Top Ten Primary Teacher Must Haves Without Going Broke This Year

Dear Lesson Plan Toolbox,

I am so happy that I have found your posts on Instagram. They are succinct and so helpful with easing my back to school stress. One question I have is what would you consider essential for teachers to have as we prepare to head back to school?

I guess I’m asking what would be your “must haves” for your classroom? I’m getting overwhelmed and even a little over stimulated with all of the things I see online and in Target. Lately, you’ve been sharing about not having to spend a whole lot and the classroom will still feel like a community. So I was curious as to what you would recommend me purchasing that would give me more bang for my buck.

My focus as I begin my career in education is to have a less is more type of classroom because I don’t like clutter. That said, when you walk into Target and The Dollar Tree it is so easy to get sucked into the trap of thinking that I need something when in fact I don’t. Then, when I see these classrooms on Facebook and Pinterest I feel like my room will be underwhelming to my students.

Looking forward to seeing your shopping list!

Frugal Teacher


Dear Frugal Teacher,

A lot of times when we think of the word “frugal” we think of it with a negative connotation, but I think we should change that mindset. Nothing you are asking nor your vision for your classroom is wrong. In fact, hopefully teachers will see your classroom and realize that less is more is the way to go.

 You asked for it so here you go…top 10 teacher “must haves” from the Lesson Plan Toolbox Family:

Dry Erase Markers/Boards:

If your school doesn’t supply you with dry erase boards, then this would be one of my first purchases for my classroom. Dry erase boards are so versatile for EVERY subject you teach. On top of that, you will save so much paper! You might even consider “doodle time” as an incentive or indoor recess activity.


Crayola Markers

You will more than likely be making plenty of anchor charts, classroom contracts, and brainstorms so you will need plenty of markers to get you started. Consider buying a couple packs of Crayola Markers because they are usually on sale for less than a dollar. The color from the Crayola brand is so vibrant so I would stick with this brand.


More than likely your lesson plans will be typed online. We would strongly encourage though to find a planner for the school year that you love. Go through it right now and  mark important dates and times so you don’t double book yourself. There’s something about writing it down on paper that solidifies the thought to memory.



Remember that our main focus is serving primary teachers so our list wouldn’t be complete without including puppets! There is something magical that happens during a lesson when the puppets come out. They add a whole new level of fun no matter what grade the students are in.

Sound Wall:

Sound walls are all the rage right now in education. As educators we need to help our students learn the different sound patterns rather than just guessing at it. A sound wall would make for a great interactive bulletin board throughout the school year.


Flair Pens

You will quickly learn about the great pen debate. Every teacher has his/her favorite brand of pen. We love Flair pens, but in all honesty find one that works for you. Once you do, but it in every color!

Heavy Duty Pencil Sharpener

Your school may supply you with a pencil sharpener, but be sure it’s heavy duty. Those $10 ones that only sharpen one size of pencil will be broken in less than a month. Also, be sure to model for your students how to use the sharpener appropriately. You would be amazed at the items that end up in there. 


You might be thinking this one is a little odd for the classroom, but a doorbell is such a great method to aide in classroom management. You can easily set a timer and have students transition to their next center by the chiming of a doorbell. You can also use it to monitor voice levels and quickly gain your students’ attentions.


We are binder people here at Lesson Plan Toolbox. Everything needs to have a have a home so be sure to have a couple binders with dividers on hand for paperwork that comes up throughout the year. We also like to keep a hard copy gradebook simply because it makes recording grades much easier. All of our class rosters are stored in a binder.


Classroom Management 

If you bring nothing else on our “Teacher Must Have List”, then please be sure to have a solid classroom management plan in place. This is going to be the cornerstone of your classroom. Believe it or not, as you build your relationship with your students and create your classroom community, you can also instill your classroom management techniques. Your classroom management system has to be one that you are comfortable implementing.


Wow! What a list! Knowing what to buy can become so overwhelming, but remember Eoma wasn’t built in a day so your classroom doesn’t have to be either. As you begin to buy supplies and materials just focus on their purpose. If you truly feel like something has its place in your classroom, then go for it! You already know that you want a less is more attitude in your classroom which may even help with holding your students’ attention longer.

Remember you can always reach out to us on Instagram (@lessonplantoolbox) or email [email protected]. Our mission is to help make the lives of primary teachers at stress free as possible.



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