy to sharpen my students' pencils. Instead, I teach my students how to properly use this sharpener

When a pencil is sharpened, the sharpener makes a quieter sound. We all listen for this sound and then I have my students practice using it correctly. 

Helpful Tips: If your sharpener isn't working, try these things:
  • Make sure the cup for shavings is pushed in tightly. If it's not, it won't run.
  • Unplug the sharpener and put it over a garbage can. Bang on it a few times to loosen anything. Cheap pencils will leave remnants behind.
  • If a pencil is caught inside, unplug the sharpener. Use pliers to remove the pencil.

5 - Rocketbook

This may seem like a strange thing to include but trust me on this one. A Rocketbook is a reusable notebook. 

You can write down any notes you want and then erase it when you are finished. Plus you can use the app to send anything you write to the location of your choice - email, Google Drive, etc.

Here's why I recommend this as a must have for school... 
  • Instead of writing down all your to-do's on post-it notes, keep them in here. This way you won't lose them. 
  • When you go to a PD's or staff meetings, use this notebook for any information you need to remember.  Send your notes to the proper area of your Google Drive or email.

4 - Laminator

Are you even a teacher if you do not like paper stuck in a piece of plastic?

I love to use task cards, like obsessed with them! The problem is when they are just printed on regular paper, they do not last. Laminating them allows me to reuse them year after year.

Laminated items can also be written on with dry erase markers!

Just like the pencil sharpener, I have an at school and an at home laminator. It's easy to sit on the couch, binge watching a show on Netflix, and laminating everything I need.

3 - Fun Pens

Are you a flair pen or ink joy pen person? I am definitely a flair pen person.

Pens are an item that may seem frivolous. But, think about how much time you are going to spend grading papers. That is a thankless, tedious job! Having a favorite pen to use for grading helps to make this a little more palatable

Since my favorite color is purple, I ONLY use purple pens when grading. I find that flair pens tend to be smoother when writing. They are also nice and dark when I use my ELMO (it shows on any paper and writing in real time). Other pens tend to fade and not get seen on the board.

2 - BLUE Sticky Tack

Sticky Tack is used in lieu of tape to stick posters to the wall. 

Notice, I said that the Sticky Tack has to be blue (the other colors do not work as well). I have found that this sticky tack is the only thing that will really hold my posters up all school year

You use small amounts, roll it in a ball, and stick it all over the back of a poster. You may need to use a lot to keep it up, but once you invest in this, it will last for years. 

At the end of the school year, when removing posters, collect all the sticky tack and keep it in a sealed container. You can reuse this the following year. 

You may need to roll around the sticky tack in order for it to be tacky again. It really lasts!

1 - The Perfect Bag

My current favorite bag is this one. I never thought of myself as a backpack girl. I usually have preferred something that looked more professional.

The reason I finally switched are the pockets on the side. They are perfect for water bottles and coffee cups. I tend to drink a lot of beverages during the day! Having two spots for drinks is a MUST HAVE!

This bag also has a compartment for a laptop, locks if needed, and has other pockets for writing utensils and papers.

No matter what bag you choose, make sure to works for your needs!

What are your Must Have Back to School Supplies?

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Every classroom needs basic supplies like glue, pencils, and crayons. What about other necessary supplies? This blog post shares 7 Must-Have items in your classroom! These supplies are designed to make your teacher life run more smoothly! #confessionsofafrazzledteacher #teachers #schoolsupplies {Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade Educators}

April 18, 2021

24 Best Poetry Books for Kids + Free Downloadable List

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? It's the perfect opportunity to teach synonyms, antonyms, similes, metaphors, idioms, and so much more! Check out these books that are perfect to read to your children, students, or add to your personal/classroom library during the month (or any month). With these 24 Best Poetry Books for Kids, you can't go wrong!

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Using them will not cost you anything but will earn me a small commission if you make a purchase.

Poetry Anthologies

These anthologies are all by poets that your students should know about! The best part is that they are in anthologies geared for kids. I only wish there were more anthologies by female poets. At least I was able to include one of my favorites, Maya Angelou.

With these anthologies, I recommend only reading a couple of poems from each and then adding them to your classroom library. This way you get students interested in the poems and poets but don't get bogged down by just one poet.

By the way, having anthologies by different poets, makes comparing and contrasting poems/poets easy! 


Classic Poetry Books

These are my all time favorite books for students (and for me). I have to admit that I am not a real fan of poetry. However, these are the few books that caused me to love poetry before I grew to hate it in high school. (Side note: Please don't bog students down with so much poetry analysis that they start hating poetry like me!)

Let me recommend some specific poems that your students will love!
  • The New Kid on the Block - This isn't just the name of the poetry book. It's also the name of a poem on bullying and surprises.
  • Homework, Oh Homework - Even after all these years I still have the majority of this poem memorized. It's a definite crowd favorite!
  • Sick - Poor little Peggy Ann McKay is too sick to go to school...or is she.
  • Smart - Perfect for math teachers! This poem is best understood by students that understand the true value of money.

May I recommend the quieting technique my 5th grade teacher used on the entire school during every assembly. He would read these poems in his loud, booming voice. The entire school would sit enthralled and ready to go!



A haiku is a type of Japanese poetry. This poem has 3 lines with 17 syllables total. This is a great way to share a style of poetry that is different from what students are used to writing/listening to in class.


Literary Skills

Synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, onomatopoeia, and idioms are perfect skills to teach during National Poetry Month! These skills will make the students' poetry more vibrant and interesting to read. These particular books focus on these strategies in isolation so that you can use them in writing poems later on.



Picture Books Written as Poems

These books may look like picture books but are really one long poem. These types of books are great to read throughout the school year. This way, students are constantly exposed to poetry instead of it being considered only an April thing to read. Here are just a few.


Even if you aren't fond of poems, I still suggest searching for some favorites to share with students. Who knows, one of them may grow up to be a Poet Laureate because of the love of poetry found in your classroom!

With April being National Poetry Month, teachers should be on the lookout to identify some of the best anthologies and picture books to share in the classroom. This blog post contains 24 books, plus links to more, and a FREE downloadable guide. This way you always have the list at your fingertips. This list is best for primary and upper elementary teachers, teaching grades Kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade.