It’s a new school year and there’s so much to think about. You may not have a clue where to start preparing! We hear you. That’s why we’ve got you covered with this list of small but critical middle school English supplies for the classroom. Let us know what else you’ve found out there.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. Thank you for your support!)
1. Clip Art
Hey, I’ll bet you’re using tech a little more now! Get some fun clip art and illustrations to make those tablet assignments pop.
2. Story Cubes!
A single pack of story cubes can provide hours of standards-based activities as well as fun-based story-telling and poems. You really can’t go wrong here—find a set that you think looks interesting for you and your students. The original product—Rory’s Story Cubes—has an entire website about how to play and put stories together, but the possibilities are endless.
3. A Well-Stocked Classroom Library
What are THE most important middle school English supplies and also a great way to help build relationships with students? Books, of course! Check that link for a great list of books to inspire your collection.
4. A bookcase
Now that you have titles for your library all picked out, let’s square them away! This cube organizer is perfect for separating books by genre, size, or reading level. See more of our favorite classroom bookshelves.
5. PaperPro stapler
Repetitive Strain Injuries are real. This is definitively the BEST stapler around. NOT the newer version, but this specific see-through version. Trust us.
6. Expo markers
You already knew you’d need Expo markers, but we specifically recommend these ones—they seem to last longer and write a little darker. Bonus tip: store them facing downwards so that all of the ink flows towards the tip of the marker. Check out more of our favorite dry erase markers here.
7. Notebook crates
Keep notebooks from mysteriously disappearing by creating a designated space for them. These crates are an easy solution, and they come in a pack of six!
8. Tall oscillating fan
Raise your hand if you know what it’s like to teach middle school in a poorly ventilated classroom with poorly deodorized students. Put your hand back down. Here’s a fan.
9. Lined sticky notes
Sticky notes work well for exit tickets, reading mini-goals, and pretty much any other activity you can think of, too! Here are some of our favorite ways to use sticky notes in the classroom.
10. Thin sticky note bookmarks
These are so helpful in guiding students toward learning how to take their own notes, and they are useful for any kind of content. Just remember that students who are color blind may have a hard time if we build activities with resources like this. If you use specific colors for different tasks or purposes, make sure you accommodate all of your learners!
11. Comfy reading nook seating
Your students won’t be able to resist this massive bean bag! It’s affordable, stylish, and will make your reading ‘nook’ feel so inviting. Check out more of our favorite reading nook seating here.
12. Dry erase clipboards
Be prepared to find opportunities to go low-tech this year, and it doesn’t get much more low tech than a clipboard that doubles as a dry erase board. Want more clipboard ideas? Check out our favorites!
Analyzing texts and engaging in the writing process means highlighting and LOTS of it. Keep a good collection of highlighters in multiple colors on hand, and no text will escape scrutiny!
14. Gel Pens
The double-edged sword of having super cool teacher pens—you can be more colorful and fun when you mark up their work but your “favorite students” are constantly “losing” their own pens, so they “borrow” that “awesome purple one” you love so much.
Get a few packs of these.
15. A soft rug
Sadly, your budget probably won’t cover enough bean bags for your entire class. Luckily, this rug can easily fit a bunch of middle schoolers and is still a comfortable place to read. Flexible seating win! Looking for an option that matches your theme? Check out these highly-reviewed rugs!
16. Jumbo paper roll
Especially if you plan on doing a lot of group work, it’s nice to have large pieces of paper to pass out. Students can move from quickly jotting down their discussion notes, ideas, or brain maps to presenting them to the class without any extra effort.
17. Golf pencils
These pencils are ideal to loan out to students. They’re a lot cheaper than full-sized pencils and kids don’t want to hold onto them because they’re so small. Thus, it’s almost guaranteed that your loaner pencils will be returned. Plus, unlike the golf pencils you get at putt-putt, these have erasers. You’re welcome.
18. Fun stickers
Yes, you have Bimojis and your Clip Art (from the top of the page), but what about actual sticky pictures you can literally hand to a student for a job well done or because, yes, that student happens to be fascinated by Rock and Roll Chickens? Do you have those?
19. Pencil sharpener
The best pencil sharpener ever! It even comes with a warranty, so if it breaks in less than two years, X-ACTO will send you a brand new one. Interested in other options, check out our list of teacher recommended pencil sharpeners!
Bookmarks are the best way to keep books in your classroom library from getting dog-eared. I’ll do ANYTHING to ward off dog-ears.
21. Wall art
This poster set is ideal for any English classroom—adorable and just colorful enough to cheer up your room without distracting students. They’re also FREE!
22. A water bottle or two
Stay hydrated and show off your personal style with this great selection of water bottles.
23. A sense of humor
Teaching middle school isn’t easy, but with a little determination, flexibility, and a truly spectacular sense of humor (I mean grammar-based puns, of course) you’ll be just fine.
Check and see if you are close to a Habitat For Humanity ReStore location. Independently owned and operated by local Habitat organizations, these stores are like Community Aid clothing stores, but for home goods that Habitat doesn’t use. They take donations and offer deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Summer is the perfect time for short reads … why not preview these short stories as a way to expose your new students to different authors and genres?
Nervous about entering the profession or switching into the middle school world? Wondering what other middle school English supplies teachers are buying? Check out our Facebook Group, WeAreTeachers HELPLINE, for more advice!