I know not all teachers have the luxury to enjoy three more weeks of vacation, so I feel lucky. Even though I promised myself I would not spend a dime on school supplies before August 23, who can resist some back-to-school shopping when sales are popping up everywhere? While shopping for some home decor yesterday, a little detour to Staples and Michaels cost me a few bucks as I could no longer wait to buy the essential school supplies for my classroom and office.
So, here are my ten favourite items for back to school:
1. Label maker
I found a Brother label maker on sale yesterday. I do not have a label maker, so it has been on my list for a while. I usually write my name on everything: stapler, hole puncher, calculator, binders, textbooks. I am so excited that now I can just print those labels and stick them on my belongings.
I am a visual person, so I like to use different colours to identify my student-groups or highlight important notes in my agenda. I bought these Staedtler highlighters on sale as I have had my eyes on them for while (See picture below.). Last year, I wanted to save money and bought a cheaper set that I didn’t like at all. Staedtler highlighters are pricey even on sale, but I prefer spending a bit more on quality items than buying new ones more often.
3. Twin pocket file folders – different colours
I use twin pocket file folders to stay organized. My group files are colour coded, so I can easily grab the right folder when I need to organize students’ documents, written productions or the assignments I need to grade. I also use file folders to manage missed class work. I set up different file folders for reading, writing, grammar, listening, vocabulary and speaking activities. When one or two students are absent, I put the extra copies of the handouts and worksheets in one of these folders. The next class, I can quickly grab the missed work from the right folder and give it to students.
4. Reward Wood Stamp Set
Reward stamps have become must-have items in my drawer. I have never imagined that a smiley face or a sticker would make my high school learners so content. I used to praise my students a lot, but I started using reward stamps only last year. I have never seen my students so excited and proud to show me how hard they worked during class! Last year, I used two self-inking stamps, but I soon realized I needed more variety. Self-inking stamps are quite expensive if you need more than one kind, so I have opted for a wood stamp set instead. Stamping a smiley face in students’ notebook is also a quick way to offer feedback on their work. These wood stamps I bought from Michaels have more options than a smiley face and “Needs work” message I used last year. I really appreciate that they have included a missing NAME? stamp🙂. I am sure you can all relate to this issue!
5. Pentel EnerGel Retractable Rollerball and PaperMate pens
I have tried different kinds of pens, but my favourite brands are PaperMate and Pentel. Whenever these brands are on special, I stock up on them as I did yesterday.
I am not lying, but this is my first Sharpie set. When I saw these on sale, I knew that it was time to have my own set. I do not know what I will use them for, but they will surely come in handy at the end of the year when I need to mark those big boxes filled with evaluations and my personal belongings.
7. Pencil sharpener and eraser combo
I have never been good at holding on to my erasers, so a pencil sharpener and eraser combo is definitely a must-have item in my pencil case.
I have decided to store all school documents on my computer to save space and trees. However, I still like to have binder where I keep all the important classroom management documents such as seating plans, my notes, and anecdotal record forms. If you like to keep an anecdotal journal, you may download the forms I use in my classroom here: FREEBIE Anecdotal Record Forms (Assessment tool)
9. Blu Tack
Blu Tack is one of the must-have items on my back-to-school list because I use a good number of visual signs, word wall sets and posters in my classroom. It is a lot easier to place these signs in different spots in my classroom than putting everything on a bulletin board using thumb tacks. In addition, Blu Tack is reusable.
10. Classroom decoration and useful ESL posters
Even though I teach high school learners, I still consider important to use some sort of classroom decor. My classroom decor mainly consists in useful ESL posters and labels that I can use as quick reference guides. I also like to display growth mindset posters in my room to boost learners’ motivation and confidence. This year, I will decorate my classroom with two of my favourite resources that you may also find and download from my Teachers Pay Teachers store: Posters BUNDLE – Skills, Ss. Interaction, Genres, Prepositions, Feature Article and Purple Watercolour Classroom Labels & Posters for H.S.
I would love to hear what essential items you have put on your back to school list. Please, share them in the comment section.
Have a great back to school time!
Please note that I am not an affiliate of any of the brands or shops I have mentioned in this post.