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July 1, 2019

Uncommon and Overlooked Teacher Supplies for Back to School

It’s that time of year again. As you prepare for back to school and consult your checklist for the first day, you might want to take a closer look at what you need to bring. After all, it’s easy to remember folders, markers, plastic tubs, and chalk, but what about the overlooked items? When’s the last time you’ve seen plastic trash bags on one of those lists?

As you know all too well, teaching is unpredictable. Prepare your classroom and yourself for what may be lurking this school year with the following supplies.

Supplies to Consider for the First Day of School

Here’s a short list of uncommon and overlooked supplies for the classroom. Feel free to add these items to your list for the first day of school. Or use them to brainstorm other unique supplies you can bring.

  • Healthy Snacks: Many schools and teachers are rethinking the use of sugary treats like candy as a reward, and instead are using carrot sticks, fruit and other wholesome foods. In many cases, they can be just as affordable as big packs of junk food.
  • Stickers:  Whether for grading assignments or behavioral incentives, stickers come in handy. Though usually reserved for younger children, high school students might enjoy the irony or nostalgia of stickers on their papers.
  • iPod/CD Player: Who doesn’t love a good dance party? A simple CD player or stereo can help burn younger students’ energy and give older students some background music. You can get a lot of use out of it, too, such as during lunch breaks and when you grade assignments.
  • Plastic Sandwich Bags: Snacks, lost teeth, Band-Aids, and math manipulatives – all the palm-sized things that are easily lost can find homes in plastic baggies.
  • Noise Machine: White noise can help block out ambient noises, helping students during tests and study time. Experiment with a noise machine, or you can also download a free white noise app to play through your phone or a compatible stereo.
  • Copier Paper: If you have to foot the bill for your own copier paper, you’re not alone. A ream or two makes a useful addition to your wish list.
  • Extra Cleaning Supplies: Sanitizing wipes, tissues, and paper towels are necessities in the classroom. Teaching and learning get messy, and the usual amount won’t likely cut it.
  • Personal Care Items/Medicines: If it’s allowed at your school, having a wide range of items on hand can really help students out. Personal care items can include deodorant, feminine care products, and sunscreen. Medicines can include antiseptic ointment and burn relief gel. 
  • Plastic Trash Bags: You never know what might happen. If you need to clean up a mess in a hurry, you’ll be glad that you stored trash bags in your classroom. They’re also useful for preventing messes during art class. Consider opting for the garden and lawn variety of trash bags for extra strength.
  • Projector: If you don’t have access to a TV or want something different, bringing in a projector can be great for watching educational films or movie days. The price on portable projectors may be less than you think, making one a possibility for your classroom.
  • Pre-Sharpened Pencils: The crank pencil sharpeners are messy, loud, and distracting.
  • Sensory Toys: Sensory toys can help some students improve their focus and participation in activities. Think about stress balls, squishy “blobbles” toys, and other sensory-based tools for your classroom.
  • Soft Dice: Teach probability and play math games without the loud noises associated with regular dice. Plus, they’re a lot more fun!
  • Rugs, Mats, Bean Bags, Plastic Crates, and Cushions: This combination sounds a bit off the wall, but you’ll be glad to have these items for flexible seating options.
  • Toolbox: You’re not responsible for fixing things, but then again, it’s probably not a stretch to say you do a little bit of everything already. Keep a hammer, tape measure, pliers, and wrenches nearby just in case.

While you’re thinking about what to bring to your classroom for the first day of school, also take some time to weigh how you’ll meet your students’ needs.

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