August 6, 2019

7 Must Have Back to School Supplies

7 Must Have Back to School Supplies

Throughout my years of teaching, it feels like I have bought out entire stores! Luckily, I have also been lucky enough to be given items from generous people to supplement my classroom needs. Throughout this time, I have come to rely on some items that I cannot live without! 

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7 - Toolkit





This may seem like something that is frivolous and not necessary, but let me explain! My toolkit comes in handy for day to day tasks like 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 creating level bulletin boards with the level.

My toolkit has also come in handy in an emergency! At the end of the school day, 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 5 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! 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 1 and a 1/2 to 2 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. It's actually very rare to have issues with this sharpener (at least in my opinion).


5 - Popsicle Sticks





I use Popsicle sticks for all sorts of things in my room. I use them to write all my students' names and pull sticks for grouping students or when I need an answer to a question.

Popsicle sticks are also great for creating cheap Kaboom games. Kaboom is a fun game that can be used in centers, small groups, or 1:1. Click HERE to see how to make a Kaboom game


4 - A Great Pair of Scissors




This seems like a silly thing to include on my list. When you are making bulletin board displays or need to cut anything out, you want a quality pair. It's amazing how much time and energy I have wasted on a horrible pair of scissors. Now I have a couple of pairs of great scissors in different areas of my classroom. They are ready to go anytime I need them.


3 - Fun Pens





Pens are another item that may seem frivolous. 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 have also jumped on the flair pen bandwagon. I find that flair pens tend to be smoother when writing. They are also nice and dark when I use my ELMO (it shows 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 - Books



          

I am OBSESSED with books. Right now, my classroom has over 3,000 books! Is it enough? No way! I currently have boxes of books at home that I have to get ready for my classroom library. My only problem is finding room to store all of these books. I wish my classroom were larger so then I could add thousands more!

I don't expect everyone to be as crazy about books as me. However, I think that every classroom needs books. It isn't always cheap but it's worth it. Here are some quick ways to get books into your classroom: ask family/friends for donations, go to garage sales/thrift stores, use Scholastic, and create a Donors Choose project (Click HERE to see my post on How to Get Your Donors Choose Project Funded!).

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What are your Must Have Back to School Supplies?

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