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Do you want to make an impact in students’ lives? Then, check out these easy and impactful ways to “Clear the List” (#clearthelist) of teacher wish lists on Amazon. If you’re a teacher, you will also learn where to submit your list and how to get it cleared. Let’s help teachers and students teach and learn better!

Clear the List classroom library project completed with bookshelves full of books.
The “Clear the List” classroom library project I collaborated on with my brother-in-law.

Definition of “Clear the List”

What does clear the list mean?

“Clear the list” is a social movement in America that supports teachers by purchasing classroom supplies they need. Often, teachers are not provided with these supplies (many of which are very basic) by their schools, so they are forced to purchase them out-of-pocket to help our youngest generation learn effectively.

Also, keep in mind that there are many additional complications. For example, teachers are often already overworked and underpaid. There are also inequities in what wealthy versus impoverished districts receive. And, then there are political complexities, like book banning, just to name a few.

Why It’s Important to “Clear the List”

Of course, teachers need supplies to teach and students need supplies to learn.

But, I also like to think of the impact of supplies on students even beyond that — things like providing a safe and comfortable space, building a community, and even inspiring their futures, to name a few. I also see these supplies as having the potential to reduce crime.

Back when we were in the heart of the pandemic, my brother-in-law shared with me a picture of an empty bookshelf in his low-income school, where the library was also closed and there was no librarian. Shocked, I ran an Instagram campaign to fill the bookshelf. I was wildly blown away by the generosity of followers who donated 1,500 books in one week (so many that we shared with other Philadelphia area schools)!

What we learned from diving deep into this project was the impact it had on students.

We secured books that matched the students’ interests and diverse backgrounds. At a time when it was especially difficult to get students to even show up, many of them were coming to school just because of the books.

The books helped keep students busy and safe, gave them a meaningful escape, and excited them about learning, among so many other benefits of reading. Just about every day, I heard another real-life anecdote about the difference they were making, including things like students reading their first book or reading an entire series of books.

Learn more about what we did at the “School Library” highlight on my Instagram page.

How to “Clear the List”

Now, let’s talk about how we can help.

What I’ve learned about “Clear the List” campaigns over the years is both how incredibly vast the need for help is and also how overwhelming and disorganized they can become very fast. I have yet to find a really effective way to manage my own “Clear the List” campaign, but I DO know several others who have, which I’ve shared below.

Tip for Teachers: If you’re a teacher, you can submit your teacher wish list or project to most or all of these resources as well!

DonorsChoose

DonorsChoose is a long-established organization where teachers simply post projects they seek to accomplish, and donors can choose which ones to fund and how much to fund. The organization purchases the requested items with your donations, and it has fulfilled 3 million projects to date.


AdoptAClassroom.org

AdoptAClassroom.org is kind of like DonorsChoose. Over 25 years, 300,000+ of their classrooms have been “adopted.” It’s simple: educators register and donors fund them (plus get updates on the impact).


Abbott Elementary

Watch and follow the hit show Abbott Elementary, which takes place at a Philadelphia public school. Creator and star Quinta Brunson was raised there, and her mother was a teacher.

She and the show regularly participate in charitable efforts to support teachers and students, such as free book fairs. There was even a campaign for them on DonorsChoose!


Social Media

View this profile on Instagram

Sarah Stair (@mrs.stair) • Instagram photos and videos

Washington teacher Sarah Stair is an angel on earth. After clearing her own wish list, she started helping other teachers do the same on social media (Instagram | TikTok).

She now has a sortable and shoppable Teacher Wishlist Finder website and other donation vehicles (like her $1 donation campaign on social media). She makes it both easy and fun to support teachers in need.

Additionally, she offers helpful tips for teachers on clearing their wish lists and partners with brands and other influential people on donations.

Mrs. Stair pours her heart, soul, and entire summer vacation into this, so anything you can do to support her or share her work is appreciated.

Besides Mrs. Stair, several social media influencers run “Clear the List” campaigns. A few I’ve funded before include Ashley Spivey (late summer), Things I Bought and Liked (Giving Tuesday), and SharonSaysSo. You can also see if anyone in your own social media network posts their teacher wish list or seeks donations.


Amazon

screenshot of school wish lists on amazon.

Why wait for a teacher or school to post their Amazon wish list?! Go directly to Amazon’s wish list page and search for a teacher or school you’d like to fund. Above is an example of a search I made in my home state.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, many, if not most, American teachers don’t have access to the basic supplies they need to effectively assist their students. As a result, “Clear the List” has become a popular campaign by which the general public and brands purchase items from teacher wish lists so that they can have a productive school year with their students.

Where to help:

Finally, the best way to make the biggest difference is together, so share this post and these campaigns with teachers and donors who can all participate and grow the movement.

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7 Comments

  1. To my students at Mastery Pickett, I’m known as Hunty, but that name was actually given to me 12 years ago when I was a student teacher at Penn State. Today, I’m proud to be heading into my 4th year as an 8th grade ELA teacher at Mastery Charter’s Pickett Campus in Philadelphia, PA. While teaching at a Title 1 school, where over 75% of students are from low-income households, comes with challenges, I’ve remained a teacher here because of the impact my students have had on me. My middle schoolers make me laugh until I cry (or is it the other way around?), challenge my own thinking, and work harder than I knew was possible. Within those 4 walls, we are learning to change the world through literature, and we would be so appreciative of your help in continuing that work.

  2. Also, most teachers have their wishlists linked in their insta bio.
    Mine is @charming_chipom if anyone wants to be the first to send my students some love!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas! My wishlist is on Mrs Stair’s website and I’ve been busy this summer trying to contact Michigan businesses to help clear lists – I haven’t hit the jackpot yet, but I love the community I’m working with!

  4. Thank you for supporting the hard work teachers put into the young minds.

    Any contribution is grateful.

    1. Hi Erica,

      You’re welcome. I wanted to let you know my website doesn’t allow links in comments for technical reasons. If there’s a social media handle or something else you want to share, feel free to do so. Thanks for your hard work.