Top 10 Teacher Tools For The Primary Classroom

As a teacher in the primary classroom, I have tested out my fair share of learning materials, supplies, and tools over the years. There have been plenty of great items out there. . . . and a lot of misses too! Today, I'm saving you the trouble of trying every product on the market and sharing my top 10, favorite teacher tools!

These teacher tools for the primary classroom will help keep your kids engaged, keep you organized, and help you have the very best school year this year.

There really are so many fantastic teaching resources and tools out there, that it can be hard to even know where to start. For me, teacher tools need to be fairly priced, durable, versatile and stand the test of time. Here's what's on my all-time faves list! 

1. Base Ten Blocks

An absolutely essential item in the primary classroom is a great set of base ten blocks! These are such fantastic tools for helping children visualize and understand larger numbers. I have found that a solid, plastic set holds up much longer than the foam sets, but both will do the job. We use these every day in our math practice, and during centers and if you make individual tubs like I did, you can even have students use these for independent learning at their desks!

Teacher tools like these base ten blocks are a great hands-on tool your students will love using for number sense learning.
I find these especially helpful when practicing our target number of the day. Each day we work on building that target number with the blocks and then completing some activities that go along with it. I love using base ten blocks in combination with these daily number sense activities. They are no prep and make it super simple to incorporate daily number sense work into our day. 

Having individual tubs for each student is great for this because then you can include this activity in your morning work routine and make sure your students are getting some number sense practice every day!

And if you want to really take your number sense practice to the next level, grab a set of these magnetic base ten blocks too. These are SO cool! They stick right up on the whiteboard, making them perfect for group demonstrations as well as student use during centers. They are a fairly large size, so even students in the back of the room will be able to see them! These have made teaching math so much easier. 

2. Magnetic Tens Frames 

Another fabulous teacher tool I find myself reaching for time and time again are these magnetic tens frames. 

Magnetic tens frames like these are the perfect teacher tool for group instruction.
They are great for group demonstrations on the whiteboard or for using on small magnet boards during centers.

At the beginning of the year especially, I like to use the ten frames just about anytime we are doing math. This helps my firsties really get a firm grasp on what a set of 10, 20, or more looks like. 

Using these magnetic boards makes it easy to pull these out at any time and creates a quick visual for everyone to see. 

3. Plastic Spinners

We play a lot of games in our classroom! Playing games is a great way to get continued, repetitive skills practice going in a fun way. From whole group games to small groups, to centers, games always make an appearance in our day!

This teacher tool can help you create custom spinner for any learning game you create.
Over the years, one of the tools I always found myself using was my set of plastic spinners. These are much easier for students to manipulate than a pencil and a paper clip and are definitely worth the small investment if your class plays a lot of these games. 

We use these all the time in my classroom! I love how I can pair these with a resource like my Teen Numbers Practice activities for a super quick and simple center! 

There are a couple of different kinds of spinners.  Some you connect to the game and they just pop in place.  Others are connected to a clear mat and you just lay them over the top of your game.  I've used both and it's a great way to turn almost any activity into a game.  

4. Foam Dice

Dice games are SO great for learning, but when 20+ students are rolling their dice at the same time, it can get a bit noisy. Foam dice are a total game changer! No more noisy dice hitting the desks and making it hard to concentrate!

You won't have to worry about the racket created by plastic dice with this awesome teacher tool. Use the foam dice for games, math, and more!
I've often seen these at the dollar store and in the Target dollar spot as well, so be sure to peek around for the best deal. 

Since these are so inexpensive, I like to buy a set for all of my students to keep in their desks and then one for my center bins as well. This way, I can easily hand out a dice game worksheet and they can get to work without missing a beat. 

Just be sure to have some kind of system for storing the dice when not in use, otherwise you will surely find they go missing all too often. I have my kiddos keep them in their "student toolbox". This is just a pencil box with their basic supplies and a few extras we use often. 

5. Mini Erasers

Mini erasers are SO much fun and a super useful teacher tool. We mostly use them as manipulatives for counting activities, but they are also great for BINGO markers and student prizes. My kiddos LOVE mini erasers and you can find them in just about every theme in the Target dollar spot as well as at Michael's.

Did you know mini erasers can be a super helpful teaching tool for the primary classroom? They are great to use as rewards and can also be used in math activities as counting manipulatives your students will be excited to use.
These are so fun for seasonal games and center activities. Since you can find them in so many themes, I like to store them seasonally and pull out new ones each month. In the fall we use apples and pumpkins and then move on to holiday-themed erasers in the winter. In the spring it's all about the flowers and farm-themed erasers and before school ends we wrap up the year with smiley face "emoji" erasers and other fun shapes. 

This is a super simple way to keep your kiddos engaged in an activity that you are doing over and over. By simply swapping out the erasers you're using when playing BINGO or center games, you will acquire instant student engagement and make the activity fun again! At about a dollar a bag, I think that's a great investment!

6. Game Buzzers

Since we play games so often, I decided to grab a set of "buzzers". These proved to be such a valuable teaching tool! I use these mostly during whole group games and small groups. 

Game buzzers are a fantastic teaching tool because they allow you to play learning games in your classroom in small groups or during a whole class game where you want to break them up into 4 groups.
Students will have a buzzer in front of them and whoever knows the answer will hit the buzzer. Whichever student rings the buzzer first gets to answer. These buzzers give our activities a "game show" feel, which the kiddos love!

While these are simple concepts, you will be surprised how much more engaged and focused the students are with the addition of a buzzer. They really perk up and listen to the question intently so that they can hit that buzzer first. 

In my classroom, I love saving these for Fun Fridays, as the students really look forward to using them. 

It's a great way to get engagement back at the end of the week when the kiddos (and you) might be feeling a bit burnt out and need something fun to keep the learning going!

7. Wireless Doorbell 

Looking for a way to grab your students' attention without having to use a louder voice? I have just the teacher tool for you! A wireless doorbell will majorly simplify transitions in your classroom. While it can be hard to get firsties in the habit of stopping everything and listening, a doorbell makes it SO much easier. 

These wireless doorbells are a great addition to your teacher tools because you will be able to use it as a signaling device to get your student's attention in a fun way.
My kiddos know that as soon as they hear the familiar "ping", it's time to freeze and listen up! In the beginning, I give my directions in somewhat of a whisper tone to really help them learn to listen closely. 

This is a great way to tune their ears to the directions and work on retention of those directions in your classroom. Plus, eventually, you won't spend valuable time trying to grab their attention multiple times per day. 

8. Dry Erase Sleeves

We go through so many worksheets in our classroom, and I'm sure you do too! No-prep worksheets are great for ease of use but sometimes, I want to use a worksheet more than once in our classroom. This is where dry erase sleeves come in SO handy! 

Dry erase sleeves like these are the perfect teacher tools for the primary classroom. They are easy to store and organize and can turn any printed paper into a whiteboard activity your students can use over and over again.
I find these especially helpful when I want to model an activity for students and observe their understanding during small groups. I will give each child a copy of a worksheet tucked inside a dry erase sleeve and model the activity for the group. Then, each kiddo gets to work and I can check in on how they did. Afterward, they erase the page and the next group of kiddos will come to the table for the same activity. Later in the week, I will use those same worksheets again as an independent center station. 

Since the students have already seen and worked with this activity, they can be fully independent and get some additional practice. This is a great tactic to use when introducing new topics that your students might find a bit tricky. In our classroom, that usually means grammar and math! 

9. Wall Timer

Teacher tools like this wall timer will help foster a sense of independence in your students. Instead of you having to count down transition time, set the timer as a great visual reminder for how much time is left before the transition.
Using a large wall timer during center rotations, games, and silent reading is another game-changing tool. 

By allowing students to be more independent and track the time on their own, you drastically reduce the number of times you get asked "How many more minutes?" in a day. 

Plus, having a wall timer is great for helping students to understand the concept of time and how long a block of time "feels". 

By giving students this visual of time it helps them learn to self-monitor their activities.  By watching the clock they can get the most out of their work time and learn to build in clean-up time too.  It's an important life skill that you can begin to teach your young students.

10. Teacher Tote Bag

A teacher tote bag like this is a teacher tools must have. It will help you stay organized and sane this school year.
And finally, last but not least, my personal favorite teacher tool is a tote bag! 

I don't know about you, but I always seem to have a TON of items going back and forth between school. Rather than juggling multiple bags, boxes, and crates,  I invested in a nice teacher tote bag to corral all of my things. 

This bag made my life so much easier because there is a pocket for everything! 

The outside pockets are great for pens, notepads, my phone, keys, and even an emergency umbrella! And the inside is super sturdy and great for organizing files, a lesson plan book, and any other little odds and ends I want to keep track of. 

Definitely consider treating yourself this year to a fun new bag to help simplify your life!

Save These Ideas For Later

Want to add a few of these amazing items to your classroom?   Pin this post to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you will have a quick reference of my top 10 teacher tools for the primary classroom. Have fun getting your room stocked up! 

These teacher tools for the primary classroom will help keep your kids engaged, keep you organized, and help you have the very best school year this year. From hands-on manipluatives, to game accessories, to organization for you, these are the top 10 teacher tools for the primary classroom I have found to be the most helpful. #teachertools #teachingtools #elementaryteachingtools #elementaryteachertools

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