I have two daughters that will have their own classrooms soon and the topic of MUST HAVES came up. So, I thought I would share my top 5 MUST HAVES for the classroom. Teachers have so many “needed” supplies, I know it is hard to narrow it down the just five, but here goes.


A freebie that was a game-changer for me was a number system. It is as simple as it sounds.  Organize the students in alphabetical order by last name, then assign them each a number (1, 2, etc.). This was their classroom number for everything (folders, line order, papers)! Then, you do not have to spend a ton of time on relabeling a thing because students are taught their number the first day of school and will keep it all year. This was such a time saver!

In July get ready to stalk the stores!  Staples offers a free teacher bag on a Saturday in July.  Don’t miss out!  I would always grab this freebie!  Garage sales during the summer are another way to get freebies.  I would always tell the homeowner I was a teacher looking for my classroom.  They would go straight to their good stuff and typically give it to me for free or next to nothing.


Being organized is critical since second grade is self contained.  You have to house everything necessary and it has to be hands-on.  I found myself constantly asking, “How could it get this bad and what do I really need in order to make a classroom run efficiently?” Having the right classroom supplies can be very costly, so choosing wisely is a necessity. What could I not live without?


Student mailboxes. I found a 15-slot sorter that would save a ton of time when preparing papers to send home. This was such an easy way to keep my desk free of the paper trail! I have also used a rolling file system with hanging files that works just as well.


A timer. I’m a very schedule-oriented person and like to use a good old fashioned timer for switching reading groups or anytime throughout the day.  I always had one with a bell. 


A personal library of books. I would HOARD as many individual books, at many different levels and on many different topics. I would also use individual book boxes for each student.  They would spend a couple of minutes each week refilling their book box with books on their level.  This saved so much time from running to the library every day.  I usually found a great supply garage selling!  Again, if you tell the homeowner you are buying them for a classroom they are normally very willing to sell them very cheap.

I remember the year Target sold book boxes in the Dollar Spot for $3.00 each. I had my husband stop at every Target as we were traveling down I-75 that Summer vacation!!!


Dry erase boards, Expo markers,  and small white socks for erasers. These three items will replace so many different resources in the classroom, the number one being PAPER.  Paper was such a hot commodity at my school, so anytime we could use a dry erase board I was excited!!  We could play games on them, small group math at the back table, reading centersn and Kahoot games!!! They loved it when I would pass them out during indoor recess! My girls just loved it! 

Teacher tip: I highly recommend plain black expo instead of colored markers.  The colored ones always stained the boards.


Mr. Sketch Markers are a MUST for making the best anchor charts!  There is something about a smelly marker that makes this teacher smile!!!



I am sorry, maybe not ALL teachers… but most are hoarders. Therefore, I had to find ways to store the clutter!  I could not stand it when the room was dirty or filled with paper.  Once a week I would have them clean out their desks, just to make sure nothing was hiding in there!  Read about the surprises over here!  Cut the clutter and you will breathe easier!  I PROMISE! Teach On!!


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Mrs. Patton

Welcome! I am Kim Patton and have been a second grade teacher since 2010. I’m a Christ-follower, wife, mother, teacher, blogger, and TpTer. I love traveling, spending time with my family, creating classroom materials, pizza, Peloton, and playing in the camper! I am glad you're here!

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    I am Kim Patton and have been a second-grade teacher since 2010. I’m a Christ-follower, wife, mother, teacher, blogger, and TpTer. I love traveling, spending time with my family, creating curriculum, pizza, Peloton, and playing in the camper! I am glad you're here! Read More

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