14 June 2015

How to Keep Community Supplies Organized

Happy Summer Sunday! At least...I think it's Sunday anyway ;) Anyone else not have a clue about what day of the week it is???

I'm excited to be linking up with the other Primary Peach bloggers to bring you some fantastic organizational tips. We'll be sharing our favorites tips and tools to help you {and us} get ready for that that shall remain nameless {B2S}.
Today, I'm talking about organizing supplies! Because I am big on building classroom community, I use (and have always used) community supplies. I know there's a lot of debate about whether or not that's a good idea, but it's what works for me and my students. 

I've never had an issue with it, and I love how it helps build responsibility, leadership (keep reading for how), and you guessed it, solidify a sense of community!
Even if you don't use community supplies, I think you'll find some of the organizational tips helpful. After all, not all the supplies we use were provided by my students and their parents. I'm talking clip boards, dry erase boards, rulers, manipulatives, index cards, sticky notes, and PENCILS! You can read about how I manage pencils here.

I guess it's important to note that my students' desks are arranged in groups of four. Don't use desks? No worries, I've used this same system when I had only tables and it worked so well!

First up are these little caddies (I picked mine up at Michaels, but they're available online too, just search for "3 compartment caddy") that I can't get enough of! 

My students and I call them "Team Tubs" and they're where we keep the supplies we use all the time. Last year, I added the little cup (I used velcro to secure it in place) for the pencils, and I liked that much better than just having pencils in the compartment.
So other than pencils, I place sticky notes and index cards in the other small compartment. We use both all.the.time! Sticky notes are great for encouraging a more student-led mini-lesson, and index cards are the absolute best for formative assessments. (Think one math problem that can quickly be graded and sorted to make super fast flexible groups).

In the larger compartment, I'll put supplies that we don't necessarily use everyday, but might be specific to a specific lesson or unit we're working on. 
Next up are "team drawers" - which I hate the name of, but can't think of anything else! Anyone have any clever ideas??? These came from Target, but I've seen similar at lots of other stores. They even come in different colors!
Team drawers house pretty much everything else. Things we use pretty regularly like glue, scissors, rulers, dry erase markers and erasers, makers, crayons, clip boards, and dry erase boards. I put labels on the outside of each drawer that tells what's inside each drawer so that everything makes it's way back to its "home."

Remember when I talked about community supplies and leadership? Well, only Team Captains get supplies in and out of the team drawers. This means there aren't four kids crowded around all fighting to get out the crayons. It works really beautifully. Also, it's the Team Captain's job to make sure that the proper number of supplies get returned to their home. No we don't count crayons and markers, but  pretty much everything else should be at 4...1 for each student at the team.

Within the Team Drawers are smaller containers that house the various supplies. I got mine from Dollar Tree and they just finished their 5th year! A few are going to get replaced because they've been well-loved and have cracks or broken lids. I use the green one for crayons, and the blue one for markers. I love that the tops are colored, which helps with teaching which is which at the beginning of the year, and the bottoms are clear.
I use a pencil box for scissors and glue which almost always go together, so there was no sense in putting them in separate containers. The green lidded container (another from Dollar Tree) houses dry  erase markers and erasers (which I make out of felt - just fold and cut).
I use the bottom drawer for clip boards and dry erase boards. I like having them right at the teams instead of in one central location. It just makes it easier and faster.

Do you have an organizational tip, trick, or tool you'd like to share? Leave a comment below, or grab the button below and link up with us!
Grab the button and link up to share some tips and tools you use to stay organized, or tell us how you plan to get organized this year!  (Blog posts only, please... direct product links will be deleted. Thank you for understanding!) Please link back to The Primary Peach so others can see all the wonderful organizational tips and tools being shared! 

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  1. Okay, there have been a few of these posts with the three drawers at each table, and I'm kicking myself for never having thought of it!! I love the idea of the table captain, too- this year was the first year my kids had serious problems with keeping up with their community supplies. I will be pinning for when I end up back in the classroom!! :)
    ideas by jivey 

  2. I've used the supply caddies before. They are great, but I've never used the drawers like that. I love how everything is organized inside them.
    Grade School Giggles

  3. What size are the caddies? Are they the sMall ones or the large ones.

    Raegan Bowden

    1. Hi Raegan! I didn't even know there was an option! I'd say they're about 10 inches. I know rules don't lay flat in the long compartment, so definitely less than 12 inches! I hope this helps!

    2. Great thanks bunch. I saw on kindergardenkindergarden.com thAt she uses them for math manipulative for the table. So much easier than passing all the stuff out to 18-20 kids. I can just put it all in the tub at the beginning of the chapter and its done.

  4. I love the table caddies!! Were all of those bright colors at Michael's?

    1. They did have all those colors at Michaels...I think they even had more than just those :)

  5. How about Table Towers? Love how you've got everything organized! Great ideas to borrow!

  6. I call mine offices. I just tell the students to get it out of their office, organize their office, etc.

  7. Love this idea! I'm off to find some bins and to get organized. I'm definitely following you for more great ideas!


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