Best Buys for the Classroom
time of year again, with ‘Back to School’ displays accosting us in every shop
we walk into, despite it only feeling like 5 minutes since we got our
holidays. It’s easy to get sucked into
thinking you need lots of fancy new stationery and resources, spending your own
hard-earned money on so-called ‘essentials.
I’ve compiled a list of some of my classroom favourites. Most of them are by no means essential, but
will make your life at school easier.
Note: ABC School Supplies sent out some items to me for free. All views are my own.
1. Guillotine / Paper Trimmer
Many teachers don’t actually have a guillotine in their classroom, but you may find one in your school office. It’s something I wouldn’t be without and I use mine almost every day. I cut paper and card with precision for displays, flashcards, worksheets and more. When using worksheets, I often print them 2 per A4 page, and then cut them to A5 size with my guillotine.
2. Electric Pencil Sharpener
Does your classroom bin host gatherings of children paring pencils similar to the office water-cooler? An electric pencil sharpener is a game changer. Get pencils as sharp as my wit in mere seconds. The kids love the novelty of it too. ABC School Supplies stock them for €9.99, and you can get them every now and then in Lidl or Aldi.
3. Teacher Diary
A teacher diary is pretty essential. The format of this diary is totally down to personal preference. I prefer a ‘week-to-view’ layout but some people prefer a page per day. You can spend big bucks on a planner, or you can use a good old-fashioned copybook.
You’ll find these in most stationery drawers already, but I’ve included them because they really do serve many purposes in the classroom. Use them for your own planning or notes, as a visual support for emergent or struggling writers, or my favourite, let the children use them to practice handwriting. Always a big hit.
5. Whiteboard markers
Buy lots of them. And then some more. You can never have too many.
Complete any display with a coloured bordette. Much better value than patterned borders, and less distracting for the kids.Get 10 rolls for €29.99 from ABC School Supplies
7. PVA glue and glue spreaders
Use prittsticks at your peril. They are expensive, lose their lids frequently, and run out quickly. PVA glue and glue spreaders will give you much more bang for your buck. “What about the mess?” I hear you cry! With a bit of practice, children will get the hang of using it fairly quickly.
8. Left-handed scissors
If you’re right-handed, answer me this: have you ever tried to cut with a left-handed scissors? It’s bloody difficult! So why inflict that struggle on the left-handed kids in your class? Buy a few; they will last you years and your lefties will thank you.
ABC School Supplies have a great selection.
9. Travel mug
This is something I’ve recommended for years, but with COVID restrictions it’s now pretty essential to bring your own mug if you fancy a cuppa at school. A couple of knives, forks and spoons are useful to have, too.
10. Dustpan and brush
Whether you have carpet or lino, this is another essential. Kids from Junior Infants upwards can use them (gross motor development!). Write your name on yours with a permanent marker… it’s one of those things that tends to go walking in schools.
11. Post-it notes
Their uses are innumerable. Many teachers use them almost as a pedagogy in their teaching. The branded ones tend to be better quality.
12. Coloured Magnets
I have dozens of these and I use them for so many different things in the classroom!
· Maths manipulatives
· Hold posters on the whiteboard
· Collect data from the pupils (Which book will we read today?)
phonemes (sounds) in words
13. Bulldog clips
So much better than paperclips.
This will depend on your school and personal circumstances, but since I bought a printer for my classroom, I haven’t looked back. I have a combined printer/scanner/photocopier and it’s very useful when you just need to copy one or two pages. I have a subscription to HP Instant Ink, which has saved me a huge amount of money, but I have also heard great things about the Epson Eco Tank.
ABC School Supplies kindly offered some goodies which I will be giving away on my Instagram page.... keep your eyes peeled!
Playful Classroom is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.