Can you believe it is already time to start thinking about back to school? Planning for a new school year can be overwhelming. There are so many things you need for your classroom and many lessons to plan. As teachers, we all have tons of Pinterest ideas floating around in our heads that we want to see come to life. It’s important to have a plan and get organized. Here are 20 back-to-school must-haves that will set you up for success!
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1. Teacher Utility Tote Bag
I know, I know you’re probably thinking that the last thing you need is another “teacher bag.” But I promise this Large Teacher Tote Bag will make all the difference. It is by far the best teacher bag I’ve ever found! It has so many pockets and storage compartments to keep you ORGANIZED! Plus it protects my laptop while transporting it to and from school. It’s perfect for hauling materials and supplies back and forth. You’ll have everything you need for grading and planning. No more searching through bottomless pits for your supplies.
Never get locked out of your classroom again with this lanyard! I’ve owned several of these over the year and love them all! The price and quality of the lanyards can’t be beaten. Plus, you’ll always have your keys or identification card with you. You won’t accidentally leave them in the lounge or next to the copy machine anymore. There are tons of fun designs to choose from. You may even want to buy a few to match a variety of different outfits.😀
3. Tumbler and Straws: Must Haves for Back to School
It is so important to stay hydrated when teaching all day. My favorite way to do this is with a Yeti Tumbler and Reusable Straw! The Yeti keeps your drink ice cold all day long. I can’t tell you how much I love this cup! You can add ice and water to it each morning, and it literally still has ice in it the next day! I also love to add fun straws to my Yeti. This helps me to get all of my water in throughout the day. These cute and colorful flexible straws are my favorite! They are easy to clean, too!
4. Planner Kit
Every teacher loves a good planner! This Happy Planner Teacher Kit is hands-down my favorite (and I’ve tried a lot of planners over the years). This 12-month academic calendar will meet all of your needs. It is totally customizable with its disc-bound system. This lets you insert and remove pages as needed. You can easily keep track of your students and plan your lessons. Weekly and monthly pages are available. It is perfect to leave on your desk or to take with you in your tote bag. The kit also comes with sticker sheets, a bookmark, and Washi tape. So you can go crazy with the cuteness!
5. Back to School Must Haves: Utility Cart
Small groups are made easy without this rolling utility cart. You can load this cart down with all of the supplies you need for group work. All of the different bins and compartments are perfect for supplies, worksheets, and manipulatives. The wheels make it so easy to move the cart around the room. I’ve also used it for morning meetings. It’s also great when you’re completing testing outside of the classroom!
6. Pens and Markers
I seriously could not live without these erasable marker pens. The fact that they are erasable is a game-changer! They are perfect when you are teaching with a document camera. The different color pens help your notes stand out and the erasers are perfect for mistakes you’ll make along the way. Also, these flair pens are my favorite pen for grading. The ink dries super fast so it doesn’t smear as you’re grading, and the pens don’t bleed through to the other side. You can’t start a new school year with a new pack of flair pens, right?!?
Baskets, baskets, and more baskets! You can never have too many. This colorful pack of 8 is my all-time favorite! They are super sturdy and much cheaper than some of the bigger, more notable brands. The uses and possibilities are endless. You can use them daily for turn-in baskets or for each subject and class period you teach. They will also help you keep pre-made copies organized. Or, use them to store extra supplies in your cabinets while keeping everything neat and organized. The bright colors will keep your classroom looking cheery and make you smile as you walk by! These baskets are definitely back-to-school must-haves.
8. Washi Tape
I can’t say enough about Washi Tape. I may even have a slight addiction. It just seems to be the answer to everything! Washi Tape is the best way to organize and color-code your Chromebook or iPad cart. This Scotch Washi Tape is the best I’ve found. It stays on and doesn’t lose its stickiness over time. In the past, I’ve used this tape to divide my whiteboards and make them extra cute. I’ve also added borders to posters, and I’ve decorated baskets with it. Washi tape also helps me to organize my planner and make it POP! My students love it for centers and crafts as well. The possibility are endless!
9. Glue Gun: Back to School Must Haves
A glue gun is a teacher’s best friend and a definite back-to-school must-have. You can’t decorate a classroom without it! With a high-temp glue gun, your posters and decor will continue to stay on your walls all year long. You can also use it to apply cute table skirts around the room or whip up a quick curtain hem. This is the glue gun I use. It is heavy-duty, high-tempt, and heats up super fast!
10. Paper Cutter
You definitely need to invest in your own paper cutter. I use this one daily! It will save you so much time from running back and forth to the copy room just to cut a few things. It is also super convenient when you need something cut in the middle of a lesson. I love this one because you can cut a big stack of papers at one time. Plus you can be sure they will be super straight.
All staplers are not equal. Some of them are so bulky and heavy to carry around. Others are constantly jamming and getting stuck in your papers. This one is my favorite. It is lightweight and so easy to use. You only need one finger to push it through a big stack of papers. It never jams up on me, and it comes in cute bright colors! This should be on your list of back-to-school must-haves for sure.
12. Manual Pencil Sharpener
Electric pencil sharpeners are so loud and distracting. The entire class turns around to see what is happening. This totally disrupts your lesson. Plus, I can’t tell you how many electric pencil sharpeners that I’ve had to throw away before Christmas because they tear up and quit working. Sometimes it is good to go old school and just use a manual pencil sharpener. It has all of the capabilities of an electric sharpener without all the distractions and worries that it will quit working. This Carl Angel-5 Pencil Sharpener is the best one I’ve ever found. You will thank me later! Trust me!
13. Paper and Cardstock
As teachers, we can never have enough paper. There is always something to run off, a craft to create or a cute worksheet to print. Astrobrights paper and cardstock are my favorites! Astropbrights paper is the highest quality color paper out there, and they come in the BEST colors. The card stock colors are just as bright and beautiful! I couldn’t start a school year without them.
14. Back to School Must Haves Birthday Goodies
It is so important to make your kiddos feel important and special. There is no better way to do this than to celebrate their birthdays! Your students will love getting these birthday pencils and bookmarks. Make it a tradition to sing happy birthday as a class and hand out a special pencil and bookmark. A little recognition goes a long way! The pencils come in a pack of 144 and the bookmarks come in a pack of 100. So, they literally last for years! Stock up now and keep them in a location in your classroom where you can quickly get to them on a student’s special day!
15. Overlay Strips
This simple highlighter tool is perfect for all students in your classroom. These Guided Reading Overlay Strips make it easy for kids to stay on track while reading. The gray part shields other sentences, and the transparent part helps your readers stay on track while reading. They truly are simple and effective tools. Kiddos with special needs and dyslexia will find these strips to be extra beneficial. Plus, 32 guided reading strips come in a pack! I used my set for several years and they stayed in great condition!
16. Pencil Holder
If we had a penny for every time a pencil rolled off of a desk we could all go to Hawaii. This adhesive pencil holder solves that problem. Attach it to the top corner of your student’s desks and never worry about students losing their pencil again. Students will quickly learn the procedure for placing their pencil in the holder when it is not in use. The adhesive backing is super strong and will stay all year. Talk about a life savor; this is a definite on my list of back-to-school must-haves.
17. Whiteboard Push Pins
Whiteboards are pretty much the hub of the classroom. It is where most of the modeling and demonstrating occurs for students. It is also where you will post likely post important information and events. I found these magnetic push pins that work perfectly for this. They magnets are strong enough to hold several sheets of paper or laminated posters. Plus, they are also super cute and colorful.
18. Bulletin Board Roll For Back to School Must Haves
This is the best invention since sliced bread. It is so much better than butcher paper bulletin board cover. I use Better Than Paper Bulletin Board Rolls to cover all of my bulletin boards. It’s also great for decorating things like your door or desk. It doesn’t tear or show staples! You can also write on it with a dry-erase marker and erase it as needed. It easily wipes off with a damp cloth. How cool is that?! Grab it here!
19. EZ Grader
If you don’t already own this, RUN! This EZ Grader is a necessity. Nobody has time to calculate averages and percentages especially when you are grading on the go. This handy dandy sliding grading tool quickly computes scores for tests, quizzes, and homework. You can easily score any number of question up to 95 with this one step slider. This tool does it all for you and is a huge time saver! I love it so much that I always gift it to student teachers or new teacher graduates.
20. Binder Clips
This is another one of those supplies you can never have enough of. These large binder clips help us to keep all of our papers organized. The fact that they are already labeled makes my teacher’s heart so happy. They allow you to organize your papers into groups like send home, to be filed, make copies, etc. These clip are large and can hold a big packet of papers, too. I love mine and use them daily!
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If you want even more back-to-school must-have ideas check out my list here! I share all of my favorite #teacherlife essentials in and out of the classroom. You can find my favorite tech gadgets, teaching tools, classroom supplies, and more!
Save this to your favorite back-to-school board to easily refer to each year!