The Easy Way to Manage Classroom Supplies

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Things end up on the floor.

Always.

Every day.

It’s a fact of life when you’re doing learning all day long with lots of little bodies and different personalities, learning styles and levels of responsibility.

So, what’s a teacher to do with all of those floor-found things?

How about NOTHING?

That’s right.

I highly recommend putting a system into place that your kinders can use by themselves to get what they need and turn in things that are found.

That way you can focus more mental energy on the things that matter, like those little people. Not their crayons.

No matter if you do community supplies or individual pencil boxes, you can use this system.

Let me show you how it works.

How it works

Have one clearly marked place to put things that your kinders find on the floor.

For example, in our classroom this meant we had a place to put lost:

  • markers (regular and dry erase)
  • pencils
  • erasers
  • crayons
  • scissors

If students find one of these objects on the floor, they pick it up and put it in the proper container.

If a student has lost his or her item and needs one, they go to the proper container.

Model, teach and praise to get the ball rolling on utilizing the system and then let it work for you!

What I did

To set up this area, I emptied a shelf space and added a few inexpensive dollar spot buckets.

These were the right height to hold things vertically but not so tall that things would get lost visually.

I added picture labels for each of the most-used (and therefore also most-misplaced) items.

This system made it easy to put out new pencils, dry-erase markers, crayons, etc. without any hassle. Every so often, I’d just add in a couple of new items into the mix using these lost buckets and it worked out great.

It’s rather genius (if I may) and super easy to implement!

I’ll help you implement it – just download these free labels below.

Free printable download

This free download for teachers includes labels for: pencils, erasers, crayons, markers, glue, math pieces.

Each label comes in two different sizes but you can always change your printer settings to a different scale percentage to get it just right for your containers.

One set says, “lost” and the other says “extra.”

One bonus set of extra labels is half-sheet size and perfect for labeling supplies bins at the beginning of the school year to store away through the year.

[terms of use]Β  [downloading help]

Helpful tips

When you set up a single space with all of these containers, you are pretty much setting up a command station for supplies.

If you have additional supplies that students will use every day, but aren’t specific to a location in the room, then you should consider also housing them here.

For me, this meant that our stapler and tape dispenser were also stored here at a height where my students could get them.

(I kept extra staples and an extra roll of tape in the unlabeled polka dot basket to make refilling easy and something a trained student could do as a classroom job.)

And I also kept a small lost math pieces basket near where I taught math in small groups.

This way any lost number cards, dice, dominoes or manipulatives had a place to go and it helped our classroom to feel tidy.

I wouldn’t have to put these items away every day but could wait until it was convenient for me and in the meantime, the classroom still felt organized.

Let’s wrap it up

There you have it – an easy system to implement to help keep your floors clean and empower students to get materials themselves as needed.

This system really helped me to establish and maintain a tidy classroom in regards to the little stuff. I hope it can do the same for you too.

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

More easy classroom management

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22 Comments

  1. Just wondering what the black with white polka dot bucket is for. Thanks, I have something similar with Contruction buckets (yellow, orange) with a “Minion” theme. Great deal on buckets from Target Dollar section.

  2. This has worked so well and put the responsibility on the kids, hooray!!! They now all know where to look for a supply if they lose it and where to put it if they find one on the floor or somehow end up with extra. They also love helping each other, kindness extra!!! Thank you, genius!

  3. This is so perfect. I usually just pick them up and put them in my box. My students are always asking me where their pencils are.

  4. I have a question. Can you create a similar label for extra glue and lost glue. I love your labels and have been using them. I have now noticed the only thing they keep asking me about is glue. πŸ™‚

      1. great thanks. Just let me know when it would be available and where. Your stuff is amazing by the way.

  5. I downloaded your math materials one. How can I download the marker, crayon and pencil ones? Love it!

  6. Such a great idea! Responsibility for them + less work for you in cleaning up + less work for you when they need something. Positively brilliant! Methinks I might even need one of these at my house…. πŸ™‚

  7. Definitely a great idea!! Nothing like calling on a student to answer a question, only to hear they found a broken yellow crayon! πŸ˜‰ ❀Teri

  8. A lost and found bin works wonders. I keep ours near our Grab and Go Boxes. We also have another for game pieces.

  9. These buckets are very cute. I was wondering where you got your clip art – especially the marker? I’ve been looking for a good marker picture for a long time…

    -Julie

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