Sometimes this takes a bit of time from teaching but when a student needs
something from the cabinet, I stop and get it, and I put it all away at the
end of the period. I usually wear an apron with big pockets so kids can
return things like x-actos to me when they're done with them. Knowing
what's in the cabinet/shelves and where is crucial for having the right
amount of materials at the right time. When students help themselves,
especially to paper (or even returning unused scraps) the result is always
a mess. Sometimes a student helper can assist with this. I've found older
kids to be the worst at putting things away neatly. You can give points
for cleanup or include restoration of the room to its original state as
part of their grade. The messiest jobs like scrubbing the big metal sink
are a great behavior modification tool. The boys especially hate this job
I try to include a brief lesson on the care of each type of material before
we begin working with it--ESPECIALLY BRUSHES!!
The Surgeon's Motto: "Never say 'oops!', always say 'there!'