Monday, April 16, 2012

Teacher Must-Haves

Another week already! Didn't the weekend just start?

Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten is hosting a linky party all about classroom must-haves. I tried to think of this as though I had to pick THE most important things to have, not as a wish list.

1.  Post-It notes are part of what keep me organized. Sometimes to keep from clutter multiplying, I keep them on the block and just fold it up when I need the next page.  I also use Super Sticky Post-Its for some labeling in my room, like on my lunch choice buckets. (Dollar Tree + Post-Its = Cheap! And they've stuck all year!)

2.  Of course, books are a big deal. I'm a new teacher, but I've put a lot of time, energy, and money into making sure I have lots of classroom books- and it is SO worth it. (Tips for books on the cheap? Look here.)

3.  Math manipulatives have been a big one for me. I was an add-on section this year, so I wasn't taking over someone else's room but starting from scratch. I didn't have Unifix cubes, pattern blocks, 3-D solids, place value blocks, or anything like that, and I kept finding things I needed as the year went on. You don't realize how necessary those things are until you teach money and you don't have enough plastic coins!

4.  Chart paper and markers are a must for me. I ran out of chart paper one day and I felt like my teaching was completely different. I use chart paper, we use chart paper together, the kids use chart paper... and good, colorful markers are a must!

Kind of beat up by the time I got a picture, but I was incredibly proud of this one!
Click on the picture to go to my post about this one and get some free pepper writing paper!
Kid-friendly Pledge of Allegiance- Click the photo for my post about it!

5.  Finally, my behavior clip chart. It wasn't my original idea, but I modified my chart to include "Sparkling" at the top by adding glittery scrapbook paper. My students LOVE it. When they reach Sparkling, my students get to sign the Sparkling Hall of Fame, which is on the outside door of the classroom. It's basically just a labeled, laminated black piece of construction paper, but signing with a silver Sharpie makes it exciting! They also take home a sparkly sticker on their newsletter and a certificate. (I usually get 25/ $1 at Target or Dollar Tree.)

The kids love it, and it is SO easy for me. I just have Sparkling certificates filled out and waiting for a name and date at the end of the day. I have Think Sheets for anyone on red, too, where I just fill out name and date and check the rules that weren't followed. I even have a kid whose job it is to record where kids were on a chart for documentation and move the clips back to green (see mini clipboard), so I don't have to do it every day.

The best things about the clip chart are that I get to focus on the positives and that students can always clip back up, so the day is never "over." Plus, it's easy (and inexpensive) for me to manage, and the kids encourage each other so much. (So cute to hear them cheer when someone else reaches Sparkling!)

So, those are my big 5. Post-Its are mostly a splurge to make me happy, but the other 4 are absolutely vital to my teaching!

Thanks, Kristin, for hosting this fun linky party, and to everyone else- link up and give me ideas to splurge on this summer!


  1. I couldn't teach without my clip chart either. I just linked up. I'm having a giveaway of my favorite items right now. Come check it out.

  2. Thank you for your great ideas! I am new to blogger and I am loving it! If you are interested in integrating technology into your classroom, maybe you could stop by my blog! I am your newest follower!

    Thank you,

  3. Love your list! This year I got some chart paper that also has a self sticky strip on the top and I love it!! Now when I make a chart all I have to do it peel the backing off and it's on my walls!


    Spotted in Second Grade

  4. I agree with having tons of books. I need the chart paper, but I must have the good easel to put it on. I just moved to a new school and I miss my easel. I am your newest follower. Come by and visit some time.
    Classroom Companion

  5. Hi Jenny!

    I'm so glad that you found my blog so that I could start following yours! I can't wait to continue reading! :-)

    And post-it notes are my life-saver (along with frequent trips to the dollar store! lol)! I don't know what I would do without them!

    Diving In and Making a Splash

  6. I could've listed all five of those. How great is the clip chart instead of the old card system?! I love it...and it's so much more motivating for the kids!! I'm also a post-it snob. I have them eve-ry-where.

    Thanks for linking up!! :) I'm following you now! ;)

    Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten

  7. I love post-its too! My problem is that I write notes on post-its though and then I can't seem to find where I put them (they are everywhere)! I am thinking about investing in a small notebook just for school that I can put my post-it notes and other notes I jot down in so that they all stay in one place! Also, I love using the clip chart! Mine is in its second year though and even though it's laminated the sides are getting kind've worn... I already have ideas for making one this summer for next year!

    Lessons with Laughter


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