I’ve always been a sucker for Top 40 lists. It probably dates back to my days listening to Casey Kasem and the “American Top 40” countdown on the radio. I was always so excited to see what the most popular song was each week.
Now that I’m celebrating my fortieth birthday, it seemed like a good time to create a Top 40 of my own.
I know some people get really profound on milestone birthdays. They compile lists like “40 Lesson I’ve Learned” or “40 Things Everyone Should Know by the Time You’re 40.” Others make bucket lists… “40 Foods to Try” or “40 Books to Read.” But when I started thinking about a Top 40 list, my mind immediately went to classroom supplies.
And I’m always thinking about you, too, and ways to make your life easier. As you get ready for back to school, you are likely thinking about all the things you need to stock your classroom.
What can I say? I love a good trip to the office supply store!
So, I created this list of the “Top 40 Must-Haves for the Classroom.”
I think, at least I hope, you’ll find this list a lot more helpful than “40 Places to Visit Before I Die” or “40 Days of Mexican Foods” (which was a serious contender).
I’d love to hear what you think of these must-haves for the classroom, and what else you would include.
Top 40 Must-Haves for the Classroom
- Post-it notes – Too many uses to count…
- Flair pens – No explanation needed.
- Mechanical pencils – Kids love mechanical pencils and take better care of them than regular wood pencils.
- Disinfectant wipes – An absolute necessity to clean desks and other germy surfaces.
- Hand sanitizer – Have you seen an eight year old wash their hands?
- Page protectors – The quick alternative to laminating.
- Mr. Sketch Markers – Are you even a teacher if you don’t have smelly markers?
- Black Sharpies – For labeling everything.
- Air Freshener – Kids can be very smelly. Cute, but smelly.
- Plastic bags – You can use them to store everything from broken jewelry to lost teeth to puzzle pieces…
- Chart paper – Great for group work–kids love writing on big paper!
- Expo markers – Don’t buy the cheap ones. Just don’t.
- Composition notebooks – Much sturdier that spiral bound notebooks.
- Bluetooth speaker – Love using music in the classroom.
- Plastic bins – To separate and store ALL. THE. PAPER.
- Play doh – My favorite first day of school activity and great for indoor recess.
- Vocabulary units – Set up a simple vocabulary routine to last all year.
- Insulated water bottle – Environmentally conscious and keeps your water cold when you don’t get to take a sip until after dismissal.
- Cough drops – Talking for 8 hours a day can take a toll on anyone’s throat.
- Writing curriculum – Our writing units make teaching writing EASY!
- Math Centers – Get kids moving and motivated to excel at math.
- Grammar Units – Grammar in ten minutes a day? DONE!
- Back to School Procedures game – You know you’ve got to teach procedures, why not make it fun?
- Interactive Growth Mindset activity – Kids need a can-do attitude about learning.
- Frindle, by Andrew Clements – This book is entertaining and funny, but also very thought provoking and inspiring. It shows the power that one student can have.
- Comfortable shoes – I’ve never understood how teachers can teach in heels.
- DoorDash – Treat yourself on those extra-long days with take-out.
- Patience – Because there will be days…
- Sense of humor – Remember, it’s not personal. And kids are darn funny.
- All About Me activity – Get to know your students with a fun and easy ice-breaker activity.
- Band-aids – Paper cuts, skinned knees, imaginary boo boos . . . Band-aids make everything better.
- Hand lotion – Shuffling papers all day makes anyone’s hands dry.
- Planner – You need some way to keep track of those lessons, meetings, to-do lists, after-school activities…
- Teacher bag – Something big and sturdy.
- I Survived books – An elementary classroom staple.
- Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller – Everyone can use a lesson on kindness.
- The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi – Lessons in friendship and acceptance.
- Stickers (Bonus points if they are smelly) – To celebrate excellent work!
- Astrobrights Cardstock – Cardstock helps with durability, and bright colors are easy-to-find and fun.
- Plastic silverware – So you don’t have to walk all the way to cafeteria to eat your salad.
What did I forget?
There you have it. My top 40 must-haves for the classroom.
Don’t forget to comment with your must-haves for the classroom. And if you are looking for some more resources for your classroom, be sure to check out these posts My Favorite Resources for Second Grade Teachers, My Favorite Resources for Third Grade Teachers, My Favorite Resources for Fourth Grade Teachers, and My Favorite Resources for Fifth Grade Teachers.
Have a Not So Wimpy day,