Essential Teacher Supplies Every Classroom Needs

Published: 29th June 2010
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Surviving the school year and getting the most out of the time that you have with your students is more easily accomplished when you have the classroom essentials needed to "get the job done." Let's look at the essentials that every teacher must have in the classroom.

Basic Supplies

All teachers should have some basic supplies in the classroom for various projects that pop up during the year. And if you've been teaching very long at all, you already know that not all kids will come prepared for class with the right supplies - so having some extras on hand is important. Keep a stock of pencils, both standard and colored, as well as pens, markers, crayons, notebook paper (loose leaf), index cards, tape, folders, notebooks, erasers, scissors, and construction paper. These are just a few of the basic supplies you'll need; as time progresses, it's a certainty that you'll add to this basic list according to your classroom needs. A great time to buy these types of supplies is the same time that your students purchase their supplies - right before school starts - and then again in early October when the back-to-school sales are coming to an end and retailers are looking to get rid of carryover inventory.

Filing Cabinets and Boxes

Even in the most spacious classroom, art projects, holiday projects, books and other supplies can really stack up fast. Filing cabinets, boxes, and plastic storage bins, tubs, or totes will come in handy. Be sure to label each storage box with the name of the project or the name of the unit that the contents relate to. You might also consider keeping a box for each student for projects that are completed throughout the year.

Printable Information

There are various types of printable information that you'll want to keep on file for your classroom, including:
  • Classroom rules. Establishing order on the first day of school is important. Keep your list of classroom rules to less than five general rules so that students can easily remember them.
  • Introductory packet for new students. Inevitably, you will receive new students into your classroom after the school year is underway. Having an introductory packet of information for new students can make the transition easier. Include things like your classroom rules, procedures, and the school handbook - and then add a classroom calendar and list of current assignments before giving the packet to the new student.
  • Index bio on each child. At the beginning of each year, have each child fill out a simple index card that contains vital information that you may need - such as name, address, phone number, parents names, hobbies, and things that the child wants you to know about them. While the school office will have much of this information on hand, having your own copy can make things easier when you need to contact a parent, etc.
Substitute Teacher Packets

Early in the year, create a substitute teacher binder or folder of information that a substitute will find useful in the event that you need to be absent from school. In this binder or folder, include class lists, seating charts, class schedules, fire drill rules, classroom rules, office procedures, and other information that you think would make the substitute teacher's job easier. You can also use this folder to hold lesson plans for the days that you have planned to take off - and include worksheets or other material for the class to complete while you're gone.

Awards and Certificates

Praise is a great incentive for students to do well, and having some awards and certificates ready to hand out at a moment's notice can help to keep students motivated. You can print awards and certificates online or purchase pre-printed versions at many teacher supply stores. You should also have some reward stickers to place on papers that are graded.

Classroom Library

Build a library for your classroom filled with age appropriate books, magazines and newspapers. A classroom library encourages your students to spend their spare time reading. Be sure to write your name on all of your classroom library materials to avoid any confusion with the school library, or purchase some preprinted labels to get the job done faster. A great way to build your classroom library faster is to send home book orders with your students. Most companies that participate in book orders, like Scholastic, for example, will give your classroom a certain number of free books with every order.

Most Important "Essentials"

And last of all, but certainly not least, you'll need the most important essentials of all for your classroom - in abundance if possible, including: perspective, a sense of humor, patience, Plans B, C, D and E, an open mind, a positive outlook, compassion, love, hope, creativity, flexibility, and a heaping helping of "elbow grease".

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