10 Essential Teacher Wish-List items for 2024!

10 must-have items on every teachers wish list.

This is a practical teacher wish-list to help setup and organize their classrooms. Let’s go shopping!

10 must-have items on every wish list.

As I busily prepare for the new school year, I also start assessing the items I need to buy for the class. Unfortunately, most of our items are purchased personally. That means knowing what to buy and where is very important!

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just starting out, these 10 must-have items will revolutionize your classroom and make your teaching experience a breeze.

From innovative technology to organization essentials, we’ve got you covered. Picture a classroom where interactive whiteboards transport students to far-off lands, smart pens magically record your notes, and classroom management tools keep everything in check.

Imagine the excitement on your students’ faces as they discover a world of possibilities right at their fingertips. With these must-have items, you’ll create an environment that inspires, engages, and empowers both you and your students.

So, get ready to make your teacher wish-list and transform your classroom into an educational paradise. Let’s dive in and explore the top 10 items that every teacher should have on their wish-list!

Importance of a Teacher Wish-list

The importance of a wish list.

Having a teacher wish-list is essential for creating a classroom environment that meets the needs of both you and your students.

With limited resources and budgets, it can be challenging to provide everything necessary for an optimal learning experience.

However, by creating a teacher wish-list, you can communicate your needs and desires to parents, administrators, and the community.

Additionally, a teacher wish-list can serve as a tangible reminder of the items that would enhance your teaching practice and ultimately benefit your students.

By prioritizing the items on your wish list, you can focus on acquiring the most essential resources that will have a lasting impact on your classroom.

Having a teacher wish-list also allows you to stay organized and ensure that you don’t forget any crucial items. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of teaching and overlook the tools and supplies that could make your job easier and more efficient.

A wish list serves as a reminder of the items you have identified as valuable for your teaching practice, helping you stay on track and not miss out on any opportunities for improvement.

Lastly, a teacher wish-list is a powerful advocacy tool. By sharing your wish list with parents, administrators, and the wider community, you raise awareness about the needs of your classroom and the importance of investing in education.

It encourages others to support your efforts and contribute to creating a positive learning environment for students. So, don’t hesitate to create a wish list and start sharing it with others – you’ll be amazed at the support and generosity that can come your way.

Classroom Supplies

Teacher wish-list is complete without essential supplies that support learning and creativity. From pencils and paper to art materials and manipulatives, having a well-stocked supply closet is vital for a successful teaching experience. Here are some must-have items that every teacher should include on their wish list:

1. Pencils and Pens:

A never-ending supply of pencils and pens will keep your students focused and engaged in their work. I used to buy fancy pencils but I am pretty sure the kids eat them for lunch because they always disappear. lol

Consider including a variety of writing tools, such as colored pencils and gel pens, to encourage creativity.

Regular Pencils: This is my favorite box of pencils. They’re basic HB pencils but I’ve found they don’t break easily. They’re from Amazon and great for getting the class started. They’re $14.95 for 150 pencils.

These basic HB pencils are my favorite. They don't break easily.

Colorful pencils! I also buy these to give out when the kids are doing well. They’re bright and colorful and even my moody 7th graders like them. Ha! The box comes with 144 HB pencils for $21.99 by SKKStationary. They’re on my Amazon teacher wish-list for this year, too!

My students were so excited to find these as part of their care packages this year!

Gel Pens – I don’t usually like using pens in class but having one set can be useful. I don’t like Bic pens because I am left-handed and they leave marks on my hands. I use gel pens instead. This box has 30 pens for $12.34.

Gel pens don't ruin my left hand.

2. Paper and Notebooks:

Whether it’s for note-taking, journaling, or completing assignments, having an abundance of paper and notebooks ensures that your students always have the resources they need.

I’ve been using these Composition books for my middle school classroom. Each book has 100 sheets and this set is a pack of 48 for $99.90.

I've used these composition books for years. Basic, but great.

This year I am trying out different composition books though. This is a 48-pack set with 120 pages for $61.95. Each class will have their own color. Mine should arrive on Monday!

I'm testing out these colorful notebooks and I've been pleasantly surprised thus far! They're durable!

3. Art Supplies:

Foster creativity and self-expression by including art supplies like markers, crayons, paints, and brushes on your teacher wish-list. These materials will empower your students to explore their artistic abilities and enhance their learning experience.

By having a well-stocked supply closet, you eliminate the stress of running out of essential items and create a supportive environment where students have access to the tools they need to succeed.

Colored Pencils – I like students to journal in class so I try to keep some supplies to enhance their journals. I have these colored pencils. They’re cheaper than the Amazon brand! They come in a 12-pencil, 36 count, for $39.99. There are just enough for the entire class.

Colored pencils don't seem that useful in middle school but we've used them many times!

Scissors: I also keep these fancy decorative edge scissors. I know we don’t like little pieces of paper everywhere but these allow students to make little borders on some of the pages. They really like them – as long as they understand how to use them properly! I have these. They come in a pack of 6 for $6.85.

These decorative edge scissors are great for decorating.

Educational Technology

In today’s digital age, integrating educational technology into the classroom is crucial for engaging students and preparing them for the future. Here are some must-have educational technology items to include on your teacher wish-list:

1. Interactive Whiteboard:

Transform your classroom into an interactive learning space with an interactive whiteboard. These cutting-edge devices allow you to display multimedia content, annotate lessons, and engage students in a dynamic way.

My school is testing this one. I like it so far. It has a lot of cool features. You can write on it, connect it to external speakers and external cameras, and it’s handy for presentations. The price is $2,198.

Our school is testing these smart boards. I think they are so cool.

2. Tablets or Chromebooks:

Equip your students with the tools they need for 21st-century learning by including tablets or Chromebooks on your teacher wish-list. These devices enable personalized learning, facilitate research, and provide access to educational apps and online resources.

I prefer Chromebooks to iPads for writing because of the keyboard. I prefer touchscreen Chromebooks because kids are so used to technology that they are often much faster at learning how to use the touchscreen than a mouse. This Acer is $234.99 and comes with a stylus. It’s my favorite so far.

This by far my favorite tablet/computer for the classroom.

3. Document Camera:

Bring lessons to life by including a document camera on your teacher wish-list. This versatile tool allows you to display documents, textbooks, and three-dimensional objects to the entire class, ensuring that every student can see and participate in the learning process.

By incorporating educational technology into your classroom, you create an environment that is engaging, collaborative, and prepares students for the digital world they will encounter outside the classroom.

It’s funny because I am an early adopter of most technology but I wasn’t a fan of document cameras. However, I love this guy. I use it all the time. $99.00

I love this document camera. It's a lifesaver when demonstrating.

Books and Reading Materials

A well-stocked classroom library is essential for fostering a love of reading and developing strong literacy skills. Here are some must-have items to include on your teacher wish-list:

1. Diverse Book Collection:

Create a library that reflects the diversity of your students by including books that represent a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. This will not only promote inclusivity but also encourage empathy and understanding among your students.

I’ve got books everywhere. I encourage teachers in all subjects to keep books in their classrooms because reading is always a good option for fast finishers.

Coloring books: I also like to have coloring books on hand for fast finishers. You can tear out pages or scan them into a computer for copies and use them over and over again.

I have this one. It’s $8.99 and has 75 pages. My students love the pages.

I keep mindfulness activities in this class, like this coloring book.

2. Classroom Sets:

Include multiple copies of popular books on your teacher wish-list to facilitate group reading activities and book discussions.

Classroom sets allow students to read and analyze texts together, fostering collaboration and critical thinking.

My favorite book to teach in middle school English are, “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. It’s $7.87 on Amazon. I like it because students love dystopian fiction. The vocabulary is easy enough for struggling readers but the themes are old enough for middle school. You can talk about Western symbolism and biblical allegories. There’s plenty to discuss!

I have class sets of "The Giver". The kids love it.

3. Audio Books:

Consider adding audio books or follow-along books to your teacher wish-list to accommodate different learning styles and provide access to literature for students who struggle with reading or have visual impairments.

Audio books can enhance comprehension and listening skills while promoting a love of storytelling.

By having a diverse collection of books and reading materials, you create a literacy-rich environment that encourages exploration, imagination, and a lifelong love of reading.

I also listen to audiobooks during advisory. We listen for a few minutes each day to start our brains. Then we journal after. The kids love it. “Fable” by Adrienne Young is my favorite. It’s free with Audible.

Fable is a great audiobook for students.

Organizational Tools

As a teacher, staying organized is key to managing your workload and creating an efficient learning environment. Here are some must-have organizational tools to include on your teacher wish-list:

1. Planners and Calendars:

Keep track of important dates, deadlines, and lesson plans with a planner or calendar. Having a visual representation of your schedule helps you stay organized and ensures that you never miss a deadline or forget a lesson.

I am TERRIBLE with paperwork. I hate it. However, I love this planner because it has pockets. lol. I also like the tabs. It’s very easy to use. $39.95

This is a great planner for teachers because it has pockets!

2. Storage Solutions:

Include storage bins, shelves, and other organizational tools on your teacher wish-list to keep your classroom tidy and clutter-free. Having designated spaces for supplies, books, and student work makes it easier to find what you need when you need it.

I think of teachers as like Level I and Level II hoarders. Not enough to be fined by the state but probably enough to require serious organization. I HATE to keep things I don’t need but even I find myself thinking, “I could probably use that for ….” UGH! Here are some organizational tools for your teacher wish-list.

Storage Bins: I love these bins. I need more. This is a pack of 20 for $28.99.

These clear plastic storage bins are great for the classroom.

Velcro Dots: Another things I swear by is these velcro dots. I use them for ALL THE THINGS in the classroom! I hang posters, the bathroom pass, and all sort of classroom projects. No nails and no staples to remove. Yay! 200pk for $13.88.

Velcro dots are a lifesaver!

Storage cart: I love this guy. I have one in my apartment and it is on my wish-list for school. I try to have lots of tactile assignments and portability is necessary for the classroom. If you buy a cart, make sure the wheels are like these so they don’t break with heavy use. $31.99.

3-tier cart for the classroom. They're perfect!

3. Digital Organization Tools:

Explore digital tools and apps that can help you streamline your administrative tasks and stay organized. From gradebook software to lesson planning apps, there are numerous digital resources available that can save you time and energy.

By incorporating organizational tools into your classroom, you create a structured and efficient learning environment that allows you to focus on what matters most – teaching and inspiring your students.

If you’re tech-challenged, use YouTube to find user-generated instructional guides. I’ve learned a lot about Google Classroom and Schoology this way. Additionally, if you use Google Slides you can get free templates to make them pop. I use these.

Classroom Decorations

Creating a welcoming and visually stimulating classroom environment is essential for engaging students and fostering a positive learning atmosphere.

Here are some must-have decorations to include on your teacher wish-list:

1. Bulletin Board Materials:

Spice up your bulletin boards with colorful borders, letters, and accents. Bulletin boards provide a platform for displaying student work, showcasing achievements, and reinforcing important concepts.

Bulletin Board Accessories: My classes are going to write themselves motivational messages this week and I will display them on various bulletin boards in the classroom. I bought these cutouts for them. $8.49 on Amazon for a 120-pack.

These dots are great for the wall.

Bulletin Board Calendar: I also bought a calendar. I’ve tried existing without one for the classroom but I think I need one. Digital calendars just aren’t enough for my students. I am going to write information on the class bulletin board using this. It’s only $11.99 on Amazon.

I don't use all these parts in middle school but I like the big calendar and numbers.

2. Posters and Charts:

Include educational posters and charts that reinforce key concepts and provide visual references for your students. Whether it’s a multiplication table or a motivational quote, these visuals serve as powerful teaching aids.

In Japan we had to make all our own posters so it feels a little strange to buy them. Nonetheless, I have many posters up in my classroom ranging from English grammar, to famous women, to famous inventors, to Civil Right’s activists.

English Posters: These are in my library. They’re 16.99 for 10 posters.

Book nerd! I have these around my various libraries.

Wellness Posters: These are on my teacher wish-list for this year. I’ve met a lot more students with anxiety post-covid. These are $15.99 for a pack of 9, and on canvas!

I try to keep calming material on the walls.

3. Flexible Seating Options:

If you’ve read my other blogs, you’ll know I am a huge fan of getting kids out of those hard school chairs. Consider adding flexible seating options like bean bags, floor cushions, or standing desks to your teacher wish-list.

Providing alternative seating choices allows students to find the most comfortable and productive learning environment for themselves. A simple rug and pillows goes a long way!

By incorporating visually appealing decorations into your classroom, you create a space that inspires creativity, promotes engagement, and makes learning enjoyable for your students.

These are my favorite cushions. They are $27.99 and come in many colors.

The kids love these seat cushions.

Professional Development Resources

Continuing professional development is key to staying current with best practices in education and enhancing your teaching skills. Here are some must-have resources to include on your teacher wish-list:

1. Books and Journals:

Include educational books and journals that focus on your areas of interest or professional growth goals. These resources provide insights, research, and practical strategies to help you improve your teaching practice.

In addition, I highly suggest a journal for yourself. Keep notes that are not public but that you need to remember. Put it in your car or keep it at home. It will help you decompress after some of the emotionally draining days.

2. Online Courses and Webinars:

Explore online courses and webinars that cover topics relevant to your professional development.

Online learning platforms offer a wide range of courses on subjects like classroom management, differentiated instruction, and assessment strategies. Kaplan and Udemy have great courses!

3. Membership to Professional Organizations:

Consider including a membership to a professional organization related to your field of expertise on your teacher wish-list. Professional organizations provide networking opportunities, access to resources, and support from colleagues in the education community.

These are popular educator organizations:

By investing in your professional development, you enhance your teaching skills, stay up-to-date with the latest research and trends, and ultimately provide a higher quality education for your students.

Health and Wellness Items

Promoting health and wellness in the classroom is essential for creating a positive learning environment and supporting the well-being of your students. Here are some must-have items to include on your teacher wish-list:

1. Yoga Mats and Exercise Equipment:

Include yoga mats, exercise balls, or other exercise equipment on your teacher wish-list to encourage physical activity and movement breaks in the classroom. Physical activity has been shown to improve focus, attention, and overall well-being. Bowling is also fun!

More seating! I love these yoga ball chairs for seating! They’re only $24.99 on Amazon and they come in a variety of colors.

Flexible seating options are everywhere in my classroom.

Fishing: But seriously, I had these in my kindergarten classroom. The kids had to stand up and call out the sight word they were trying to fish. It’s $24.99 on Amazon. Honestly, I think my middle school students would play this if I addedsome soft of twist.

I have fun asking the kids to write a story using this fishing game.

Darts: This is another class friendly game. The kids play as a reward when we have time. It’s fun to have several going at a time.

Darts are a safe and quick way to get the kids moving during a brain break.

2. Healthy Snacks:

Consider including healthy snacks like fruits, granola bars, or nuts on your teacher wish-list. Providing nutritious snacks ensures that your students have the fuel they need to stay focused and energized throughout the day.

Mints: I also recommend mints. Mints are great for testing days when kids need to focus. This tub is $14.32.

Mints are especially good for testing.

3. Calming Tools:

Include calming tools like stress balls, fidget spinners, or sensory bottles on your teacher wish-list to help students manage stress, anxiety, or sensory overload. These tools can provide a sense of comfort and promote emotional well-being.

By prioritizing health and wellness in your classroom, you create an environment that supports the holistic development of your students and fosters a positive and inclusive learning experience.

Fidget toys: I also use fidget toys for testing. I usually put them in a tub and walk around the class before students begin testing and hand out mints and fidget toys. They don’t have to take them but 99% of the time, they will. I remind students to take brain breaks during the test and I will see students playing quietly with fidget toys, especially during SBAC. I have this pack of 100 for $25.99.

Fidget toys are great for testing. I use them in middle school.

Donations and Community Support

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of community support and donations in enhancing your classroom. Here are some ways to engage your community and include donation items on your teacher wish-list:

1. Parent Volunteers:

Reach out to parents and guardians for volunteer opportunities in your classroom. Parent volunteers can assist with various tasks, such as organizing materials, leading small group activities, or providing additional support to students.

The parents of my students in Japan were pretty amazing about this. They would cut stuff for the small kids for crafts, organize supply closets, and bring snacks for the class. Even asking a parent to read a story to the class is a welcome break from routine days.

2. Local Businesses and Organizations:

Build relationships with local businesses and organizations that support education. Many businesses are willing to donate supplies, books, or funding to classrooms in need.

Reach out to them and share your teacher wish-list – you might be surprised by the support you receive. I highly recommend asking for local support. I’ve found lots of local business will support classrooms. Make sure you send a nice “thank you” signed from all your students!

3. Crowdfunding Platforms:

Consider creating a crowdfunding campaign on platforms like DonorsChoose or GoFundMe to raise funds for your classroom. These platforms allow you to share your teacher wish-list with a wider audience and receive donations from individuals who believe in the power of education.

By engaging your community and seeking support, you create a network of individuals who are invested in the success and well-being of your students. Donations and community support can make a significant difference in the resources and opportunities available in your classroom.

#11 Secret Bonus

If you’ve made it this far, you should know my favorite donation item: Tissues. Let’s be honest, most schools provide that rough tissue that makes students (and teachers) loathe. It’s sandpaper.

I HIGHLY recommend adding it to your list. Most parents are willing to donate a box of tissues because most kids have allergies or get sick during the school year. This box of 8 will last your class a while.

Tissues are always on my classroom wishlist.


Creating a teacher wish-list is not just about acquiring material items; it’s about creating a vision for your classroom and advocating for the resources and support necessary to make that vision a reality. It’s not just for back-to-school items either. You should have one year-round for supplies.

By including these 10 must-have items on your teacher wish-list, you’ll be well-equipped to create an engaging, inclusive, and inspiring learning environment for your students.

In addition, it has been my experience that schools have extra money at different times of the year. They may randomly ask if you need anything for your classroom. It is ALWAYS good to have your list ready to go so you don’t miss out!

Remember, your teacher wish-list is a powerful tool for communicating your needs, staying organized, and fostering community support.

So, start making your teacher wish-list today and watch as your classroom transforms into an educational paradise where students thrive and reach their full potential.

For those of you who may be curious, here is my classroom wishlist.

Valerie de la Rosa


I am an educator with almost 15 years of experience teaching in Japan, Hawaii, and in Los Angeles. My goal is to change education and the way we view literacy instruction in America.

One thought on “10 Essential Teacher Wish-List items for 2024!

  • neurontnmut
    16 May 2024 at 01:59

    Thanks for magnificent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

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