One reoccurring topic at the end of every summer is…
Why is that list so long?
Do we really need to bring EVERYTHING on the list? WHY?
First, let me inform you guys of a little secret.
Supply lists are a HUGE pet peeve of MANY teachers.
That is right… we hate them too.
So why do we do them?
First, we have to. It is usually a requirement on our check off sheet before we leave school for the summer.
Second, we actually NEED those things.
And we know the cheapest time to get them is at back to school.
Third, we want to have fun teaching your child.
And we need basic supplies to do so.
Do you remember working in a workbook using a pencil all day at school?
Do you want that for your child?
I didn’t think so.
Does your child need everything on that supply list?
Yes. It is a minimum of what they will use this school year.
If it costs you a few more dollars, but you can double the quantity of what you can bring it, the teacher would greatly appreciate it.
Here is WHY we need those supplies and what we use them for.
-Cleaning wipes, sprays, and cleaning products help keep the classroom clean and germ free for me and my students. I clean most of the room and hard surfaces myself. Desk, chairs, shelves, and more. When I get the email stating someone has Strep or high fever, I do special cleaning to help everyone. If we bake or cook, we need to sanitize surfaces as well.
-Kids need tissues and hand sanitizer. I absolutely let my kids wash their hands often. When students have super snotty noses or we can’t get to the bathrooms to clean up… hand sanitizer helps everyone quickly. Plus, we do on field trip and off campus activities. I take sanitizer there too.
-Baby wipes are great for little messes and art project clean up. Do you like those handprint projects? Then I desperately need baby wipes to clean 24 sets of little hands after I paint them. Also, I wipe down mouths with these wipes often. After lunch and snack, those cute faces don’t always look so cute. I know you won’t want to see a gross face at pick up and I try not to send them home on the bus with food around their mouths. Help me out with baby wipes and I can help you out with clean faces. Look for the refill packs instead of the hard containers. They are slightly cheaper.
-Baggies… oh baggies. YES… we need them. We use them for everything. If there is an accident at school involving syrup or a milk spill… I put the dirty clothes in a baggies to go back home. Lets not mention other types of accidents that we both know happen and deserve a bag that seals. Baggies are also used in cooking, science experiments, and hands on activities for your child to enjoy! I do all the prep work, but these baggies save valuable classroom time.
-Scissors- we need them. I recommend Fiskar brand. If you get a better quality scissor, it will last longer, perhaps several years and make cutting easier for your student.
–Glue bottles and glue sticks– YES your child with go thru at least the amount of glue we put on the supply list. AT LEAST. We don’t hoard glue and take it home with us. We use every drop of it. EACH day I have taught, we have glued something. And lets face it… some students are glue monsters. Refer back to baby wipes for these students. You want art projects and hands on activities? Buy the glue. Usually it is cheaper to buy smaller glue bottles for around a quarter now than it is to refill bottle after bottle after bottle. I do that too on a regular basis to make sure your child always has glue. THAT is why we ask for so many smaller bottle at the start of the year.
-Crayola products? Do we really need that name brand? YES, I do not say that lightly. They are simply and completely worth the money because they last so much longer and work so much better. The red crayon is the color red. They don’t break as easily. And their Crayola Watercolors last through several painting activities instead of one. If you tell me the store was out of Crayola products so you are waiting for them to restock instead of buying another brand, I will tell you how smart you are!
-Specific colored folders, prongs or no prongs, and what does that poly whatever mean?- We color code folders to make it easy for your student to know which one to use when, which one to take home, and so on. If we ask for prongs, that means we have papers we want to KEEP in there. If we don’t ask for prongs, we don’t need them. Poly means we want the plastic type material because in the past the paper ones have fallen apart too easily. Remember… this is all to help your student organized.
-Bookbags- if they don’t fit a folder, do NOT BUY THEM. I highly recommend a book bag that will last all year without falling part. If you invest slightly more, it will last for years and year. No roller bags please. Most schools do not allow them. Which ones work well? I have seen these last at least one whole school year: Pottery Barn, JanSport, LL Bean, and Disney Store.
–Expo Markers– we use them a lot and we love them… but not as much as your child does. They just make writing MORE fun. I personally LOVE the thin, black markers for little hands to write with. Why do we need so many? You know how your kid looses stuff at home and forgets to put the cap back on their toothpaste each day? Yeah… that is why.
–Pencils– I swear to you, I think kids EAT them. They do! They must. I love pencils without a design, a good eraser, and if it is already sharpened that is the BEST. Yes, I sharpen pencils too each and every day of school. I even have to purchase my own pencil sharpener. It is always better to bring in a TON of pencil in the start of the year. This means your students won’t randomly run out of pencil on a Wednesday night and make you go out and buy more at that one moment when you just have no extra time.
-What about other wishlist items- if you had a teacher a Sharpie pack, they might CRY for joy. We use these to write your child’s name on EVERYTHING. (We get your child’s name off using Lysol Spray, which is another reason we ask for this.) Hand over some hot glue sticks, magnets, or even lamination pouches They will most likely be too shocked for words. I am a techie so if you send me in an iTunes gift card, I can immediately buy games and digital books for the class.
-Lastly, do yourself a favor. Buy an extra set of consumables for your own house. It will make homework time, projects, and even card making for family events so much cheaper and easier in the long fun.
J Keath says
You nailed it! As most other teachers, I try to keep my list to a minimum. Each item is really needed, especially Crayola and Fiskars!
I just L.O.V.E. this article!!!!! Thank you for sharing!! May I copy it to send to my parents this year? I will gladly give you credit. ??
You have just made my life easier and the good vibrations and good energy that will result in great parent/teacher relationships, all thanks to this article, will allow for a smooth start of a wonderful year. Again, thank you! You are a genius!!!
Mary Amoson says
David Robb says
I agree, you nailed it! I shared this on my social media!
Christine Gerber says
Here’s a statement from Facebook that is the root cause of supply lists:
Love the post and the reply from Christine Gerber. Both – so true!