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Monday, March 28, 2016

Marvelous Plastic Crates

My first year of teaching found me with few educational materials and no extra money. Yet, I was desperate to furnish and stock my first classroom. This is where plastic crates saved the day!

I was headed home the week before school started when I spied a stack of plastic crates used for storing milk jugs sitting behind a restaurant. Why hadn't I thought of it before? There sat the perfect solution to my classroom library and storage problem.

The restaurant's manager wouldn't give the plastic crates away since "they belong to the milk company". But, he suggested I drop by tomorrow around the same time and ask the driver of the milk truck. I took his advice and raced right over after school. The milk truck was parked near the crates, and the driver was filling out paperwork.

I lost no time in pleading my case. Fortunately, the driver told me I could "take a few each afternoon over the next several days".  I ended up with ten plastic crates.

After spray painting some of the older plastic crates, I stacked them in two places in my classroom: some behind my desk and the rest in the corner designated as the classroom library. I acquired more crates as the year went along. I used some for storing class sets of textbooks. Also, I used one crate for each of my five classes and inserted alphabetized file folder inserts into each one. Students made portfolios from manila folders. They covered the folders with personal story Road of Life maps to use for writing prompts throughout the year. Each class had a designated crate that they stored their portfolio folders in. The crates worked much better than bookcases or file cabinets.

At the end of the school year, I was told that teachers needed to pack up their classrooms so cleaning and painting could take place. I didn't have to pack a thing! Instead, I righted my plastic crates and toted them home for the summer.

Those marvelous plastic crates made my first year of teaching so much easier! Let me know about your great classroom uses for plastic crates...

In honor of milk and plastic crates, here's some FREE Dairy Month handouts to celebrate! Find the complete set at my TpT Storefront:

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