Taking Stock: A Classroom Shopping List


“Do you have paper bags?” “Can I have a plate?”

Yes, to both questions—I have all kinds of things in my closet and desk! Over the years of teaching, I’ve found a number of items that are important to stock in my classroom, and other items that are nice to have on hand. I’ll share a list of items that I think are helpful to keep in my classroom.

I have:

  • Paper plates—small and large (useful for craft projects, for math; use for fractions, circles; sometimes for lunches or snacks
  • Foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Wax paper
  • Disposable cups (for serving, for storage, pencil holders)
  • Plastic bags—several kinds
    • Sandwich size, both zip and fold (useful for keeping flashcards, small pieces for games, for students to keep in their desks for storage)
    • Gallon size, zip (Put each child’s name on a bag and use to keep books for them to read.)
    • Small bags, zip; found in craft stores (for little pieces, buttons that come off, teeth that fall out!)
  • Plastic spoons (share at lunch time)
  • Lunch bags of different colors (puppets, holding mystery objects, keeping collections, craft projects)
  • Salt (for my lunch, and sometimes I share)
  • Vaseline in a tube (I can squeeze a bit onto a student’s finger and they apply it to their lips when they have chapped lips and no chapstick. No mouth touches it this way.)
  • Lotion
  • Hand sanitizer (or Hanitizer, as my students say)
  • Timers—I have 4 or 5 (used for testing, motivation; “Clean up before the timer rings.” “Be ready when the timer goes!” “See how much math you can do before the timer rings.”)
  • Glue, glue stick
  • Scotch tape
  • Masking tape
  • Duct tape
  • Envelopes—a few of each: business size, letter size, larger gold envelopes
  • Index cards—3”x5”, 4”x6”, both lined and unlined (for making flashcards, “show-me” cards, writing blends, alphabet letters, numbers, etc., to manipulate)
  • Cough drops
  • Tylenol
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste (for use before parent/teacher conferences 🙂 )
  • Straight pins
  • Needles, thread
  • Safety pins
  • Pencils, pens, gel pens, highlighters, sharpies—many colors and sizes
  • Paper clips, large and small
  • Scissors, stapler, ruler, yardstick
  • Rubber bands
  • Post-it notes, other paper such as notepads, shaped pads, scratch paper
  • Bookmarkers
  • Verse cards, notes for inspiration (Look at these when you need some inspiration! Sometimes I stick a special verse, or encouraging note, down in my desk drawer so I will “find” it later and it encourages me again)
  • Ink pad, stamps
  • Stickers—smiley faces, grading, pictures (for reinforcement of learning, charts, grades, for prizes)
  • Name tags (Use on field trips. When we learn titles and abbreviations, I give out name tags and the children choose a title for themselves and wear their name tag that day. I call on them by what the name tag says: “Yes, Mr. Weaver?” “What do you think, Dr. Zook?”)
  • Pointers (for use at the board, with whole-class lessons)
  • Small pointers (for individual use as children are reading—make it fun! We use thin popsicle sticks, colored sticks, shapes that are really made for sticking in cupcakes, some big toothpicks—I glued goggly eyes on some of them)
  • Toothpicks—the big round ones are best
  • Popsicle sticks of different sizes and colors
  • Clothespins—clip (for holding pieces of sponges for painting; for making individual clipboards with a piece of cardboard)
  • Orange peeler (I let my students use this—I don’t like to peel oranges, and they can do that themselves with the peeler!)
  • Magnets and magnetic strips

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