30 Classroom Must Haves for an Awesome Year!

If you’re anything like me, you probably have A LOT of materials, tools, and resources in your classroom. But have you ever thought about what you just couldn’t live without? I think it’s fun to see what other teachers are loving in their classrooms – you never know when you will find a new favorite! Today I have compiled a list of my top 30 classroom must-haves for an awesome year. These are the things I just have to have for smooth days in the classroom and personal sanity as an elementary school teacher!

Our teacher lives are filled with excitement, chaos, and love. Use these 30 classroom must haves to help you keep sane and organized this year.

1. Post-It Notes

Can you ever have enough post-it notes? I think not! I buy these in all sizes and lots of colors. There’s always SO much floating around in my head and I love having these on hand to jot things down quickly.  They are also perfect for collecting data on students, sending a quick note home, or using with interactive lessons.  Giving each student a sticky note to answer a question and then stick to the board or an anchor chart is a fun and engaging way to get every student involved in a lesson at the same time.

2. BIC 1.6 mm Pens

These BIC 1.6mm Pens are my all-time favorite pens! They are super cheap, which is great because I always seem to lose them and they write nice and smoothly on the thin pages of a grade book. I love that I can get them in a variety of colors too!

These pens are my all-time favorite. I use them for EVERYTHING!

3. Crayola Markers

Crayola is one of those brands that I love and trust.  When it comes to markers I love these Crayola markers because the colors are always bright and vivid.  I buy 4 sets of these when they are priced super low at back-to-school time for myself. This allows me a fresh new set each quarter for grading papers and writing anchor charts. 

4. Personal Laminator

I love my personal laminator.  While I don’t use this for laminating everything, it is perfect to avoid lines in the workroom or for those things that I want to last a long time.  I find that the lamination on this laminator is thicker than the school laminating machine.  I love to use it for things like center activity pieces and game boards.  It’s also great for activities that are going to get lots of use. This Scotch Thermal Laminator is my favorite!  And you can’t forget those laminating pages.  I really like to stock up with the Amazon brand of laminating sheets.

This personal laminator is so great for those times when you need to laminate something quickly and don't feel like waiting in line for the school laminator.

5.  Hand Sanitizer

Surely, you understand the absolute need for this as a teacher. . . I mean, are they really washing their hands in the bathroom? I buy this in big jugs at Walmart right before school starts to stock up for the year.  Even if hand sanitizer is on your school supply list, it never seems to last until the end of the year.  Stocking up never hurts! 

6. Black Sharpies

Sharpies are my go to permanent markers.  I’ve been known to label ALL the things and I love these for the job.  I like to buy both the regular and chisel tip so that I have just the right one for the job.  You can even get them in a variety of colors which makes them great for color coding and labeling.

And . . . did you know that you can even use Sharpie on a dry erase board without ruining it? It’s perfect for posting things on the board that you don’t want to be erased like focus wall headers.  When you are ready to remove it, simply color over the Sharpie with a dry erase marker, then erase.  The ink in the dry erase marker connects to the permanent ink too!  Please don’t ask me to explain the science behind it – I just know it works!

7. Page Protectors

I love using plastic page protectors because they cut down on the need for laminating everything. By sliding a page into the page protector students can complete the page using a dry-erase marker.  It makes a really quick and easy way to add practice pages to centers.  It saves on copies and laminating and the students love using dry-erase markers!  That’s a win for sure.

8. Mailing Labels

These Avery Address Labels go right along with my need to label everything.  You can get Avery labels in a variety of sizes which makes them perfect for just about anything.  I use them to label everything from stored center activities to student notebooks.  If you need to remove them later, just use some rubbing alcohol.

Teacher Tip: At the beginning of the year I print up a sheet of labels with each student’s name on them.  Then I have name labels I can easily grab throughout the year to label book bags, folders, water bottles, and pencils. 

I love using these Avery Address Labels to help me keep everything in my classroom organized all year long.

9. Expo Markers

I buy 4 sets of multicolored Expo markers every year!  I always go with the name brand because not only are their colors bright and vivid, but they erase well.  Not all dry erase markers are created equal! This is one of those situations where the cheap knock-offs just don’t compare. 

10. Comfortable Shoes

This is a major requirement for me! I fell in love with Rothys for teaching.  I love the look of these shoes, but even more important is how comfortable they are.  As a teacher you are on your feet!  It’s really important to have shoes that comfortable and supportive. Check them out if you are looking for something that falls in the category of cute and comfortable! Use this link to get $20 off! 

They have lots of different styles and colors to choose from.  

11. Band-Aids

Second maybe only to stickers, band-aids are a lifesaver in the classroom.  There are many nurse requests that can be quickly and easily solved with a band-aid.  Since we don’t want a student to miss out on 5-10 minutes of instruction for a boo-boo that’s NOT bleeding, having a supply of band-aids in the classroom is key! Whether it’s actually “needed” or not, a band-aid fixes any minor injury!

Bonus Idea: Another great boo-boo fix is a cold sponge.  If you have a refrigerator in your classroom, simply cut a kitchen sponge into four pieces.  Add water and wring them out so they are just damp.  Then put it inside a small zip-lock bag and throw it in the freezer.  It’s the perfect solution for bumps and aches that aren’t quite nurse-worthy.

12. Yearly Calendar

These days there is so much more to teaching than just teaching in your classroom.  There are lots of meetings and planning. Having a good calendar system is key.  While I do like to keep things on the calendar on my phone, I also like to have a paper calendar.  There’s just something about seeing it that helps me to remember things.  I like to hang a big calendar, like this Aesthetic Greenery Wall Calendar, behind my desk for quick and easy reference. 

A yearly calendar is an absolute must in my classroom. It helps me keep track of all of my teacher responsibilities every day, week, and month.

13. Stickers

Elementary students love these at any age! I use them for their papers as well as on their hands at the beginning of the year as a reward for following procedures. I always grab a few sticker books at my dollar store when I am there. I have even added strips of stickers or small sticker packs to my treasure chest.  They are an inexpensive option for encouraging or rewarding students.

14. Cardstock

Use cardstock to print charts, activities, and game pieces you plan to use more than once. While it is more expensive than regular copy paper, it can really add life to your classroom resources.  Your materials will last SO much longer, so you won’t have to reinvent the wheel every year. 

Cardstock is such a great classroom resource. It's perfect for printing things you want to last for more than one use, plus it's super colorful!

15. Plastic Utensils

Random, I know, but trust me you will need them at some point or another! Paper plates don’t hurt either. Whether it saves you a trip to the cafeteria to grab a fork or an impromptu project you will find that some utensils can come in quite handy.

16. Astrobrights Paper

I LOVE Astrobrights!  This colorful paper is the perfect way to add some pizazz to your copies. Whenever I have an important note to send home, I use these so that it doesn’t get lost in a sea of white copy paper.  These are also a great way to save color ink.  Print in black and white on colored paper to make the activity or cards pop! 

Astrobrights Paper is so amazing! With bright, bold colors, you don't have to print on white copy paper every time you need to print and pass out worksheets to your students.

17. Clear View Binders

When it comes to keeping myself organized this is my go-to resource.  I use the 1/2 inch and 1-inch notebooks for everything. I love that I can keep everything I need in one place. I can stay organized while also using the clear covers to keep everything labeled.  At any given time, you can find my lesson plans, small group reading plans, data binders, and more on my shelves.  These are always the best price at Walmart during their back-to-school sale. 

18. Wall Timer

If there’s one tool that is not only practical but also helps students to learn independence it is a large wall timer.  This larger timer is perfect to display at the front of the room and use any time students have a time limit.  They are perfect for reminding students how much time they have left to complete an activity.   It is great for writer’s workshop, independent reading time, and center rotations. The kids love being able to see how many minutes are left and it really helps keep everyone on task!

19. Zip-lock bags

You can’t go wrong by stocking your classroom with ALL sizes of zip-lock bags! Trust me, I seriously use these all the time. They come in handy for manipulatives, art supplies, books, broken necklaces, and even the occasional lost tooth!  

The gallon-size bags are the perfect way to store center supplies when not in use.  They are big enough to add in a master copy of the student response sheet too!  This way everything you need stays together in one place.

20. Wireless Doorbell

A wireless doorbell is the BEST classroom management hack I have found.  I think we can all agree that gone are the days of silent classrooms.  That means, getting students’ attention is a little more difficult.  But raising your voice doesn’t have to be the answer.  Instead, use a wireless doorbell chime as your signal.  Starting on day 1 I teach my students what it means when they hear the chime.  In my classroom, students stop what they are doing and look at me.  Then I can give an instruction without having to spend 30-60 seconds getting everyone’s attention.   

I love using the wireless doorbell in my classroom. Seriously one of the best teacher hacks ever!

21. Insulated Water Cup

Yeti makes these, but there are lots of cheaper brands that work just as well!  After all, I don’t need to keep my drink cold for days on end.  But I do love having a cup that will keep my water cold all day long.  This Teacher Life cup is perfect for just that!

22. Cute Teacher Bag

I would love to get to the point where school stuff stays at school, but I’m just not there yet.  Sigh!  So having a large tote bag (aka teacher bag) is a must.  It becomes my version of a student’s backpack.  Anything that needs to go to school gets put in there.  It is much easier than trying to grab a stack of papers or multiple items and get them from the classroom to the car and then to the house. 

23. Fun Teacher Shirts

I don’t know about you, but sometimes just wearing a cute shirt helps perk up my morning! Plus, they are great for those days that you have “nothing” to wear! I’ve also had administrators that will allow a teacher shirt or school shirt with jeans.  You can find lots of amazing teacher-themed shirts on Etsy

24. Nice Lunch Box

Just as my students do, I get SO excited to pick a new lunch box for the school year! I like to find one like this with separate compartments to keep my cold food away from other items. An insulated lunch box is also a great thing to have if you don’t have easy access to a refrigerator. As an added bonus, having one of these really helps me stay on track with eating healthy on a budget! 

25. Emergency Sub Tub

There’s nothing worse than waking up sick and not having something for a substitute teacher to do.  In fact, I truly believe that many teachers go to work not feeling well because sub plans can be just too time-consuming to put together in a pinch.  I highly recommend taking some time before the year begins to put together a sub tub. I like to think of a sub day as a great review day.  By including activities that my students already know how to do, they can work more independently.  And . . . some time reviewing previously learned skills never hurt anyone!  I like to update it each quarter based on their skill level. You will thank yourself by taking a few minutes every couple of months to update the activities.  It’s so much easier to do when you healthy and feeling good. 

26. Student Certificates

In my classroom, I love celebrating my students.  I don’t think there is a better way to encourage good habits, taking risks, and hard work.  Letting students know that you recognize all they are doing goes a long way to building relationships too!  Using certificates is a great way to do this.  I love having these on hand to recognize my students for a job well done. Check out my Superhero and Rockstar theme editable certificates!

Class awards are a great way to celebrate your students after a long and amazing year together.

27. Electric Pencil Sharpener

I know your classroom wall probably already comes complete with a pencil sharpener, but let’s be honest.  They don’t always work well, can make a mess, can be loud and students can’t sharpen a pencil very quickly.  Instead, grab one of these electric pencil sharpeners and solve all those problems!  And . . . to help them last longer don’t use them sharpen colored pencils or “fancy” pencils that have the plastic decorative coating on the outside.  There’s something about colored pencils and the plastic coating that will send an electric pencil sharpener to an early grave. 

28. Wax Warmer or Diffuser

Kids play pretty hard at recess! This means that sometimes your classroom can need a little “freshening up.” I love using non-toxic essential oils in this diffuser as a way to refresh my room. Wax warmers are also great if you like heavier scents.  Just make sure to keep anything that warms up high and out of reach of little hands.  You might also need to check with your local fire marshall to see if there are any rules or regulations about using them in the classroom.

A diffuser is a great way to set the mood in your classroom. I love adding gentle and calming scents to mine to help my students stay focused during quiet times.

29. Clorox Wipes

Whenever you have multiple people in one place you get lots and lots of germs!  Consistently using disinfecting wipes is a great way to cut down on the germs and do your part towards keeping everyone healthy.  Clorox wipes are great for wiping down desks, shelves, and doorknobs at the end of the week.

30. Chocolate Stash

Trust me, if you get nothing else from this list of teacher must-haves. . . you absolutely NEED some emergency treats!  Enough said!  😁 

Have the BEST Year Ever!

I hope you enjoyed my list of classroom must-haves! These items help my days run more smoothly, the classroom more efficiently, and really do help me be a better teacher! 

These classroom must haves are are sure to help you have the best year ever!

Did you see anything new you might try in your classroom? I know there are a lot of ideas on my list.  You don’t need to use them all.  Instead, think about one or two areas where your classroom needs a little tweaking.  Then find something to help solve those problem areas. I hope some of these items help streamline your teaching and routine or at the very least bring you some calm during the more chaotic days! 

Save These Classroom Must Haves!

Pin this post to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can quickly and easily come back to it when you’re ready to try some of my favorites in your classroom!
Our teacher lives are filled with excitement, chaos, and love. Use these 30 classroom must haves to help you keep sane and organized this year.


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