As the school winds down to a close, one of my many end-of-year tasks is to complete a requisition form for next year’s supplies. Looking through an office supply catalog is one of my secret pleasures in life – I LOVE to organize and I especially enjoy looking at all the supplies that one can use to accomplish that task. I thought I’d take time today to share what I consider to be my 5 most essential office supplies for teachers and why they made the list.
Supplies for Teachers #1: 4-in-1 Ink Pen
If you’re a visual learner like I am, you’ll quickly see why this is my favorite ink pen. Four colors all conveniently located in one pen. I like being able to complete official forms in the required blue or black ink, grade papers with the blue or green ink, and write lesson plans with the blue and red ink. The only down-side to this pen is that you can run out of one color before the others go dry. That’s why I order 4 for a school year – I find that one pen will generally last one quarter.
Supplies for Teachers #2: Adhesive Labels
I love the convenience of adhesive labels in all their sizes! Especially at the beginning of the school year when you have to label an endless amount of items with all 24 of your students’ names, this office supply is a real time-saver. Unfortunately, as with many other things in life, what saves you time usually costs you money. These labels are no exception, so I rely on several funding sources to pay for them – requisition money, summer school money (you can buy these labels at Walmart), and parent donations. The standard label size works well for items such as workbooks, academic planners and folders. I’ve also used file folder labels for coding my teacher manuals with academic standards, and return address labels are small enough for use on hallway decorations.
Supplies for Teachers #3: Highlighters
Yeah, highlighters. I use them whenever possible in place of the much more expensive color ink from a printer. I have three reading groups, each with a different color – blue, green and yellow. On my lesson plan form, instead of printing the form from a color printer, I simply purchased blue, green and yellow highlighters and highlight each group’s lesson. A few weeks ago I described my Team Tubs – I used highlighters to color the each tub’s label. Your basic yellow highlighter is perfect for discreetly marking the original of a worksheet or form that you don’t want accidentally used.
Sometimes called banker’s boxes, these are cardboard storage holders often used in libraries to store journals and magazines. I love to use them in my classroom because they are the perfect size for holding workbooks, notebooks and folders. My student desks have limited storage space, so these boxes literally double the amount of storage space in each desk. I wouldn’t recommend using them to hold textbooks as they don’t stand up too well to that much weight. Also, figure on having to replace a few each year due to damage and heavy use. Some kids are just harder on supplies than others. Once again, I get creative with how I purchase these and use a variety of sources. They’re well worth it though. I like to tape a library card pocket to the front for holding index cards with notes and passwords.
Creative Uses for Common Supplies
Teachers are very creative. We excel at using ordinary objects, such as office supplies, and re-purposing them for a variety of instructional goals. Next time you find yourself perusing an office supply catalog, use your imagination and consider new ways for using old supplies.