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Whether you are a new teacher, a seasoned one, an elementary, middle school, or a high school teacher, there are a few things you just can’t live without. These are the items I make sure I have at the beginning of each new year. These are also items you don’t normally get through school supplies. Take these items and you could create the most awesome gift basket for a new teacher. Either way, here a few of my favorite must-haves that every teacher needs, in my opinion.
Teacher Must-Haves for a Classroom
1. Pencil Sharpener
A good sharpener can really make or break a school year. I have wished so many different times for pencils to only come pre-sharpened. Unfortunately, my wish has not yet come true. If you buy a good sharpener and use it carefully, it should last the whole year. After about a year or so, they become a little dull. However, when that happens, it turns into my colored pencil/wrapped pencil sharpener. My all-time favorite sharpener is the XACTO School Pro Heavy Duty Sharpener. I highly recommend buying it. It’s not too expensive and works better and longer than the other more expensive ones I have bought.
With the amount of stapling I do, this is definitely a must-have. Between stapling papers and decorations on the wall, I am constantly using this thing. My school buys us staplers, but the generic ones always break and really just don’t cut it. After a few years of refusing to spend the extra money, I finally bit the bullet and bought this one. Let me tell you, I wish I would have bought it sooner!
3. Mr. Sketch Scented Markers/Sharpie Flip Chart Markers
To be honest, these are just FUN. If you teach elementary school, you pretty much have to have these. With the number of anchor charts I create, I don’t know what I would do without these. I switch between the Mr. Sketch and Sharpie Flip Chart Markers. Between the two, there are so many different colors to use. I even, sometimes, use the Mr. Sketch Markers to grade papers. I love seeing the kids sniffing their papers once I hand them back. My newest obsession though is the Mr. Sketch fine tip markers. These are a blast for professional developments!
4. Fun Pens
This is so incredibly ridiculous, but I love having colored pens on hand at all times. Taking notes at meetings with fun pens is so much more fun than a regular pen. I also use colored pen sometimes to grade…as long as it isn’t red. My newest obsessions are found here and here.
5. Teacher Binder
If you have not heard of the Create 365 Happy Teacher Planner, you are seriously missing out. This might be one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Inside, it includes a little bit of everything- calendars, lesson planning, class lists, grade book sheets, and so much more. If you wait too long into the school year, it is very difficult to find them so make sure you buy them as soon as they come out. One of my favorite teacher must haves by far!
6. Notepad/sticky notes
Just think “to-do list.” Teachers have a million and one things on their mind and that doesn’t even include teaching the kids. If I don’t have everything written on a list, I’m going to forget it. Not to mention, I have found that I am able to clear my mind a bit by writing everything down. I usually use sticky notes as my to-do lists. Here are my favorites to use.
7. EZ grader
I realize you can find any app or website to help calculate your graded papers. However, there is just something about having the grader on you that is so much better. I also find that the grader takes less time since I don’t have to look online or constantly turn my screen back on while using an app. For a little added fun, I have the pink version.
8. Powerful magnets
Regular magnets just don’t cut it with the amount of things you have to hang up in your classroom. These powerful magnets have yet to fail me. I’ve even had luck with hanging up my anchor chart pad. They are a little pricey but definitely work it. They claim they can hold 20 lbs…that’s the size of my 18-month-old. (I haven’t tried quite that much.)
9. Magnetic timer
I have bought every single brand of timer I could find, including digital ones. All of them have either broken or the digital ones suck up batteries and only last a few days. This one has lasted a few years and I love it. In an elementary school, timers are everything!
10. Glue dots
These are just for convenience. When hanging stuff up around the room, these are super helpful. I also use them for the fabric I have around my desk. Trust me, nothing else works. Who knew most things don’t stick to fabric? Anyways, glue dots are super strong and can easily be used to put up laminated posters or anything you don’t care about ruining.
Splurge: Amazon Alexa
While it might not be a teacher must-have, this might be the coolest thing I have in my classroom. I have the Echo Dot plugged in and we have so much fun with it. I sometimes put on classical music as a class or we play some of the fun games you can add. It is great to use during brain breaks!
Please share what you can’t live without as a teacher! What are your teacher must-haves?