I love to shop on Amazon, so I took a look back at my purchases over the years and came up with some of my top favorite things that I use in my classroom. These are all great suggestions for teachers that are entering into their first year or in maybe their first few years of teaching (or honestly, any year of teaching!).
I’m going to start with my number eight suggestion which is dry erase pockets. These are wonderful to use in centers. All you have to do is copy maybe 5 or 6 handouts and put them into each of the pockets. Then students use dry erase markers to complete the activity. There’s no grading for you, and students always LOVE to write with dry erase markers.
7. Puzzles and Games
Over the years I have built up the puzzles and games section in my classroom. Some of my favorite puzzles that I have are from Mudpuppy. They offer a wide variety of puzzles for kids ages 2 and up. I also have a ton of games in my classroom. Some of them were donated from family members, but many I have ordered online. A few of my favorites for my 4th graders are Ticket to Ride (the Junior Edition), Bananagrams, and Checkers. I have Fun Friday every week with my students and I love jumping in to play a game with them. Last year we had an epic Checkers tournament in my class, in which I played a bunch of my students. It was a lot of fun.
I love myself a good felt letter board! I didn’t actually order mine from Amazon, (I won it at a conference that I was attending) but I’ve linked to the exact one that I have. Every month I changed the quote that I have on it, which oftentimes reminds my students to be good humans! I love quotes, so click here for a list of my favorite quotes to put on my felt board!
This one is always a topic of debate, but I am a flair pen girl. I went through a flair pen faze when I first started teaching, then I kind of got away from it, and now I’m back on the flair pen train. What I love most about Flair pens is the bright colors that they come in. I heard once that we shouldn’t be grading in red because alerts students to something that they did wrong, so I have made a promise to myself that I will only grade in fun colors, such as blue, green, pink, and most often purple.
So often when we return to school we are given some Expo markers for writing on our whiteboard. But nine times out of ten every single marker that we receive is black, red, green, or blue. Well for me, every year I order myself some bright colored Expo markers that make writing on the board so much more fun. Plus, the bright colors really get my student excited for the lesson that’s happening that day
When I first started teaching I had hand-me-down scissors that didn’t work so well. I used those for a few years until I realized I should invest in some really good scissors. I ordered a three-pack of Scotch brand scissors from Amazon and they are wonderful. A teacher tip is to put your name in on your scissors so that if they get lost or misplaced, they can always find their way back to you.
As teachers we often forget to drink water during the day. I know it can be a tricky thing because our bathroom breaks are few and far between, but I buy myself a fun water bottle every couple years which keeps me wanting to drink from it and reminding myself to drink water throughout the day.
And my last Amazon find is my number one suggestion. It was something I waited way too long to purchase. It wasn’t until I was entering into my eighth or ninth year of teaching that I decided to invest in a personal laminator. I have to tell you it’s not as expensive as you think, and it will change your life. I use mine at least once a week. I laminate posters for my room. I laminate signs that are going up in the hall. I laminate task cards, so that I don’t have to print them year, after year. And I always have teachers asking if they could borrow my laminator.
I hope you enjoyed my list of top 8 Amazon finds for first-year teachers. If you have an Amazon find that you would like to suggest to first-year teachers, go ahead and drop it in the comments below.
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