“Be prepared” isn’t just the motto of the Boy Scouts. It’s also the personal mantra of all teachers. Education is all about preparation, in fact. It means getting ready for the future with the actions we take in the ‘now.’ This translates to the accessories teachers equip themselves and their classrooms with as much as it does learning. So the right list of teacher accessories is essential for any and all situations.
The following list of notable teacher accessories is adaptable to pretty much any classroom. You’ll find these suggestions to be broad in scope. What you see here are some of the most common and timeless essentials. Tried and true across many a classroom, they’ll serve you well if adopted.
For instance, there isn’t much about technology here since that’s a personal choice. There is, however, something every technology environment needs. Others are things that you’ll be putting your own personal spin on. You know what’s best for your kids and your space—that’s why you’re in charge.
No matter what, here’s hoping you find these suggestions for teacher accessories to be useful in your own classes.
1) A Set Of Classroom Rules
Your classroom is a domain for everyone wanting to learn and to feel safe and supported. That said, not everyone is going to know the rules coming in for the first time. That’s why it’s appropriate to begin each school year or semester with a bit of “laying down the law.” It’s not as Wild West as it sounds, though. It’s simply a matter of identifying what kind of behaviour is encouraged as well what will absolutely not be tolerated.
For example, you can state that positive reinforcement will be welcomed between students at all times. Name calling, however, is unacceptable and subject to suitable consequences. Those you may also need to make students aware of.
2) Digital Citizenship Agreements
Order and guidance are crucial in a jungle as wild as the World Wide Web. A set of clear and meaningful guidelines builds lifelong digital citizenship practices. In terms of teacher accessories, it’s a must-have for any class using the Internet for work and play.
The free Digital Citizenship Agreements from us here at the Global Digital Citizen Foundation are more than just acceptable use docs. These are frameworks for building accountability and responsibility in all students, both in online and offline environments.
You’ll get agreements for primary, middle, and senior grades in this valuable free resource. As a bonus, you also get a shareable Global Digital Citizen Honour Code. Have every student sign them, and place them on your wall to promote the mindset of citizenship and respect for all. You can get the free agreements and honour code here.
3) A First Aid Kit & Emergency Contact List
You can never go wrong having one of these babies around. Accidents happen at the worst possible times. When they do, it isn’t always an option to wait until help arrives. Sometimes, you are the help that arrives. So keeping a well-stocked first aid kit on hand is always a smart idea.
If you’re not sure what all you need, these checklists will help you out. It depends on how much room you have, and what your budget is like as well. You can find some good discounts on supplies if you shop around. Try E-First Aid Supplies as a starting point; lots of great deals can be found here.
4) Towels and/or Wet Wipes
They aren’t just for locker rooms or bar counters. It seems odd, but just trust in this one. You’ll be amazed at how often you actually need these.
5) A Good Stock of Stationery
This one’s an old reliable mainstay. Paper, pens, pencils, markers, notebooks, stickies, poster board, and on goes the list. Stationery never goes out of style, and it’s always handy to have around. There are some good discounts to be found here. You can also try Classroom Direct and Discount School Supply for even more options.
6) Substitute Teacher Care Package
Getting thrown to the wolves is no fun. We don’t do it to our students, so no need to do it to our colleagues. Any sub coming in for you will likely need a crash course of some kind before taking on the class. Setting up a package for them shows you are caring and conscientious about your students, and about your substitute as well.
Here’s a good example from Scholastic. Your package can also contain other things like:
- class name lists and seating arrangement
- fire drill procedures
- class event schedules
- information on specific special needs students
- contact numbers of importance
- names and schedules of other helpful teachers
- classroom guidelines/acceptable use policies
- office contact procedures
7) A Showcase/Portfolio of Student Work
Our students do incredible work that should be shown off and honoured. Setting up one of these is perfect for P/T interviews and open houses. You can use a “museum” of student work for a daily dose of inspiration. It’s also a great way of establishing a visual timeline of student progress.
These can be done traditionally or electronically online, depending on the content. You can even make your class display into a website for sharing with other students and even other schools. Be sure to update and rotate the showcase often with new content as projects happen throughout the year.
8) A Regularly Updated Classroom Mini-Library
Books, magazines, ebooks, software, videos, and more—whatever you feel makes a classroom reading and learning resource. Teachers often spend a lot of time building up a class library to keep kids engaged. Sometimes it can even take years, but it’s worth the effort. The essential do’s and don’ts are available here from TeachHUB.
Not sure where to start? You can get plenty of free books here. If you also want to do free ebooks, check out these sources. RefSeek has a list of free educational video sites to explore. Also, be sure to try out sites like Educational Freeware for even more cool stuff.
9) Class Handbook for New Students
We’ve all been the new kid in the room at some point. Can you remember feeling like a fish out of water? New students should be made to feel safe and welcome, but should also know what is expected of them in the fresh environment they are in. A class handbook has everything to get a new student started, so there are no surprises.
It should contain whatever information you feel is relevant to maintaining order and a sense of community in your class and your school. Here’s a basic example of a rights and code-of-conduct document. Post-secondary students will likely need a lot more information. This handbook from the University of Rotterdam is an excellent example.
10) Online Grade Book/LMS
This is being done online and in the cloud more and more. An online grade book or LMS (learning management system) makes great organizational sense. No more paper trails and messy cabinets. It all goes into one easy-to-use interface of your choice. There are tons of options out there to suit every teacher’s demands. Here are a few worth looking at:
What teacher accessories do you feel no educator should ever be without?