If you are anything like me, you are probably searching amazon for deals on new education products and classroom resources all the time. Below are the things I have acquired over the years. I will separate them out into Must Haves, Classroom Extras, and Science Fun categories to help you search for new purchases based on where you are in teaching!
My Classroom Must Haves
These are items that I use all the time and LOVE!! If you are limited on financial resources this is where I would start.
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Echo Dot - Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
These go on sale often and you should absolutely get one for your classroom. I just upgraded my home one and moved the old echo to my school. I love that I can enter my room and ask echo to play my playlist, podcast, or news while I prepare for the day. If students are working on silent work a classical music playlist is a voice command away. My favorite use of the dot is setting timers. We all know that students think time to work on assignments is endless. If you can't put up a timer on classroom screen, or just need a quick 45-second one or so while you students are pair-sharing and you are walking around, echo dot is your best friend. Students tend to get to work when they know your 1 minute actually means 1 minute and not whenever you are done with x,y, or x. Also, students are curious by nature and I do not know EVERYTHING there is to know about science, shocking I know, but you can always ask echo about those facts you don't know or care to store in your brain. Be aware that not all schools allow these, but if you have open BYOT it should work fine.
Paper trimmer - Fiskars Recycled Bypass Trimmer, 12 Inch
I used the community trimmer or scissors in the classroom for the longest time. Since I had access to the community one, I never saw getting my own as a priority. 2 years ago I finally decided that it was time and I found this beauty and boy do I wish I had bought it sooner. There are other options available, but I love this one because it is full size, has a "locking" part on the blade handle, guidelines, is lightweight, made of recycled materials, and has a self-sharpening blade. Overall, the small price tag on getting one of these yourself is worth preventing the scissor hand fatigue or mad dash across campus.
Pencil Sharpener - X-ACTO School Pro Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener
This was my 1st "big" classroom purchase. I thought it was outrageous to spend this much on a pencil sharpener when other less expensive ones were available, but everybody said this was the one to get and they were right. I have used the same pencil sharpener for 7 years of students. It has made a move from Florida to Hawaii and back and still works like a champ. Students will come to me and say "it's broken" if the shaving tray is not pushed in all the way but that is an easy "fix" lol.
Wireless Hot glue gun - Cordless Hot Glue Gun, USB Rechargeable
If your classroom walls are anything like mine, they have a repellent against all things adhesive. So I always have to hot glue everything to the walls if I want it to stay up overnight. Having a quick heating wireless hot glue gun makes the exhausting process of displaying student work much easier. Pro Tip: To keep your walls looking clean and make cleanup a breeze put down a strip of painters tape on the surface first (an adhesive that does stick but is less visually appealing to use everywhere) and put the hot glue on that then attach the poster to the glue-covered tape. This method also makes door decorating easier too!
Personal Laminator - Scotch Thermal Laminator
If you are spending the time to create classroom decor, props, or want to make sure your classroom sets of lab directions, QR codes, safety posters, etc will outlive your borrowed pencils, you should invest in a laminator. Lamination makes any project you worked on durable and if you print in color, the images and words really pop. You can even use dry or wet-erase markers (I prefer wet because it wipes clean easier) on laminated items! I have had this laminator for a few years now and I have no desire to "upgrade" or replace it. It works great with the amazon basics or scotch laminating sheets, I normally just stock up on whichever one has the best prices at the time.
Wireless Mouse - Microsoft Sculpt Mobile Mouse
I have the older version of this one. There are so many wireless mouses available, but you should definitely get one for your classroom! It is so much easier for you to use but with a wireless mouse, you can move throughout the classroom and not be stuck to your computer while teaching. Bonus, if you do not have an interactive whiteboard, I don't anymore...sad, you can give your mouse to a student to click or draw (hello classroom screen!) with and it's almost like the real deal...almost!
Presentation clicker - Logitech Wireless Presenter
Sometimes you need to easily click through your presentation. Getting a clicker is a huge help and again allows you mobility throughout the classroom. I got this one my first year teaching and still use it today! Having the laser pointer attached comes in handy too!
Dry Erase Calendar - Quartet Combination Magnetic Whiteboard Calendar & Corkboard,
I like to have the upcoming month visible for me and students on the wall. I always put in the holidays, teacher duty days, test/quiz dates, and any other big project or event so my students can answer their "When is this?" questions without me. I like this one because it has the corkboard area on the bottom so I can easily display the random flyers we are asked to display throughout the year.
Retractable Dry Erase Markers - Pen Gear 16 Pack Retractable Low Odor Dry Erase Markers
Teachers love their dry erase markers and pens. I love these because they have awesome colors, are thinner, and of course retractable. They are more difficult to erase on some of the dry-erase surfaces though so just test that out before you create an entire board of awesome.
ID holder - Vera Bradley Women's Microfiber Zip ID Case
Attach these to your favorite lanyard insert your school ID and you are set for the year. The reason I love these is because they have a small zipper compartment for the things you never know you need until you need them. For instance: you can keep a few vending machine dollars, the storage room/filing cabinet/restroom keys, and a mini Poopouri spray ( If only EVERYBODY used this...) safely out of sight but close by! They also come in basic colors and cute patterns!
Digital Clock - Digital Calendar Alarm Day Clock - with 8" Large Screen Display
Since we live in 2020 you must already know that a few of your students never learned some skills we take for granted, like how to write cursive or read an analog clock. So I use a digital alarm clock I have had for many years prior to teaching for my classroom (Pro Tip set it a minute behind the bell so students are caught off guard by the end of class and don't try to pack up as early). I do not personally have this one... but it is now in my amazon wish list because it has all the stuff I love!
Dry Erase Pouches - Dry Erase Pockets 30 Pack - Reusable & Oversized
If you have to make class copies of assignments or want students to work and share brainstorming or quick assessment activities you should invest in these. I used to use regular sheet protectors but students find a way to destroy those too. So these are very durable and multi-functional.