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In a couple of weeks, thousands of teachers will open their classroom to a new classroom of eager students ready to learn for the new school year. During this time, teachers will have the privilege to know a whole new set of schools and have the chance to ask parents to help contribute to supplies for their classroom. The other night, I had an epiphany as I was creating lesson plans and I thought in a perfect world where parents/schools actually bought supplies that teachers needed, what would teachers ask for?

We posed the question on social media and the answers we received should be any principal and/or parent’s guide for purchasing supplies for their teachers!

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1. A classroom set of iPadsWith a variety of capabilities, the hottest item on our informal survey was a classroom set of iPads.  According to Apple, the iPad is a tablet computer designed and developed by Apple. It is particularly marketed as a platform for audio and visual media. Within the last couple of years, their versatility for facilitating student learning has made them a hot commodity among schools and teachers. In recent years, some schools are thinking about implementing a 1:1 iPad classrooms to cut the costs of buying paper textbooks. While initially they are expensive,  Ipads have a variety of ways they are helpful in the classroom. Teachers can load textbooks on them, students can create interactive  presentations on them, students can read classic novels on them without worrying about books being damaged!


2. Heavy-Duty Pencil Sharpener

Every teacher knows the pain of a pencil sharpener being destroyed within a month of school starting. It’s never clear if students are sticking the pencils in the sharpener too hard or if  there’s a pencil thief who is determined to break our pencil at every chance. Either way, a good heavy duty pencil sharpener is a MUST in a classroom. All others need not apply!

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3. Classroom Assistant/ Paraprofessional

As essential as paper and pencil, a good classroom assistant and/or paraprofessional in a classroom. In cases where a teacher is servicing several students with disabilities or behavioral issues, classroom assistants and paraprofessionals are a need-not a want. Many of these professionals not only help teachers with classroom management but give valuable content help to students who without them are lost in a classroom. With educational budgets being slashed, sadly paraprofessionals are some of the first people laid off.
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4. Smart Board

With almost all standards across the country asking for students to learn interactively, having a smart board available in your classroom is becoming a necessity. From playing a Jeopardy game to showing interactive videos, smart boards are a great tool to have in a classroom. Teachers have the capability of using them in different variety ways such as: giving a presentation on them, accommodate various learning styles, and linking them up to other electronics such as iPads for an interactive lesson.


courtesy of Reynolds Fine Art

5. Pencils..lots of them (We’re talking hundreds.)

Pencils are such a simple item that many teachers need so why don’t teachers have enough? According to our informal survey, this was a requested item that most teachers needed most. Students are known to go through pencils on a daily basis whether they break them or sharpen them to “death”. Many teachers requested specific pencils such as Ticonderoga that tend to break less and writer darker. So help your teachers out and buy multiple packs of paper!


image courtesy of Amazon

6. Printer …..with Ink

All teachers need to print throughout the day and nothing frustrates us more than to have walk halfway across the building to print off one document.  For us teachers that are lucky enough, we have printers but no ink cartridges! I can think of several times when I’ve attempted to print and realize I don’t have any ink and I have to walk to the office and wait in line to print on our office printer.  Even worse there were times when  I was lucky enough to have a printer and cartridge, but for some strange reason it wouldn’t print. After fooling with it for hours, I had to call in the tech guy who was already backed up for two weeks. In the end, it took two weeks for my printer to be fixed! So for two weeks I waited in line (on my planning) to print something off.  Face it, with the multitude of paperwork we need a supply of ink and a reliable printer!


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7. Boxes of Tissues

At any given time during the school day students are suffering from a combination of allergies and/or colds. So despite parents sending one pack at the beginning of the year, we are out of all tissue by October! After that point either the teacher has to buy some more or we have to excuse a student to the restroom for toilet paper, missing valuable class time. In order to ensure children are not  spreading germs  we need multiple of boxes of  tissue!


courtesy the Digital Notebook

8. Books

Schools are cutting budgets and unfortunately, classrooms are left without classroom sets of novels that students should read in a “literature rich” classroom. We had a lot of teachers who send out “wish lists” for books they need for their classroom and surprisingly they receive a lot of donations throughout the year. If your classroom budget is non-existent, a good rule of thumb for finding good novels is to search second-hand stores for novels for as low as a nickel a book!

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9. Cleaning Supplies specifically Clorox Wipes and Hand Sanitizer

Flu season is a reality in schools. There have been cases with whole schools closing for schools to be sanitized due to so many students being sick. A good way to keep your classroom germ free, teachers need a supply of cleaning supplies like Clorox Wipes and hand sanitizer to stop the spread of germs. Many teachers have students wipe down their desks and classroom supplies before the end of the day. These supplies never get old.

10. Students willing to learn. 

Even with all of the previous supplies, teachers need students who are alert and ready to learn!  A good attitude and work ethic can make a classroom with no supplies an absolute learning zone! Now take a moment and tell us  the classroom supplies you think all teachers need in the classroom!


For fifteen years Franchesca taught English/Language Arts in two urban districts in Atlanta, Georgia,...

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1 Comment

  1. I wish people would also invest in asking for equipment not as expensive as the ipad, but just as practical, such as a samsumg galaxy tablet, or acer or asus tablet or even a chromebook! If documents are saved to googledocs, it’s just as good with a chromebook. No viruses. Comes with it’s shell and apps supply. I think Apple has done a great marketing job, brainwashing the public. On the lower primary level, students do not need a powerful tablet of 8GB or more. They need a very simple item. By the time they reach the upper primary school, the ipad has morphed into another creature anyway. So have all of the digital equipment items. But the ones who can use them at capacity for the 8GB are the upper primary. Getting the handmedowns from the middle and high school is a joke! The equipment is worn out by then, and highly obsolete. Cloud storage with chromebooks is 2 years after which you can pay rent on your account as an individual. For schools, I am sure there are site licences etc. for discounted storage per student accounts as well as other loopholes. Then there is also skydrive for those using the PC-os. Come on, Apple is not the only game on the block.

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