Over the last four years, I have taught at two different schools, three buildings, and four classrooms. One of the rooms only had ONE bookcase and a rolling cart for storage (the desks didn’t have any storage either!) ! Needless to say, I some how got it to work. With all these changes, I have learned what I need and what helps. This year I have taken the minimalistic approach and started to get rid of anything and everything that I knew I would not use. I know feel anxious when there is too much clutter in my classroom. The room has stayed cleaner and the students can see where everything goes much more easily.
These 7 classroom must haves have allowed me to run a effective classroom where the students are more independent AND we are more organized than ever.
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1. Teacher Tool Box
For the last few years I have seen teachers use these in their classrooms. I thought to myself that they looked nice, but does it really help? After creating one this summer, I have NO idea why I waited so long. This simple change to where I store all of supplies has allowed me to stay so much more organized with my basic teacher supplies. I can quickly and easily find anything I need. It also makes cleaning up my desk SO much easier. Everything has a place to go. If you like this toolbox, grab it here.
I am going to make one for my students for next year! They loved when I let them get things out of mine. I am excited for them to have one that they can get the supplies they need easily and quickly. It will also solve a big problem…..brining me every. Little. Thing. You know exactly what I mean. “Here is a glue stick, here is a push pin, here is a paper clip.” Grab this succulent toolbox in my TpT store here.
2. Supply Boxes
Even though I am excited for the student toolbox, I love storing my bulk supplies in plastic shoe boxes. I had these ready to go for Back to School Night, so my students put their supplies right into the boxes. This year Walmart had these beautiful colors that match my Preppy Floral design perfectly. I love that I am able to keep supplies organized and in a place that is easy to replenish. I also use these boxes to store stations and math manipulatives. These boxes have sparked my interests in labeling all of the things!
3. Dry Erase Sentence Strips
I got these my first year of teaching and never knew what to do with them. This year I started using them around my classroom. My favorite way to use them is for my “Are you caught up?” board. On Monday, I update the sentence strips to show the lessons we are working on for the week. My students love this because they see where we are going and it holds them accountable for making sure they are caught up for the week. One week I forgot to change it and a student called me out on it. He said, “Are you going to change that? I really use it to visualize where we are going.” These come in a pack with four colors.
4. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
Do you hate messy white boards as much as I do? I cannot stand having that messy residue left on my board. I started using Magic Erasers on my board and I have no more problems! Make sure you leave them dry! It works like a charm. They are also wonderful when trying to get dry erase markers off lamination or page protectors. I honestly would cry if these ever went away. You can cut them into smaller pieces for your students to use.
5. Magnetic Tape
I use magnetic tape everywhere. From vocabulary to my calendar, this tape makes for a flexible classroom. My current room has two white board; one in the front and one in the back. I love that I have a lot of space, but I felt like I was wasting the usefulness of having so much space. I started putting magnetic tape of the back of my math skills to make an interactive bulletin board on my white board. I love putting them in the back of vocabulary words so I can easily put our focus words on the board. I can’t get enough of this! Grab your roll here.
6. Photo Storage for Task Cards
It took me a while to jump on this bandwagon and let me tell you it is SO worth it. I keep all my task cards in these storage cases from Michaels. What I really love about using the storage cases is the independence it allows my kids to take. I sometimes have specific skills I want them to work on, but other times I just tell my students to take any case to work on. I have only “lost” two cards since using these. My kids have been able to clean up their stations a lot more easily. You can store so many sets of cards in a small space. I love these colorful ones (here in a two pack!), but I also have a few of these smaller ones from Amazon. I keep my smaller packs and seasonal items in them. They are also very reasonable. Grab them here.
7. Hooks with Pushpins
This year I took down my black fabric bulletin board backing to replace it with brown craft paper. I love the way it gave my room a rustic feel and didn’t break the bank! But I ran into a problem when I wanted to hang anchor charts. I could have stapled them like normal, but I wanted to put them on rings so my kids and I could refer back to them. One day after school, I took my hot glue gun, push pins, and plastic hooks and created hooks that would work on ANY bulletin board. I placed a bit of hot glue on the hook, placed 3-4 pushpins on the back and then reinforced with more hot glue. I love using these because I just need to take my charts down and put the next on up. No more pulling staples out of the wall!
So there are my top 7 teacher must haves! If you would like to see more added to the list, please comment below with items that you love in your classroom. Make sure to follow The Turquoise Teacher on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with new ideas and resources. Happy teaching!