I have been thinking about how to handle classroom supplies this year. This is funny to me because you'd think after 21 years of teaching, I wouldn't even have to think about it! When I taught first grade, I had supplies down to a science. Everything was considered "community" supplies. First graders have enough trouble with their wee attention spans without dealing with a pencil box filled with colorful temptations! Parents still happily donated supplies....with the understanding that they would be shared with the whole class.
When I moved up to third grade (three years ago), I reconsidered this strict perspective and thought that 8 year olds should be able to manage a small box of their own supplies. Right? I kept the faith for almost three years, and then I "lost it" somewhere around February of last year. That is when I had all of my students take home their personal boxes of pencils (i.e. hockey sticks), erasers (i.e., hockey pucks), post-its (i.e. mini-paper airplanes), and markers (which caused an underground trading market, complete with a mob boss). When they came in the next day, each desk had 1 small plastic container filled with pencils, erasers, scissors and gluesticks; and another container filled with crayons. Just like with my former first graders, I could now remove those supplies at a moment's notice when they became too much of a distraction, nobody could claim that they did not have a pencil (since I replenished the supplies as needed), and since there was no "my supplies/your supplies" peace reigned over the classroom and the monopoly on markers and pencils ended!
I wonder though...am I removing a learning opportunity by doing this? How will students learn how to be responsible for their belongings if I do not allow them to have any belongings? I didn't mention that a few of my students were pretty resentful about having to take home their school box. I felt pretty bad about that....especially because some students were doing fine managing.
So, I soon will be writing a letter to parents, and will have to give them instructions on what their child needs to bring. I would love to know how other teachers manage their classroom supplies.
On another note....
I haven't actually started planning anything yet. But I am excited about the new Teacher Plan Book that I created for TpT. Here's a preview:
I would love to give you one!! Any follower who comments to this post, will be entered into a random drawing.....and the winner will receive the editable version of The Ultimate Teacher Plan Book!!
Don't forget to check out Mrs. Leeby's amazing giveaway!!
Enjoy your week,
Love and peace,