Heading into Spring with New School Supplies

Happy Spring!

It may seem a little counterintuitive to share a school supply list towards the tail end of the school year, but this is the time of year where we see a natural time to clean out, reorganize, and get things situated for a fantastic final few months of the school year. 

The biggest mistake parents and students often make when buying school supplies is purchasing supplies that make organization too complicated. Students will often come to my office totally overwhelmed, juggling two or three different systems to store information for each class. If they have six or seven classes, that is a recipe for disaster come March or April. 

My biggest tip in purchasing or reorganizing supplies is to help students consolidate. Simple supplies help make it easier for a student to create and maintain a workable organization system.  And, if and when students get off track (and inevitably, it happens!), it’s easier to regroup and put things back into place. 

  • Binders (1″ to 1 1/2″) – I recommend binders without pockets because the goal should be everything is filed away in the binder rather than stuffed in the front.

Avery® Economy View 3-Ring Binder, 1″ Round Rings, White

  • Dividers– I find the ones where students slide in the tab work best (younger students might need help sliding those in). Students can create sections for Notes, Homework, Handouts, Tests/Quizzes, and Binder Paper (or whatever the teacher recommends). 

Insertable Dividers With Big Tabs Buff Assorted Colors 8 Tab Pack Of 4 Sets 

  • Reinforced binder paper– I encourage students to use reinforced binder paper for their classes rather than spiral notebooks or composition books. BUT if composition books are required, encourage notebooks that are three-hole punched (see here).  It makes it easier to get back on track if they forget something for a day, and ideally, all the papers are kept in their binder. 

Notebook Filler Paper College Ruled 8 x 10 12 White Pack Of 150 Sheets 

  • Written planner – I have students map out their week in terms of assignments, activities, appointments, and homework time to help them see where their time is being spent. Often, online systems aren’t as straightforward, or provide an unintended distraction – the minute a student goes online to “check the homework,” 30 to 45 minutes is lost doing other things.

Ultimate Student High School Planner Edition 2024-2025

  • Traveling hole punch (and a good solid one for home) – The goal is to help students learn to hole punch all their papers and file them away, rather than stuff them in a folder where papers are more likely to pile up and get lost or crumpled. 

Notebook 3 Hole Punch 

  • Reinforcements – To try and avoid those constant tears that make pages fall out of binders

Permanent Self Adhesive Reinforcement Labels 14 Diameter White Pack Of 1000 

  • Mechanical pencils and pencil pouch

BIC Xtra Sparkle Mechanical Pencils 0.7mm 2 Lead Assorted Barrel Color Pack Of 24 

3 Ring Mesh Pencil Pouch 8 x 10 14 Blue 

  • Erasers

Pentel Hi Polymer Erasers White Pack Of 4 

Much of this comes down to patience and consistency – which is why using simple systems and having dedicated regrouping time each week creates the opportunity for kids to feel confident and empowered to design a system that works for them.

For more strategies, take a look at my first book, That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week, and my latest book, Erasing the Finish Line: The New Blueprint for Success Beyond Grades and College Admission.

Warm wishes,


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