Classroom Planning for Fall 2022: How to Build a Great School Supply List

Is it time to reevaluate your school supply list?

As the weather warms up and we enter the spring season, teachers across the country are already beginning to think about what the upcoming school year will look like. What from the current curriculum stays, and what goes? How can the education and classroom experience be enhanced? Along with these questions comes the inevitable compilation of the school supply list.

Building a school supply list can be complicated. Teachers are trying to anticipate what students will need a year or more in advance. But preparing a quality list and getting it to parents and guardians early in the year is essential to creating a great learning environment which promotes student readiness and success.

So where do teachers start? Unsurprisingly, looking at last year’s list is typically the first step. Whether the teacher has just entered their role within a school, or has served in that role for many years, there is almost always a prior year’s list to reference. While it might be easy to copy and paste last year’s list, this is a critical time to reevaluate how the curriculum might be enhanced through shifts in the supply list.

Child-Holds-Expo-Markers

An important factor to consider is what you’re asking parents and guardians to spend on each student. When we partner with schools, they send us their school supply list. We quote out each customized grade school supply kit. Teachers and administrators are often surprised by the results. They don’t always realize how much they’re asking parents and guardians to spend on each student, year after year. According to the National Retail Federation, families spend on average $130+ per student on school supplies alone (not including clothing, technology, activity fees, nutrition accounts, etc). As you might imagine, this can make school supply shopping a huge financial burden—especially for families with multiple children. One of the first things we often do in a new partnership is work with schools to find ways to make school supplies more affordable for families. If you’re not sure what you’re asking parents and guardians to spend, consider taking time to price check your list against common vendors like Target, Wal-Mart, and Amazon. Need help? We can quote out the school supply lists for you.

Most common supply lists by grade:

Preschool Supplies List

  • #2 Pencils (Pro tip: consider golf-sized or half-sized pencils for ease of handling) 
  • Backpack
  • Composition Notebook (Pro tip: consider picture-story style for ultimate creative freedom) 
  • Crayons (Pro tip: parents tend to prefer Crayola, but brands like Prang have come a long way in quality)
  • Glue Sticks (Pro tip: consider disappearing purple, washable glue sticks) 
  • Markers (Pro tip: consider washable) 
  • Pencil Case
  • Pink Pearl Erasers 
  • Sanitizer Wipes
  • Sharpener (Pro tip: look for child-safe sharpeners, no open blade) 
  • Tissues
  • Watercolor Paints
  • Ziploc Sandwich Bags

Kindergarten School Supplies List

  • #2 Pencils (Pro tip: consider pre-sharpened) 
  • Backpack
  • Colored pencils 
  • Composition notebook
  • Construction paper 
  • Crayons (Pro tip: parents tend to prefer Crayola, but brands like Prang have come a long way in quality)
  • Glue sticks (Pro tip: consider disappearing purple, washable glue sticks) 
  • Lunchbox
  • Markers (Pro tip: Consider washable, broad tip) 
  • Pencil case
  • Pink Pearl erasers 
  • Sanitizer wipes
  • Scissors (Pro tip: child-safe, blunt-tip)
  • Sharpener (Pro tip: look for child-safe sharpeners, no open blade) 
  • Tissues
  • Washable watercolor paints
  • Ziploc® sandwich bags

Elementary School Supplies List: Grades 1 – 2

  • #2 Pencils (Pro tip: consider pre-sharpened) 
  • Backpack
  • Colored pencils 
  • Construction paper 
  • Crayons (Pro tip: parents tend to prefer Crayola, but brands like Prang have come a long way in quality)
  • Dry Erase Markers (Pro tip: broad-tip, multi-color)
  • Glue Sticks (Pro tip: consider disappearing purple, washable glue sticks) 
  • Highlighters 
  • Lunchbox
  • Markers (Pro tip: Consider washable) 
  • Pencil case
  • Pink pearl erasers 
  • Ruler: 12” (Pro tip: consider kid-safe plastic, shatter-proof option)
  • Sanitizer wipes
  • Scissors (Pro tip: child-safe, blunt-tip)
  • Sharpener (Pro tip: look for child-safe sharpeners, no open blade) 
  • Spiral notebooks (Pro tip: wide-lined and specific colors to help organize subjects)
  • Tissues
  • Washable watercolor paints
  • Ziploc® sandwich bags

Elementary School Supplies List: Grades 3 – 5

  • #2 Pencils (Pro tip: consider pre-sharpened) 
  • 1-inch 3-ring binder
  • Backpack
  • Blue or black ballpoint pens
  • Colored pencils 
  • Construction paper (Pro tip: multi-colored pack)
  • Crayons (Pro tip: parents tend to prefer Crayola, but brands like Prang have come a long way in quality)
  • Dry erase markers (Pro tip: multi-color, consider broad-tip or fine tip option)
  • Glue sticks and/or liquid glue
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards
  • Markers 
  • Pencil case
  • Pink pearl erasers 
  • Pocket folders 
  • Protractor
  • Ruler: 12”
  • Sanitizer wipes
  • Scissors 
  • Sharpener
  • Spiral notebooks (Pro tip: wide-lined and specific colors to help organize subjects)
  • Tissues
  • Watercolor paints
  • Wide ruledoose leaf paper
  • Ziploc® sandwich bags

Middle School Supplies List: Grades 6 – 8 

  • #2 Pencils (Pro tip: consider pre-sharpened) 
  • 1-inch 3-ring binder
  • Backpack
  • Blue or black ballpoint pens
  • Colored pencils 
  • Construction paper (Pro tip: multi-colored pack)
  • Crayons (Pro tip: parents tend to prefer Crayola, but brands like Prang have come a long way in quality)
  • Dry erase markers (Pro tip: broad-tip, multi-color)
  • Glue sticks and/or liquid glue
  • Graph paper
  • Graphing calculator
  • Headphones
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards
  • Markers 
  • Pencil case
  • Pink pearl erasers 
  • Pocket folders 
  • Protractor
  • Ruler: 12”
  • Sanitizer wipes
  • Scissors 
  • Sharpener 
  • Spiral notebooks (Pro tip: wide-lined and specific colors to help organize subjects)
  • Stapler
  • Tissues
  • Wide ruled loose leaf paper
  • Ziploc® sandwich bags

Young girl smiles at camera holding marker

Other Important Supplies to Consider:

Depending on age level and curriculum, there may be specific supplies to help develop fine motor skills or increase engagement within the classroom. Here are some products our school partners have found helpful:

  • Pencil grips designed for handwriting training
  • Unifix cubes, or other math manipulatives
  • Play-Doh and shaping tools
  • Lacing beads 
  • Personal calendar and planner
  • Personal magnetic dry erase board 
  • Post-it® Notes 
  • Kinetic sand
  • Lunch box

Mom and daughter look at school supplies

Should Parents and Guardians Have to Buy School Supplies?

One thing we’ve seen increase over the years is the development of school-funded supplies for each student. Rather than asking families to cover the cost of school supplies, schools take on the responsibility of sourcing supplies. This is especially true in schools with a high free and reduced lunch student population. By providing supplies for all students, these schools are creating a more equitable environment for students, encouraging success of each student.

While commendable, this solution poses some challenges to schools. Funding is a huge hurdle. While some schools are able to include this type of strategy into their annual budget, most schools must find ways to recoup the cost through fundraising. An example of this is a school we helped in Alexandria, MN. In this particular case, the school leveraged Impacks to source and organize the supplies needed. This removed a huge burden on administration to coordinate. From there, we put together a school portal page where parents and guardians with the means had the option to donate. By giving parents and guardians a way to donate online, we removed barriers for busy families in regards to gathering school supplies for their students.

We see this school-backed supply option as a growing tactic to bring equity into the classroom. The speed at which this method is adopted will depend largely on the ability for schools to fund the program and whether schools are open to making changes to a familiar or well-established system. If you’re interested in exploring this option, we can help.

School supply kit

Want to Make Back-to-School Shopping Easy for Parents and Guardians?

That’s where we come in. If you’re hoping to ease the burden on parents and guardians, consider offering a customized school supply kit option, like the Impacks program. This program is free for schools to implement, saves parents and guardians hours of shopping, often is more affordable than alternatives, and also offers an optional fundraising program. Want to learn more? Start the conversation today.

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