It's almost time for back to school, and many teachers are already busy shopping and setting up their classrooms in preparation for greeting their new students very soon. Recently, one of my friends asked for a list of donations that teachers would appreciate receiving during back to school time, and I thought that was so thoughtful of her to want to donate supplies to her son's teacher. Did you know that most teachers spend over $500 of their OWN MONEY every year on materials for their classrooms?? Wow!! I certainly didn't realize it until I became a teacher! Anyway, with that in mind, I decided to share my “top five” list of items I always ask for, along with a few other suggestions that many teachers always appreciate receiving. Be sure to read all the way through for a little bulletin board idea at the end :)
In my welcome packet, I actually say "if your child has a nose, they will need a box of tissue at school!" Kids go through tissue like candy. Sometimes I think it is just the novelty of getting out of their seat more than the need to blow their nose, but oh my gosh, we go through tissue SO FAST every single year. And I always feel a bit sad and pathetic/embarrassed when I have to tell my students to go to the bathroom to blow their nose when we have run out of tissue.
Bandaids are right up there with tissue, the slightest little paper cut needs IMMEDIATE attention in the form of a bandaid. I quickly learned to NOT supply the cute Disney bandaids, because we went through those even faster than a box of tissue! Lol!! I had students picking their scabs to get a Disney bandaid. Live and learn, then buy the plain old Bandaids!
3. Hand sanitizer / soap
This should go without saying. Kids are germy. Classrooms are germy. I made my students use hand sanitizer before using the computers, and every time they used a tissue to blow their nose. I was also fortunate enough to have a sink in my classroom, so hand soap was also used frequently. Some teachers don't have a sink in their classroom, so hand sanitizer is their only option to prevent the spreading of germs in their classroom.
4. Pencils / erasers
Plain old yellow #2 pencils are the best - kids don't find over colors or designs, and there's no plastic wrap on them that the kids can peel off or that can jam an electric pencil sharpener. Pink pearl erasers are also great because kids tend to go through the small eraser tips very quickly. And, if you want to earn some bonus points with your new teacher, open the box and sharpen the pencils first... I promise your teacher will immediately LOVE you for this small act of kindness.
5. Clorox wipes
Classrooms are filled with germs! I like to wash down all my desks, tables, and counters frequently, and the students love to help clean their desks! They are often amazed at how dirty the wipe gets just from cleaning their own desk (EWWW!)
Other suggestions: crayons (16 or 24 packs are awesome!) glue sticks, paper towels, napkins, cups, straws, paper products (for class parties, etc.), copy paper (teachers always need more copy paper!), ziploc baggies (all sizes), notebooks, two-pocket folders, file folders, dry erase markers, sharpies, and gift cards -- check out this darling back to school gift card freebie from my friend Tauni at SNAP Creativity! As a technology specialist, I would love an APP gift card :)
While working on this post, I came across the cutest bulletin board idea that I wanted to share with all of you. Michelle from Apples and ABCs made a popcorn themed "wishlist" to help parents know what items she needed in her classroom. With her permission, I have created a little freebie that you can download and use at your own back to school open house. I have included some popcorn kernels with school supplies already on them, and also included a page of blank kernels to write your own items on as well. I hope this is something you can use as you prepare for back to school. Click on the photo below to download the bulletin board set. Enjoy!