The Ultimate Back To School Classroom Supplies List

The new school year is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start stocking up on school supplies you need for the classroom.

There’s thousands upon thousands of school supply options out there, and browsing them can get overwhelming. The school supplies you choose to invest in for your classroom can make teaching during the school year much easier.

No matter what grade you teach or how many years you’ve been teaching, there are some essential supplies that you need to have on-hand. We’re here to help you out.

Basic Supplies

These are the items that usually come to mind when an individual first thinks about “school supplies”. Even if you’ve asked your students to bring these essential items to school, it’s important to have some on-hand for students that may forget them or whose family cannot afford them.

A lot of these products can be purchased in bulk as class packs, which will help you save money and help your supplies last you the entire school year, and possibly longer.

  • Writing Utensils
  • Notebooks
  • Lined Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue/Glue Sticks
  • Folders
  • Grade Book
  • Rulers
  • Index Cards
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Calculator
  • Classroom Décor
  • Erasers
  • Construction Paper
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Colored Pencils

Organization Supplies

Staying organized throughout the school year will make your life so much easier. How you choose to organize your classroom is very dependant on the teacher, but there are a variety of supplies that make the job much easier.

Different types of organization materials work best for different types of materials. Bins are great for small supplies and toys, while hanging organizers are best for documents. Choose which ones work best for your specific needs.

  • Plastic Storage Bins
  • Hanging Organizers
  • Organizer Cart
  • File Folders
  • Caddies
  • Command Hooks
  • Desk Organizer

 

Hygiene Supplies

Classrooms can get messy for a variety of reasons. Snacks, class parties, cold/flu season, and art projects can all cause huge messes. By investing in the right hygiene supplies, you’ll be prepared for anything.

  • Wet Wipes
  • Paper Towels
  • Boxes of Tissues
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Band-aids

 

Office Supplies

It’s easy to forget about smaller office supplies, but these are things you will be using almost daily. Make sure you’ve got everything before school starts.

  • Stapler/Staples
  • Tape
  • Sticky Notes
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Desk Calendar
  • Paper Clips
  • Labels
  • Highlighters
  • Binder Clips
  • Staple Remover
  • Printer Paper

Personal Care Supplies

While these supplies aren’t essential for day-to-day classroom operations, having them in your classroom will make you much more comfortable when you do need them. Be kind to future you by gathering these for your classroom.

  • Tylenol
  • Snacks
  • Plastic Utensils
  • Water Bottles
  • Cough Drops
  • Deodorant
  • Hand Lotion

Ready to start shopping? Head to NationalSchoolSupply.com to get your back to school supplies at a price you’ll love!

 


Posted in School Supplies | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Easy Ways To Make STEM Part Of Your Elementary Classroom

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is huge in education right now. There’s been a big push to have better STEM education, especially for women. But STEM doesn’t have to focus on complex topics such as coding and robotics. You can begin to introduce STEM to your students even in elementary classrooms.

STEM is not meant to only be about equations and technology. STEM lessons should focus on critical thinking, observation, and innovation. You can take it a step farther by considering the debate around STEAM, which brings liberal arts into the fold. The A is meant to address the creative thinking that is necessary for innovative thinking.

With such broad goals it is actually easier to incorporate STEM education into your elementary class than you may have thought.

Why Start Young?

The earlier a child starts to interact with a topic, the more their understanding of STEM topics will grow. STEM isn’t simply a specific skill, but a way of thinking. By teaching students at a young age to think in a STEM-focused way, they’ll be more encouraged to pursue STEM education farther down the line.

Fostering interest at a young age is paramount to keeping students interested as they grow. By showing students that they can succeed at STEM lessons early, they’ll be more incentivized to try and pursue more advanced courses and degrees.

But How?

You do not have to re-do your entire classroom structure to integrate STEM into your classroom. You don’t even have to invest in a lot of expensive equipment.

Use STEM Vocabulary in Everyday Lessons.

By adding language that is traditionally used in STEM programs, you are allowing students to become familiar with those words and a specific way of thinking. You can use this vocabulary in any of your lessons, including art, play time, and English.

Here are a few examples:

  • Theory – Use instead of “why”
  • Experiment – Use instead of “try”
  • Observe – Use instead of “see”
  • Data – Use instead of “facts”
  • Design – use instead of “make”

Introduce Technology

Technology is extremely important when it comes to STEM education, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Introduce your students to rising technology like iPads and smart phones. Show them that these devices are not just for play, but for education.

Click here for some great technology resources that you can use in your lessons.

Use Inquiry Based Teaching

Instead of leading students through a step by step structured model of learning, allow more room for free thinking. A big part of STEM education is giving students the room to come up with new ideas, try, fail, and try again.

You can support your students without telling them exactly how to complete a task. By forcing them to think on their own, they’ll amaze themselves with the types of solutions they come up with. Students will take more ownership over their own education, which is something they must do in the long run to have successful careers.

Find STEM Activities Online

You don’t have to plan STEM activities all on your own (though you certainly can). There’s thousands of amazing STEM activities out there that you can base a lesson around or add to a lesson you’ve already planned.

There are STEM activities centered around just about every topic, from geometry and chemistry to English and geography. Find a couple you like and try them out with your class.

 

We’ll be creating a huge STEM resource on our website soon, but in the meantime you can shop by subject on our website to fulfill your STEM needs.


Posted in Classroom Activities | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

July Craft: Constellation Jar

Enjoy the night sky from inside your own home! This unique craft is easy to do and comes with a built-in science lesson. Talk about the stars and constellations while creating a beautiful, light-up display that your child can observe on cloudy or rainy days.

This constellation jar can be lit using either a glow stick or a tealight. Which you choose depends on several factors such as the size of the jar and your comfort with using flames in your home. An electric tealight is a good alternative to tealights requiring open flames.

Here’s what you’ll need to do this craft:

Materials:

Mason Jar
Blue Construction Paper
Pencil
Scissors
Tape
Glow Stick Or Tealight

You can find the full instructions with photos by clicking HERE.

Check back next month for another craft you can do with your kids.

We want to see your craft projects! Share a picture of your constellation jar craft in the comments!


Posted in Arts & Crafts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Setting & Achieving Your Back To School Goals

When you’re a teacher you have the good fortune to always have room for improvement. There’s always new teaching strategies to try, lessons to plan, and products to test out. Back to school is just around the corner, and it’s time to think about your classroom and set your goals for the 2018-2019 school year.

Setting teaching goals can seem overwhelming, but the key is to not take on too many new tasks during a single school year. And today, we’re going to help you find what goals you should be focusing on.

Envision Your Perfect Classroom

Before you start creating goals you need to take a look at the bigger picture. Dream big and think about exactly what you want your classroom to be like. Don’t let yourself be limited by budget or administration hurtles – this is just an exercise.

Write down all the features of your ideal classroom. Do you rely more on technology, or traditional teaching materials? What is your teaching style and how does your classroom reflect that? Do you focus on written examinations or projects?

Setting your goals for the 2018-2019 school year will help you take a step in the right direction of that ideal classroom.

Determine Your Needs

Now it’s time to do some self-reflection to figure out what the needs of your classroom are. Use these 10 questions to think about what worked and what didn’t last year.

Compare the notes on your self-reflection to your ideal classroom. Where are the discrepancies? What aspects of your ideal classroom aren’t currently possible, and for what reason?

Maybe you’d like to incorporate more technology into your classroom but realize you haven’t. After thinking about why, you realize it is due to budget. Make a list and keep it handy for the rest of this post.

Set Goals That Will Lead You To Solutions So You Can Achieve Your Ideal Classroom

Now it’s time to neatly write out the goals you have to make your dream classroom a reality. Be as specific as you can.

For example, you want to incorporate more technology but are limited by budget. Instead of having the vague goal of “incorporating technology”, set a specific goal that addresses your desires and your constraints. Your goal may instead look something like this:

Incorporate technology into my classroom by utilizing free tools.

By adding specific actions to your goals, you are given something concrete that you can work toward, which will make it easier to stick to your goals in the long run.

Organize & Prioritize

You should now have a large list of goals and the actions you can take to meet these goals. From here, it’s time to get organized and choose which goals you want to pursue over the 2018-2019 school year.

Organize your goals in a way that makes sense to you. As you do this, rank each of the goals on their level of difficulty to complete. Now you have a list of organized goals with the difficulty associated with them all in one place.

From here you have to start prioritizing. Goals that you’ve ranked as easy you should add to your 2018-2019 goal list. When it comes to taking on goals that are more difficult to accomplish, take a hard look at them and determine if they are worth your time and energy. Any goals that don’t make the cut can be worked on during the next school year.

Finally, rank the goals that made the cut in order of importance. With a new school year starting you probably won’t have the time to work on every goal at once. Instead, focus on tackling each goal in order of importance.

Get Specific

Now that you have a prioritized list of goals along with their level of difficulty and specific solutions, it’s time to make them ever more specific.

By making your goals even more specific, you are holding yourself accountable for following through. A good goal is measurable, realistic, and time sensitive. You already know your goal is realistic, so now focus on the other two parts of the equation.

Let’s revisit this goal: “Incorporate technology into my classroom by utilizing free tools”.

Ask yourself how you will measure this goal and what your deadline for completing it will be. When you’re done it will look something like this:

Goal: Incorporate technology into my classroom by utilizing free tools.
Measurements:
New online tools are being utilized by me and students in class and at home.
Deadline:
Introduce 1 new tool by the end of September.

Make A Plan

You’re almost done! You have your goals, you have all your specifics, and you have deadlines. All that’s left to do is create a plan to start pursuing these goals.

You don’t want to overwhelm yourself, so take a look at your schedule to determine when each of these goals should be pursued. For some of your goals, it may make sense to break those goals down into specific steps to help you stay on track. For Example:

Goal: Incorporate technology into my classroom by utilizing free tools.

Step 1: Research free online tools for educators.
Step 2: Read reviews and gather feedback from educators on the tool of choice.
Step 3: Test the tool myself to ensure it works the way I want it to.
Step 4: Decide what lesson to introduce this tool in.
Step 5: Use tool with students.
Step 6: Gather student feedback.

It’s easy to forgo your goals during the school year because you get so busy. By creating a plan for your goals, along with a rough idea of when in the school year you want to pursue your goals, you are more likely to stay on track.

That’s It!

It may seem like a lot, but completing all these steps will help you to set realistic goals that you can accomplish during the 2018-2019 school year.

Let Us Help You With Your Back To School Goals!



Posted in Back To School, Tips for Teachers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

10 Things Teachers Can Do Now To Avoid Burnout Later

Teacher burnout is a very real thing, but by the time you start looking for advice on how to stop burnout, you are likely already consumed by it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Believe it or not, now during your summer vacation is the best time to start thinking about teacher burnout. By creating a plan now you’ll be able to keep that burnout at bay as the year goes on.

Emotional Exhaustion

Because teachers need to meet the academic and emotional needs of their students, they are more prone to high levels of emotional exhaustion. Struggling to balance both of these objectives in the classroom is an overwhelming task. Teachers are stretched thin, which is why burnout is so common.

Chronic Burnout

Every teacher experiences burnout at some point during the school year. The problem arises when this burnout lingers for more than a couple days. This can lead to ineffective teaching, poor mental health, and even poor physical health.

You shouldn’t dread your time in the classroom. You went into your profession for a reason, and there are steps you can take to help you reduce and hopefully eliminate teacher burnout.

Solutions

  1. Practice Relaxing

Breathing techniques, meditation, and mindfulness are all great ways to relax, but picking them up can be challenging. Practice these skills now so when you are stressed out at school it’s already a habit to use them to make your mind and body more relaxed.

This article from WebMD offers some great relaxation techniques. Try experimenting to see what works best for you.

  1. Stay Healthy

Poor physical health has a strong impact on your mental health. Skipping meals, not getting enough sleep, and not getting enough exercise can all make it harder for you to cope with stress at school.

Check out this post for more in-depth advice about simple ways you can stay healthy when it comes to nutrition, exercise, mental health, and sleep.

  1. Confide In Co-Workers

Work on building strong relationships with your fellow teachers and administrators. Pretending that everything is going well in your classroom doesn’t help anyone. Share your struggles with your co-workers and seek out advice. They may be able to help you.

No one knows your students the way you and other teachers in your school do. By consulting them, you can get amazing feedback about managing student behaviors, editing lesson plans, and just about anything else causing you stress.

  1. Pursue Your Hobbies

It’s easy to spend your free time browsing Pinterest for new ideas for your classroom. Stop doing that. Even if you enjoy it, your brain needs a break from work. Instead spend that time pursuing a hobby you enjoy, or possibly trying out a new one.

  1. Set Boundaries

Having a clear work-life balance is one of the most important things you can do to avoid burnout. Sometimes you may have to stay late at work or grade at home, but set boundaries to ensure that teaching doesn’t take over your entire life.

Don’t give your personal phone number to parents. Only check your email at school – don’t even have it connected to your phone. Don’t grade every assignment. Make sure there is separation between your personal life and your school life.

  1. Remember You Can’t Save The World

It’s impossible not to feel connected with the problems your students face. Children who are homeless, have experienced trauma, and who face challenging issues at home will all tug at your heartstrings. While you should do what you can for these students it isn’t always going to be enough and that is something you have to accept.

You can’t solve every problem a student faces, and eventually you have to learn to let go. Do what you can to help but don’t blame yourself if that doesn’t solve the problem. With all the students you meet you simply will not be able to help all of them.

  1. Use Your Time Off

If you’ve been given time off for sick leave or personal days, don’t feel guilty for using them! Taking a day off can be extremely beneficial to your mental health. And believe it or not, you can take time off without feeling guilty.

When planning to use a personal day, try to choose a day that is easy to plan for your substitute. By doing this in advanced your students will still get quality lessons. Use your day off to do something you enjoy and catch up on errands – and absolutely no school work.

  1. Eliminate Fluff

Fluff can be described as tasks you don’t really need to be doing. Take some time to think about the tasks you do that can be eliminated. Think about how important this task might be. Compare this with how much time the task takes. If it isn’t necessary, you can likely eliminate it, giving you more time to focus on tasks that are more useful.

It’s also a great way to simply cut time from your workday. Do you need to grade every paper? Do you need to give individual feedback for each assignment? You’ll be surprised at how many of your tasks really aren’t necessary for your classroom.

  1. Make Time For Yourself

Between tasks for school, chores at home, and taking care of your own children (if you have them), it is easy to forget to take time for yourself. But if you want to avoid burnout, taking time to relax and do things for yourself is imperative.

Even taking just 30 minutes a day can do wonders for your mental health. Use this time to do something you want to do, with no distractions or obligations. This may be reading, taking a bath, drinking a glass of wine…whatever it is you like to do to unwind.

  1. Try Something New

While trying out new activities in the classroom can be stressful, it can also be exciting. Trying something new is a great way to change up the routine you may start to dread.

Here’s a few ways you can change things up in the classroom if you’re looking for inspiration!

Take Your Class Outside
Make An Escape Room
Try Project Based Learning
Use Podcasts
Experiment With Video Games In The Classroom
Get Inspired With Teacher Resources

Help out your fellow teachers and let us know what your tips are to prevent teacher burnout!


Posted in Tips for Teachers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment