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Writing Supplies

This week we bought school supplies for our kids. Although there was a list and three excited children, I found it difficult to focus. Instead I was envisioning the possibilities for writing centers. I’ve come to believe when there is access to supplies, there is access to inspiration. When supplies and inspiration are available, stories, poems, and articles are not far behind.

Here are a few thoughts about supplies and organization and encouraging writers.

  • First, I trust there are going to be kids who forget things. Make a plan now for the ones who forget. How sad that an entire writing day could be lost simply because something slipped someone’s mind. It happens to all of us. This means there’s…
    • A cup of pencils. Make them obnoxious so they won’t run out the door. I’ve taped giant fake flowers on the ends. When I’m pressed for time, I simply made a long masking tape flag, with Return to Mrs. Ayres! written in Sharpie. Why battle the no-pencil-problem when the solution is an easy fix — borrow one!
    • Paper — If notebooks are traveling between home and school (and I believe they should), I add a basket of paper cut to fit writer’s notebook for kids to use when they forget their notebooks. Then they take the page and tape, glue, or staple it into their notebooks. Sometimes kids worked it the other way too. They left their notebooks in the classroom, but took the extra pages home to complete notebook work outside of class. Then if it was lost, it was only a page instead of the entire notebook. Kids know if they have issues with misplacing things. If so, help them find a system that works for them!
    • Drafting Paper — We just found notebooks for 7 cents. If I were an upper grade or secondary teacher, I think I would have bought a slew of them for kids to use as draft paper. (That’s if I couldn’t flip my classroom.)
  • Considering younger writers. They need blank books, pencils with great erasers, and colored pencils. There are a couple of options:
    • House all of the supplies in a central location and kids take what they need.
    • Make pockets of supplies throughout the classroom. Basically these are like mini-writing centers in several locations. This way there isn’t crowding at a single writing center.
    • Make it possible for each child to have their own supplies. I prefer to use jars or cups filled with two great pencils and an array of colored pencils. Then put the jars throughout the room and kids can pick one up and take it to their writing space.
  • Possibilities for writing away from desks.
    • Clipboards (or something hard to write on)
    • Comfy spots tucked here and there throughout the room
  • Other needs
    • Sticky notes
    • Colored pens (just for fun or for revision and editing work)
    • Folders (or another system) for storing in-progress work
    • Sharpies
  • Digital Writing Workshop. I’m sure it’s no surprise to many of you that I’m spinning in my brain what it might look like if I were in a digital writing workshop. What are some of the supplies needed for this?
    • Google Docs
    • Hmmm…still more thinking to do here. What are your ideas?

Naturally I also expect a writer’s notebook to be in play. However, that’s another post (and one to come on Monday). What are some ways you are considering organizing writing supplies to support and encourage the writers in your room?

Bonus Idea: I love Stacey’s post for meeting area supplies.


procedures, routines

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

11 thoughts on “Writing Supplies Leave a comment

  1. Love school supply shopping! And setting up writing centers! Sad I don’t have my own classroom to do it this year! And like everyone else, I think the idea of cutting paper to fit the writers’ notebooks is sheer genius!


  2. Thanks for these ideas! But I really can’t wait to read about your ideas on writer’s notebooks on Monday! I need to breathe new life in to them in our classroom…I do not feel that I have found a way to make students WANT to write in them.


  3. I, too, had not thought of cutting the paper. Genius! In my classroom, we decorate and personalize marbleized journals, so I collect scrap booking supplies and old magazines. I also have lots of books around for inspiration. For digital writing, each of my students has a folder in the documents folder. I teach small groups of gifted kids, so this is possible. But this year, I plan to try Dropbox.


  4. I always love hearing about supplies and classroom organization, especially around this time of year! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am just getting started on setting up my classroom.


  5. I began with shared supplies last year and found things gone in two day! (I was in a new setting and new group of students who had not experienced open supplies before) This year supplies will not be out day one but come out slowing with discussion of what are writing tools, why do we need them and how do we care for them as a community of writers. We will need to build our writers community – what do writers need, why and what can make writing fun!
    Looking forward to a better start this year! 🙂


  6. When I had to empty my room at the end of the school year (because I am moving from portable to a real building), I realized how many supplies I had!!! Some of them where in hiding–but now discovered! I will not actually have to buy any supplies for my classroom this year. Well, I did buy a few different pencils and erasers while overseas–for discussion ideas of course!


  7. Last year in my fifth grade, I had 4 supply stations around the room to alleviate traffic problems, and also stored their book boxes in 4 different places. It really helped with traffic flow,


  8. Great ideas – thanks! I like the idea of portable writing supplies so kids can write anywhere in the classroom. I bought cute little containers for this at Michael’s recently!


  9. Thank you for this post. I can’t believe it never occurred to me to CUT white, lined paper to fit the composition notebook size! No more shredding papers dangling outside the notebook? Revelatory! I’m also going to steal the obnoxious pencil trick and hope it doesn’t become a status symbol to steal them from the classroom. Ugly plastic flowers might do the trick. My office/school supply fetish rages on…


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