Every school has a different policy when it comes to school supply lists. Some schools require that every grade level has the same list. In my school we are allowed to have our own lists and decide what we want on it. Here are a few of the untraditional things that I have on my supply list and a few tips that make the school year more enjoyable and organized for everyone!
*Disclaimer: I understand that many teachers simply cannot ask parents for many of these things for financial reasons. This is simply what works for my class!
Now that technology has such a presence in school, I believe that headphones are a must for a supply list. Many headphones contain fabric and foam which can be breeding ground for lice and other germs. GROSS. If kids shouldn't share hats, they definitely shouldn't share headphones. How cute are these animal headphones from Caliphone? A few of my students had these last year and they are only $13.99 from Amazon!
Storage tip: I have my students store their headphones in a gallon size Zip-loc bag in their cubby.
I learned this one from the very first kindergarten team that I worked on (back when kids still had rest time!) Instead of those plastic rest mats I ask for a beach towel from each child. We use them for quiet reading time, outdoor picnics and special events like Polar Express Day and movie days. They are easy to send home to be machine washed.
1 Inch 3-Ring Binder with Window
I use this binder as a reading binder for my students. I keep all of their reading assessments, sight word progress monitoring, reading passages, tests and quizzes, etc. It is nice to have all of this in one place so my aides can grab the binder and pull a student aside to work with him or her. At the end of the year I have a binder full of documentation of their reading progress to be sent home and during the year I can bring this binder with me to parent meetings and CSE meetings.
TWO Supply Boxes
Supply boxes are on most elementary supply lists but I ask for TWO. I use one for their normal supplies and one as a math tool box. We use the Expressions Math program and it has millions of manipulatives. This extra tool box makes it easy for students to keep track of manipulatives and for me to organize our math lessons.
A trick I learned from my sister-in-law who has been teaching kindergarten for 15 years! Old socks are the perfect dry-erase eraser. They work better than a lot of real erasers, they are easier to store and they are free. Plus, you don't feel guilty throwing them out at the end of the year when they get gross.
We use this as an art smock and for arts and crafts inside the classroom. It also comes in handy during science projects that are hands-on and dirty!
FOUR Boxes of Crayola Crayons
Crayons are probably the most common supply on elementary supply lists, but I ask parents to send in FOUR boxes of crayons. I know, it sounds kind of greedy. Our school year is broken into four 10-week chunks. Every 10 weeks I have my students clean out their supply boxes and open a new box of crayons. They LOVE opening a new box of crayons. Can you blame them?! Coloring with dull crayons isn't enjoyable for anybody, let alone a six year old who is trying to learn to color in the lines. Crayons are so cheap in the summer that it's not as greedy as it sounds!
Trust me, this is worth being specific about on your supply list! Even if you still get unsharpened ones (it happens every year), you will be glad that the majority of your pencils are already sharpened. We have enough to do in September!
I take my students outside all year round- rain or shine! I don't require that parents send in extra sneakers but I do recommend it if they don't want new school shoes muddy by October!
What are some of your must-haves on your supply list? You can view my Welcome to School Packet in this post and see what I send home with my supply list to welcome new students to my class.