11 Elementary Classroom Must-Haves For Your First-Year Teacher Wish List

What to add to your classroom teacher wish list

As a first-year teacher there are a lot of things you need to set your classroom up for success. You’ll need supplies to stay organized, things to help you create materials for your students, and games and activities to make your classroom a place for learning and growing. 

Here’s a handy list of must-haves to get you started:

Classroom supplies

Think of these as your basic supplies to keep you and your classroom running smoothly. These include:

  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Stapler
  • Hole puncher

Classroom library

Having a cozy reading corner in your classroom can help encourage a love of learning and reading in your young students. Whether your students are fluent readers yet or not - a great classroom library is a must-have for elementary teachers.

Be sure to include:

  • Age-appropriate reading level books
  • A bookshelf to place your books (doesn’t have to be big!)
  • A big rocking chair for you to sit in
  • A comfy rug or bean bags for students to sit on

Classroom rules and expectations

As a first-year teacher, clear rules and expectations for your students is crucial to setting yourself up for success. This is just one step of using a behavioral management system to help protect your instructional time! 

Consider having these rules in a very public location and refer back to them regularly - especially at the beginning of the school year and after breaks.

Classroom decorations

Now the real fun begins! Classroom decorations can help turn bare walls into a magical learning environment. These decorations can either be home made, bought, or a combination of the two. If you need some inspiration, check out Teacher Created Resources gallery of different classroom decoration themes.

Whatever direction you choose you’ll definitely need:

  • Double sided tape
  • Stapler
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers

Classroom technology

Integrating technology into your classroom is a great way to increase student engagement and improve learning outcomes. As a first-year teacher, you unfortunately don’t have a lot of say in the more expensive pieces of technology in your classroom like digital whiteboards, tablets, software subscriptions, or computers. 

Thankfully there are still some ways for you to bring innovative tools into your classroom in your first year of teaching. For instance, sometimes something as simple as a powerpoint clicker can be an effective tool to help you teach.

Check out our resources on free technology tools for teachers to see what you want to try in year one!

Classroom organizational system

In your elementary classroom you are going to need to stay organized because your young learners won’t be. That means creating a system to make it as easy as possible for you and your students to keep materials, homework, and project work.

There’s a number of ways to set your system up but there are some supplies to consider adding to your wish list:

  • Hanging file folder organizer
  • Bins or baskets
  • Storage containers
  • Desk organizers
  • File cabinet
  • Shelves

Learning center materials

Having learning centers in elementary classrooms is a fantastic way to help young learners explore, experiment, and collaborate with a variety of hands on-activities, games, and other resources.

The type of learning center you want in your classroom will determine what resources you’ll need. The most common types of elementary learning centers are:

  • Literacy centers
  • Math centers
  • Science centers
  • Social studies centers
  • Art centers
  • Technology centers

No matter what type of center you want to create you’ll also need to dedicate a space in your classroom for the center including comfortable seating, appropriate desk or table space, and manipulatives for students to utilize.

Visual aids

Visual aids are a way for you to help reinforce and illustrate important learning concepts throughout the classroom. These resources include charts, diagrams, graphs, illustrations, graphic organizers, anchor charts, and more!

Some of these illustrations can be found and purchased from resources like Teachers Pay Teachers or they can be made the old fashioned way with:

  •  Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Double-sided tape
  • Markers

Art supplies

Individual student art supplies can be put on their school supply list, but it’s good to have some backup supplies just in case and any special supplies for group activities.

Some good art supplies to have handy include:

  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Coloring pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue Sticks

Manipulatives and educational games

Manipulatives and educational games help enhance hands-on learning and understanding for students by making abstract concepts tangible and relatable. 

These can include:

  • Base 10 blocks
  • Clock and time manipulatives
  • Fraction tiles
  • Age appropriate board games

First aid kit

Your school or district may actually mandate that you have a first aid kit in your classroom. In those cases they may provide you with one - but if it isn’t required it’s still not a bad idea to have supplies handy. These kits can be purchased online rather than buying individual supplies.

How to create an Amazon teacher wish list for your classroom

  1. Sign in to your personal account on Amazon.
  2. Click on Accounts & Lists and then Create a List.
  3.  After naming your list, select the three dots menu and click Manage List to update your shipping address, description, and more preferences. 
  4. When you’re finished, click Save Changes and start adding items to your wish list by clicking Add to List on any item’s product page.

For more information check out Amazon’s own page for more on creating lists.