23 July 2014

How do you handle school supplies?

This past week I did a little back to school shopping for some school supplies and I started asking myself should I change up the way I have the kids  get, use, and store their school supplies this year.   And I am just wondering,  how do you handle school supplies?  Are you a community user or an individual user?

I would have to say that I am an individual user!!  I know this sounds probably crazy to most of you, especially coming from a lower elementary teacher {I teach 2nd grade}, but I decided I am still going to keep my same method of storing and sorting supplies because it works for me.  I am the only one on my team that does not use community school supplies in their classroom!

Here is how it works in my room:  I buy those cheap plastic quart tubs at the beginning of the year {I can usually find them around 94 cents at Walmart or Target}.  I make a cute label {of course it matches my theme} for the box with their name on it.   On the first day of school I put in the box their supplies they brought: 1 box of crayons, 1 scissors, 1 glue, extra pencils, etc.  {you get the idea}.  Then I all of their extras for the year in a big tub under my cabinet.   Each nine weeks they can have a new box of crayons or whatever else they need.  Of course if they need a pencils I give them pencils.   The plastic tubs stay on a shelf until we need the supplies for a craft or activity.  Also on our supply list we have binders and zipper pouches.  The zipper pouch goes in the binder and this item stays at their desk.  In their zipper pouch they can keep 3 sharpened pencils {it is a rule all pencils must be sharpened in the morning and this gets established at the beginning of the year}, the extra pair of scissors, pink eraser, and a glue stick.  These are the only items I let them keep in their pencil pouch.  The reason I let them keep a pair of scissors and glue stick in their zipper pouch is for those times when we need to quickly glue something into a notebook but we don't need crayons, markers, and all the other stuff.   When it is time to do a craft or activity that involves crayons, markers, or etc… then I call them up by groups and allow them to go the shelf and retrieve their individual plastic tub.  When we are finished, we return our items to our tub and place back on the shelf.  The whole process of retrieving the boxes only takes a few minutes tops {again procedures on how to behave and do this are established at the beginning of the year}.  The only items in my class that are not individual supplies are construction paper and loose leaf paper.

{This is an image of last years plastic tubs.  This is where the students can store their supplies.}

Here is how most of my other team members handle supplies:   They have some form of a sorting container in the middle of their group/table.   They put enough scissors, glue, and crayons in the the container.  When it is time to use these materials then the kiddos just grab from the tub.  It does not matter who grabs who or what!  For pencils they have a sharpen and not sharpened community jar.

Now just by typing this I can see mine is a little longer in detail, which probably means it involves a  more work for me, but I have never really had any issues with it.  As a matter of fact I have had parents tell me on numerous occasions that they appreciate it because when they buy supplies for their child it was intended for the child to use, not for other children.  I have also had the kids say they were so happy to get to use their "own" pencils or markers that they picked out when they went back to school shopping.  But here is one of my real reasons for doing this and I know this is going to sound crazy but it is coming from someone who likes to create, doodle, write, and draw.  When you are a creative person who likes to draw or write you are particular with your supplies.  I am still this way today.  I only write with certain pencils or pens.  I still only like to color with Crayola brand crayons.  I have certain paints I prefer.  When I was in elementary school I would get so upset when my teachers would do community supplies because I would always end up with the "cheaper" brand of crayons or glue, which is not what my mama purchased.  I would have to beg my mama for that shiny new huge box of Crayola Crayons to only be given something else {the cheaper brand that does not color as well and as smooth}at school and I vowed when I became a teacher and had my own class I would not do that {crazy I know - no need to leave that in the comment box =))  I realize some people don't care about things like this and that is perfectly ok!   But for someone who loves art, writing, etc.  it does matter!  I know many of my teacher friends have certain pens/markers they like to grade with, so my crazy off topic point is that it may be no different for a child!   I know most students probably don't mind, but I always think there may be that one that does!

{I am a Crayola crayon fan for life:  They had me
at hello!}

Back on topic!!!  So what do I do if a kid does not have his own supplies?  This brings me to my next point:  I always have a kiddo or two that doesn't have the supplies he needs and either I {or my school's supply closet} will just give him what he needs.  I know that is not in my job description, but that kind of stuff does not bother me.  When crayons are on sale I usually just grab extra boxes.  I make sure to keep extra pencils and store them and I am sure most of you do that kind of stuff too!

Overall I like my system I have in place!  For a brief moment I thought about changing this year and doing it like everybody else, but then I thought we teach our students to be different and do what makes them happy.  So I am going to stick to my individual supplies because it works for me!  And in teaching that is what we have to do, find things that work for us!  I would love to hear your thoughts on this {not on my craziness ;))!  How do you handle school supplies in your classroom and do you have any other suggestions?

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek!



  1. I buy the slider pencil boxes and each student has their own supplies. We share glue sticks, scissors and pencils. I usually put the cheap crayons in the art center and let my students all have crayola. I teach kindergarten and it doesn't take long to pass the supplies out. I even let my higher students that can read names pass the boxes out.

  2. I love the box idea (especially that it's way cute)! I've always done community supplies. I hate that kiddos don't get to use the supplies they've chosen, so I'm going to do individual supplies. I may need to "borrow" your box idea. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm excited to try something new this year. And I'm featuring your products on my blog today! Woot woot!

    A Teaspoon of Teaching

  3. I do a bit of both. There are some things that I do community supplies..like pencils, glue, erasers (little things like that). I also let students keep some of their own supplies in their desks for use, especially if they are 'special' things. For instance, if they buy special pencils or have erasers that are not just the plain pink pearl ones they can keep them. Some students don't have a lot of supplies and I don't want them to ever think that they can't have/use something. So if you have it in your desk you can use it, and if you don't there is a spot in the room where you can go fine what you need or ran out of. I like the box idea though too...desks because a black hole!
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  4. I absolutely agree- and I am an artsy kind of gal too. I LOVE certain pens/pencils/markers more than others. So, you're right, do what works for you and what makes you happy. I like to have pencil boxes for their main supplies: crayons, pencils, markers, etc. I like to have community bins for the "left overs" as I have their boxes filled with what they need. When they run out of a glue stick or lose their pencil, they may get new ones from the bins.

  5. This post will be very useful to us....i like your blog and helpful to me....nice thoughts for your great work.

    School Supply Online


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