Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer is Here, and I Need Help!

Wow...the past month or so has been hectic yet productive. We made it through a zoo trip, field days, and awards ceremonies. School officially ended for students on June 23rd and for staff on June 24th. 

I am making the move to the other elementary building in our district, so I spent about a week packing up my whole classroom, transporting my supplies, sorting through the mess of items just shoved into cabinets without any rhyme or reason, then FINALLY organizing and putting away all of my things plus the worthwhile things I found in the classroom. A projector complete with filmstrips, large cassette player, OLD printer, and box of records were among the gems that were found stashed in this classroom. Needless to say, it was quite exhausting for a pregnant lady! Thank the Lord for sisters and husbands who help with the heavy lifting and organizing! Thankfully, I am done, and my new room is ready for summer cleaning. I'm sure I'll be spending extra time in there in August getting everything just right, but for now, it's good enough!

Now, here's what I need help with! I had desks in my old room...well, actually tables that had 2 desks per. Similar to this guy:

I am glad to be done with them because they took up a lot of space and really limited the ways I could arrange my classroom.
In my new room, it's all tables. There will be 4 students per table and 6 tables total similar to this:

My question for all of you is: 

How do I manage the students' folder, 2 ELA workbooks, and crayon box?

I'm not particularly keen about the idea of the fabric pockets that go on the backs of their chairs. They seem messy to me. I like to keep things organized! I was thinking maybe color-coded table tubs, but I'd LOVE to hear what has worked for others before I go out and buy anything.

So, let's hear it! What do you do to manage your students' supplies if they don't have desks? What has worked for you? What hasn't worked?


Kellie Chalmers

I have the same tables in my room. Even though I have 6th graders who only carry what they need for each class, I still had specific places for everything in my room. I made them put their workbooks, writing binder, and journals each in a specific basket in the room. I had a bin for each thing and when it was time for us to use that they transitioned well into getting their materials and sitting back down. A lot of my students needed that movement, so this was a great way for them to get up and move! I do like the basket idea on each table too, but for all of their materials you would need a larger basket that will take up elbow room on the table. I know my students would complain of not enough room and the basket would end up shoved on another table or on the floor.

LeAnne Cooper

Thanks, Kellie! I was planning on keeping the table tubs on the back counter or something, not on the tables for the exact reason you said. I'm worried about how much extra transition time it will take with my kinders if I had the workbooks separated, so that's why I was thinking of keeping the whole tables' items in one tub. Then there would be a table helper each day or week who would be in charge of getting the table tub when needed and putting it back when we're done or getting just the items that are needed out of the tub.


I have tables like your new ones. In my room we also have cubbies to put their backpacks in. At the end of the day kids put their backpacks on and then put their pencil boxes inside of their cubbies (so it's off the table). In the morning they put their backpack in their cubbie and take their pencil box to their desk. As for storing other belongings: writing/math/science folders...I have a few sets of 3-drawers (rubbermaid type 12X12") that are labeled to match student table names (circle table, triangle...etc) and stacked so there are 6 drawers. Each table group puts all their stuff for one subject in their table drawer. These drawers are stacked along the wall. When I used mathbooks I found it was easier if I didn't write their names on them, so they could be passed out to anyone - we'd work on the assigned page and then I'd tear the page out of the book for them to take home. That was a lot easier than passing out workbooks by names.

Tracy G.

I have four tables of six students and use chair pockets only for writing journals and whatever worksheets need to be passed out throughout the day. I agree with you that the chair pockets can get to be a bit messy when you start putting every journal, worksheet, and material in them! Students keep their folders in one big folder box, which my aide checks and stuff with notices each day- then I pass them out at the end of the day. Crayon/pencil boxes are stored in the middle of the tables and can be stacked and i find that having separate boxes for poetry journals and math journals works for me. However, I REALLY like your idea of separating journals/books by table, but I haven't tried that yet. Also, instead of cubbies, my kiddos have magazine boxes to store other supplies, such as rest time things and extra work (when they want to go above and beyond!). These magazine boxes were a great find and I'm now wondering if it would work to have students store their math and poetry journals in there for easily access...

oh the wheels are always turning...

good luck!


years ago I had tables(trapezoid shaped) that I could configure in all sorts of arrangements and what I had were wire under the table baskets. I guess they were actually made for using in your kitchen/pantry, I think I got them at Walmart. so for every 2 kids they had a basket that hung over the side of the table where they kept their books, etc. only problem I remember is that the arms of the basket are on the top of the table and sometimes they kids would push the arms to the edge of the table or they would get stuck on something and the basket would fall. Other than that it was an inexpensive option for supplies.