One thing I dread about the first day of school is having to deal with all of the school supplies. To help alleviate some of my headache, I allow encourage parents to bring their child’s supplies to Open House (which is usually a couple of days before school starts). All supplies in my classroom are community supplies, meaning we share them all. The only thing we don’t share are our journals and backpacks (obviously!). I ask parents to label those two items and the rest we do not label with names. I do NOT ask for scissors as I have more than I could ever need. I also don’t ask for pencil boxes/crayon boxes since our supplies are community supplies and we share. I don’t need all of those plastic boxes sitting around taking up space! Here is a copy of my supply list:
After Open House, I do a quick tally of which students brought in their supplies. I usually have a checklist made up so I can just check off each student’s name when they bring in their supplies. Many students and parents do not come to Open House and some that do choose not to bring their supplies so many students arrive that first day with everything loaded down in their backpacks. The first year I taught I had no idea what to do!It was chaos! The last couple of years I have had students take everything out of their backpack, lay it on their table, and then I send students around to collect the supplies in baskets. One student may have a basket and pick up all the crayons, one student will have a basket for pencils, etc. This has worked out pretty well for me. I try to make note of which students are turning in supplies, but if I get busy and don’t pay close attention, I don’t mind.
The way I see it is if a student does not bring school supplies to school during the first week then their family probably can’t afford it. My school has a huge population of students who receive free and reduced lunch. I don’t keep sending notes home asking for supplies. If they bring their supplies – wonderful! If they don’t, there must be a reason why. I like using community supplies because that way no one really knows who brought supplies and who didn’t. There’s also none of that “She’s got my crayon” stuff going on. (Who in their right mind wants to label each individual crayon with their child’s name?!) Enough students bring supplies that our classroom is well stocked. I usually buy extras of everything when crayons and pencils and glue sticks are so cheap at the beginning of the school year. Throughout the year if I run out of something, I send a note home on the newsletter asking for donations and one or two parents at least will send things in.
So, to make a long story short, I collect supplies using baskets! 🙂
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