Tips For Managing Community Supplies: Make them Last a Lifetime


Do your students go through school supplies like no other class you have ever seen before? Do they lose, take improper care of, or seem to be eating all of your classroom supplies? Do you constantly wonder where all the supplies could possibly be going?! I know that I constantly am feeling that way in my second grade classroom! Below are some tips that I have found so helpful for keeping care of pencils, glue sticks, expo markers, markers and crayons.

1. Pencils

I give 10 sharpened pencils to each table. In order to get a new pencil from me, they need to bring me a broken pencil. They can swap one broken pencil for a working pencil a day. All pencils need to be kept in the table basket if they want them to be sharpened at the beginning of each day (by the same student who sharpens them every morning.. I trust very few students with my electric pencil sharpener!). Otherwise, each table also has a manual pencil sharpener that they can use. If students leave shavings on the ground or are sharpening pencils multiple times throughout the day, they lose that privilege. You can also hop over to my other blog post here to read about how my students use the great pencil challenge to keep track of one pencil for two months long.

2. Glue Sticks

I give my tables (of 5-6 students each) 8 glue sticks at the beginning of each quarter. They all have to remain in the table basket at all times, unless they are being used. The only way to get a new glue stick from is by bringing me a glue stick that has been fully used. If they forget to close the lid and it dries out, then they have to ask another table to borrow their glue sticks. At the beginning of a new quarter, tables can choose to keep the glue sticks that still work, and throw away the broken ones and they get 8 new ones. Usually, by second quarter students know to take much better care of their glue sticks the second time around. If it is a big project we are working on, I will pass out white glue. I always recollect white glue right after we use it, because I do not want that spilling anywhere that it is not supposed to be. Students learn fast that they don’t want to have to borrow glue sticks, because they are often having to wait for other tables to finish first, and then they miss out on fun early finisher activities afterward.

3. Expo Markers

I give each table 6 expo markers at the beginning of every quarter. If they are smashed in or not closed properly, students can trade me their shoe to borrow one of my expo markers. In order to get their shoe back, they have to bring back my expo marker. If students ruin one of my expo markers, they have to use a pencil and paper for the rest of the quarter. Students LOVE white boards, so this VERY rarely happens. I also give students 6 white board erasers per table (these are supposed to be dish sponges from the dollar store). These have to be put back in their table caddy after each use. 

4. Markers 

I don’t know about you, but my students do not use markers nearly as often as crayons. I keep markers in little tubs and pass them out as needed. Usually my markers can last for 2-3 years because we only use them for grading, and very few crafts throughout the year. I find it is most effective for students to be using crayons for coloring nicely.

5. Crayons 

I give students one box of crayons per semester. This they keep in their personal pencil box. I like the ones from the dollar store (shown below) because THE only thing that can fit in there is one 24 pack of crayons. That way, students are not hoarding unwanted things in their crayon box (one time, I had a student trying to keep worms in his crayon box…. AHHH!!!). I also keep one bucket of crayons found on the floor, or that students still have after the first semester/end of the year. This is a community bucket that anyone can borrow from if they are missing a color. After each semester, students dump their extra crayons into the bucket to fit in their new box of crayons. This creates a large amount of colors that other students can borrow from.

My students learn very fast to take excellent care of their supplies. I also think always having extras on hand that they can borrow is smart, but the key to them borrowing is making sure that they return what they are borrowing or are replacing a truly broken item. This teaches responsibility and also allows you to ensure you are not using all of your supplies up in the first quarter of school.

I hope that you found this blogpost helpful for your classroom! Please feel free to leave feedback below, and follow my blog for more tips and tricks. There will be one new post every Monday throughout 2018! Enjoy 🙂 

Emily - The Mountain Teacher

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