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8 Things Every Student Needs On The First Day Of School


8 Things Every Student Needs On The First Day Of School

by TeachThought Staff

This content is sponsored by Staples

The first day of school is the end result of a lot of preparation.

After weeks of gathering lists, purchasing supplies, and scrambling to find that obscure scientific calculator that no one has ever heard of, the student arrives at school with everything he or she needs to be successful.

Of course, that’s not true.

While we tend to think of supplies in terms of tangible items (like backpacks, paper, and yes, staples) there are other factors critical to their confidence level so early in the year, not to mention their academic performance over the next 8 months.

So below we’ve created a list of 8 things that every student needs on the first day of school, from the traditional items to the less-considered. We have partnered with Staples to remind you that they have all of the back-to-school supplies your kids want at prices parents can afford.

Let us know in the comments if there’s anything we’ve missed that you think students need to begin the school year on the right foot.

The Right Supplies

What the student actually needs depends on the grade level, curriculum, content area, individual teacher, etc.–obviously there’s little point in making universal recommendations here. Staples has the best assortment of supplies in stock all season long so that you can actually find what you need no matter what month it is. Further, you can return to the same store and know you’ll find the same product when it’s time to re-stock.

Tip: Looking for the best deals in the most popular school supplies products? Extra savings on popular items can be found in the Staples weekly ad.

As far as which supplies, the minimum here would be whatever the school and teacher require. Going further, asking the child what kinds of supplies he or she likes to have is useful, too. While there’s no need to go overboard here, spending a few extra dollars on a new backpack, lunchbox, colored pencils or even a certain t-shirt (or shoes, though that’s usually more than a ‘few dollars’) can go a long way towards the student feeling ready-to-go on the first day of school.

Tip: Did you know about Teacher Rewards? Members earn up to five percent back in Rewards and receive free shipping on orders over $14.99 on Staples.com. Teacher Rewards members receive up to ten percent back in Rewards on teaching and art supplies. Read more about Staples’s Teacher Rewards program here.


The beliefs and ideas that students have about themselves lead to a mindset that can spur them to success or lead to self-fulfilling prophecies of struggles and failure.

Take challenges–difficult exams or projects or even content areas. Here are three possible beliefs, and all three can lead to very different outcomes.

Mindset 1: I believe challenges are a normal part of learning, and the experience in overcoming them is worth more than any temporary sense of failure or success.

Mindset 2: I dislike challenges, but will do my best and hopefully figure each out as they come.

Mindset 3: I’m not very good at overcoming challenges, and try to avoid them at all costs.

The right mindset leads to everything else.


Students’ need to belong will almost always outweigh their desire to perform well academically. They need not be mutually exclusive, but if one has to go, you can guess which one the student will often choose.

Everyone needs somebody, sometime. The first day of school is definitely one of those times. It is hugely comforting to glance around an unfamiliar room or school to find a familiar face.

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At home and at school, students need not just structure, but also the right amount and form of structure. For some, this means a quiet place to do homework or someone to sit with them nightly and talk about their day. Others need a different kind of structure–a creative and nurturing community of peers.


Not much can be achieved without a sense of confidence and self-efficacy. This can vary wildly from one class to another, which makes it important for the student to show up on the first day of school with a reason to believe that he or she can succeed.

A Sense of Purpose

Why am I here? What will I learn? What can I do with what I know?

If their purpose can be reduced to ‘getting good grades,’ most learning experiences will be quickly reduced to ‘grades’ as well.


Curiosity can lead to a sense of purpose, and the reverse is true as well.

Curiosity can be about knowledge, relationships, and professions–the more curious the student is, the more open his or her mind will be to grow.


Similar to “Structure,” strategies are the kinds of things that students benefit from often without knowing.

Reading strategies, note-taking strategies, conflict-resolution strategies, test-taking strategies–even what to do when being bullied or witnessing bullying. Strategies are the ‘ways to make things happen,’ and the more a student has in their toolbox on the first day of school, the more successful they have the chance to be.

To make sure your child has everything he or she needs to start the school year off on the right foot, visit your local Staples or check out the Back to School Center on Staples.com.

This content is sponsored by Staples

image atrribution flickr user syrianliteracyapp; 8 Things Every Student Needs On The First Day Of School