School Supply Survival Guide

How can six-year-olds can keep track of all this stuff? (Of course I know the answer.) For first-grade in Israel you need the discipline of a first-year recruit.

School supply list:

  • Ten 40-page notebooks “esser shurot” (10 lines), a math notebook, and ten plastic covers (not eleven?) If you can find the cheap ones with the brown covers, buy them. The plastic “atifot” help them last longer and the teachers provide decorative pages to slip under the transparent covers, making them easy to identify. Of course they don’t need 40 pages. There are at least six different kinds of notebook paper, and I often come home with the wrong kind.
  • An assignment book; for first grade you can buy a generic “yoman machberet,” which is only slightly more expensive than a regular notebook. It contains days of the week but no dates.
  • Two machbarot chachamot ( “smart” notebooks), one each for math and writing. When I bought them for my daughter they cost five times more than a regular notebook and she wrote on exactly one page. Of one. I’m going to wait on those.
  • Ten colored plastic folders (tikiot shekef) in the following colors: blue, green, purple, pink and white. I happen to have a bunch of black and green ones; should I buy new ones? Do I have to have exactly two of each color? (My answers: no.)
  • A set of mapal (plastic) dividers. I have some cardboard ones; tough.
  • A large ringed notebook, not from mapal.
  • A large, elastic, mapal folder for storing papers.
  • A denim pencil case for storing math supplies, recommended (i.e. it’s the most important item on the list).
  • Pencil case, 3 pencils, eraser, sharpener, scissors, glue stick, a package of colored pencils, pink, yellow and green highlighter markers, a package of thin markers, a package of pastel crayons and a small ruler. I am going to wait at least a few days before buying most of this stuff.
  • Art supplies–to be announced.


  1. I don’t remember having school supplies until the fourth grade and then it was a small binder, paper, and dividers.

  2. WaysofZion says

    are you serious! wow!

  3. I think you forgot the atifot for the text books………and we also had to get a SECOND case and set of the pencils, markers, etc. for the art class. oy vavoy! Poor kid, the bag weighs more than him! Guess who is going to be shlepping in the backpack??? 🙂 Not him, you can bet on it!

  4. Gevalt!
    They didn’t have that much in the stores when my kids started the 1st grade. What’s a smart notebook? I guess I’m too dumb to understand.

  5. mominisrael says

    Actually, EmahS, they weren’t on the list. But we have some from last year. Make sure you take them off any “hovrot” before throwing away the workbooks. You have kitah aleph too right? Don’t bother with the atifot for math and reading, as they just use them for a few weeks each, or use one atifah and switch it when the choveret is finished.
    We were told to bring all the books the first day, as they are going to be stored in school.

  6. I’m amazed every year by home much stuff some teachers require. As a student, I genrally just had a notebook per subject and some pens or pencils, as well as crayons or markers in younger grades. Now the list includes multiple notebooks, folders, glues and glue sticks, colored penencils, and on and on. Instead of a list of supplies for my first grader, we are getting a bill for $15. I guess the teacher is not using the spiral notebooks that sell for 10 cents a piece.

  7. RaggedyMom says

    I can’t believe that’s the list for just one of your kids! Does it get more crazy or less over the next years of school?

  8. mominisrael says

    RM, it gets better.

  9. Hi Mom!
    I wish I could have taken you shopping with me! I had no idea what most of the Kitah Aleph items were- what the heck is a “smart” notebook? And why do the 10-line notebooks have way more than 10 lines?
    I found a nice woman at the store, gave her the list, and she found everything for me (and made sure to find the cheapest product whenever there was an option). I really don’t understand why a first-grader needs so much stuff. I spent about 350 shekels! This includes all the workbooks, siddur, etc. but still! Yikes!

  10. BTW, our school didn’t put a “yoman” on the list- and my son really wanted one. The woman at the store told me that first graders don’t use them. Not til next year.

  11. mominisrael says

    I think that one of my kids used the same one for two years.
    I would love to go shopping wtih you! Next year!

  12. Dont forget the waterbottle.

  13. I was thrown off by the additions to our list of napkins and a towel. (I think for netilat yedaim) Do I just buy a washcloth (fancy of course)? I really don’t know about that one.

  14. A simple washcloth is fine and yes, it’s for netilat yadayim. They eat at their desks, so they use a napkin as a placemat. Just make sure to launder them every few days. Funny how our school didn’t say a word about it, but my son is using them.

  15. Just seeing this post now.

    To add to the confusion, the plastic folders have different names in different schools. For instance, I see that you call them “tikiot shekef”. My kids know them as “tikiot shkufot”, but my sister’s kids refer to them as “tikiot chatzi shkufot”.

    Also, in addition to all of the above, our first graders always needed erasable markers for writing on their white boards.

  16. mominisrael says

    Mrs. S., Interesting. We haven’t been asked for the erasable markers yet.


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