For years I have struggled with supplies in my classroom. The students come in with them in September, but by December, nothing. So I have created supply bins for my classroom. Each student is given a numbered bin to keep all of their supplies in. They are allowed to keep three pencils and an eraser at their desk. When it is time to do an activity, then they go gather their bin and use their supplies. When it is time to clean up, supplies go back in the bins! My students fight me on this every year, but by the end of the year, they are amazed that they still have supplies. Who would have thought!? (Insert teacher grin here).
This is also a great way for students to share their supplies, and still learn how to take care of their stuff. I have had a few complaints from parents over the years about combining all resources. This way, all students have supplies. If I see that a student doesn’t have supplies, or limited supplies I will fill their box with goodies for them to use. (I usually take full advantage of the school supply sales over the summer.)
Since the students are allowed to keep three pencils in their desk at a time, one would think this is enough. Well not for my sharp little sweeties. They like their pencils sharp and ready to write! However, they like to leave a perfectly good pencil on the floor at the end of the day. So, I have created a job for that! Each table has a bin with 12 sharpened pencils. Each table has different colored regular pencils and they are in charge of maintaining the pencils in their bins throughout the day. At the end of the day, the “table bin manager” (yeah, I will work on a more creative name later…) counts the pencils and marks their inventory, then sharpens all of the pencils. When they have sharpened the pencils, they bring their inventory to me and each member of the table receives a point for keeping the 12 pencils. If they do not have 12 pencils, than each member pays a point to purchase a new pencil.
The kids love that they get to work together to manage their pencils and get a point at the end of the day. I love it because I no longer have to hear the “but I don’t have a pencil!” that we teachers love hearing throughout the day. If the pencils need a quick sharpening up in the middle of the day, the “table bin manager” can go back to the sharpener for a quick refresh (during brain break time).
I have found that I no longer see any pencils on the floor in the after noon which is great for me. I have also hear my students respectfully reminding each other to be responsible their pencils. Win!