This New Year’s, make your classroom resolution to “waste not, want not.” With limited resources for purchasing new classroom supplies, many teachers are looking for creative ways to make do with the supplies they have. A few easy changes to your classroom will allow you to cultivate a surplus of supplies that can last into next year.
Consider New Storage Strategies
Markers are a popular school supply, but it’s a pain to throw away almost-new markers because they’ve run dry. To keep the ink flowing longer, avoid storing markers upright in a jar. Instead, store them horizontally. A small plastic container keeps markers horizontal while still letting students see which colors they want to pick. Remind your students to keep lids firmly on markers when they’re done to make them last even longer.
Repurpose Old Supplies in Creative Ways
At a certain point, old supplies are no longer useable for their original purposes. That doesn’t mean it’s time to throw them in the trash, though! Reusing supplies is a great way to make them last. For example, old homework assignments can be recycled as scratch paper. The nubs of crayons can be used to create fun crayon art. Empty tissue boxes make excellent storage vessels for pens, pencils, or glue sticks. Old bottles can be made into impromptu musical instruments. There are endless possibilities for creative educators to repurpose old supplies.
Buy in Bulk
When purchasing classroom supplies, it’s tempting to head down to your nearest office supply store for a few notebooks or boxes of crayons. However, these businesses often have steep markups on everyday items. Instead, purchase supplies in bulk to get the most bang for your buck. School Specialty has the largest selection of bulk classroom packs in the industry, making them a go-to source for inexpensive yet high quality goods.
Keep Things Clean
It’s a shame when classroom supplies become so worn down that they simply must be thrown away. Routine maintenance can keep this from happening. Perhaps your students did a craft project that left the scissors full of tape or glue residue. Addressing the problem right away prevents you from throwing away otherwise good supplies. Periodically wipe down communal classroom supplies to keep them clean and in good working order.
Students can be hard on classroom toys. Unfortunately, many newer toys are easily broken or require endless batteries. When getting toys for your classroom, think retro. Toys from generations past are often sturdier than their modern counterparts. Slinkies, wooden dominos, building blocks, and kaleidoscopes are classic classroom staples that today’s kids will also enjoy.