Saturday, September 21, 2013

Community Supplies: My journey to the perfect system.

Friends.  As many of you know, I made the jump this year from 2nd grade to Kindergarten.  This first 7 weeks (Can you believe it?) has been all about finding out what works and doesn't work for these kinder babies.  I will tell you what did NOT work: My past system for community supplies. 
Both of my schools used community supplies.  I like the idea.  It fosters sharing and shows students that we must take care of our things as a team.  In 2nd grade, I just put caddies on tables and students used what they needed when they needed.  This did NOT, I repeat, NOT work for my kinder babies.  They had their hands in those caddies all the time.  And with great fear that someone would eventually grab up a pair of scissors and chop off a beautiful lock of hair... I knew I needed a new system. 
I found the *perfect* system for my class... maybe it will help you out in yours! :)
First, Introducing the Supply Caddies. 
These caddies were, I kid you not, $1 from Dollar Tree.  They have various colors depending on the year, but I went with a bright colors theme in my room.  They hold up pretty nicely.  This is year #2 for these caddies! :)  I include all of their supplies in these caddies, but you'll notice, most of them are in cups so they can easily be taken from the caddy.  I will get more into this later.
Since I didn't want caddies on the tables themselves, I found a central location for them in my room.  I use these shelves to house math manipulatives and student books.  The shelves are smack dab in the middle of all of my tables.
The next part of my perfect system creates a sense of responsibility, teamwork, leadership, and independence in the classroom which I LOVE.  I have 5 tables, therefore 5 caddies, and 5 table leaders.  I select a different table leader from each table once a week.  They will serve as table leader Monday - Friday.  Whenever students need a supply, I say "Table leaders, your table needs crayons/pencils/scissors/their whole caddy" Table leaders then walk to the caddies, pick up a cup of whatever they need, et voila! :)
Now, a week into this system... I was letting table leaders just grab willy nilly from any old caddy.  Well... I soon decided that would not work, because crayons were getting mixed up.  This table didn't have any yellow crayons anymore... this table ran completely out of glue but there were 42 glues in the neighboring caddy. 
Enter Table Names/Caddy Names.
Now every table has a name.  I went with the vowels (A, E, I, O, and U).  Each table leader may only grab items from their table's caddy! They may only return items to their table's caddy.  And.. all the while... we are practicing our vowels! I might say "Table A... go get your caddy"  or I could say "if your table name says /a/" or "If your table name starts the word 'alligator'" what have you.
So there you have it! I can honestly say that this system works PERFECTLY in my classroom.  It has gone so smoothly and the kids are thrilled to be table leaders. 
Oh, P.S. --> Happy Weekend! :)


  1. Love it Samantha! I have those same caddies, and they're awesome. :) Glad you're enjoying kindergarten!

  2. Love this idea! Does it cost a lot of transition time with the kids having to get up every time they need supplies? Are you still using this system? Thanks for sharing!

  3. I'm confused because you write community supplies don't work and then you describe the caddy which I see as community supplies. Can you write me at

    Thank you. I am about to buy the caddy

  4. Hi! Yes! This is still community supplies. I didn't say that community supplies don't work, rather the routines I had used previously didn't! Further into the post, I go into detail about how I don't leave the caddies on the tables (like I had when I taught 2nd grade). Now, they are housed in a central location and table leaders retrieve items for their table as needed. Within the caddies, I keep things in cups so they can easily be grabbed in isolation if the whole caddy is not needed. This is what worked for ME and may not necessarily be best for everyone! Regardless, the caddies are great and I absolutely recommend them!