How do your students store their supplies? I actually typed a long-winded explanation/brief history of supplies in my classroom but decided that being short and to the point might be a better option since it’s so close to back to school time and I know how precious time is right now! So here’s the quick version.
I don’t like pencil boxes/cases because they take up a lot of space to store; they get messy; they make noise; etc. I prefer “community” supplies.
In my classroom, I had six tables. Each table had space for four students. (The tables originally had these hanging cubbies underneath but I loathed the mess they created so I had the custodian remove them.) I color coded my tables. Each table had a matching colored container in the middle. I filled the basket with erasers (one for each child), pencils (one for each child and a couple of extra), and glue sticks (one for each child and a couple of extra). Scissors were stored in a scissors holder on my counter.
I discovered these amazing containers at The Container Store. I had to paint one red and one purple as The Container Store didn’t have those colors.
However, I wanted students to have their own box of crayons. Well, boxes fall apart. Plastic bags get torn, cut, or…chewed up. I wanted something durable that could last all year and still fit into the container on the table.
DVD cases were the answer.
The first day of school I (of course) taught many procedures and rules. We collected all the supplies the students brought and then we made sure each table had what I mentioned earlier. When it came to crayons, I told them I had a special box to put their crayons in and they had to take care of it so it would last the whole year. I showed them mine (with my name) and they were very excited! I explained (and demonstrated on the document camera and SmartBoard) how to fit the crayons into the case (12 on each side) and make sure it would close properly. I then passed out a DVD case to each student (with their name on it) and a box of brand new crayons. They then got to the task of methodically lining up their crayons inside their boxes. Ultimately, one student would end up dropping or spilling theirs and I would use that as a teachable moment to again reiterate the importance of opening the box carefully and not just popping it open fast. The DVD case should open like a book, with their name being on the front. This saves students from opening the DVD case backwards and having their crayons roll away because they are then lying on the side of the case that isn’t flat.
Surprisingly the DVD cases hold up really well all year long. At the end of the year, I (of course) had one or two students who cracked parts of their case by not being careful with it and theirs has trouble closing. Overall though, they work super well. Students are able to see all of their crayons so they can quickly grab the one they need. It was easy for students to carry their crayons around the room if necessary. It kept their table containers neat. I really loved using the DVD cases. I would never use anything else!
Of course, the DVD case had to be cute, right? Right! So I created a colorful insert to slip inside the clear DVD case. And now I’ve created others to match many common classroom themes!
They are available on Teachers Pay Teachers and are editable. Editable meaning – you can add your students’ names or any other text you would like. The graphics are not able to be manipulated. I also picked coordinating colors to match the themes (for the top, bottom, and spine) and these are saved as part of the background image. If you do not like the colors I chose, however, and are good with PowerPoint you could simply insert new boxes filled with whatever color you’d like on top of the existing ones.
I purchased a large pack of DVD cases from Staples, but there are many options on Amazon including this set of 25. You may already have a lot of empty DVD cases around your house! Ask your friends and family for any cases they don’t want! This is the best way I found for students to keep up with crayons.
These also work great with your own kids – use them when traveling in the car!
I hope if you try them out they will be as amazing for you as they were for me!