What we consider to be back to school essentials varies greatly depending on the individual teacher and what they are going to be teaching but some things are pretty universal.
A Good Pencil Sharpener
This is a must and stops the headache of permanently blunt and broken pencils. There are some different options but a quiet automatic pencil sharpener that works with six different pencils sizes is very appealing.
Dry Erase Boards for Students
Student dry erase boards are a wonderful way to check understanding, keep students focused and a useful planning tool. The new Dry Erase Answer Paddles are fun and a useful way to check students have grasped the main points of a discussion. Questioning during an introduction and allowing doodling can help keep students focused on what they are learning. They are also a good way to plan writing and some students like to flexibility of the being able to erase quickly and redraft. If you prefer a larger writing surface for students these 2-sided Alphabet Write ‘N Wipe Boards are light weight and great value. The other side is blank and so ideal for drawing and free writing.
Essential to have in any classroom post it notes are great for labeling your photocopies and annotating student work. They are also a great way to get students input quickly and makes a clear visual sharing poster.
Some teachers like students to have their own books at an easily accessible place, such as a magazine/book holder for each student, other teachers prefer to keep same books together in a container. My favourite storage containers are Gratnell Stack N Nest Trays. They last a lifetime, won’t let you down mid carry and come in different depths depending on your needs.
Alternative Seating Options
I have discussed this in the past here and am excited to see so many classrooms embracing alternative seating options for their students. The Tilo Motion Stool is a great option for any classroom and comes in different heights and colours.
To make marking more appealing, I use stickers and fancy pens. I choose pens in different colours, (sometimes glittery or smelly) and use stickers to encourage a dialogue between teacher and student. I find if the writing is bright students are more likely to read comments and suggestions and work towards improvement.
Whiteboard Pen Selection and Organisation
Lots of whiteboard markers are essential in my classroom. I tend to walk around with them in my hand and put them in my pocket so a good sized collection is a must. A Magnetic Whiteboard Storage Pocket keeps a few staples markers and pointers handy and clear for sub teachers who come into your room.
I like to have a teacher collection of pencils, pens, erasers, colouring pencils and markers for those students who are unable to bring supplies or whose supplies are dollar-store quality and quickly disintegrate. My favourite pencil is the Tri-Write Comfort Pencil (seen above) and name of the pencil reveals why. Pens and erases I am not too fussy about although cheap erasers can destroy a page pretty quickly! The variety in colouring pencils is huge. We tried out watercolour pencils here. Having basic supplies makes life easier and arguments less, hopefully.
Whether you are shopping for your class or your children, good luck with your back to school shopping. May you find all you need and enjoy organizing!