Classroom Organization Ideas (Part 4): Techniques for Supplying a Succ
May 30, 2012 Classroom Management 4921 Views
In my other classroom organization ideas articles, we focused on organizing the teacher and student's desk for optimal learning. This article describes techniques for getting the most out of student supplies used every day in the classroom. All schools are different, but most teachers have to develop a system for maximizing their resources regardless of their supplies budget. If you're out of ideas, I hope this article provides some valuable tips for your next teaching year.
Create a Place for Supplies
Designate an area as a supplies station in your classroom. Some teachers have an area for construction paper, markers, crayons, scissors, etc. I cannot trust middle school students with scissors, so they are kept in my drawers and students are given a lesson early on in the school year on how to hand them to another student in an inappropriate manner. Students will try to cut each others hair if you don't get a handle on the issue.
For students who refuse to bring supplies to school, I provide them with some paper, reused binders and two pencils, but they must bring a composition book for notes, additional pencils, pens, and a pencil bag that stays in my classroom all year round. Since our school did not use the lockers, I found that keeping their English binder in my room helped with having materials and teaching the students how to be organized.
The Teacher's Chair
Purchase a comfortable teacher's chair. If your school doesn't have one, buy one! Believe me, you and your feet will thank me. Teaching can be physically tough, but I really enjoy sitting on a stool and delivering a lesson at times when my body needs that rest. Plus, if the stool is still high enough, you are taller than the students so you can continue to monitor their progress as they work.
When students are working on a task and I need to sit for a couple of minutes, I will move my teacher stool around the room while I monitor student activity. If you think a group of students might get off-task, move your chair closer to that group of students.
Don't Throw it All Away
Learn to keep what you will use again. Always keep the items you know you will use in the future. I have collected so many wonderful books, binders, and art supplies from teachers who simply saw the items as junk. If you know you will use it, and then keep it, but if not, chuck it. Teachers who retire, switch schools, or move to another city or state will usually give away loads of good stuff. Ask them if you can help take anything off their hands for free. Just don't become a pack rat.
To Borrow or Not to Borrow
Determine your borrowing system for school supplies. Students who are given materials learn that they don't have to be responsible. The same students will ask their teacher every day for materials and not think twice unless you make their responsible actions a priority. I allow students to ask other students for a pen or pencil before class begins if they need one. Some teachers sell pencils to students, but I'm against that because they at least learn the valuable lesson of communicating and using their manners when they have to ask another student politely.
Keep Things Sharp
Place several hand-held mechanical pencil sharpeners in the room. I am the type of person who doesn't mind hearing classroom noise if it serves a purpose. When children are making a ruckus because we are playing a reading game or having a lively classroom debate, that's fine. Electric pencil sharpeners annoy me because students will need to sharpen their pencils while you are lecturing, a student is reading, or the class is taking a test (all activities that require some form of silence). I allow my students to get out of their seat individually any time they need to sharpen their pencils because the mechanical ones do not disturb the ebb and flow of the classroom.
Not all students can afford supplies; that's the sad reality. Some schools will even offer to buy supplies for teachers' classrooms, but most schools are suffering now from budget cuts. You can help your students by saving supplies and creating a borrowing system in your school so students have the materials they need to learn every day.