2 Track it. Develop systems children can use. For instance, post a chart titled "Who Took the Traveling Bear Home?" Make a column of students' names and attach a clothespin labeled "I did." Children can place the pin next to the appropriate name when they take this school friend home.
3 Clip it. Use a suction cup to attach a large metal pinch clip to the hall side of your door to hold information that needs to go home each day.
4 Pin it. Remind parents to pin mittens to cuffs of snow jackets or to use the tried-and-true "string through the sleeves" method. Suggest that families donate "mittens without partners" to your recess box for those days when someone loses or forgets his.
5 Label it. Ask parents to put science-table items in containers and/or boxes and, with their children's help, label these treasures: "Latisha's Favorite Rocks," "Fred's Shells From Florida." You'll be able to move the containers around the room for display or discussion, and small items won't get lost.
6 Involve parents. Help ensure that classroom materials are returned by asking parents to sign a simple but specific agreement. Include guidelines, such as providing take-home plastic bags, appropriate care for materials, and responsibility for returning items on time. If you have a replacement policy agreement, this is a good place in which to state it.
7 Enlist children's help. Make mini-cubbies or personal mailboxes and encourage everyone to use their special place for small items like stickers, bracelets, rings, hair ribbons, and other personal items that children inevitably remove and often misplace when they get to school.