Organization Tip: Numbering Student Supplies

Thanks to Hurricane Irene, I got a ton of stuff done for school this weekend.

Actually, it wasn't so much Hurricane Irene as it was the hype surrounding the possibility of her blowing through these here parts that motivated me to chip away at the 'ole to do list.

I'll wave my freak flag high and proud and admit to you all that I actually made TWO to do lists. We had the regular weekend to do list and the "things I can do in the event that we lose electricity and/or internet to do list." That is how much I love me some list-making. Anyhow, I took on some of the "no power needed" tasks which I had been putting off because they lack a component of fun.

Although mundane and over the top, I labeled all of my student supplies.

I usually do individual supplies.

Last year I did community supplies.

And I hated it.

Yes, I know "hate" is a strong word, but that's how much I loathed it. In fact, I didn't just hate it. I HATED it!!!! (See that. All caps, with bold font, AND an few exclamation points. That's how I felt about community supplies.)

My friends just didn't care for the supplies the way that they do when they are their very own. Glue sticks were dried out. Crayons were peeled and broken. Colored pencils were sharpened down to a nub. It gave me hives.

This year I am back to the individual supply boxes. There are, however, downfalls that come with having individual supplies. One of which is the petty arguments over who owns what. You've seen it. Two friends bickering because they can't determine who owns the red colored pencil that is 3/8 of an inch longer than the other one. It's bigger and therefore perceived as better and that means they both want it. Which also means you'll need to referee.

So to eliminate that problem. Along with the problem of lost supplies. I label them.

I know what you are thinking...No brainer, right?

Well, I go a step further and label all parts. Instead of just writing a name/number on the box of markers, I write it on each marker AND cap. I also write it on the pencils AND the erasers. I write it on the watercolors AND the brushes. I label the base of the glue stick and the tube which it slides into.

I know what you are thinking. Go ahead and say it. "OCD much?"

I realize it takes anal retentive to a whole new level, BUT there is never a second of time in class wasted mediating an argument over who a crayon belongs to. I never have to pick up the cap of a marker and wonder who will be sobbing because their blue crayola is all dried out the next time we do a project. It's definitely time well spent.

Anytime you can find a way to proactively make your classroom run more efficiently, I feel it is worth putting forth the effort. Our days are so short. We simply don't have time for distractions.

With my OCD labeling, I find that kids don't spend time off task mindlessly peeling crayons or doing that annoying drill a hole in the eraser with a pencil thing because they are accountable for their belongings. It ensures that each child is prepared for each project and not waiting for a tablemate to finish up using a gluestick.

It also makes me happy knowing that those little ones who get giddy over pristine school supplies the same way that I do are able to enjoy a box of items in tip top shape even when spring rolls around.

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