Classroom Prep on a Budget: Smart Dollar Store Ideas

August 13, 2019

Amy Vaughan-Roland, Ed.D.

Ed.D. in Leadership

Getting the itch to start planning your classroom, but looking at a teacher’s budget? I get it, which is why I rely on my favorite place – the Dollar Tree – to help my classroom be cute and practical, all while pinching those pennies. Here are great dollar store finds perfect for the classroom!

For the Bulletin Board

Covering bulletin boards with chart paper is a thing of the past. Many teachers use fabric, but that can get pricey! Check out felt-back table cloths. They come in a variety of cute patterns and are easy to cut to size for your bulletin board. With a vinyl front, you can easily wipe them down and keep them clean throughout the year.

For snazzing up the bulletin board, find great decorations in the teaching and party sections. They can easily be run through the laminator so you can use them again and again.

Pens, Pens, and More Pens

Many a reluctant writer has been coerced into putting pen to paper with these adorable and festive pens. With so many to choose from, it’s easy to find ones that fit your classroom theme or style. I love having them available for students to grab during free writing, and sometimes even a hard math test gets a lot easier when you have a pink narwhal helping you out. Be sure to stock up as they sell out fast and having a bunch allows you to rotate them throughout the school year to always keep them exciting.

Tape It Up

Duct tape is a versatile classroom staple. It’s great for color coding group supplies, fixing take home folders or adding some bling to old magnets. Indoor recess gets a total facelift with a few rolls of duct tape and some cardboard scraps Dollar stores often have plenty of fun duct tape options to choose from.

Everyone Gets Headphones

In my class, we have technology days. When 20-plus laptops are all clinking, clanking, talking and chiming, my head starts to spin! At $1 each, it’s easy to invest in a full class set of headphones. These cute sets come in their own cases that you can then label for each student. If your budget allows, grab a couple more so you have extras on hand when one breaks. 

Making our classrooms a fun and engaging place to be is one of the most exciting parts of gearing up for a new school year. As our school budgets shrink, teachers find themselves digging into their own pockets for those little extras that make a classroom a home. So make the most of your money and see what your local dollar store can bring to your school year!

Learn of even more smart classroom ideas when you join American College of Education’s educator community. Explore all our graduate-level programs in the field of education.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.
Amy Vaughan-Roland, Ed.D.
Amy Vaughan-Roland, Ed.D., Ed.D. in Leadership

Amy has a strong passion for educating all learners and has over 12 years of experience in special education. She works on her family's dairy farm and is currently a doctoral candidate.

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