On Day One I make it clear that these
supplies are theirs to use.
two scenarios, I do a collateral system in my class. I’m happy to loan a kid a pencil
or a pen, but I want their cell phone or something else that they hold dear (no stanky
shoes, thank you!)
A Calendar for Student Reference
I like to keep a monthly calendar in my classroom with school events, classroom
events, etc. I even include our units of study, due dates, test dates — those kinds
of things. It helps everyone. This is one of three classroom calendars. I also have
one on my desk for personal information and a “sanity saver” calendar for class
Trash Cans … Not One … Not Two … But Three
Prevent students from making a big trip across the classroom to throw away their
chewing gum and stopping at three friends’ desks along the way.
SORTKWIK Fingertip Moistener
Teachers handle a lot of papers, usually papers that kids handled first. How often
are your fingertips so dry that you can’t get a grip on paper? For me, that used to
be all of the time. Then I noticed just how often I was casually licking my fingertips
before distributing or flipping through papers. YUCK! I picked up a SORTKWIK last
year. It’s a must-have!
A Sanity Saver! Or Something Like It Anyway
Make sure you have a paper grade book and attendance record that fit your needs.
Many times last year there was a dispute about student attendance, and I was
happy to have two records: the digital record sent to the office daily and my personal
A Homework Landing Point
Figure out your homework collection system and keep it. I’m a big fan of those little
plastic trays, but everyone has their own style. You do not want that gut-wrenching
“oh crap I just lost that student’s homework assignment and of course it’s that
student” feeling. Personally, I don’t like to
collect student work because it could get
lost from Point A to Point B. Instead, just
have the students turn in their homework
at Point B. Then, the responsibility is all
An Information Center
I have a bulletin board dedicated
to classroom rules, procedures,
consequences, fire drill maps, dress code
rules, and everything in between. Posting
these things is a school mandate, but I like having all of the information together in
one spot. The students like it, too.
An Absent Work Something
I love my absent binder! It’s the simplest, most effective absent work system that I
have ever used. Whatever you decide to use, every student should know where to
find his or her absent work, missed assignments, etc. I keep mine with my student
supplies center. Its location should be a place your students see every day.
A Variety of Storage Solutions
The amount of stuff that accumulates in a classroom is amazing. Without storage,
things can start looking really crazy, really fast. I use little plastic drawers for my
copies and extra paper, baskets for scissors and glue, small buckets for pencils,
pens, and highlighters, trays for homework, art boxes for colored pencils and
markers, and coat hangers with clips on them for the poster board.
Stephanie Richardson is a fifth-year English teacher and theater
director at North Harrison High School in Ramsey, Ind. She
shares her classroom adventures and dishes out unsolicited
teaching advice punctuated with funny gifs at eatwriteteach.
com. The one thing she wishes somebody had told her before
she began her teaching career? That you do not have to give
homework every single night to qualify as a great teacher.
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