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Classroom Organization Tip: Strap on Supplies Rather than Search for Them

Going to your desk or closet to get supplies during class may seem harmless enough. But the time you spend running to and rummaging through a drawer or shelf is time you're not teaching or supervising students. These seemingly innocent supply searches can therefore be a huge drain on classroom efficiency and an invitation for students to tune out or act out.

At the same time, you're bound to need lots of supplies during class, so you can't just stop using them. You can, however, store them in a place that's more convenient than a desk or closet. And what could be more convenient than your own body? That's right, wear your supplies. Or, more accurately, something that can hold them. For me, that something was a tool belt.

A tool belt is ideal for this purpose, because its many pouches make it easy to keep things organized. It's also remarkably roomy. On a typical day, I loaded my tool belt with a pocket dictionary, paper clips, tape, rubber bands, pencils, whiteboard markers, index cards, a hole punch, a calculator, a compass, a protractor, and a train whistle (great for getting students' attention and transitioning from one activity to another---more on this in a future post). And I still had room for little things that prevented big disruptions, like when a student reacted to a paper cut as though in need of a blood transfusion. I just reached into my tool belt, whipped out a Band-Aid®, handed it to the "injured" student, and carried on. No digging through drawers, no pass to the nurse, no words exchanged, and most of all, no instructional time lost.

Inspired to run out to the hardware store for a tool belt? If so, great, but what's most important is the rationale for wearing one. Tool belts, after all, aren't for everyone. But making supplies more accessible is. So if you can't see yourself in a tool belt, consider a vest or smock or whatever suits your style. What matters is that you find a way to store supplies so you don't squander time searching for them.

Classroom Supplies Organization.JPG

My signature classroom management and organization aid

Image provided by GECC, LLC with permission

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