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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Sarah Rosno says
Where did you find the dividers to put in these storage tubs and how did you fasten them to each tub? Thanks! This idea is exactly what I am needing in my 1st grade classroom.
Hi Sarah, They were part of the containers you could buy at the Container Store. They were just little inserts that fit right into them. I’ve been using this same setup now for almost ten years and it still looks (and works) brand new! I can’t recommend it enough.
Which bins did you get? When I click the linked ones, they don’t sell the dividers anymore unfortunately.
I got the bins in this link. I just checked and saw you’re right about the dividers! How strange! Maybe on ebay?