Cell Phones - How do you handle them?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by ayotte04, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Ok so I'm going to be very upfront with my kids about the whole cell-phone, iPod thing. It will be in my parent letter as well (as I understand in EXTREME situations a kid may need to have a cell phone)

    But what is your policy when you hear it go off?

    What if it's not turned on, but you catch them with it?

    What about when you see them texting?

    Do you take it for the day? Do you hold it until the parents come to retrieve it?

    you thoughts?
     
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  3. teacherSMK

    teacherSMK Habitué

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    At our school, all ipods and cell phones, or any electrical equipment, must be turned in to the office when the student arrives at school. If it is discovered in class, it is confiscated and given to the parent after school, if it becomes a constant problem, disciplinary action is taken.
     
  4. ~mrs.m~

    ~mrs.m~ Comrade

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    It hasn't been a big problem so I have been able to handle it easily. If the cell phone goes off, the child has been mortified and scared s/he would get in trouble. I just say you can go ahead and turn it off now. I have had the same thing happen to me when my phone should have been turned off. I have never had anyone take advantage of me on that before. That would be a totally different story. We have a policy that the phone can be taken up and turned in to the office.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    School board policy is that cell phones are turned off and in lockers during school hours. If they are seen or heard, they are turned in to the office and the principal takes it from there. FYI, many school boards in Ontario have imposed a complete ban on cell phones for students on school property.
     
  6. wig

    wig Devotee

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    They are not allowed unless locked in their lockers. If caught with them, the cell phone is confiscated and their parents have to pick it up.
     
  7. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    Our students have to have them turned off and in their backpacks during the school day. If a student in my class is playing with it or I hear it making noise in the backpack, I take it and a parent has to come in and get it. I've had this happen a few times over the years, and the parents are always very understanding and by making them come in, the students usually get a strong reminder from them as well, because no parent wants to have to come in and get a phone or ipod more than once.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Technically, nuisance items like cell phones and iPods aren't allowed on campus. Our principal feels that they're okay as long as kids aren't activating them in class.

    If I see one of those devices in class but it's not being used or causing a distraction (like if it's just sitting on the desk), it doesn't bother me at all.

    If I see a student texting, sharing pictures, or passing the phone/iPod around so that it is a distraction, I confiscate it. After class I turn it in to the deans' office, where the kid's parent has to physically come in and retrieve it.

    The first time I hear the phone ring, they get a warning. After that, I confiscate it and turn it in to the deans' office.


    Some teachers at my school have a collection basket at the front of the room and require kids to part with their nuisance items before entering class. The problem with this is that it's very easy for a kid to grab a phone or iPod that doesn't belong to him and walk away with it. I don't want to be responsible for lost or stolen items, so I only ever handle the ones I'm confiscating.

    Oh, and once I confiscate a phone, I put a sticky note on it with the kid's name and I lock the phone in my desk.
     
  9. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    We have it written in the student handbook (which the parents sign) that cell phones & ipods must be kept in backpacks and turned off. If caught, it's an infraction (3 infractions means no extra-curricular activities) and parents have to come and pick it up.

    This will be my first year at this school & I already had one teacher say that if I have this particular student in my class, just ask for her phone before class starts & she'll hand it over!!
     
  10. trulyblssd

    trulyblssd Companion

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    We take them and give them to the office. Parent has to pick them up. It really doesn't matter however, becuase if the parent doesn't care then they keep doing it. Our school is adopting a new policy this year. Can't wait to see what it is.
     
  11. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I would definitely check with your school and district guidelines before you decide how to handle cell phones. You want to make sure whatever your consequences are will be backed up by administration.
     
  12. kyblue07

    kyblue07 Companion

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    We have a no seeing no hearing policy. If I see it, I take it. This applies to cell phones, i pods, psp, anything electronic. It's then turned into the office and the student picks it up at the end of the day. If it happens again, the parent must come pick it up and the student can not bring it the rest of the year.
    AGDAMITY made a good point to check with school-wide, district policy. A lot of our teachers had a no eletronics at all policy for their rooms. But the district stepped in and said that parents demanded students be allowed to have them within appropriate boundaries due to safety, etc. So no one can prohibit students from having them; just their use.
     
  13. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    right good point. I'll make sure that I ask as soon as i get there.
     
  14. historygrrl

    historygrrl Rookie

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    At the beginning of the year, I usually give the kids a "this is your one free pass" talk the first time I see a cell phone or iPod out. After that, I will take it and the kid will have to explain to his/her parent why they have to come pick it up from the office. It usually works.
     
  15. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    At the high school last year it was if it is seen by any teacher inside the building it is taken, after so many offenses the students is suppeded. I do not know the policy at the middle school....but this is how I handled it in my room. I see the phone, hear the phone etc, I take it. I ask once, if you argue with me I send you to the office with a discipline referral because you have now caused a distrubance in my class, if you give it up no complaints I put it in my desk until either end of class or lunch. If it is the second or third time, I keep it all day....after that right to the office, but I keep the phone and turn it in myself.
     
  16. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    We have a no cell phones, music electronics, digital cameras, etc...policy for the entire school. Than goodness!
    I spent some time this past week looking at videos on you tube showing students who purposely get their teachers upset then video tape them and post it on line on you tube.
    I asked my daughter if kids do this at her school and she said "Oh, yeah...all the time. The teachers don't ever see or hear the cell pohine. Everyone is in on it too. They basically choreograph the whole thing and them post it online!" Well, after I explained to her how terrible that is, I have to tell all of you who have the no see/hear policy only to PLEASE visit you tube and type in obvious searches....crazy teacher, bad teacher, yelling/screaming teacher, etc...any combo you can think of and also look for ones with the word substitute teacher and just spend about a 1/2 hour watching and listening. You will not want those darlings walking into your school with a cell phone! They do this because it's one of the things kids do now. Don't, for a minute, think they wouldn't.
    And a lesson to everyone in the meantime, be very, very careful what you say in class. You may be on the internet.:(
     
  17. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    so i should refrain from my notorious "shut your mouth" phrase?

    I crack myself up. :rofl:
     
  18. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Im just guessing here.....lemme see, YEAH, that would be a good idea. I also think shut your pie hole would not go over too well! :lol:
     
  19. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I think if you got caught on video saying that, the kids would just laugh along with you and post it as a Funny Teacher video! LOL:D
    Did you watch any of the videos?
     
  20. sciencewriter

    sciencewriter New Member

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    Our school-wide policy (and, I believe, district-wide) is no cell phones are to be used/seen/heard inside the building. Students are SUPPOSED to put them in their lockers at the beginning of the day and get them when they are allowed back in their lockers at the end of the day (we don't have use of lockers during the rest of the day). However, if it is in their purse, bag, whatever--if I don't see or hear it, I'm not searching for it. If they have one, it is immediately picked up by the teacher and taken to the office, where it can only be retrieved by a PARENT. The parent signs for it, along with a statement saying that if it is picked up again, their will be a $15 fine--THAT usually seems to nip it in the bud--when parents have to continually come up to the school to pick the phones up and pay fines...The problem arises when teachers don't ENFORCE the policy...Definitely see what policy your school/district has--it's SO much easier to deal with it when it's backed up by administration...
     
  21. IUSB_Megan

    IUSB_Megan Rookie

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    I am not teaching yet, but could you somehow take points away when you see the device? I am sure parents would love to see in the comment section that points were taken away due to inappropriate cell phone usage.
     
  22. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I can't imagine that a parent would like to see that. Also, I can't imagine how a teacher would justify counting that as part of a student's grade.
    Grades should reflect mastery of content...not the following of rules. That would have to be documented separately from grades...Just my philosophy but one I'd like to see implemented more.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    On our report cards, Learning Skills (like independent work, cooperation with others, conflict resolution, goal setting, initiative, etc.) are reported on in a separate section. In subject areas, our grades can only reflect mastery of the curriculum expectations.
     
  24. trulyblssd

    trulyblssd Companion

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    You could take points away if you had participation points. They are not participating if they are on their cell phones. I would justify it that way, however it would be a lot of work if cells are a big issue.
     
  25. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    My rule is if I see it or hear it I take it. If it is off or on silent in your pocket and you do not use it in my class we are fine. If you really need to use your phone go in the bathroom and use it. For iPods you are allowed to use them during Indepdent Work time only, not during lessons, or quizzes/tests. To me its not worth the hassle. By the way, i have this general idea with food also you may eat/dtrink in class as long as you do not make a mess or a distraction.
     
  26. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Ours too but some teachers still let other things affect the overall grade in a content area which is just wrong. I work real hard to make sure I don't allow anything to cloud my judgement toward a grade in a content area. It's a struggle I think many of us have but we can learn to do it.
     
  27. IUSB_Megan

    IUSB_Megan Rookie

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    That is what I was thinking. The teachers I have observed have all had a portion of the grade that was Participation, or the like. I was also being scarcastic when I said parents would love to see that on a report card.
     
  28. IUSB_Megan

    IUSB_Megan Rookie

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    Zoe, I do have a question - I see that you teach 4th grade, but if you taught middle/high school where kids are moving from class to class, and you had a student that constantly came to class late, unprepared and was rude and/or disruptive but aced the tests and homework, would they still get the A for your class?
     
  29. trulyblssd

    trulyblssd Companion

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    Megan that is a excellent question. That is where participation comes in. Although it is not considered content you cannot allow a student to do as they please in your class and get an A.

    I had a student last year that ditched all the time which landed him in In-house detention. We HAD to give them make up work in In-house. Is that fair for him to get the grade still when he is "showing out". He chose to ditch, which in my mind says he chose to fail his assignment. So I have participation points. If you don't come to class you can't get 15% of your grade, period! Some will argue and say that is not right, but what do you purpose I do? Should I allow one student who works hard to get an A and another who doesn't get that same A?

    I will admit, most of the time the students who are slacking off will earn their D's or F's and the above situation is rare, but I need my high schooler's present and behaving in my class. If participation points do it then so be it! Also, I'm sure if we had to we can relate participation points to contents ---LOL
     
  30. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I taught middle school for the past four years and I taught students who were hard to motivate but weren't necessarily behind or lacking academically so I have experience with students who don't follow the rules, are disrespectful, have criminal records, are constantly indetention, skip school, etc...yet still ace tests. Students like this need enrichment work. They need work that will inspire them to want to learn more. They need a personal cheer leader who will encourage without patronizing. They need so much and I pride myself as being a teacher who is very capable in dealing with these types of students. I was hired specically to work with these students because of my success record. The traditional approach or one-size-fits-all teaching does not work for them. Would they get an A for my class? Only if they were able to do excellent work at their level. Often, students who are as you describe yet ace everything, are bored. It is out job to try to reach every student.
    I will be teaching the 4th grade this year because the position became available and I wanted it.
     
  31. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    The fact that the student who doesn't work hard can still get an A should be a flag about the lesson or assignment. Why is he stil able to earn that A if he isn't ever around to learn. What's going on there? The student's scores from the year before must have shown that he was capable of work above his grade level. Aren't there any advanced programs he could be in? Why is he able to earn that A without being present or doing any work? It's the same as having a majority of your class fail an exam....why? At what point do you turn the question around on yourself and ask what you can do differently? As teachers, this is a part of the reflection process we must all go through in order to be the best teachers we can be. Our job is not to dispense knowledge but to inspire students to want to learn more. It's not an easy job we do.
     
  32. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    If the student is acing the tests and homework, I have no choice but to give them an "A" (or whatever grades were earned on these)--our marks are based solely on mastery. For this student, however, I would have had several meetings with parents, stiudent and administration to discuss the difficulties and to let the parents know that, down the road, the student is seriously at risk. He/she would also receive low grades on the Learning Skills portion of our report card, my anecdotal comments would indicate concern about behaviour and the student would likely be serving a lot of detentions!
     
  33. IUSB_Megan

    IUSB_Megan Rookie

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    I agree. In most of my middle high school classes, we had participation points worked into our grade. 15% seemed to be pretty common. I think as educators we need to not only focus on our content, but also on preparing students for the real world work environment. You can have a person who is the best at what they do, but if they disregard rules and policies, they don't keep the job. Likewise, if students disregard rules and policies in the classroom, I think it is logical that they lose participation points.

    I agree, Zoe, that if a student is acing all coursework and is also being disruptive or skipping that there is a major problem, I was just using that as an example, but i see your point - our first priorities are to teach content, and to be 'cheerleaders' for our students, but we also need to build in accountability and responsibility into our curriculum.

    We have rules on how we want our classroom discussions to go, how we want papers formatted, and how assignments should be completed and turned in. If students don't follow those rules, points are taken away. Likewise, if they don't follow other classroom rules, (ie, how we would like them to participate during content instruction), participation points should be taken away. If students know that they can be disruptive and disregard rules and still 'pass' the class, they may take advantage of that.

    BUT, as I said before, I am not teaching yet, and so my experiences with discipline and classroom management are limited to one district - the one where I went to school and currently sub in. We haven't had this type of discussion in my classes. What I am trying to say is that I know that I am not as experienced as many posters, but I am here to share, and in turn, learn.

    It is hard on forums sometimes because we don't have the verbal and physical indicators that we rely on when we are talking to people in person. I just want to make sure that you don't feel like I am 'questioning' you or discounting your input, Zoe:sorry: , I am just very interested in this topic, and so I have questions, and since you have a different outlook, I want to 'pick your brain' to understand better.

    Wow. That was a long post!
     
  34. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the explanation...I really was ticked when you said something about me being a 4th grade teacher and therefore I might not understand....etc...No Harm! You're right...we are here to discuss and share ideas.:hugs:
    I'm looking forward to going back to 4th for a while...less attitude. Now I just have to prepare for "She doesn't want to be my friend!!" ARGHHHH!! LOL:|
     
  35. IUSB_Megan

    IUSB_Megan Rookie

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    You know, I was elementary ed for a year, and then I started subbing - I was in WAY over my head! There I was, in a 3rd grade class (mind you, they were GREAT kids - well behaved and everything, and the lesson plans were excellent) but wow - I am just not cut out for it. I can't explain it. First of all, the 'new math' I still have nightmares about that - and it was at the 3rd grade level. Then, they went to lunch and recess, and it was my downtime. I had just settled myself in the desk, unwrapped my bagel, opened my book, and I hear a 'sniff, sniff' at my door. One of my kids had fallen off the merry go round:eek: He was all dirty and scuffed up, and I just felt so bad for him. So, I walked him down to the nurse, and got him cleaned up, and started to walk him back towards the playground. He kinda slows down and looks at me and says, "Can I just stay in the room with you?" :rolleyes: Needless to say, the bagel went back in my bag, and I spent the rest of the recess period explaining, "The Nanny Diaries" to him.

    Just a funny story since you mentioned the "She doesn't want to be my friend!" thing - they do have a lot of drama, don't they? (and of course, drama is just WAY too childish once you hit 6th:lol: )
     
  36. shelceygirl

    shelceygirl Rookie

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    I'm not Zoe, but I feel compelled to answer. Yes, that student would still get an A in my class.

    The other stuff, like being late and being disruptive, needs to be handled in another way. Kids who are late and disruptive do not feel a connection to school, so my job is to connect them. I'm subtle and sneeky, and before long, they want to be in class. It takes little effort on my part. Of course, I love middle school kids, and find it very easy to be with them. I don't see my day as keeping track of who misbehaved when. I see my day as finding a way to make it all work in a 7th graders mind, and making them care. Works for me so far!
     

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