One of the most stressful parts of managing the classroom is figuring out how to manage student supplies. What do you do with all the things they bring to school? Where do you put crayons, pencils, scissors, journals and anything else that they need for learning? Read on to get some tips to help you manage student supplies in the classroom.
When teaching kindergarten I’ve always had tables. Some years students were required to use their own materials brought from home and NOT share at all. Other years we could share everything. Both ways had their ups and downs. One thing that helped me manage their crayons, scissors, markers and pencils were tubs on the tables. The ONE thing we shared were pencils because I bought them. I wanted specific pencils and it made sharpening much easier. We kept the pencils in a container next to the tub.
When students had their own individual supplies they kept the crayon boxes (with their names on them) in the larger part of the tub and the scissors and glue sticks or bottles in a smaller section. I stored their markers and paints away and we used them on special occasions. When sharing supplies we used the same tubs but I dumped out the crayons and they could use any glue stick or pair of scissors. The years we shared either the school or I purchased the supplies.
Another way to manage student supplies is by using chair pockets. These are large pockets that hang off the back of the chairs. I love them and I don’t love them at the same time! It’s great for extra storage but then start to look messy very quickly so my advice to you is to use them for very specific things but not for EVERYTHING. They are great for small classrooms where you don’t have a lot of storage. I used them for work packets or papers that they needed to hang onto, workbooks and journals and sometimes markers and maybe extra supplies. When I didn’t use chair pockets I kept extra student supplies in plastic bags with names on them in large tubs.
Use Flat Surfaces & Containers
Math Journals, weekly Poetry Journals and packets of work that we didn’t use everyday were stored in tubs away from student work areas. I had a different container for each table and the Table Captain of the day would get the workbooks or journals for the group. I also kept whiteboards in one large tubs and the Table Captains would get those as well for the group. When I had chair pockets we stored white boards in the pockets (as long as the pockets were strong enough to hold them). Here is example of the containers (this is before the year started so they aren’t filled yet and don’t yet have numbers on the front).
Everything else gets stored on shelves. Center work, Unfinished Basket for work, i-pads with individual student headphones and passwords are all stored on the Centers shelf. I stored paints with names on them in a container. I kept markers and all extra student supplies in plastic bags (with names on the bags) in large tubs. As individual students ran out of supplies I replaced them from their bags or from my own extra supplies. If your students are allowed to share then you could keep extra materials in tubs on shelves.
If you are looking for some other ways to organize your classroom this year check out these blogposts: