Accidental Snowbirds

A Teacher’s Guide to Back to School Supplies

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It’s everybody’s favorite time of year: back to school. Parents are ready to not be with their children 24/7 and the kids, although they won’t admit it, are looking forward to a schedule. With this fun time, comes the back to school supply lists.

As a teacher, I have a different insight on them. While the school district is required to provide supplies for each student, the school budget can go A LOT further if parents donate supplies for their students.

I am a certificated elementary school teacher with a Master’s degree in elementary mathematics.

I have spent this past year living on the road in an RV full time working with home school families, supporting both parents and students. My goal is to help them avoid burnout while best supporting their young learners. 

A gripe I hear from parents is how picky teachers are with their supply lists. Teachers try to make them as explicit as possible, to make your shopping easier. 

I often hear, “Why are they requesting a specific name brand?” Let me tell you, Dixon Ticonderoga pencils are the jam! When my instruction is interrupted all day, every day because those cute little rainbow pencils keep breaking, I tend to favor a durable pencil. 

Imagine this: you’re trying to give an engaging presentation at work and all 27 people you’re presenting to start jumping out of their seats at random times yelling that their pencil broke.

Not just a “hey, my pencil broke.” It’s a, “MY PENCIL BROKE,” the world is ending, and it must be addressed right this instant. Your pitch wouldn’t be heard and you’d keep repeating yourself until you want to start banging your head on the wall. 

Now, without further ado, my favorite supplies:

Puffs Plus Lotion Facial Tissues

More is always better. If you can send in a few more boxes, you’re on your way to the new teacher loving you! Classrooms are like Petri dishes and there is a sick kid in class every day of the year.

If you can spring for the ones with lotion, those raw little noses will thank you come midwinter. 

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes 

In an attempt to combat the revolving door of new germs, I would Clorox every surface imaginable at least once a week.

I would even get the kids to help if I knew their parents would let them touch the wipes. 

Dixon Ticonderoga pencils

Things I didn’t know before becoming a teacher: not all pencils are created equal. These beauties sharpen consistently without breakage, have smudge-free erasers, and have the longest staying power when writing.

Pre sharpen the pencils if you can. This saves so much time throughout the year. 

Paper Mate Pink Pearl Eraser 

These don’t disintegrate like their counterparts. They are as durable as they come and erase cleanly.

Because they erase cleanly, your student is less likely to erase a hole right through their paper.

Composition notebooks

If your teacher is asking for composition notebooks, please send them and not spiral notebooks. Composition notebooks are more durable and because pages aren’t torn out of them, less work is lost. 

Spirals don’t hold up to 180 days of work and they get mangled together in desks. 

Here, the name brand doesn’t matter. Get whatever cute ones your student wants!

Fiskar scissors

These durable, round-tipped scissors get the job done and lessen the risk of accidentally poking oneself.

The innovative safety-edge blades feature a safer blade angle to protect kids but still cuts all classroom materials.

Non-Shatter Clear 12” Ruler

I find the clear rulers make it easier for the kids to measure fractions of an inch. They can clearly (no pun intended) see where they begin and end measuring. This one has a metric and imperial measurement.

Sterilite Pencil Box 

Choose a supply box that will withstand a child shoving it into the depths of their desk many times a day over the course of 10 months. These things take a beating! I am a fan of the Sterilite brand because they make high quality, durable products. 

Avery Big Tab Insertable Dividers

Most kiddos are new to how to use a binder and dividers take the brunt of it! Be sure to get plastic dividers or at least dividers with reinforced holes to keep them from being accidentally torn out. 

Elmer’s Glue Stick 

&

Bottle 

Stick to the supply list on adhesives; bottled glue and glue sticks are not the same! While they ultimately do the same job, most teachers prefer glue sticks.

It is much more difficult to use too much and glue your brand-new notebook completely together. tutor, learning, tutoring, education, k-12 tutoring, k-12 help, k-12 guidance, k-12 support, math, k-12 math, elementary math, english, k-12 english, elementary English, writing, k-12 writing help, k-12 writing support, k-12 writing guidance, intervention, k-12 intervention, elementary intervention, response to intervention, teacher learning path, student, k-12, school supplies, school, elementary, support, teaching support, teaching guidance, teaching help, teacher, homeschool help, homeschool guidance, homeschool support, home school guidance, home school guidance, home school help,

You’re probably thinking, “My kid doesn’t need a tutor. He/she is doing just fine.” The right tutor can provide support for your student and guide them along their learning path. 

 

A tutor can also provide parent support. How many times have you become frustrated when you’re not able to help your student with their work? Many times, it’s not because you don’t understand the concept, it’s because it’s being introduced in a new way. 

 

Older siblings are often dragged in to do the tutoring because they had been taught the method in recent years. How great would it be if you had somebody to reach out to and ask specific questions?

 

If you are interested in learning more about how I can support you please contact me: contact@accidentalsnowbirds.com or through any of the social media sites listed at the top of this page. 

 

While I know that school supply lists can seem overwhelming and extremely picky, please keep in mind that the teacher who created them thought long and hard about what supplies are essential and what brands will last. They have pared down the list to make it the most manageable for your family financially and put a lot of thought into that aspect as well before sending the list home. 

 

What questions do you wish you could ask a teacher about school supply lists? Leave me a note in the comments below.

 

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