22 Must-Buys for Your School Year


So, what’s the best part of going back to school? Shopping, of course! Have you decided on your Must-Buys for 2023 yet? So many aisles and aisles of Target and Walmart are filled with school supplies for students and some for teachers. But, these aisles are often so picked over that it can be hard to shop! Ugh–no thanks!

I love so many items that teachers can’t find on crowded store shelves. So every year, I turn to online shopping with Amazon and, of course, my favorite teacher materials from ETTC! Is anyone else overwhelmed with what items should be on the must-buy list? Let us help you with your 22 Must-Buys for the 2023 School Year!


Unique Must-Buys for 2023

1. Premium Membership Get instant access to over 16,000 high-quality teaching printables to get your planning done faster to focus on what’s most important. For one low annual price, you have access to everything ETTC!!

2. SadoTech Wireless Doorbell  Transitions can be tricky! We use our attention-getters with some success, but have you ever considered a wireless doorbell that has an easy plug-in receiver with 50 different chimes? Some teachers swear by this one with a 3-year battery at a little over $10! Imagine smooth transitions this year at a low, low price!

3. hand2mind Mini 20-Bead Rekenrek (4 pack)— Your students can comprehend number concepts and operations by doing activities independently or in small groups. These mini Rekenreks mean no more counters all over the floor or mini-erasers lost! 

4. Number Sense Mats–Not sure you want to spend the money for your whole class to have a rack? But still love the idea of some hands-on math for your students using bead racks or readily accessible number lines? Check out our Number Sense Mats, which come with a bead rack math mat, number lines, 10 frames, and so much more!


2023 Must-Buys for Organization

5. Seville Classics 10-Drawer: Multipurpose Mobile Rolling Utility Storage Organizer has four casters (two locking casters), allowing the cart to go where you need between whole and small groups.

6. Transparent Hanging Pocket Chart:  If you don’t have one of these and can’t think of anything to use it for, let me tell you: 36 pockets are perfect for 36 pairs of earbuds! Add a name label to each, and every child will have a storage spot for their earbuds.

7. Bostitch Executive Stapler–“A ‘teacher fairy’ got me a no-touch stapler. I was so surprised by how much time it saved me.”-Terri McLeod. We all aren’t lucky enough to have a ‘teacher fairy’ and a no-touch stapler budget, but I recommend moving out and away from the old desktop staplers that frequently jam! For ease of use and value, I suggest a one-finger, no-effort Bostitch Executive Stapler! Great for putting together my Decodable Readers!  


Must-Buys for Creating

8. Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens, Assorted 12 count:  I love Flair pens and use them all the time in my classroom, especially when grading. The kids love seeing the different colors on their papers; I love the smooth writing. I can never have enough!

9. EXPO 80078 Low Odor Dry Erase Markers, Chisel Tip:  Expo markers are in my room and typically worth the extra price in stores. But then I found these on Amazon and am stocking up. It is an eight-different color chisel tip pack; also, you will love the fact that these are low odor.

10. Dry Erase Pockets 30 Pack:  Slide any paper copy worksheet into these pockets and create a reusable work task!

11. Word Mapping Mats: These Word Mapping Mats are perfect for use in your dry erase pockets. Students can practice their vocabulary by using picture cards and mapping the words.  

12. Ticonderoga Pencils, Pre-sharpened 72 pack:  Most teachers know Ticonderoga is the best pencil ever. And unfortunately, most classrooms have magically disappearing pencils. Keep a box of these pre-sharpened pencils on hand so that you are ready whenever a child needs a replacement pencil. I am thrilled with this large pack for such a low price!

13. X-ACTO School Pro Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener: I think it is the best of the best! This sharpener lasts! “My favorite item is the X-Acto teacher electric pencil sharpener,”–Bonnie Biggs.

14. School Smart Chart Tablet: You will need an equally excellent chart tablet when creating those great anchor charts!



15. Astrobrights Colored Cardstock, Assorted Colors:   I never seem to have enough cardstock when printing and color-coding my materials. For any project I plan on laminating, I print on cardstock to give it extra stability. Astrobrights is my favorite brand due to the bright colors and quality of the paper. You need this now!

So now that you have these great sheets, what will you use them for? May I suggest you print some of the resources from our Phonics Interactive Notebooks? The pages will pop as your students assemble their hands-on phonics sheets into their notebooks!

16. Now that you printed out all your resources on some great cardstock, you will want them to last forever! This Scotch Pro Laminator, with anti-jam technology, will help your cherished work last for a long time.

17. You can’t have a laminator without having a massive pile of laminating sheets ready to go! These Scotch Pouches are the perfect match!


Shopping for Student Work Aides

18. Magnetic Whiteboard Dry Erasers, 40 Pack:  First graders will use their expo markers daily so you will need some good-quality erasers.

19. Amazon Basics Sheet Protector – Non-Glare, 100-Pack: I set up binders for ELA centers, Math centers, and small group work. Students can write with expo markers, and that means fewer copies! I also use these for I Spy Activities!

20. Photo Boxes: These are perfect for task card activities. I especially like to use them for my Phonics Intervention resources. I can grab the kit for the students I am teaching and hand over other activities to my instructional assisstant. 

Must-buys for Fun

21. Hook & Loop Self-Adhesive Dots: I snagged some velcro dots for my classroom while putting together this list! I use them for personal schedules, calming boards, calendar days and numbers, and more!

22. A Teacher’s Top Secret Confidential by LaNesha Tabb. Share this confidential secret with your students on the first day of school! This book is perfect for establishing your class community from day one as your students discover how they came to be in your class this year!

P.S. Super saver idea: Make a Wish List for Amazon, and send it to all your classroom families and friends! 

Written by:  Suzanne Kelley

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