After ten years, I finally won the war on colorful writing implements in my classroom. I had tried a set of markers/crayons/colored pencils at each table and that fell apart in about a month. Kids bring personal supplies? Jealousy, theft, and tears. (Not fun for anybody.)
Like all teachers, I tweaked my methods every year, hoping for a solution to stick.
And here it is, kiddos. I bought 7 stackable containers from The Container Store last summer. Each has two dividers to create three separate sections: one for markers, one for crayons, and one for colored pencils. Bottom layer is red/pink, then moving up we have orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and finally skin tones. I keep that one on the top because it allows easiest access for searching for just the right color.
I have not touched these stacks since putting them in our Materials Center last August. I don’t know if it’s the rainbow order thing or what, but the students keep this system in perfect order. I never find markers without caps anymore. Crayon breakage is down about 90%. As for sharpening the colored pencils, I don’t do that either. The kids keep this whole thing organized. (I’ll talk about the sharpener another day. I have a new working system for that too that requires zero work from the teacher.) For those in-between colors like aqua, I let the kids decide what should go where. There’s just something about this system that they love.
In the last couple of weeks of school, I have students test out the marker colors and we recycle those that are no longer working well. Then I replace them and pack it up as is for the summer. In August/September, they’re ready to go.
Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. The containers were admittedly a little pricey, but worth every penny.
Have a great week!
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