How to Organize and Manage Student Supplies in the Classroom

How to organize and manage student supplies in the classroom is a question I am often asked. Are you on team caddy or individual student supplies? Either way, managing student school supplies doesn't need to be a nightmare.

organize and mange school supplies

What School Supplies do Kindergartners Need

What to include- pencil, eraser, scissors, glue stick, or glue sponge. New to glue sponges- go here for details. (glue tubs) Having pencil problems- go here for how to manage pencils. (pencil problems)

How to manage and Organize Student Supplies

Using Community Supply Bins

When using community table bins to organize student supplies, I suggest color coding all the materials. Create a bin for each table group, then color code the scissors and other supplies to match the color of the bin.  You can use colored tape to color code pencils and other school supplies as well.  Having color-coded school supplies helps designate which table items belong.

Student supply bins can be found during the back-to-school season.  If you are looking for a specific color, you might have more luck looking on Amazon.  That is where I found mine.

Individual Student Supply Storage

Starting the year off with individual student supplies does help students to learn to be responsible.  For keeping track of individual student supplies, you can use pencil pouches or pencil boxes. I have used both pencil boxes and pencil pouches for student supplies. With the pencil pouches, each student has a two-sided name tag that fastens to the pencil pouch using binder clip rings.  For pencil boxes, the student's name is on the top and the sight word chart is on the inside of the lid.

My only dislike for the boxes is that students are often tapping, shaking, or drumming on them.  However, I teach the expectations from day one, that boxes are off-limits when I am talking. Students quickly learn to leave their boxes alone or I will remove them from their table until they need them.

These are the pencil pouches I use.  They have held up quite well.  I was able to wash and reuse many of them.

I add a pencil pouch tag for my pencil pouches and a pencil box tag when I use boxes.  I like the pouch tags as they are double-sided.
Pencil pouch Pencil box name tags

Lost and Found Bin 

student supply bin for lost and found classroom supplies
Every classroom needs a lost and found bin for missing student supplies. Whenever my students find a marker, pencil crayon or even the cap to a dry erase marker on the floor, they know to put it in the lost and found supply bin.  When a student is missing something, like the cap to their marker, they know to check the bin.  Chances are their missing supply is in the lost and found supply bin.

How Do you Organize Student Materials at a Table?

Managing other classroom materials can be tricky if you don't have designated cubbies.  Luckily for me, I have two sets of cubbies.  I use the smaller cubbies for their journals, handwriting books, and pencil boxes.  In the larger cubbies, I use Book Bins to hold their decodable readers.  I use chair pockets to hold their whiteboards, Calendar Notebooks, and their Learning Binders.

organize student materials with Seat Sacks chair pockets
Label Student Supplies for Classroom Use 
If your students are always arguing over supplies and their ownership, then you might want t label the supplies.  There are several methods you can use for quick labeling.

I like to use clear address labels to place on markers, but you could also add them to crayons and scissors. The picture below is showing how I use the same clear address labels to quickly label student artwork.
Use clear labels to label student supplies and artwork
There is no right or wrong way to manage student supplies in your classroom.  In fact, I will sometimes begin the school year with community supplies, then switch to individual supplies mid-year.  At the beginning of the school year, we are focussing on sharing and caring for our classroom supplies.  When the students receive their individual school supplies, we are then focusing on responsibility.

I hope you find these ideas helpful.  Managing student supplies doesn't have to be complicated.  You just need to pick an organizational system for your students' supplies and stick with it. Remember, teaching your students how to keep track and how to keep their school supplies organized is the key.  Let me know in the comments, are you on team caddy or team individual when it comes to storing your students' supplies.

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How to organize student supplies in the classroom

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