Pencils, Markers, Glue Sticks, Oh My! Student Supply Organization

Hi teacher friends!  I am Amber from TGIF, and I don't know about you all, but even after 15 years of teaching I am still amazed at the amount of supplies that have to be dealt with on the very first day of school.  I do have a few tricks to share that have helped me tremendously the last few years.  You can tweak it to fit your style and classroom.

Keep frequently used supplies close at hand.

Supplies inside a desk is like planets being sucked into a black hole! My students keep their supplies in the corner of their desk in a cup.  They no longer have to search under books and inside of folders for a lost pencil.  I put Velcro on the bottom of each cup and a strip of Velcro on the corner of their desk.  These are the same cups and Velcro I have use for two full years now and I haven't had to replace any yet!  I bought adhesive backed Velcro and cups from Dollar Tree (4 cups for $1).

Pick the everyday supplies.

I have my students add about 3 pencils, an eraser, a glue stick, scissors, a pen, and a dry erase marker to their cup.  These are supplies they use almost daily and they are on hand quickly.  At certain points through the school year, we add (or take away) certain supplies.  For example, when we are working on fractions, I have the students keep fraction strips in their cup.  Keep the supplies to a minimum, but add the items that they need often.  Other supplies that you might add would be highlighters or a few main crayon colors.

Bag up the rest of the supplies.

Now, what do we do with the rest of our supplies?  I have my students keep them in a large bag inside a drawer that the kids have access to.  I give each of the students a gallon size baggie with their name on it.  We bag up all those extra pencils, glue sticks, markers, and erasers, zip it closed and put them in a drawer.  My students know where their extra supplies are and are allowed to go get them when needed.  This keeps the mess out of their desk and helps them stay organized throughout the year.

I have done this same routine on the very first day of school for the last few years, and I will be continuing it this year.  It has saved my sanity and my students understand that their supplies are still theirs.  I feel that if they purchase their own supplies, that they should remain theirs and they shouldn't become "community supplies."  I know I wouldn't be happy if I purchased post-it notes for myself, but my Principal told me to put them in the office for everyone to use when they needed them.

I hope you are able to use this idea and make it work in your classroom.  It has truly saved me time and helped me keep my sanity because my students always (okay 99% of the time) know where their supplies are!


  1. Do your desks open up? Do the pencils and supplies stay in them when the kids open the desk? I really like this idea. Thank you for sharing it .

  2. Hi Alison! I apologize for getting back to you late. I have been gone all week for a teacher's conference. My desk do not open up from the top. I use to have desks like that and another teacher traded me because she liked them (thankfully because I did not). The biggest struggle I could see with the cups being on their desk with Velcro is if the desks are facing each other and the kids open up their lids at the same time, the cups would probably knock off. I think the supplies would stay in IF their lids do not open too far vertically. Best wishes for your new school year!