Are you filling up your Amazon cart for next school year? Much like you, I do the same thing each summer. However, instead of buying new items, I’m pretty much sticking to the same shopping list at the beginning of each new year. I’ve found my favorite “must haves” from Amazon for my first grade classroom, and I can’t wait to share with you my top 20 items!
I use command hooks for nearly everything including my Interactive Word Wall. You can see more about my Word Wall by clicking here. The hooks are perfect for holding the word rings in place and have lasted without having to be replaced. No one has time to constantly fix missing hooks!
I have several push-on lights in my room for bathroom passes and small group do not disturb signals for my students. The first month or two of school they were used constantly, but as the year progressed, the newness and desire to push on the lights lessened. It was the perfect classroom management piece that allowed me to know when students were out of the classroom. Click here if you want to see other classroom management tips I use.
Another classroom must have from Amazon is a wireless doorbell. It is the perfect cue for “stop and look” and also for a signal of when students need to rotate or clean up their stations. If you don’t have a doorbell in your room, stop now and go grab one!
I get compliments on these tissue paper flowers all the time from teachers, parents, and even students. It’s a bright pop of color on those plain white walls, but not overwhelming or distracting to students.
I absolutely hate putting bulletin board letters on displays. My letters are never spaced correctly or never straight. I string these metallic balloons as my board headers and they are both festive and functional. I keep the “read” balloons up all year as we work on our good reading habits. The “1st” balloons are only used for beginning of the year and end. I use them as a photo background for Meet the Teacher and Awards Day.
Personal space is important in lower elementary classrooms. We teach students that they need to make sure they aren’t in each others’ spaces and that we aren’t constantly touching people. Sit Spots help teach boundaries and personal space by giving each student a spot. I use different colors for rows to help with transitions, “green row, go and get your book baskets” or “purple spots, come and sit in the floor with me.”
There are many black coffee table options on Amazon. I prefer this one because I can store manipulatives under the table.
I got rid of my teacher desk this year so these black shelves are so important!! I store all of my must have phonics packs and bundles here at my small group table so that I can grab what I need without searching or even getting up. I added another shelf here during post planning so now I have three.
Having flexible seating means that I have to not only model organization, but I also provide students with ways to stay organized and stay diligent enough to make sure they follow through and learn organizational skills. These large black crates help store notebooks, journals, pencil boxes, etc.
Ceiling hooks work on other surfaces other than just the ceiling! They are wonderful for metal surfaces and white boards. I bought a pack that can hold up to 18 pounds. That can hold up a lot of anchor charts!
At the beginning of the year, I had an ugly smartboard/projector attached to my back wall. I wanted to dress it up a little so I added triangular banners along the way. They tie in with my colors and the polka dots add a little dimension to the room.
Every elementary classroom needs a fun set of stools. These stools are very durable. While most of my tables are lowered to the floor to keep students still and focused, I do have one table with stools for small groups for my student teacher and push in teachers.
Why is my futon on the floor? Well, with the legs on, it blocked the view of the back table and I felt like this was the perfect spot for a little extra flexible seating. I used the futon as an extra reward for PBIS. Students could cash in 30 tickets or points to sit on the futon to work for the week.
You know the research about kids listening to people read and how it impacts their own fluency, I won’t bore you with statistics, but I will remind you that it is an important addition to your classroom. Scholastic is my “go to” to buy books on CD. I buy the sets, and then use the points I earned from the purchase to get extra copies of the book titles so that I have 3-4 copies of each book.
Pointers aren’t just good for reading! Short girl confession…I can’t reach across my horseshoe table. Geez…that was tough to admit. These small, thin pointers help me get students back on task or help them with a word that I want to point out. The students get to use them on Friday, and they act like they are magical wands.
It’s obvious…you need a lot of cardstock and colored paper. Those stations and centers that you are printing will last longer if you print on cardstock first and then laminate.
I made a mistake last summer of buying plastic shoe boxes from Dollar Tree. They were just a dollar! How could I resist? Two weeks into the school year the lids were cracking. At first I thought my kids were abusing them, then I realized the error in my ways. Go ahead, teacher friends, and invest in these Sterilite boxes. You will thank me years down the road.
While I have bought many professional development books which were all very useful, these two are my favorites!!! I use them for my reading conferences and small groups.
Ask me what one item from my TPT store that I used more than any other last year and I will quickly tell you my Data Folders. I use the pronged folders for these so that I can keep all my documentation in one place for each student. Staying on top of data is important, but keeping the data organized is important as well. There are so many uses for these folders. Pronged folders aren’t just for the doctor’s office!
To make shopping easier, I’ve added all these products to my Amazon list of favorites. You can click here and browse and shop!