As teachers, we LOVE school supplies! Today I’m sharing 10 classroom supplies I stock up on EVERY single year. I’m also going to share why I order them and how I use them!
In my district, we are fortunate enough to get a small classroom budget that we can use to order supplies with for next school year. Usually it is somewhere around $75-$120 dollars. (It varies each year depending on the annual fiscal budget for the district.) Now I know that talking about budgets and school supplies can be a trigger for a LOT of heated opinions and anger. After all, no other profession expects employees to pay out-of-pocket for materials and resources. Please understand that by writing this post, I’m not advocating for that. However, if you’re like me, you do order and spend some money on things you need to help your year run smoothly. Teaching is my passion, and if something is going to make my life easier and less stressful…I’m here for it! So, let’s dive in! Here are 10 supplies I order EVERY SINGLE YEAR with my classroom budget.
Every spring, I buy a roll of black felt and I cut them into squares. We use these as ERASERS for our dry-erase markers! I know there are tons of creative ideas that teachers use for erasers. Socks, facial pads, and gloves are all popular. But I have found black felt to be THE BEST when it comes to expo marker erasers. Why?
- They lay FLAT and can be stored inside sheet protectors, folders, and school supply boxes without taking up any room. All of my No Prep Intervention Binders have felt squares inside of the sheet protectors. Storage is so easy.
- Buying black felt means that the markers never make them look dirty and gross.
- It’s cheap. Like, really cheap. The roll I buy that I listed below will make tons of erasers.
- Did I mention it lays flat?! (This is by far, the best reason!)
The following blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. This just means my blog receives a small compensation if you purchase any of these classroom supplies using these links, but don’t worry- there is absolutely no extra cost to you! I hope you find the links helpful and convenient!
Finger Lights for Engagement
I use these little novelty finger lights in so many ways every year. If you’ve taken a small group reading session from me in one of my professional development workshops, you’ve seen these in action! Students can use the lights to point to words and to zoom in on parts of words that they know. We also have something called “Flashlight Fridays” in my classroom. On Fridays, students can use their finger light during independent reading as they track text. I turn all of the lights off and close the blinds in our classroom. These little neon finger lights make it look like a reading disco party in our room! The kids love them and they are CHEAP. The novelty of the finger lights add a lot of fun to our school year.
This may seem like a given, but sheet protectors are lifesavers for interactive engagement. They can make any worksheet or template reusable, and what teacher doesn’t love that? Many teachers who use my No Prep Reading Intervention Binder and No Prep Math Intervention Binder ask me which sheet protectors I like to use when I assemble the binders. I always tell them, “The cheap sheet protectors from Amazon!” They wipe off nicely and they’re cost-effective. In addition, the felt erasers easily slip right into the top pocket so that we always have what we need on hand.
Magnet circles are one of my must-have purchases every year. I love making things magnetic for my classroom as much as possible! In the picture above, I stuck magnet circles to the back of our stop and jot posters and our number talk posters. I can easily stick them up in front of the classroom on my whiteboard, move them to the back whiteboard during small-groups if needed, and even stick them onto my whole-group easel during carpet time. I also use the magnet circles to make our sight word cards magnetic. In this way, I can move them around the room without having to re-assemble them with tape or sticky tack.
Cheap Sticky Notes
We use sticky notes all.the.time. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to waste money on the name-brand stuff. I like to order these brightly colored sticky notes. They work, and they’re cheap! We use TOO MANY of them throughout the year. My students keep a pad of sticky notes in their book bins so that they can respond to the text when they stop and jot. My Read and Think pack contains comprehension and response templates that I use to print directly onto the sticky notes, like in the picture above. It helps them to monitor their thinking and understanding, as well as develop their written response skills. My tip for sticky note pads? Split them in half or even in thirds before you pass out a pad of sticky notes to each student! You’ll double or even triple your supply, and your students won’t waste them.
Bright Cardstock for Decor
I buy the same colors of cardstock every year- not just to print resources onto, but also to decorate with! I laminated blank sheets of cardstock and used them to create this student display board pictured above. I love the vibrant colors of Astrobrights and the way it brightens up my room!
I know it’s 2021, and everyone has fallen in love with all things digital…but I will forever be a hands-on, tactile teacher as LONG as I can! Sentence strips are a classic school supply that I continue to use year after year! Even though teachers can display the copy of my weekly vocabulary passages to students using their document camera, I personally love writing the passages on sentence strips. This allows my students to directly interact with the words during our lessons. I also love that by using sentence strips, we can swap the vocabulary words out with synonyms and antonyms and see how it changes the passage! These brightly colored sentence strips that I linked below are my favorite because the colors are vibrant! In addition to using sentence strips for my vocabulary lessons, I also use them for word cards by cutting them in half or into fourths.
As a primary teacher, I always think it’s a good idea to keep a class supply of playdough on hand. It can be used for word work activities, brain bins, independent play, indoor recess, or even as a stress reliever for some students! This value pack listed below allows each child to have their own container, which is especially necessary right now during the pandemic. Every year, I order a new class set that we always get a lot of use out of throughout the school year!
Book Bin Pencils
My students bring their own pencils as part of their school supply list every fall. However, one management tip for the first day of school is to have something for students to start doing immediately when they arrive. I’m for anything that saves me time, so I always start students off with one of these black, pre-sharpened Ticonderoga pencils on Day 1. After we put our school supplies away later in the day, these black pencils go into their book bins to use during independent reading time. I like the pencils in their book bins to be a distinct color. I can tell students to “hold up your reading pencil” and they know exactly what to look for in order to be ready for our lesson.
My students bring thick dry-erase markers as part of their school supply list. However, for writing purposes, phonics, and word work time, I prefer the fine-tip markers. The fine-tip markers allow them to practice their letter formation with a tool that more closely resembles the thickness of a pencil. I’ve also learned throughout my years that buying off-brand or generic markers for the sake of saving money, doesn’t work out. They ALWAYS dry out faster. (New teachers, take note!) Therefore, I always buy this bulk set of fine-tip EXPO markers. We use them for resources like my Interactive Writing Helpers, which students use during independent writing time, and when they’re working on intervention activities such as my phonics binders.
10 Classroom Supplies I Love
Did you see a classroom supply that you haven’t ordered or used yet? I hope this gave you a glimpse into some small classroom supplies that can make a big difference when it comes to prepping for the school year. None of the supplies listed above are expensive, but they can help students to engage with resources and make your classroom life a little easier. By stocking up on these 10 classroom supplies in the spring, I can have them ready to prep and use in the fall.
Feel free to use the image below to save this blog post on Pinterest, share it with a colleague or to save and refer back to it at a later time. If you saw any resources in the photographs above that were of interest to you, you can find them in my TeachersPayTeachers shop, Miss DeCarbo. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions, or send me a DM on Instagram @missdecarbo.