Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Back to School Must-Haves

I am about to start my 13th year of teaching high school math.  Every year, I buy way too much stuff for my classroom.  (My school does not provide us with very much in terms of physical supplies). This year, I am actually buying only a few things.  Of course there are some things that I will make as well.  Here are my must haves for the new year.

1)  Patty Paper - for paper folding constructions and other activities from Patty Paper Geometry.  I already have the book, I just need to refill my paper supply.  This book is great for discovering geometry in a low tech, hands-on way.  Sure Geometer's Sketchpad is great, but sometimes physical is good too.

2)  The Classroom Chef - I received this order a few weeks ago but was finishing a grad class.  I have a conference this week, so I'm hoping to start reading next week.  I follow both Matt and John on twitter, so I have high expectations.  I think their book will help me to create more engaging lessons.

3)  ID badge - I've had the same ugly lanyard for 12 years.  Time for a new one.  I'd like to get a pretty jewelry like one too if you know of any good ones.

4)  Rubber bands - for barbie bungee.  Last year I used size 16.  It worked, but I'm moving up to size 18 this year.  Trial and error over the next few years to get the perfect size.

5)  Brass Fasteners, bingo chips, whiteboard dice, half index cards, pawns, little men, buzzers, dice, pocket charts, and sand timers  - to make supplies for classroom games.

6)  Fishing line, carabiners,  and velcro - for barbie zipline.  Fishing line has so little friction that you can skip the pulleys.

7)  More color by number books - to create more practice activities.

8)  Colored copier paper - to create classroom posters and signs.

9)  Pretty masking tape - for dance dance transversal and classroom organization.

10)  Side walk chalk - to have a reason to take my kids outside when they ask (solve problems on the sidewalk).

11)  Stylus - because I go through them like crazy during direct instruction (I use Doceri).

12)  Ink pads and stamps - for graphing practice.

13)  Crossing the River With Dogs - for problem solving questions and strategies to incorporate into my classes.

14)  More stamps for fun and feedback.

15)  Messenger bag - for getting my stuff back and forth to work.

16)  Math Jokes - to put on the top of exams.

17)  Flat Land - for a fun geometry lesson.

18)  Mathematical Modeling in the Secondary School Curriculum - for cool application problems.

19)  3 prong folders - to organize SBG quizzes.

20)  Catapults - for Julie's quadratics lesson. *Can't wait to try this this year.

21)  Pretty colored dry erase markers - obviously.

22)  Glue sticks - for cut and paste activities.

23)  Class set of robots - this is on my wish list.  I'll need to write a grant for these.

24)  BreakoutEdu kit - For teambuilding and review activities.

OK.  Like I said.  I'm trying to not spend too much of my personal money for my classroom :)


  1. I purchased a Vera Bradley lanyard at the end of last year from our outlet store. It is incredibly sturdy. (I bought a plain black one because I'm not a fan of the frilly patterns.)

    Also, Origami Owl has cute lanyards with a locket for charms. Some of my co-workers have them, and I always admire them.

  2. I have a friend that sells Origami Owl. Thanks for letting me know that they have lanyards. That will make both of us happy :)