Congratulations! You’ve recently been offered your very first teaching job and it’s time to begin preparing your classroom and planning your instruction for the new school year. You also need a lot of new stuff!! (The best part is building your science teacher wishlist!!!) Perhaps you’re creating an Amazon Wishlist or a DonorsChoose project. The supply list for a new teacher can feel daunting (and, let’s be honest, expensive.)
With so many school supplies and classroom decor you could buy, it can be difficult knowing where to start. What items are truly essential for your classroom wishlist? If possible, check with a building administrator at your school and see what’s already available, and if you have any classroom budget. Then, get prepared for a successful school year with these essential supplies every new teacher needs!
Lesson Planning Book
It’s important to have a structured place to record and keep your lesson resources. Not only will this help you be better prepared for each day of teaching, but it will give you valuable resources and information to help you in the coming years of teaching. You can choose a classic pen and paper style lesson planning book, or use a digital lesson planning template.
A stapler is an essential item for any classroom. Whether you are stapling packets of student work together or using it to hang bulletin board decorations, a good stapler is something you’ll use on a daily basis. If you have the money (or your school is doing the ordering) I’d recommend getting at least two staplers: one for your students to use, and one reserved just for you.
Art supplies will come in handy more than you probably realize. In a middle school science classroom, they can be used for hands-on projects (ex: building rollercoasters to demonstrate Newton’s Laws) or to add some helpful drawings or diagrams to your students’ science notes (ex: drawing diagrams of eukaryotic cells.)
Supplies you’ll want to look for include:
- Glue Sticks
- Liquid Glue
- Construction Paper
- Colored Pencils
- Dry Erase Markers
- Modeling Clay
- Pipe cleaners
- Sharpie Markers
I’m a true lover of a good organizational system. Let’s face it – when you have six periods of middle school students coming through your classroom each day, things are bound to get a little chaotic. Using a label maker is an easy way to keep your classroom supplies organized.
There is no such thing as too many sticky notes. In my opinion, there is no better way to write important notes to students, jot down essential to-do lists, or even spice up the notes in your students’ composition books than by adding some colorful sticky notes.
Classroom decor is a fun way to add some personalization to your space and create a comfortable learning environment for your students. You can find nice classroom decor items in the Target dollar spot or at your local dollar store. Here are a few items I use in my own classroom!
It’s a myth that classroom libraries only belong in Language Arts or elementary school classrooms. Fostering a love of reading is beneficial for students in any grade level or subject area. A good classroom library is made up of both picture books, chapter books, and nonfiction informational texts. To start building your classroom library, head to garage sales, check with your local library about discount book sales, or reach out to fellow teachers who might be ready to purge their book collection.
As a middle school teacher, let me be the first to say that finding a pleasant-smelling air freshener is essential if you want to make it through the day with a classroom full of sweaty pre-adolescents. Whether you prefer an essential oils diffuser or the good ole’ fashioned Glade plug-ins, grab yourself something to cover the smells that will inevitably come with your students.
Trust me on this one…even if your students no longer have recess, there will be days when you have some time to fill or your students have earned some reward time. Having some games on hand is a great way to fill this extra time.
All students need a little positive reinforcement or incentive every once in a while. Putting together a prize bucket is a great addition to any classroom. It can be pulled out when you play review games or when you want to recognize a student for good behavior. Your student prize bucket may contain any number of items, including stickers, fun school supplies, jolly rancher candies, or items from the dollar store.
These large pads of paper make it easy to model effective notetaking for your students. They also give you the opportunity to hang note sheets throughout your classroom that will remind students of the important concepts you’ve already covered in class. These double as important teaching resources and DIY classroom decor. While you’re at it, grab yourself a pack of colorful Sharpie Flip Chart markers to really make your anchor charts pop!
While most school districts have made the switch to online grade books, I’ve found that keeping a paper and pencil record of student grades and assignments is a good practice. You never know when the online platform will glitch or you will forget to hit “save” while recording grades. Trust me – it’s a stressful situation you don’t want to deal with. If you’re looking for a good assignment checklist, check out this free resource!
You will definitely need a system for organizing all of the papers that come across your desk. Having an organizer with label slots (hello label maker) for each class period or category of papers can be helpful in keeping track of important documents and papers.
Tip: Think about how you’ll organize leftover copies of assignments that you can give to students who were either absent or lost their copy. This has always been something that I’ve never been very good at.
Tip: Think about how you’ll organize papers that need to be graded and those that have been graded and need to be returned.
As you probably know, teaching requires a lot of talking. The longer you talk, the more likely you are to lose your voice. Keep that throat from getting too scratchy by having a good water bottle handle and ready for a refill.
When you do a lot of grading, it’s nice to have a good set of pens in different colors. Before the beginning of the school year, grab yourself several packs (trust me, you’ll go through them) of your favorite pens. Stick a few in a pen organizer and stash the rest away where your students won’t be able to “borrow” them. (Fun pens also make a great addition to the classroom prize bucket mentioned above.)
Electric Pencil Sharpener
Trust me, it’s worth the money. Without an electric pencil sharpener, you’ll likely have students asking you to fix the manual sharpener every ten minutes because, for some reason, it’s impossible for today’s students to figure out how to use one.
Unless your school is strictly paperless, you will need more pencils than you could have ever thought imaginable.
Bulletin Board Decor
Try the Better Than Paper bulletin board rolls and make sure to pick up some borders!
Some ideas for simple bulletin board decor could includes:
- Your school’s bell schedule
- Your school’s grading policy
- Your classroom policies and procedures
- A classroom management system (like accumulating points)
- Your standards
- A word wall for your current unit
- About the teacher
- An inspirational quote (there are some cute ones you can purchase & print on TPT)
This was so totally not a thing when I started teaching, but now some teachers have started investing in their own personal laminators (not an affiliate link).
A class set of Clipboards and/or white boards
Class sets of clipboards are great for labs, stations, and escape rooms. I also love white boards for test prep and games!
A heavy duty tape dispenser is great to use instead of the little reusable ones.
A hot glue gun
Check with your building administrator, but if hot glue is allowed for hanging student work on the wall, I find that this is the most efficient method! Don’t forget the glue sticks. They run out fast!
Let’s Stay Connected!
Or get free science resources delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for my newsletter! I promise to never be spammy. I’m just a regular teacher who likes helping teachers teach and students learn.