Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.

Back to School Freebie – SCHOOL ESSENTIALS

I think most of you know I’m a teacher – a middle school teacher – and I’m also the yearbook advisor and UIL Coordinator. I have suddenly come to a realization that if you get googly-eyed and wiggy about office supplies, you probably should be a teacher. There is nothing like accidentally stealing someone’s Flair pen or using too many of their Post Its to have an unsaid death ray stare war going on. So, with all that, I’m going to share all my favorite school essentials!


Everything starts with a good composition book. Every year I start a fresh one with my class, and last year and this year I have bought my partner and I matching composition books. Last year was camo, this year is sparkles! Previously I used a huge 5 section notebook for all of my teacher business, but that is coming to an end. It’s been five years. Time to start over, and I’m going to do it with a composition book! I also have a separate comp book for going to my reading/writing trainings to keep all of that together in one place.

Flair Pens are every teacher’s favorite thing. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying. Unless it’s Post Its. I didn’t use Flair Pens really until this past year and I did so sparingly. But this year, kids buckle up! We gonna Flair it up!!

Post Its are the most beloved paper product in all schools. Teachers hoard them. We cry when they are gone. We use them like they fall from trees at trainings…as long as they are provided by the venue. I love using Post Its. I use them in my composition book to cover things up and then I can flip them up (like question on top, answer underneath), cover pictures in texts, write quick notes to myself, jot down Johnny’s mama’s number and name so I can call her at 4:00, give to a kid for their own reminder, use as an emergency hall pass, not to mention when I give them to my students to write something on for an assignment and stick it to the board or the door on their way out. And yes, colors matter.

Yes, that is duct tape. No, I don’t use it to tape across the mouths of smart alecks. For every unit we have, I make my students create a duct tape tab in their composition books. We can easily flip back and forth to get to things quickly, if they need to look for something from a previous unit I can tell them to look at their sunflower tab, and it helps them take a little ownership of their own notes. They put the tabs how they want on the new unit page. They can go down the side in order, out of order, nice and clean and even, wonky, whatever. It’s also an easy way to show them it’s OK to make mistakes, but don’t repeat them.

Highlighters are our life blood in a reading class. We have to find and identify all kinds of things, not to mention differentiate between things. I always want my kids to have two different colors for that reason.

Ticonderoga pencils!!! These are THE best pencils in the world. It is not a lie on their packaging. I hate those wooden or plastic faux wood pencils. They break and the ends become horrible. Or worse, the entire lead inside will be all broken or broken loose and the pencil is useless. This does not happen with Ticonderoga pencils. This is a place to splurge!

I love Crayola’s products, and we use markers a lot to color code things in our notes. I like the non-classic packs because they have more interesting shades and variations of color.


This year I am also going to try to use the Crayola Super Tips in my journal working with notes to also help offset important items in color but without the tip being too large or creating too thick of a line.


Welcome to 6th Grade!

Yes, nearly all of this was mine and my partner’s for the first six weeks of school.

What gets you all riled up for school starting?

5 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School Freebie

  1. I agree about Ticonderoga pencils. I’m not a teacher but I love them. Ever since I was a student, I used to love when the teacher gave them out. Now I keep a stash in my personal desk at home

  2. Oh nice! I loved composition notebooks! Though I didn’t need to have them in school. I thought they were so cool since it was like a hardcover notebook! Ticonderoga pencils were also my favorite for some reason! Probably because they were presharpened or something weird like that! And yay markers!!

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  3. Well now I need to try Flair pens. The Sharpie highlighters are the best highlighters in the world. I hide them so other people don’t wander off with mine and this is at home! I love buying supplies for me but I hate buying elementary school supplies. I’ve started just buying the kit they sell at the end of the school year so I don’t have to have a melt down in Target looking for the right kind of folder.

  4. I do have a thing for office supplies. 🙂 Washable markers are a must at school and in our house! My daughter isn’t allowed to have tape unsupervised. It ends up in the most unexpected places otherwise. LOL

  5. I love office supplies and I miss shopping for the school supplies every year before school started. My son has graduated now but I still can’t resist grabbing some goodies when I spy a great sale. I have more than I’ll ever need. LOL

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