Ultimate Teacher’s Supply List

If you’re like me, you LOVE to buy teaching supplies for your classroom. Perhaps you also do some of these things:

  • You leave the dollar section of Target with a cart full of things you didn’t even know you needed.
  • Back-to-school sales make you feel like a kid again.
  • The closets in your classroom require an annual inventory so you don’t purchase yet another set of smelly markers.

When I first started teaching, I spent a lot of my own money buying things for my classroom. Some of the things I bought were great finds! I still use some of them today. Others, not so much.

Over the years, I’ve gotten smarter about what supplies I actually need throughout the year. I’m able to plan out how to best use the classroom funds I’m given from my school.

As a result, I no longer spend much of my own money throughout the year!

*Happy teacher dance*

But as a new teacher, how do you know what supplies you’ll actually need? This post is meant to be a helpful reference to help you start your shopping list.

In this post, I’ll be sharing:

  • My teacher supply list, broken down by category
  • What NOT to buy
  • Why I’m SO glad my school uses Amazon Business
  • FREEBIE! – Printable teacher supply list for your reference

Before I start, I want to mention that I’m extremely frugal by nature. All of the items on this list are things that I have actually bought and find to be useful.

My teacher supply list

Writing Materials

    • Inkjoy by PaperMate – I discovered these after my husband bought them for his classroom. After seeing how smoothly and easily they write, I had to buy a set for myself this year.
    • Mr. Sketch markers – These pens write nicely on posters and the kids love the fun scents.
    • Sharpie Flip Chart Markers – They also write nicely on posters but without the fun smells.
    • Highlighters – Having “special” highlighters makes looking for text evidence so much more engaging.
    • Felt markers – Good for writing on a paper under an Elmo or for correcting student work.
    • Expo pens – An absolute must! Having multiple colors helps your students know where to look on the board (How is the pink sentence different from the blue sentence?)
    • Sharpies – Great for writing students names on supplies.


    • Tagboard – Perfect size and thickness for class posters.
    • Cardstock – Essential for a multitude of projects.
    • Colored printer paper – Great way to add life to everyday handouts. Makes it easier to remind students about what needs to be returned to school (Remember to return your blue permission form by Friday).
    • Post-its – Great for writing quick notes and as impromptu bookmarks. Plus, students LOVE being able to write their ideas on them!
    • Index cards – Perfect for flashcards.
    • Sentence strips – Use them for sentence stems and to model good handwriting.
    • Construction paper – Makes students’ projects pop and a must-have for art projects.


(see my Teacher Organization blog post about how I use some of these items)

If you’re like me, being more organized is one of the things you’re wanting to focus on this year (or...every year). Organization skills are critical for any efficient teacher. In my seven years of teaching, I have discovered and refined many different organization methods and systems. Being organized helps me to work smarter, not harder.

Teacher organization series - How to organize tests


    • Birthday crowns, bracelets, and prizes – Makes the birthday boy/girl feel special.
    • Postcards – I use them to send a welcome note to my new students a few weeks before school starts. I also use it to remind them of our supply drop off day.
    • Postcard Stamps – Save time on going to the post-office by purchasing stamps at the same time!
    • Certificates – Fun way to send good notes home to parents 🙂
    • Smelly stickers – Students LOVE getting a smelly sticker on assignments and tests.
    • Small stickers – Quick and easy way to reward students. My kids love placing them on the back of their name tags as sort of badges.
    • Assorted pencils – Fun prizes for keeping their desks clean or reaching different goals.
    • Small prizes – I have a class store that students can choose from when they’ve reached a milestone.


    • Clipboards – Perfect for keeping everyday papers on hand. Students also love using them.
    • Hole punch (1 hole, 2 holes, 3 holes, name tag punch) – Great for organizing flashcards, tests, and various papers.
    • Command hooks – Easy way to hang things around your classroom.
    • Paper clips – I keep a container of these in my teacher bag at all times. A must-have to keep your papers organized.
    • Binder clips – Great for clipping together larger stacks of paper. I also use them to keep flash cards together instead of rubber bands.
    • Binder rings – I have flash cards on rings for my students to use. Makes for easy access and keeps the cards from going missing or getting mixed up.
    • Name plates and holders – Every year I handwrite my students’ names on name plates. The holders keep them looking great all year long. They also allow me to easily switch them out when students change desks.
    • Timer – I use a timer for everything. Transitioning to the floor. Getting out supplies. Finishing assignments. It helps my students (and myself) stay on task and work efficiently.
    • Blue tape – Essential for hanging up posters and student work without damaging the walls.

Spurge items

These are things I only buy if I have extra money because they are a little more pricey. However, they’re worth the investment because they last a long time.

    • Industrial strength pencil sharpener – Makes sharpening 100 pencils quick and easy. I actually had this on my Wishing Tree and one of my parents bought it for the class *claps*.
    • Test-Taking Privacy Sheilds – I had my sister buy these while she was on a trip and bring them back for me. Lakeshore’s shipping to Hawaii is horrendous.
    • Construction paper storage – Keeps your construction paper stash organized.
    • Sturdy magazine holders – I use these to have my students store their homework binders and tablets during the day. At the beginning of the year, I place one of their name labels on the front. The plastic allows me to remove the labels easily at the end of the year.
    • Supply caddies – Great for art projects or work stations supplies.
    • Paper cutter – I copy a lot of things on half-sheets for my class (homework, flyers, worksheets, etc.). I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my paper cutter and it still works great!

What NOT to buy

  • Cardboard magazine holders – I bought these to save money a few years back but they just don’t hold up under the daily wear and tear. This is why I splurged the following year and bought ones made with sturdier plastic.
  • Cheap pencil sharpener – When you’re sharpening pencils for 25+ students, a slow, quick-to-jam pencil sharpener is the last thing you want.
  • Non-Avery brand labels – I usually love a bargain. But these don’t as well with my printer and usually cause more of a headache than they’re worth.
  • Baskets (without a purpose in mind) – I LOVE baskets, but it doesn’t help to have stacks of empty baskets sitting in your closet.
  • Pencils for everyday use – In the list above, I included pencils for celebratory purposes. However, I don’t spend ANY money buying regular pencils. For some reason, unclaimed pencils seem to multiply on their own in my classroom. I have containers FULL of them. I’ve taught my students how to properly care for their pencils so they rarely run out before the end of the year. Also, pencils are always high on the list of things people like to donate to teachers.

Why I’m SO glad my school uses Amazon Business

When my husband and I lived on O`ahu, one of my favorite things to do was to go to Fisher Hawaii. It’s a GIGANTIC school and office supply store with wholesale prices. What’s not to love?! Walking through that store, I’d find so many things I didn’t realize I needed (hmm, seems like I still do this).

Then we moved back home to Maui. I was no longer able to spend an hour or two in Fisher trying to get the most bang for my buck.

But then, I discovered a beautiful thing called Amazon Business.

The school I now teach has an account for every teacher. When it’s time to use our classroom funds, shopping on Amazon simplifies the whole experience. It’s as easy as buying things with your personal Amazon account.

  1. Sign in to your business account and shop as usual.
  2. Go through the check out like usual, it’ll say something about submitting your order to be approved by your school office or administrator.
  3. Amazon lets you know when it’s been approved and when your items are on their way.
  4. Your order is delivered to your school without you needing to lift a finger! *happy teacher dance*

What are the benefits of Amazon Business?

  • You get Amazon’s low, competitive pricing.
  • Amazon calculates your total as you go – no more scribbling on the back of an envelope in the middle of Office Max.
  • Their large selection of products with reviews.
  • The paperwork is much easier.
  • Who doesn’t love shopping on Amazon?
My ordered supplies delivered right to my classroom from Amazon!

Work smarter, not harder

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So those are the supplies I buy with my classroom funds. I hope this list helps you when deciding how to best spend your money. (And what things to avoid).

Are there any other essential supplies that you buy that I didn’t include? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!

FREEBIE – Also, here’s a printable version of this list for your reference 🙂

Happy shopping!

Words to Live By

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. Luke 16:10

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