Making all materials easily accessible to students promotes independence, engagement, responsibility, and efficiency. It also increases the amount of time students are engaged in their work and on task because they don't have to wait around for me to get materials for them. It also increases the amount of time I can spend directly on instruction instead of passing out materials or answering questions about supplies.
In our classroom, we have a writing center that houses all supplies writer use such as: pens, highlighters, scissors, post-its, tape, white-out, staplers, hole puncher, envelopes, glue sticks, paperclips, pushpins, electronic spellcheckers, and index cards. I teach the students how to care for the supplies (i.e. sharpies need their caps shut tightly) and teach them how to replenish the writing center as they see supplies running low. All students have a job in our classroom and one job is "supply monitor". Their job is to keep an eye on supplies around the classroom and replenish as needed. I have a locker in the classroom that houses all of the supplies. Yes, all supplies are in containers with labels...people who know me are not surprised by this! :)
|Writing Center (the baskets on top are for their writers notebooks)|
In addition to our writing center, I have a cabinet with drawers that has all the different kinds of paper, sentence strips, and oaktag for students to use throughout the day when they need it. In our meeting area, there is a large basket with clipboards for students to use while they work in all areas of our classroom. We also have a wall of shelving that displays baskets of picture books and mentor texts for students to use. I also have a display bookcase in our meeting area where I display picture book read alouds and mentor texts so students can refer to them again and again as readers and writers. I also have created a file crate to organize mentor text documents, rubrics, planning sheets, chart examples, templates, blank calendars, and any other printed resource students have been introduced to as readers and writers in our units of study. This has been a very helpful tool in our classroom and students always use it.
Since our classroom has round tables instead of desks (I have always preferred tables - I love them!), each table has a community basket of supplies such as pencils, colored pencils, post-its, and pens. This way students always have the supplies they need at their fingertips no matter which table they are working at or if they are working at different parts of the classroom.