Glue sticks without lids, markers with the wrong lids, pencils without erasers.....it can drive a Kindergarten teacher crazy. Any teacher actually! Here are a few easy ways to keep things organized so you don't let managing your materials get the best of you.
#1 Have a place for everything.
Your kiddos love to clean up and many of them CRAVE order. Having a designated spot for everything helps keep things neat and clean. I train my kiddos to put things away if they find them left out instead of carrying the object to me and telling me about it. #petpeeve
#2 Make materials accessible to all.
Have a spot on their tables or desks that has everything they need. We work all around the room but one of these crayon cups is always on their name tag at their "spot". We also keep scissors and glue on every table so they can grab those and go or stay at the table. The most important part is discussing expectations and responsibility at the beginning of the year. If you teach them to care for materials they will.
#3 Have a spot for YOUR materials
I know you have been in this situation. It's time for small group, you gather the children, you finally sit down behind the horseshoe table, you dig out the books and papers you need for this group and then you notice it. You need highlighters to effectively teach this group and you don't have any. They are in the supply closet...all the way across the room.
It happens. It happens to me a lot. I walk back and forth to that closet a thousand times a day but not anymore! I added this little caddy to our small group table and now I have a spot for everything.#4 Manage papers to go back with a file folder
If you already have a system in place that helps you pass paper back easily then stick with that. If you are looking for a new way try this! I make a file box with hanging files and every day or so I file their papers away in this box. At the end of the week I grab their stack, staple a progress report to the front, and its done. Parents don't have to deal with loose papers every day and I get a chance to really look at their work as I file them.
#5 Manage your weekly copies in a visible file folder
Why make it visible? I like to think that in any sub situation I would have enough time to get to class and put everything out perfectly for them. If (heaven forbid) it was an emergency then my copies for the day are clearly marked. I actually keep 2 weeks worth of copies in this so I am always a week ahead.
#6 Glue sticks
I have a never ending supply of glue sticks. Seriously. I moved into a room of a hoarder a few years back and I haven't been short on glue sticks since then. My kiddos know where to find this drawer and if they need a new one they grab one. I just show them at the beginning of the year what "empty" or "dried up" looks like. Then they know when it's ok to throw it out. Lost lids? Doesn't happen. Again...expectations and procedures. Show them what you want and what it looks like to take care of materials and they will do it.
If glue sticks are your still your nemesis consider glue sponges (if you haven't already). Greg at Kindergarten Smorgasboard brought these into my life and I was skeptical. For a long time! I heard him ooooo and ah over them for a couple of years before I actually gave them a try. I was convinced the very first day! I still give my kiddos the choice of glue stick or sponge (it's about half and half) but the glue sponges definitely solve a lot of glue problems. You can see his how to video HERE.
This is getting lengthy so I will just link to my pencil problem solved post HERE. I promise, this will save you hundreds of pencils a year!
I haven't figured that one out yet. If you come up with a better way to manage those other than just throwing them away I would love to hear it! They are our favorite material in the classroom for centers but learning how we REALLY take care of them is hard! I keep them in a pencil pouch for centers and for the most part they stay together and all the lids stay on. It's not a perfect system though, I still find an occasional lid here or there. I have seen a few pics on social media of teachers that save all the lids when they throw them away but that hasn't worked for me because every brand of marker is different. So I will keep searching. If you have a good way I'd love to hear it in the comments below!
Those are just a few ways to make your life easier in the classroom. I think all in all the best advice I've ever received is to teach those procedures early. I am three weeks away from getting started with a new group of kiddos so I am in prep mode now! Thanks for stopping in today!