Compile your list of helpful supplies to have in the classroom

What I use constantly in ALL my teaching contexts (K-12 language, professional development, Sunday School, workshops and conference sessions, etc.):

  • Beanbags (you can make these--good for throwing at paper plates with questions on them)
  • Bingo chips and game pieces - Try to get them in at least 4 different colors (so you can use them for groups later)
  • Bulletin Board materials (lots available from Carlex and Teacher's Discovery)
  • Carpet squares - Classroom set for sitting on the floor
  • Children's books in the target language
  • CDs (or downloads from iTunes)
  • Dice - 20 of one color and 20 of another color
  • Dictionaries (classroom set of "good" ones - i.e., NOT the ones from the dollar store--I like Larousse--the blue and yellow one, Chicago isn't bad either)
  • Diving Rings - (The heavy plastic ones with different colors--great for all kinds of activities)
  • DVDs - I have a few favorites for Spanish (like La historia oficial)
  • Flyswatters (classroom set--get the ones on metal sticks, not the plastic)
  • Kitchen Timer (esp. w/ magnetic backing designed to stick to fridge)
  • Magnets
  • Musical instruments - Castanets, cymbals, maracas, tambourines, and anything else you can find
  • Plastic tubs (for storing unit materials--you can also use boxes that paper comes in)
  • Play food and dishes (Dollar Store is a good place to start)
  • Play telephones (the kind that ring--although you could probably use cell phones now)
  • Props and costumes (go to garage sales this summer)
  • Puppets (both finger puppets and regular ones)
  • Scissors - Classroom set
  • Whiteboards - (Have Home Depot or Lowe's cut 12 x 12 squares for you, or get heavy duty plastic sheet protectors and slide white pieces of paper inside them--they make great, cheap whiteboards as long as you have the kids erase them after each use)
  • White Flat Bedsheets - Sooooo good for costuming, seating (when they don't want to sit on the floor, using as a make-shift screen, etc.)

CONSUMABLES - Other items that would have to be replaced on a regular basis:

  • Art supplies
  • Colored paper (not construction)
  • Crayons
  • Dixie cups (for putting Bingo chips, dice, etc. in)
  • Dry erase markers (for whiteboards - be SURE to get the LOW ODOR ones)
  • Folders (both colored and plain manila--I went through hundreds of these)
  • Gluesticks (classroom set)
  • Highlighters (a classroom set)
  • Index cards
  • Kleenex (I let kids bring it for extra credit--one of the few things they can do--it keeps the learning community healthy)
  • Labels (like the computer address ones and nametag kind--nice for making assignments, pairs, etc.)
  • Lysol Kitchen Spray (like 409) - Use it to disinfect the desks in the winter)
  • Markers (about 10 sets of regular colors and 6 sets of fleshtones so you have enough for groups to use)
  • Masking tape (Get the kind that is at least 1 to 3 inches wide--great for putting on the floor to denote various areas, for putting stuff on walls--scotch tape damages them)
  • Overhead Transparencies (if you don't have a computer projector)
  • Paper plates - Cheap paper ones in as large a quantity as you can get--they are great for activities
  • Pens - Colored--for grading
  • Permanent Markers (Black Sharpies, to be specific)
  • Plastic Sheet Protectors (Good for protecting pictures and visual aids that you don't want to laminate)
  • Playdough - In lots of colors (classroom set)
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Posterboard of various sizes
  • Post-Its (the more the better, as many different colors and sizes as you can find)
  • Tacks
  • Velcro (the black kind you can get at Sam's--the other colors don't stick as well--I went through LOTS of this)
  • Vis A Vis Overhead Markers (get the colored sets for writing on Overheads or laminated posterboard)
  • Watercolor paints or pencils (with a set of small, aluminum bread tins to hold the water)
  • White out (or correction tape--for quickly fixing worksheets)
  • Ziploc bags (the snack pack size, the sandwich size, and the freezer size--for pre-packaging materials so distribution is easy)


  • Bookshelves
  • Bulletin boards around the room
  • Chalkboards around the room
  • Filing cabinets (as many as they'll give you)
  • Fridge (a mini-one)
  • Hot plates (a couple of the electric ones you can plug in)
  • Microwave


  • Classroom set of iPods (or at least 6--enough for each small group to have one)
  • Data projector and extra long cable
  • Flip videocamera (ideally, enough for each small group to have one)
  • Headsets (one for each computer)
  • Microphone for each computer
  • Teacher computer


- chericem1 chericem1

To add to Cherice's lengthy list:
  • White Boards if possible (they don't leave chalk all over your outfits, or dry your hands out as much as the chalk does)
  • Extra large hanging folder bins (Easily collect worksheets, units etc...1 or 2 for each level, and they are great to store and have ready for the next year- plus they are water proof!)
  • Large 3 ring binders to put in originals (I have lots of nicely cut and pasted worksheets that I like to keep here) of things so that you always have that as a back up to the hanging folder bins.
  • A cd player/radio. Great when you want to set the tone of the room, and at the end of the year when you are cleaning up or doing grades, its fantastic.
  • A classroom set of "correcting pens" so students can correct their work.
- cartierm cartierm

A recent discussion post regarding supplies in the classroom
What Helps You Teach? - cartierm cartierm