Classroom Essentials

Whenever I enter a classroom, I must have a bottle of water in my hand and some tissue in my pocket because I’m prone to a dry cough and the occasional sneeze. But what about real classroom aids? What is essential? What is convenient to have on hand?

I’ve known teachers to keep a variety of items in their classrooms, from clever gadgets to completely unexpected props: a soccer ball, a stopwatch, puppets, a radio, and a foot-tall Godzilla action figure, to name a few. All were incorporated into language lessons.

What’s in your classroom? What do you feel lost without? What do you like to keep in your so-called bag of tricks? Here’s my own list – a baker’s dozen. These are items I’d like to have on hand in order to teach any lesson on any given day:

  1. Board (with markers and an eraser)
  2. Clock (with a second hand)
  3. Dictionary (two copies from different publishers, ideally)
  4. Scratch paper
  5. Pens (for myself as well as for forgetful students)
  6. CD player/ stereo
  7. Magazines (with lots of photos)
  8. Scissors
  9. Tape
  10. World map
  11. Dice (for games and activities)
  12. Small container (box, bag, hat, etc.)
  13. Markers (for impromptu projects)

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Lucy says:

    I usually carry most of the stuff on your list- except maybe the map (actually I think I have a few maps at the back of my pocket agenda)…
    What I absolutely cannot live without is my mini board. It’s a white board (approx. the size of a laptop) that I place on a recipe stand on a desk or boardroom table. It’s fantastic for teaching small classes of upto 8 students. I use this especially when teaching private classes of one or two individuals (at their office)- or business classes. It serves for great visual support and it’s sooo practical. Thanks.

    1. englishwithjennifer says:

      A recipe stand/ bookholder…that’s a good one!

  2. Laura says:

    Hi Jennifer! Thanks for all your ideas and support. I also love your videos. I’d like to add that I always have with me a box of sweets (to give to the winners of games, or just for special moments, or to help them concentrate during an exam) and also an mp3 player with different sorts of tunes to match the atmosphere of the class (relaxing while doing exercises, bossa nova while mingling, contest-like while at competitions, etc).
    This serves both for my elementary class ( and for my advanced students (

    1. englishwithjennifer says:

      I remember a high school teacher of mine who used to award “super stickers” for “super questions”. I believe a certain number of super stickers got us a special privilege. It was fun, and it encouraged us to meet the challenges he created for us.

      I like your creative use of music.

      Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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