3 Classroom Must-Haves For Any Teacher

I know it’s summer, but I also know that lots of teachers immediately start thinking about how they want to set themselves up for next year. I’ve lived and taught in a lot of different places, and it’s given me some perspective on things that are necessary and things that aren’t. Any time that I’ve moved to a new school, these are three things that I make sure I have. I’ll jump right in!

In no particular order…

1) Pens or pencils (duh).

BUT I use a teacher hack that has allowed me to keep ONE pack of pens in my room until they run out of ink. I’m talking multiple years. You might be saying, “Impossible! Liar!” But I’m not kidding. I buy pens, I buy fake flowers and green painters tape from Dollar Tree, and I tape a flower onto each pen. I have a bouquet at the front of the room and students can borrow them as they please. They never go missing. On the rare occasion that they sneak out of the room, they come back to me. It’s my favorite teacher hack.

2) Mini whiteboards.

I’m big on playing games in the classroom, and these are used all time for kids to show their answers. I also encourage students to use mini whiteboards during lessons (especially in math) because students are way more willing to take risks and make mistakes on erasable surfaces than on paper. It’s a proven fact. If your school won’t splurge on a full set of mini whiteboards, laminate some cute cardstock instead. It won’t erase as easily or as cleanly, but I’ve gotten a couple of years of use out of them. Worth it.

These are my homemade whiteboards. They typically last me two years before they get kind of dirty and I opt to replace them.
These are my homemade whiteboards. They typically last me two years before they get kind of dirty and I opt to replace them.
Mini whiteboards
Mini whiteboards can be purchased from lots of different online and in-store vendors.

3) Colored paper.

Lots of it! I use this for foldables, printing certain things that will make them easy to refer to (ex: “Your polyatomic ions are on the blue sheet you have!”), posters, game cards, task cards, etc. etc. If you’re already in the online teaching community this is probably not new to you, but I am not exaggerating when I say that as a high school science and math teacher, I’m often the only person that I know who requests colored paper and tries to use it in a thoughtful way.

I grabbed my most recent big pack of colored paper from Michael’s using one of the 40% coupons that comes up all the time! I’m planning to use this for a biology activity that will have students showing evolution of a bunch of little creatures, and I want each group to have a different colored set.

What items are on your must-have list for the new year? Let me know!

That’s it!

Scientifically yours,


Interested in other blog posts? Check out:

My Favorite Way to Review Vocabulary in High School Science

An Unexpected Way to Foster Positivity in the Classroom

March Mammal Madness: What’s all the hype about?

The Top 23 Teaching Interview Questions

Using Case Studies in the Science Classroom

5 Ways to Use Google Forms in the Classroom

Spicing Up How to Teach Diagrams of the Human Body