Let’s Chat: A Look Into the Future of Classroom Supplies

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Hey all! Happy June! Today I wanted to spend a few moments and chat “supplies” with you. Right? She wants to talk classroom supplies with me… summer just started! I know times right now are feeling a little uneasy with the upcoming school year. I wanted to take a few moments and share a few ideas with how you can tackle the idea of individual supplies in the upcoming year! These ideas can be applied to the in-class supplies, as option for students to “travel” with their supplies to home/school, or an option for students to keep at home to work.

Some of us like little “projects” over summer so I wanted to make sure I got this post to you with plenty of time to ponder!

DIY Individual Letter Boards

Up first I want to share an idea I came up with for DIY individual letter boards. I created a set of these for my sister’s classroom! When it comes to magnetic whiteboards and magnetic letters the price can get high when thinking about all 20+ kiddos having their own sets! Also, the idea of each kiddo not only having their own set, but making sure they only touch their set is another challenge.

These DIY magnetic boards are great for alphabet work, word work, and also the freebie download is editable so you can use the boards for name work.

DIY Letter Board How To

Create your own magnetic and wipe off boards with built in ‘magnetic letters’. In the freebie download you will receive the printable letters. For my magnetic surface I purchased cookie pans from the Dollar Tree. You can also purchase those from their online shop.

To prep the letters, print on cardstock for best reusable use. Laminate the printed sheets. Cut out each set of letters and add a magnetic dot to the back of each letter. Using a metal cookie sheet, add on the letters.

For a built in wipe-off surface cut a strip off the dry erase sheets. These dry erase sheets are magnetic as well so they will simply attach to the magnetic cookie sheets. These ABC boards will allow each student to have their OWN magnetic board and letters.

You will not need to share magnetic letters, pass out letters daily, or reuse letters among several groups of students. The letter boards can also be easily placed in the dishwasher weekly for extra sanitation.

DIY Letter Boards How-To Video

Watch and listen to me explain the magnetic letter boards below!

OPTION 2: Instead of using these letters for magnetic purposes, print the letters and attach Velcro to them. You can use the letters inside a file folder.

Check out the boards in action below.

Download the freebie ABC board by clicking HERE or the image below!

Individual Tool Kits

Along with individual letter boards, it’s possible you will also want students to have access to individual tools! Think group time, center time, whole-group time… pieces that before you might have had kids share with a partner! I created math and ELA tool kits to help with this concern! Each tool kit comes with a wide variety of material and options! First, let’s talk creating the tool kits and then I’ll break down what’s INSIDE each!

Choosing a Tool Kit Container

There are lots of options when it comes to choosing your perfect tool kit container. You will want to decide if you’d like students to have a separate ELA tool kit from their math kit. You can also choose to have students share one container for their ELA and math tools. The containers you see in my pictures from these IRIS containers.

However, there are a lot of options when choosing containers. Some teachers are using containers they have on hand, pencil pouches, resealable bags, crayon boxes, food containers, or baskets as well. Below is an additional idea that has been shared by a fellow teacher already prepping her tool kits!

Livie is prepping her tool kits! She is using Rubbermaid Take Along containers!

When prepping my tool kits, I laminated the name tag and hot glued it to the container. I have also offered several styles of name tags. Within the packet you can also access an editable tag to type student names. If you choose to do a combined ELA and Math tool kit, you can download these FREEBIE combination name tags HERE or by clicking below.

Tool Kit Go-Tos

When creating your tool kits you will also want to decide what tangible material to add to each. Again, if you decide to do a combination tool kit, you’ll be able to cut down on this material by half.

In my ELA tool kit I have added the following:

  • Expo marker
  • Reading wand
  • Plastic spinner
  • Transparent chips
  • Plastic toy car
  • Color coded snap cubes

In my math tool kit I have included the following:

  • Expo marker
  • Dot cube
  • Plastic spinner
  • Transparent chips
  • Teddy bear counters
  • Cubes

I get asked a lot about the clear spinners I use! I ran across these about 4 years ago and I’m obsessed! They are super sturdy and durable! You can view them HERE.

Math Tool Kits

Let’s chat the math tool kits! This PDF download contains 150+ pages and includes 50+ INSTANT tools! You can pick and choose from the included tools. You will want to choose tools that you’ll start the year with. You can add additional tools as the year progresses. This way you won’t overwhelm yourself or the kiddos.

Math Tool Kit Skills

  • Number path to 5
  • Number path to 10
  • Number path to 20
  • Numbers to 5 spinner
  • Numbers to 10 spinner
  • Numbers to 20 spinner
  • Number cards to 20
  • Number cards to 20 (built in ten frame)
  • Ten frame cards to 20
  • Dot cube cards to 10
  • 5 Frame
  • 10 Frame
  • Double 10 Frame
  • Double 10 Frame (assisted dots)
  • Numbers to 5 number sense board
  • Numbers to 10 number sense board
  • Numbers to 20 number sense board
  • Before and after board
  • More and less board
  • Ten number place value board
  • Number grid to 10
  • Number grid to 20
  • 100s chart
  • 120 chart
  • Rainbow combination board
  • Number bond board
  • Part-part-whole board
  • HTO board
  • Shape cards (2D and 3D)
  • Shape strips (2D and 3D)
  • True and false cards
  • Bigger and smaller spinner
  • Longer and shorter spinner
  • Tall and short spinner
  • Full and empty spinner
  • Light and heavy spinner
  • Positional words spinner
  • Pattern strips
  • Combinations statement strip
  • Addition equation strip
  • Subtraction equation strip
  • Tens/ones equation board
  • Place value board to 1,000
  • Expanded form board
  • Base ten/expanded/standard equation mat
  • Skip counting by 2s
  • Skip counting by 5s
  • Skip counting by 10s
  • Coins strips
  • 1 to 1 counting strips
  • Sorting mats
  • Greater than and less than strips
  • Left and right board
  • Blank analog clock
  • Blank digital clock
  • Number lines to 10
  • Number lines to 20
  • Fraction bards
  • Doubles to 20
  • Minus 10/Plus 10 board
  • Number Sense board (+10, -10, +1, -1)

After posting the initial math tool kit I already made a FREE update to include 15+ new tools! This tool kit is now ready to benefits students from prek to second grade!

Listen to me explain in detail about the Math Tool Kit below!

You can snag my Math Tool Kit for an AMAZING price! View it on TPT by clicking HERE or the image below!

ELA Tool Kits

Let’s chat the ELA tool kits! These PDF file is STUFFED with 350+ pages and 50+ ELA tools! Again, you’ll want to carefully choose from the included tools. Choose tools that will be great for the beginning of the school year.

ELA Tool Kit Skills

  • Sound Boxes (multiple versions for 2-6 sounds)
  • Sound Boxes/Handwriting Combos (multiple versions)
  • Handwriting Mats (multiple versions)
  • Magnet Assisted Name Builders (editable)
  • Name Builder Mats (multiple versions)
  • Alphabet Arc
  • Word Builders (multiple versions)
  • Alphabet Strips (multiple versions)
  • Magnet Letter Mats (multiple versions)
  • Alphabet Spinners
  • Blends Spinners
  • Digraph Spinners
  • Vowel Spinners
  • Word Family Spinners
  • Word Family Builder Mats (multiple versions)
  • Alphabet Flashcards (multiple versions)
  • Digraph Flashcards (multiple versions)
  • Blends Flashcards (multiple versions)
  • Alphabet “Word Wall” Mat
  • Word Family “Word Wall” Mat
  • Digraphs/Blends “Word Wall” Mat
  • Sight Word “Word Wall” Mat (multiple versions)
  • Alphabet Tracers (multiple versions)
  • Reading Strategies Strip
  • Story Elements Strip
  • Retell Strip
  • Settings Strip
  • Text Features Strip
  • Punctuation Strip
  • Complete Sentences Checklist
  • Word Builder Ladder Mats (multiple versions)
  • Fact and Opinion Headers
  • Yes and No Headers
  • True and False Headers
  • Syllables Spinner
  • Reversal Quick Visuals (multiple versions)
  • Story Retell Quick Visual
  • Magic E Quick Visual

Listen to me go in detail about the ELA tool kits below!

You can snag my ELA Tool Kit for an AMAZING price! View it on TPT by clicking HERE or the image below!

Student Supply Baskets

Up next I would like to share an all-in-one type of an option for the upcoming school year. In this all-on-one option students could have a spot to hold all of their supplies. They could travel with this basket to the carpet, intervention group, small-group, center time, and their independent working spot.

Here’s what I placed in the independent baskets:

  • DIY letter board
  • Tool kit box(es)
  • School supplies basket (scissors, glue, crayons, pencil)
  • Dry erase board
  • Math manipulative bowls

Listen and watch more about these individual student baskets HERE!

If you choose to do a combined ela and math tool kit, you can grab these FREEBIE box labels!

Grab and Go Student Manipulatives

Another option to keep in mind is creating grab and go manipulative stations. Instead of having a huge tub of bears, cubes, etc. You can simply place a smaller amount in a set of bowls. Snack or kid sized bowls are an economical choice. The students will be able to grab their set of manipulatives for learning time. You can add their names to the outside of the bowls. The bowls can have multiple types of manipulatives or just one set.

If you passing out manipulatives you might still be considering keeping up with sanitation. If you haven’t yet discovered these before they are a great option. You can simply place the manipulatives into mesh bags like these below. Throw the bags into the dishwasher for quick and safe sanitation.

I hope this post was helpful in starting to wrap our minds around some changes coming this future school year. As always, reach out with any questions! Have an amazing week! XO- Tara

This blog post contains affiliate links.


  1. Is the Math Tool Kit label available by itself? I have my own manipulatives that I plan to put in a container and am just needing a label by itself.

  2. Is just the label for the name available by itself? I already have manipulatives for all the skills included in your kit. I would just like the name/title image to put on my containers.

  3. My son and I traveled to Liverpool in June. We looked at the interesting places of Liverpool and since we hired a car at Europcar at the Liverpool airport, we went to a store with school supplies and bought a lot of notebooks, books, pencils and paints, etc. and in duplicate so that we could use them both at home and at school. I am very pleased that we hired a car and were able to buy so much, it would have been difficult to transport it without a car.

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