Must-Have Teaching Supplies for back to school

Who doesn’t love brand new, shiny, just-out-of-the-package back-to-school supplies? Ever since I was a kid, shopping for school supplies was one of my favorite end-of-summer activities! And as a teacher, I always felt like Christmas when unboxing my supply orders or shopping school sales.

Amazon is a great resource for must-have teaching supplies and I’ve listed some of my FAVORITE, must-have teaching supplies from Amazon here. This post includes affiliate links, so I earn a small commission if you purchase through them, BUT I have only included items I’ve used myself, so you can rest assured these are great supplies! And I’ll also mention if I’ve seen these items cheaper elsewhere.

Visit my Amazon storefront for picture books to teach different skills and more teaching supply recommendations.

I’ve organized these supplies into categories to make it easy to find what you’re looking for. Also, look for the *TIP note to read little tips for each school supply.

Get ready for back-to-school with these must-have teaching supplies! Amazon is a great source for school supplies and these are my favorite tools for centers, reading, writing, and organization. #classroomorganization #backtoschool #schoolsupplies

Must-have supplies for Centers

Plastic sleeves-huge paper saver! I used these daily for dry-erase centers, as whiteboards (insert blank paper inside), and for math and reading fluency. These are also great for saving important papers and making signs (use Velcro to adhere to wall). These also make a great alternative to laminating!

*TIP: To use for fluency practice, insert paper and have kids read a passage or complete as many math facts as they can in 5 minutes, circling the last fact/word read with one color. Then, they can try to beat their score, circling the last fact/word in a different color after 5 minutes.

Dry-erase sleeves are a must-have supply for kindergarten and first grade classrooms! These are perfect for centers and fluency practice. Great alternate to laminating everything.

Here is an example of using these as a dry-erase center with my Sight Word Fluency Flashcards. You can insert anything at all for kids to practice! To make self-checking, add an answer key facing the opposite way.

Dry-erase sleeves are a must-have supply for kindergarten and first grade classrooms! These are perfect for centers and fluency practice. Great alternate to laminating everything. Here, my sight word fluency flashcards are being used.

Pocket Dice– big dice make everything fun! We used these during centers with my Pocket Dice Centers and I also used them whole-group. We did some of the activities from the pack together and also used them during math, to model partner dice games.

Pocket dice are a must-have supply for kindergarten and first grade classrooms! These are perfect for centers and whole-group games.

Grab this free sight word center here!

Pocket dice are a must-have supply for kindergarten and first grade classrooms! These are perfect for centers and whole-group games.

Magnetic letters– these are awesome! They are nice and big enough for kids to handle, as well as see on the board. I also love them because the vowels are red and consonants blue. Plus, they come in a plastic storage box!! Grab some cookie trays from The Dollar Tree and you’re all set!

Magnetic letters are a must-have supply for kindergarten and first grade classrooms! These are perfect for centers, whole-group instruction, and guided reading. Paired with cookie trays from The Dollar Tree, they make excellent word-building tools.

*TIP: You can grab these magnetic letter tray “inserts” below from my free resource library!

Dice within Dice– great for math centers! Instead of having to roll 2 dice, kids roll the double-dice and add (or subtract) the numbers on both dice.

Double dice are a must-have supply for kindergarten and first grade classrooms! These are perfect for centers and whole-group games.

Doorbell– this can go in all categories since it’s more of a management tool. Great, pleasant sound to get kids’ attention. Just plug in the ringer and carry the remote button. Teach them to stop what they’re doing and look at you when they hear the doorbell. *TIP: Clip the remote button onto a lanyard so you don’t lose it (like I often did!).

Want to get your students' attention? This doorbell ringer has a pleasant, but attention-grabbing sound to get your kindergarten and first grade students' eyes and ears on you! Great for class management.

Clipboards– perfect for reading/writing the room and partner work. I also used these at my themed areas, like our dino dig and farm.


Whisper phones– these are just fantastic for guided reading or kids who have trouble concentrating during independent reading time. Kids hold them like a phone and hear their voices amplified while they read, cutting out background noise. *TIP: You can also make your own using PVC elbow joints!

Pointers-these are big for shared reading. The fingers help kids pinpoint letters and words.

*TIP: For guided or independent reading, I like our homemade pointers! Read this post for more guided reading tools.

Metal rings– I use these for my sight word flashcards. I kind of love anything on a ring, so I go through these so quickly! I even use them for a fun pirate project for the ‘ar’ sound (it’s the pirate’s earring). *TIP: If you don’t have rings, you can also use small baggies to separate card sets.

Transparent spinners– instead of a pencil and paper clip for spinner games, you can simply use these on top of printables! These pages are from my Spin-a-Chunk resource.


Flair pens– who doesn’t love a fancy pen when writing? We sometimes called these “revision tools” to motivate the kids to add more to their writing. I used black so we wouldn’t waste time fighting over colors. But, we did sometimes use skinny markers too and I let them pick any color they wanted. *TIP: Alternatively, you can designate different colors for different purposes: green for revisions and red for editing, for example.

Writing folders– I love the 3-prong folders because they’re easy to add papers to. We’ve added a word wall, genre notes, mini anchor charts, and conference notes to ours. *TIP: Color-code them by student table to make them easy to find. You can change folders when you rearrange seating, but I just kept them. Just a few kids would move tables throughout the year, so they worked well. These usually go on sale at about 5 cents at Staples over the summer, so keep an eye out for that awesome deal!

Post-it notes– These can be in the reading or writing category because we use them for both equally! We use them to stop and jot thoughts while reading and I keep them at the writing center for revisions.

I also love these big post-its with lines for my million to-do lists and lesson bullets!

Dry-erase Markers: Bullet Point! While I love thin, black dry-erase markers for students, I love bullet-point markers for myself! I used to use chisel-point but these are so much better! Smooth and they make a nice wide line.

And these Sharpie flip-chart markers are the best!

Pencil sharpener- this is a beast and I love it! It worked quickly and allowed me to sharpen a ton of pencils without jamming like other sharpeners I’ve had in the past. There are less expensive ones with good ratings, but I told ya I’d only share what I’ve used and can vouch for. Be sure to check others, though. You may find one you like more!

Organization and Office Tools

Storage boxes– these are perfect for keeping your task cards organized. Sometimes they go on sale at Michael’s Arts & Crafts store, so make sure you check there first!

These colorful photo storage boxes are just perfect for organizing your task cards. I keep my Guided Reading skill cards in them, by reading level. It's so easy to take out exactly what I need for my small group instruction or intervention.

Pictured above are the skill cards in my Guided Reading Warm-ups.

Compartment bins– I have a ton of these! I use them for community supplies at student tables, on my desk for office supplies, at center stations, and at my guided reading table. The best place to get them is The Dollar Tree, since they’re only a buck each! Target also has nice bright ones for $3. *TIP: If you have these from The Dollar Tree, insert plastic cups in the compartments to keep pencils from falling through the holes.

This Dollar Tree find is a must=have teaching supply! You can't beat the price and they have nice, bright colors. I use these caddies for my office supplies, as well as my guided reading table, writing center, and student tables.

Rolling drawer organizer– I love these and have 2 of them. I currently use one for my sight word materials and one for other subjects. I also just got one for my daughter’s remote learning corner. LOVE that they are dry-erase so you can re-organize any time. Michaels Arts & Crafts store has them for $30 sometimes, so check there first. *TIP: Use clear tape on top of marker to avoid erasing.

These colorful rainbow drawers are just perfect for classroom storage. This is a must-have teaching supply for me and I actually have 2 so far! Keep important materials, daily activities, centers, and more.

Paper cutter- definitely a must-have for task cards!

Laminator– I have 2 of these and I love that they don’t get jammed like others I’ve had. I also use these generic laminating sheets and they work fine.

I hope these provided some ideas for great back-to-school supplies! It feels so good to have everything organized and everything you need to help your class go smoothly. Of course, not everything on this list is absolutely necessary, but I only included things I use on almost a daily basis. What else would you add to this list?

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