Set Up a Supply Station

May 9, 2013

A few months back, we showed off a Supply Station of commonly used medicines, cleaners, and important gizmos maintained by a school operations team.

But what if your school is not so lucky to have such a team to swoop in to your rescue? What can you do to prevent becoming the nurse, the librarian, and the Staples check-out cashier? How can you keep things running smoothly and also keep teaching?

To answer these questions, we returned to Tess H., a middle school teacher in Philadelphia. Tess gave us a tour of her classroom’s Supply Station— chock full of materials that students can access independently.

Too many of us store our supplies out of reach and/or in such a disorganized fashion that we waste much time scrounging for construction paper, unearthing the hole-puncher, or digging for Band-Aids.

With a Supply Station like Tess’s, a teacher need not disrupt instructional time to provide students with necessary materials. Way to spend time where it matters most by putting a system into place, Tess!

Let’s take a look at what you’ve set up, and how and why you did it.

What’s on your Supply Station?

“I tried to think of all common supplies that kids need and then some that weren’t so common:  pencils, tissues, scissors, glue sticks, post-it notes, pencil sharpener, hole-punch, paper clips, loose-leaf, paper towels, and note cards. I also include Band-Aids and hand sanitizer so kids aren’t asking to leave class for something I can provide.”

Sidenote: You would be amazed at how awesome hand sanitizer is. ‘My head hurts,’ a student will say. “Oh, just get some hand sanitizer!” has become by go-to reply. It’s a replacement for a trip to the nurse 8 out of 10 times!”

Who keeps your Supply Station stocked up?

“I have a Supply Manager – the student with this job is responsible for cleaning the table and regulating all supplies.”

Look at those directions below! The expectations are super clear so the system can run itself!

What have been other benefits of having a Supply Station in place?

“I am not managing every single aspect of my classroom! Students know where to go if they need something to help them be more successful in class. Equipping them to be independent will benefit them greatly in the future.

The Supply Station has also helped build a generous community in our classroom. If I mention we need something, at least one student will pitch in with a couple of pencils or a box of tissues!“

Tess, we love your creation of a fast and functional system! We also applaud your thinking about how to keep the system running—without much time and effort from you. Thanks for sharing!

Together Teacher Discussion Question: What’s kept in your classroom’s ideal Supply Station? What tips do you have for effective and efficient management?