Back-to-school season is here! For teachers, it’s time to start setting up classrooms, creating bulletin boards, and planning the first lessons of the year. Meanwhile, the DonorsChoose.org team is getting ready to ship tens of thousands of boxes across the country full of the supplies teachers need most. What are those boxes full of, exactly? We took a look at our data to figure out what materials teachers are requesting in every grade level and in every subject. There are plenty of familiar tools (books) and a few surprises (ukuleles). Read on to see what our data revealed!
The One Thing Teachers Need at Every Grade Level
One resource jumped out immediately every way we looked at the data: Teachers need books. It was such a common request that we left it out of the charts below to leave room for other interesting items. Popular books this year include The Hate U Give, Wonder, and The One and Only Ivan.
Most Needed Resources, by Grade Level
Grades PreK – 2
Along with some items to create the ideal classroom, like flexible seating and organizational tools, the most popular items at the younger grades focus on learning through play.1Activity Kits & Manipulatives2Flexible Seating3Art Supplies4Book Bins, Cubbies, & Organizers5Puppets & Toys
Play is still important as kids get older! And so are classroom essentials, like pens, paper, and markers. 1Book Bins, Cubbies, & Organizers2Classroom Basics (Pens, paper, markers, etc)3Flexible Seating4Activity Kits & Manipulatives5Puppets & Toys
Technology starts to play a bigger role as students hit middle school, but analog teaching tools still rule: The most popular single item in this age bracket is a big pack of #2 pencils. 1Classroom Basics (Pens, paper, markers, etc)2Book Bins, Cubbies, & Organizers3Flexible Seating4Listening Devices & Headphones5Computers, Laptops, & Accessories
As the lessons get more complicated, so do the supplies. From building a school garden to elaborate art projects, high school teachers are challenging their students to learn in every subject. 1Classroom Basics (Pens, paper, markers, etc)2Plants, Seeds & Gardening Supplies3Computers, Laptops, & Accessories4Art Supplies5Book Bins, Cubbies, & Organizers
Most Needed Resources, by Subject
Literacy & LanguageOmitting books from the list left us with plenty of book accessories! Teachers use wobble stools and floor cushions to give kids a comfortable place to read, and headphones for various literacy activities. 1Book Bins, Cubbies, & Organizers2Classroom Basics3Activity Kits & Manipulatives4Flexible Seating5Listening Devices & Headphones
Math & Science
Math manipulatives are always essential, especially in the younger grades. But it was a surprise to see art supplies make the list here, and it’s even more evidence that teachers are integrating art into STEM in new and creative ways.1Activity Kits & Manipulatives2Computers & Tablets3Classroom Basics4Art Supplies5Puppets & Toys
History & Civics
Along with perennial favorites like Time for Kids, plenty of teachers are using new technology like virtual reality to bring history to life.1Classroom Basics2Computers & Tablets3Art Supplies4Listening Devices & Headphones5Activity Kits & Manipulatives
Music & The Arts
Meet our most popular instrument: The Ukelele! Art teachers are getting creative as well, adding technology like die cut machines to their classrooms along with basics like crayons and paint.1Paints & Brushes2Classroom Basics3Musical Instruments4Construction Paper5Crayons, Colored Pencils & MarkersTeachers, were you inspired by any of these ideas from your colleagues?