So, I’m super excited to share my first #made4math idea, so excited that I’m writing it on Sunday night.  Okay, honestly I’m afraid tomorrow will be uber hectic (first day back for teachers) and I might forget to post it.

It’s probably the only item in my teaching career that isn’t stolen or borrowed from somewhere else (that I know of).  My colleague across the hall and I were frustrated with the amount of time it was taking to pass out materials for class and the mess students were making of our classrooms.  My kids virtually destroyed a hardcase for carrying graphing calculators in less that a school year.  Here are some of the items we were tired of passing out almost daily:Image

Originally our discussion started with “How can we attach a graphing calculator to the desktop so that students have access to it every day, and we don’t have to pass them out and collect them?”  We considered drilling into the desks, some kind of tethered cord, and any other off-the-wall, hairbrained idea you can think of.  After much thought and searching the aisles of every department store in our town, we found these and had a brainstorm:



After some experimenting and trial-n-error, here is what we came up with:


The electrical ties slide between the desktop and the metal legs and hold the pencil bags onto the side of the desk pretty well.  With one on each desk, the overall result is something like this:


We were both pretty pleased with ourselves and have been using this method for 4 years now.  Before you jump into this brilliant organizational masterpiece, there are a few cons that you might want to think about:

1.  There is usually a lot of ABC bubblegum at the intersection of the desktop and metal braces.  Its completely gross, but that’s where the ties have to go.

2.  Gravity is not a variable.  It works every time.  Notice where the opening to the bag is located after it is attached to the desk.  Many calculators have hit the floor and while they are pretty tough, they are showing some wear and tear.  This year I had to purchase 20 new battery covers because they were broken.

3.  Unless you don’t care if your stuff walks off, you have to make a BIG DEAL at the beginning of the year about checking each desk to make sure the items (especially the calculator) has been returned.  I also have to spend quite a bit of time reminding students to return the items to the bags…they like to leave them on the desk at the end of class.  Make sure to get the bags with the clear front so you can check quickly.

4.  Don’t get the super cheap bags…you will end up replacing them sooner rather than later.  Usually there are many places that sell them for $.97 each right at the beginning of the year…mine mostly came from Big-Lots.  We have also discovered that they can be difficult to find, so buy them in bulk when you can find them.

I think that’s everything.  Holla back if you have questions or improvements.  I’d love to find a way to make them NOT hang upside down.