Thursday, July 28, 2011

Classroom Must-Haves

I go back to work on Monday, and my students' first day of school is August 11th. That is really soon, so to say that I've been kicking it into high gear is an understatement. I did make a promise to myself that I would stay away from my classroom this week and enjoy my last week at home...which means that I've been plastered to my computer, creating and planning like crazy. Hopefully I'll have some things to share soon.
As I've been preparing for the 2011-2012 school year, I've been thinking about my classroom must-haves--those things that I typically use on a daily basis. Some of these things are probably a necessity for all of us, some things you may use a different version of or a different system, and some things may surprise you. Here are some of my must-haves:

1} Flair pens (by Papermate) in a rainbow of colors.
When I taught Pre-K and Kinder, I used these for my monthly assessments--a different color for each month. I could tell which skill they mastered in which month with a quick glance at the paper. Now with the upper grades, I mostly just use them for grading papers. I don't know about you all, but I get a bit of a twitch when I go after a student's paper with a red pen. I like to use different colors, and if I'm going to spend time grading papers, they may as well be pretty when I'm done! I also use these with the Teacher Organizer, pictured below.

2} Clipboards (of the monogrammed persuasion)
I will say, I have tons of those brown ones from the dollar store that my kids use. But for my personal use, I have two different monogrammed clipboards. I like them because they stand out a bit more, and again--they're just cute! I also have one that opens up so that I can keep things inside it (it's not monogrammed--it came from Target {of course}). It's wonderful if I'm walking and talking and need to be able to hand things out (like stickers for kids who are on-task or a certain supply that they will need at a certain point in a project).

3} A cute teacher notebook
I am a notorious list-maker. You know, one of those pesky people whose lists have lists? Yes, that's me. I used to keep a plain 'ole spiral until an assistant principal gave me a teacher-themed composition notebook a year or so ago for teacher appreciation week. I carry that thing with me EVERYWHERE! It's always open on my desk in my classroom. I carry it with me to faculty meetings and department meetings. And basically, it's just a constantly evolving to-do list. I make something we needed for Social Studies, I cross it off. My principal asks me to fill out some paperwork for a grant, it goes on the list. My department head reminds me that quarterly grades are due to the office by Wednesday, it goes on the list. I need to email a parent about their child, it goes on the list. You get the picture. Sometimes I rewrite the list to make it pretty, but as a general rule, that notebook stays like it is. I typically date when something goes on the list, but I try to move through it pretty methodically.

4} The Teacher Organizer
I think I should be a spokesperson for Clutter Free Classroom. :o) I purchased this recently and placed it in a huge binder. In addition to this info, each child in my classroom has a tab where I keep info about him/her. My classroom phone log is in this binder. Basically any piece of paper that I need to know where it is at all times goes into this binder. It is wonderful, and I use it everyday. If I need to discuss a student with an administrator, call a parent, confab with a co-worker--everything is in this notebook. Fabulous investment!

5} Coke Zero
Clearly, this has no organizational/instructional/nutritional value whatsoever. But it's the caffeine jolt that gets me through the day. Seriously. Just inject me with this stuff intraveneously please. If my co-workers want a Coke Zero, they know to come see me. I've had students bring me cases from home. I drink "one" (I'm so lying right now) every day. It is my lifeline. :o)

What about you? What are some things that you have to have in your classroom? 


  1. I have to say, I agree with you on the Coke Zero. I've been tracking my food and exercise at and because Coke Zero has 0 calories, I can technically drink as much as I want. However, I usually only have one a day. I also love my monogrammed clipboard and Papermate pens!

    I just posted about my clipboard today! I use it for my behavior sheet and to store important things.

    Some of the other things I HAVE to have are: index cards and my mp3 player with speakers.

    Living A Wonderful Life

  2. Just found your blog and love it!! I'm a Coke Zero fan too!! Love the cute clipboards and notebook....where do you get those?
    I'm a new follower:)

    4th Grade Frolics

  3. I just found your blog too! I love vibrantly coloured markers (even though I have a Smartboard). I use them lots and so do the kids. I also need paperclips or binder clips at all times. This year, I have found lots of cute paperclips that I have bought and am looking forward to using. Finally, COFFEE is a must. Although, I may give Coke Zero a try...