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Teacher Essential: Organization Emergency Kit

Mrs. Mimi's Chalk Talks

Teacher Essential: Organization Emergency Kit

Need a pen? Just look in my Organization Emergency Kit...

Every elementary school teacher knows that managing pencils and the sharpening of said pencils has the potential to ruin your professional life. Perhaps that is a bit dramatic, but when you are in the midst of a Pencil Crisis and cries of, “I don’t have anything to write with” and “she stole my pencil!” fill your classroom, it can get a little emotional to say the least. 


If you are willing to admit that I may have a point, then you also know that the children’s supplies aren’t the only things that have the ability to drive you nutty. Your own supplies -things as simple as a marker for grading, a paperclip or the all important Post It note- can all of a sudden disappear when you need them the most.


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Picture it: Your classroom with forty minutes to go before the day is over. It has been one of those days. Your students are diligently working away on doesn’t matter what they are working on. It only matters that you need a marker to do some quick correcting and helping. And you need it now. Right now. But, as your eyes frantically dart around the room, there isn’t a pen, a marker, or even a crayon for miles. You, my friend, are in a pickle. 


This very situation has sent me into nervous fits of scrounging around (which only makes things worse), has forced me to rummage through an absent student’s desk, and, on those really bad days, made me want to sit at a table and put my head down. I think we could consider this a full-fledged organizational emergency.


And what does one do in an emergency? One puts together an emergency kit, that’s what.

I promptly went out and bought four classroom caddies. (You could easily substitute the classroom caddies for a sturdy bucket, bin or even an old aluminum can based on your needs and budget).  

In each caddy I put:

  •  an assortment of new markers (fat and thin)
  • two sharpened pencils
  • two ball-point pens
  • a handful of paperclips
  • a sheet of smelly stickers
  • and a stack of Post Its

You know, all the stuff I consider absolutely essential. I then strategically placed these Organization Emergency Kits/Caddies around my classrooms in places where I am habitually caught short. (At the front of the classroom, in the meeting area, back by my guided reading table and in the corner by the art center.)


The next day, I showed my friends this new innovation. I explained the purpose behind what I called my Teacher Supply Station and made it fairly clear that these were not supplies for anyone but me. We then reviewed all the places in the classroom from which children could borrow supplies and brainstormed the reasons why it was important that these supplies weren’t to be shared by everyone. 


From that day on, I always had what I needed when I needed it and where I needed it. 


What are your organizational tricks? What essentials belong in your organizational emergency kit? Share in the comments section!

Image Source:  © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons