Summer vacation flies by, and — brace yourself! — it’s already time to start getting your classroom organized and ready to go for the first day of school. If you’re finding yourself with less money to spend on supplies than ever before, classroom packs of staples like markers and crayons can save the day. Ordering in bulk gets you the best deals, but you also need to manage the materials throughout the year. Here’s how to get the things your students need for less and make your supplies last all year.
Getting the Cash
First, talk to your school’s administrators about ordering supplies in bulk to save money. Most are motivated by hard numbers, so visit the Classroom Direct website to see their classroom packs to show just how much the school can save in the long run if they let you buy all your supplies up front. If your school just doesn’t have the money to spend, try getting parents involved. You can send a letter explaining that instead of having everyone bring in their own supplies, you’d like to go in together on class sets of crayons and markers and ask for a contribution. Keep it fun by tracking progress toward your goal with a cute bulletin board. For example, instead of the typical thermometer to measure donations, try adding pencils to a cup (one for every $5, perhaps) or using paper cutouts of supplies to fill up a paper backpack. If you present this as a way for parents to save money and time spent hunting down school supplies, you’ll get them on board!
Making It Last
Once you’ve ordered your class sets of supplies, you need to make sure they last throughout the school year — after all, if they’re gone by November, you wouldn’t have saved any money! Instead of dumping all your supplies into one shared bin, try rationing them out. If your students sit at a table, place just one of each color and perhaps two pencils and erasers per student in a bright, divided art caddy to keep things orderly. You can make a quick visual check on Friday afternoons to replace items as needed, which will make your supplies last a whole lot longer.
Keeping It Neat
Many classroom packs come pre-sorted by color to make it easy to get what you need. If you plan to give students access to these large boxes, take the time to color the bottom of each divided section with the appropriate shade so that students know where to return their supplies when they’re done — color coding is a teacher’s best friend, and students love it, too!