Hi I am a new teacher intern hired yesterday. I will be teaching second grade. School reopens on Aug 17. I do not have my own materials. I do not know what materials are there in my classroom. What should I buy? I will be talking to the Principal on Monday to find out more. I am very excited and nervous at the same time. Any tips and suggestions for me would be helpful.

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Ask to be able to look at and assess the classroom, you'll probably get your keys or pass key, whatever your school uses. The classroom will probably have some essentials already, or a lot of junk, who knows.
You will need to potentially work on your:

Classroom library - may be sparse or really dated

Math centers, manipulatives: you'll need place value blocks or other kinds of cubes or counters, clocks, play money, class set of individual whiteboards and erasers and whiteboard pens, a class set of rulers. You may want to order a set of graph or other notebooks for the students for Math, kind of depends on the curriculum you'll be using. Look at your curriculum and get ideas on how to make it accessible to the students with manipulatives. You can print and put into page protectors or laminate pages for place value charts, blank clocks, addition and subtraction bingo, number lines, etc. You don't have to get everything at the start if your school is ok with you putting in multiple supply orders. That takes some weight off of your shoulders at the start.

Language Arts centers: again, look at your curriculum and see what you need to supplement. I order novels for novel studies, composition books, tri-write Ticonderoga pencils (easy to hold), pencil sharpeners, and one workhorse sharpener for you, sticky notes, index cards, pencil grips, erasers, eraser tops, large sticky chart paper plain and lined for shared writing, and possibly one of those chart paper holder on one side-whiteboard on the other side type of whiteboards for small group instruction. There are lots of wordwork (long, short vowels, CVC words, etc. manipulatives you can get, but in the beginning you can make them out of index cards, then upgrade as needed.)

On the walls: Poster boards for class rules, any real posters you want for addition, grammar, SEL, growth mindset,, etc. Your own printouts for spelling and vocabulary words. Look on TPT for spelling and vocabulary for charts for your curriculum if you aren't provided with materials (ahem Benchmark) to save your sanity.

Pocket charts to hang for 1. the daily schedule, 2. Class reward, behavior, bucket fillers, noise level 3. Word wall 4. Centers - you might need to make your own for this, but it's nice to have one.

Get a good hanging file cabinet to organize your materials by unit.
Get a good literature organizer (AKA mailbox organizer) for the 100+ graphic organizers/forms you'll use. Yeah, just wait.
Make sure the kiddos have cubbies, if not, order one, or make boxes/crates.
Make sure the kiddos have a mailbox organizer for the weekly communications your school will be sending home.

A homework folder for each kiddo if you are making homework packets. Want to save your sanity? Assign 20 minutes of reading with a parent signed reading log in your first year, then do as you feel later.

Rainy day recess: board games like Twister, puzzles, Shoots and Ladders, Jenga, etc that you can get at garage sales. Legos, Crazy 8s, checkers, Connect 4, puppets, dolls, stuffies, printouts for coloring, and anything else you would want them to play with.
A soft ball for indoor games.

You'll need: a planner (even if you are mostly digital,you'll appreciate looking at your planner next year) a real heavy duty electric multi size sharpener, a good stapler and a backup stapler, a hole puncher, a smaller laminator, hopefully your school has a large one, a staple remover, a magnet to get staples off the floor, page protectors to quick-laminate anything, a set of wifi speakers that work with your school laptop, some sort of an office organizer for your sticky notes, sharpie, paper mate color pens, highlighter, paper clips, staple remover, stapler, and binder clips that hold strips of paper together that you use for spelling and sentence starters, and a set of popsicle sticks with students names to call on them, one side green, other red so you can flip them. Want to make it even easier? Use numbers for your students. Memorize them, and next year you won't have to remake everything from scratch.

Student supplies:
1. notebook or composition book (wide ruled) or a binder for each with wide ruled paper,
2. pencils,
3. pink erasers,
4. pencil top erasers,
5. A pair of scissors for each student
6.Pencil sharpener for each student
7.Pencil box or pouch for each
8. Construction paper
9. Rulers
10. Broad water soluble markers,
11. Sharpies
12. color pencils
14. real drawing paper,
15.watercolor paper,
16. a set of watercolors (Prang is good, Crayola is crap)
17. #10 watercolor brush for each student (and teach them how to care for their brushes, and save these good brushes for next year, too)
18. A set of oil pastels
19. Construction paper depending on how your school supplies this...
19. Gluesticks for each
20. Elmer's glue, and a gallon of refill

Don't forget: magnets are your friend, any stainless steel baking sheet turns into a magnet board (hot lunch/home lunch, centers, etc.)

I'm sure I left out something essential. You'll figure it out. Good luck and enjoy the adventure! This is a rewarding profession if you don't let the little things grind you down. My #1 advice: try to stay organized. If you get a request from admin, do it right away, don't let it pile up. When you realize you haven't done a lesson, used a material in 3 years, throw it out! If you need help with a student, ask your colleagues for advice, and request training. You can get units for training and make more money next year as well as be better prepared.

Make sure you're friendly with the custodian and the secretary. Find a mentor at school, someone who is willing to help, even if not officially your mentor. Ask questions. Veteran teachers know SOOOO MUCH. Ask to observe other classes to learn.

Communicate with parents regularly through emails or Remind, and try to understand where they're coming from. If you respond and even attempt to help, they will know you're on their side. I know it sometimes won't seem like it, but they really are your allies.

Good luck!


Impressive & thorough advice!


Good luck in your new position! Remember to take it one step at a time and keep breathing!


Thank you

Start out using as much as you can that is already there. I gradually purchased items and now that it is the end I the year I realize what I want to prioritize for next year.

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