The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of…

Alternative Title For This Post- You’re Welcome For Starting Your Back-To-School Shopping List

A few weeks ago, I wistfully walked the aisles of one of my fave stores…Staples.  Over the years, Staples and I have had a very contentious relationship filled with dramatic tales of frustration and rage that have been countered by stories of pure joy and inspiration.  (Psssstt…totally click on all those links.  The stories are SO worth it.)  (Besides, before you know it, we’ll be back to school and you will have no time to leisurely click away an afternoon.)

Keep in mind, I was not in there to shop.  No, no, no.  I was in there to print out a copy of my entire dissertation – that’s right people, you read correctly.  I have a complete first draft.


And, because it’s roughly fifteen ho-jillion pages (including the appendices), I had some time on my hands.  A few moments to kill.  A moment to wander.  Oh, let’s just be honest.  I skipped up and down the aisles for about half an hour taking pictures of my favorite things with my iPhone.


So now, for your viewing (and perhaps list making pleasure), here is my version of porn are the spoils of that day. 

We are kicking things off with one of my favorite writing implements of all time.  (I know, I know, they’re not Sharpies…but don’t worry.  Those are coming.)  Yes, they are on the pricey side for a pack of pens but a) they are fabulous, b) they last, c) the variety of colors makes list making endless amounts of fun and three times more organized because of the option to color code categories and d) COLOR CODING people! (Uh yeah, it deserves to make the list twice.)  Note: these are for teacher only.  Some things we have to keep all to ourselves…

And from here we shall move on to all the other writing implements of choice that will make your heart (and your classroom) sing with joy.

Another wonderful option for Teacher Only list making and letter-home writing. 

I love these so much, I feel like I should blow kisses at the image on my screen.

Is it just me, or is using a fresh Expo marker on a clean white board a little slice of wonderful?

I personally preferred writing my plans in pencil since I was so frequently asked to “be flexible” and “go with the flow” which translates roughly to “scrap all your amazing plans and shuffle your week around so that you can accommodate this bullshit assembly/surprise field trip/interruption of your choice.”

And OH!  Do I love me some Crayola markers in classic colors. Fat, skinny, you name it, I love it.  Name another job where you can get away with writing a note in marker to another one of your co-workers. 

These beauties are my weapon of choice for organizing my little friends, and their writing tools.  You know, all of which I supply to them.  With money from my own pocket.  (Keep in mind that these puppies usually go on sale as the day of reckoning approaches…because $1.99 each?  Uh, no.)

Because I am the coolest teacher eva, I always made sure to have a stash of SMELLY stickers on hand in addition to your run of the mill thematic/words of encouragement/generally shiny stickers. 

So while these babies are not as colorful and not as shiny as some of the other supplies above, they have so many uses that they are one of my most favorite things to have on hand in the classroom.  I heart you and your simplicity, 3-tab file folder. 

And if you NEED fancy, then there’s these:

Did your heart skip a beat too?

Every teacher must, must, MUST have a decent pair of adult scissors.  Scissors that she keeps to herself and does NOT loan out when another co-worker inevitably asks to borrow her scissors because you never know what people are going to use them to cut.  Sharp scissors = non-negotiable.

While a three hole punch may not seem like an obvious need for back to school, believe me, you will thank me.  I had one of these bad boys hidden away and had hordes of colleagues troop in and out asking to borrow it.  So worth the money.

I used to have three staplers located in various places around the room.  Then I had a fourth stapler that was “for the people” meaning my friends could use it also. 

Again, these may cost you a bit if you plan on buying one for every friend in your class but OH HOLY CRAP did we use them all the time. Plus, your friends feel uber nerdy/ultra fabulous when completing oh-so-important work on their fancy pants clipboard.  HILARIOUS!

 I don’t think I’ve ever written about their simple brilliance here, but I do love and USE ( I MEAN I USE!) index cards.  Colored ones, lined ones, plain ones, you name it!  They make great (and inexpensive) name tags for desks when jazzed up with a sticker.  They are wonderful for a stack of personalized word wall flash cards.  I love them for personalized mini-strategy charts or checklists.  I’ve used them to create mini-Don’t Forget Your Glasses reminders for friends who shove their freaking glasses in the back of their desks and then wonder why they can’t see shit.  Direction cards for centers, teacher cheat sheets for chapter books…I could go on and on.

Can we now pause for a moment and delight in all things Post It?  Because…well, there was this.  And I just stopped dead in my tracks.

Are you clutching at your heart too? It gets even better.  Check these out:

MONOGRAMMED POST IT NOTES, PEOPLE!  Clearly I was all about the “M.”  Tres fancy, no?

Now this is by no means a complete list.  It is only just the beginning, but it is a solid beginning of teacher treats and MUST HAVES that is oh-so-fun to throw into your cart.  (Until you get to the check out.) So go forth and drool shop!!  Focus on the joy of all these shiny new office supplies! (Rather than on the bullshit reality that you’re paying for them yourself….there will be plenty of time for complaining later on this year, don’t you worry.)

I will leave you with this…a wonderful mix-and-match delight:


PS – Would anyone be interested in me posting my (more complete) back to school list with links??  Anyone?  Bueller?

(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)
  • I am interested in your back to school list! I am doing my student teaching in 7 days (well, actually the kids show up in 12 days) and I'm feeling overwhelmed!!! 😀 I read several teacher blogs and a principal's blog to hopefully gain insight into teaching. 😀 Either that or I read them to totally freak myself out as I'm a planner and so I read the scary stuff to be prepared…that's it…so a list (love lists) would be great. I am going to teach middle school science, so hopefully I can adapt the list to them…. 😀

    August 4, 2010 at 3:20 pm
  • Full list? Absolutely!!!

    August 4, 2010 at 3:20 pm
  • Costco has the Expo markers at a better price…bigger number and assortment, too, I think!

    Flair are my favorite for use with the Elmo!

    I got together with two teacher friends yesterday and we made our own fancy file folders! Those will make me happy every time I look at them all year long!

    August 4, 2010 at 6:19 pm
  • Um- YES!! Obviously I (and I'm sure every teacher, office supply junky, student)is totally craving the full list!

    **And maybe a Staples gift card to purchase said items 🙂

    August 4, 2010 at 6:19 pm
  • Me! Me! Me! I love me a list. Especially a school supply list. I have been mentally preparing for my potential future classroom for years. I have boxes upon boxes of pens, pencils, sharpies, you name it. I'd love to see an experienced teacher's list to compare.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:19 pm
  • I want all of it. All. Of. It. I also saw a rainbow of fabulousness at Costco yesterday–sharpies, markers, pens, everything. I had to be restrained by husband.

    I also add to your list: Vat of Hand Sanitizer from Costco. I love it because it makes me feel like the counselor from Glee. Also, if you are in urban schools, a baby fan and a baby heater, because you never know what temperature you will encounter in the schools. Sometimes is is Haides hot and other times, you swear you will see a penguin wearing a sweater waddle by at any moment.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:19 pm
  • @Ms. P.- gotta love a girl for trying!! 🙂

    August 4, 2010 at 6:24 pm
  • Wow, I just drooled while reading that post. I was going to go to Staples this morning and get some post it notes, to go along with 2 new teacher books I bought but I restrained myself. Now I want those flair pens though…crap

    August 4, 2010 at 6:35 pm
  • Exciting exciting! I start my first teaching job as an instructional assistant in…twenty one days! (not that I'm counting, haha) I love your blog and I LOVE back to school shopping, so lists like these make me one happy camper!

    August 4, 2010 at 9:01 pm
  • [drooling] I love this post! My husband used to joke that I would go to Staples just to "get my fix", and would call Staples my "dealer". So very, very true. My first year teaching I invested in about 20 of the Staples wooden clipboards, and I use them ALL of the time, and guard them with my life when I move buildings. This is the first year I am not teaching, and I am enduring severe withdrawal. Being taunted my my Staples Rewards points coupons are not helping. I need a fix, stat!

    August 4, 2010 at 9:01 pm
  • Oooo, I bought some of those fancy folders- couldn't help myself. I have been in Staples about 5 times in the last few weeks, and every time I have to peel myself away form the Post-Its and the mix-and-match bar. That place is evil. But I love it. Post your list!!

    August 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I teach college, so I can only bring stickers into the mix on an occasional semi-ironic basis. (They pretend not to care about stickers, but they do.) I have a repetitive stress injury in my writing hand – I love a good Sharpie, but I can't use it without shooting pain… All this means stationary stores are not the candy stores they used to be for me. But Post-it Notes? Somebody start the car.

    August 5, 2010 at 1:25 am
  • I just had to smile while reading your post! I thought I was the only one who loved Staples or Office Dpeot or Office Max, I'm really not picky. I love it all!! I would love to see the full list!!

    August 5, 2010 at 1:25 am
  • @Cozy: Good luck in your internship!! It's great that you're a planner, because I found the best advice for any teacher (but especially middle school) is to establish a routine and stick to it as best you can. Some days of course it's not easy, what with random assemblies/assessments/disruptions designed to make you miserable. But it really cuts down on discipline problems if the students know what's coming next.

    @Nancy: I'm going through severe supply withdrawal due to not teaching as well. I walk the back to school aisles in Target and Walgreens and sigh… 🙁

    August 5, 2010 at 1:25 am
  • I am laughing when I read this. Only because I am SO there with you! I had to FIGHT in Office Max today over their pricing…maybe I need to head to Staples. I gotta' say there are so many things I simply can't resist and many are on this list!

    August 5, 2010 at 3:33 am
  • A complete list?
    Bring it on!!!
    don't forget – August 8 Office Max Teacher Appreciation 15% off Day!!
    Jennifer McIntyre

    August 5, 2010 at 10:46 am
  • I get the same feeling when I walk into the 'office' section at any store! How fun are office supplies? seriously. All teachers must get the same feeling!

    Love your blog, and your genuine honesty.

    August 5, 2010 at 10:46 am
  • you forgot the sharpie accent highlighters in ten different colors… cannot color code without these babies! $10 – bought them yesterday and already started color-coding my planner.

    August 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm
  • *drools*

    I looove your list, mostly because it looks quasi-identical to mine.

    Those Flair marker/pens have been a staple of my teaching supplies since I started a few years ago. So much so, that earlier last year I wandered over to Staples to purchase another pack and was SHOCKED to learn that they not only didn't have any in stock, but the manager didn't think they would stock them again. Needless to say I had a little freak-out moment in aisle 3 (pens and other writing instruments), and started raving about their wonderfulness and how they were absolutely necessary for grading papers (because they are colourful, glide easily, don't require much pressure, yet don't bleed through paper etc…). I'm sure the manager thought I was either neurotic or a bit too attached to those pens (or maybe both), but I am proud to say that he assured me they'd try to get them back on the shelves soon, and sure enough a few weeks later I was able to purchase my favourite pens once again!

    And eeeeeee! stickers! You'd be surprised what gr12 students will do for a shiny star on their lab reports. They even WHINE if I dare to forget to award them one. Who knew they were still such children at heart.

    August 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm
  • Why have I not stumbled on to your site earlier?! You are hilarious. Thanks for the laughs, I needed them with the stress of the upcoming school year looming! 🙂

    August 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm
  • Why have I not stumbled on to your site earlier? You are hilarious. 🙂

    August 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm
  • I would LOVE to see your list. I have to admit that I'm also an office supply addict. I've been watching all of the ads for the past few weeks to get school supplies for pennies! My boyfriend thinks I'm insane for stocking up on folders, pencils, rulers, markers, etc. I can literally spend HOURS in an office supply store looking at all of the pens, pencils, markers, post-its, paperclips, organizers… yep. I'm an addict.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:03 am

Post a Comment