During the last few weeks of school each school year, many teachers learn they will be changing grade levels in the coming school year. This often sparks the question…”What should I stock up on to get my classroom ready for my new grade level?”
This frequently-asked question inspired me to feature a series of stories on my Instagram account called the Classroom Must-Haves Instastory Series. Throughout this week-long series, I featured classroom must-haves that my students and I use most frequently. Now that the series is over, I am taking the time to post everything I shared in one place for ongoing reference.
This post contains affiliate links for which I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase.
Here’s what you’ll find below:
- Five classroom must-have categories
- The video clips from my Instagram Classroom Must Haves Series for each category
- A list of each of the must-haves featured in each video clip with affiliate links for your shopping convenience
Classroom Library Books
The following books are my top picks for students reading at a third grade level.
The following books are my top picks for students reading at a fourth grade level.
Classroom Teaching & Skill Practice Apps & WebsitesLinks To All Must-Have Classroom Apps & Websites
- Educreations – (website & app) interactive whiteboard & screencasting tool
- Quick Math – (app) builds mental math skills, students use their finger to “handwrite” answers
- Epic – (app) ebook and audiobook library
- Hungry Fish – (app) boosts addition and subtraction fact fluency
- BrainPop – (website) animated educational videos for each subject area. Use Brainpop Jr. for K-3.
- Khan Academy – (website) expert-created videos for every subject area and grade level
- Learn Zillion – (website) digital video lessons aligned to Common Core standards for Math and ELA
- Study Jams – (website) animated interactive educational videos
- Spelling City – (website and app) – spelling, writing, and grammar practice activities
- IXL – (website and app) adaptive skill practice for all subject areas
- Multiplication.com – (website) free math fluency practice and auto-scored math fact fluency quizzes
- RazKids (website and app) – online guided reading with interactive ebooks and assessments
- Scratch (website and app) – free online programming tool to code stories, games, and animations
Professional Development Books for TeachersLinks To All Professional Development Books for Teachers
Here are the links to each of my most used professional development books. They are listed in the same order they appear in the story, along with a description of what I use them for in my classroom.
- MindUp Curriculum – mindfulness and brain-based learning
- Language of Learning – promotes strong listening and speaking skills
- Number Talks – building mental math and computation strategies
- About Teaching Mathematics – building meaning in math through interactive activities
- Words Their Way – word work assessments, grouping strategies, and activities to boost literacy skills
- The Book Whisperer – building an authentic reading environment in your classroom
- Reading In The Wild – how to instill lifelong reading habits in your students
- The Reading Strategies Book – a book of strategies to support differentiated reading instruction
- The Writing Strategies Books – a book of strategies to support differentiated writing instruction
Classroom Organizational ToolsLinks To All Must-Have Organization Tools
Here are the links to each of my organizational faves. They are listed in the same order they appear in the story, along with a description of what I use them for in my classroom.
- IKEA Trofast Organization System (for math manipulative storage and rubric drawers)
- Target Square Bows (for easy math manipulative access)
- IRIS Photo Holders (for math kits)
- IRIS Small Open Top File Boxes (for homework turn in and student book bins)
- Bigso Stokholm Letter Sorter (for math game card storage)
- Poppin’ Business Card Holder (for partner check in cards and enrichment cards)
- Container Store Teal Perch Biggy Magnetic Container (for writing resources and papers to stamp)
- Eight Compartment Supply Caddy (for holding class cash and class passes)
- Sterilite Large Nesting Showoff Bins (for filing monthly projects)
Links To All Must-Have Labels
Here are the labels and other items featured in the story that you can find in my TPT store:
- Classroom Organizational Labeling Kit (black labels shown on several drawers)
- Homework DropBox Labels (shown on homework turn in bins)
- Book Bin Labels (shown on student book bins)
- Hands on Math Games (cards shown in math game holder)
- Classroom Economy Toolkit (cash and passes shown in handle caddy)
Classroom ManipulativesLinks To All Must-Have Manipulatives
The manipulatives below are listed in the same order they appear in my Instagram Story video above.
What Are Your Classroom Must-Haves?
I’m always looking for new ideas for my classroom. If you have a favorite classroom tool or resource to share, please comment below.
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links to make it easier for you find the organizational tools shared in this post. To see all my favorite Amazon finds, visit my Amazon Influencer page here.
Do you allow students to use their desks for storage? If so, how do you keep them organized?
Hi Ana, I do allow students to store things inside their desk. The best way I’ve found to keep them organized is by using a classroom job called Desk Elves. Each day during Tidy Up Time, the desk elves are responsible for checking the desks to make sure there are no loose papers, extra supplies, or trinkets. If they see the desk is clean and organized, they dismiss the student to go do their class job, if the desk is unorganized, the student who sits at that desk must organize it before being rechecked by the desk elves. Here is the classroom job/economy system I use to motivate students to be responsible for keeping our classroom clean.
I hope this is helpful.