Community supplies- ok in my classroom, NOT OK with my own child, please help me with

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Ponypal, Aug 11, 2007.

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  1. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    Aug 11, 2007

    I know there's other posts like this out there, but please help me write a note. I just got the "welcome" letter from my daughter's teacher. First of all, to our disappointment she got the teacher that we both did not wish to get. However, that is not the point.... that's a totally different story that I may share at another point in time...

    The letter stated that "ALL of the supplies will be shared as COMMUNITY supplies..."

    The reason that the title of this post is that community supplies are ok in my classrooom is because I teach in a low socio-economic area and I have used my classroom money to purchase/supply the: pencils, erasers, markers, crayons, scissors, rulers, bottled glue, and a folder. The only thing that parents supply are glue sticks, a plastic box and marble notebooks. The crayons that I supply will be put in the box that they supply and will be used individually. I see how each child takes care of their materials and have decided that other children should not be subjected to mis-use. The glue sticks will be placed in a zip-lock bag with the child's name on it. When that specific child needs a glue stick, he/she gets one out of his/her bag. When all of them are used up, I send a note to the parent requesting more. It has been very successful.

    I DON'T want my daughter's supplies that we have chosen together to be placed in a community supply box. I received the original supply list in June and have been picking up supplies when I see them. I have spent the money to purchase quality materials such as pencils that sharpen and write smoothly each time, not the junky kind I had as a kid. I dont want her using some marker that some kid chewed on or having her to deal with broken crayons, or a drippy glue bottle, etc. My daughter is also against the whole sharing of the supplies issue because of germs. She is a bright girl who I have worked very hard with in terms of taking pride in her belongings. This was a major issue, her bedroom neatness, that we worked on this summer, and we now have a beautifully cared for bedroom. Also, I am tired of being a parent who has to carry half of the class because some other parent doesn't do their part. You know how that works.

    Anyways, enough ranting.... I want to write her teacher a respectful note explaining my reason's for choosing that I have worked very hard in trying to instill responsibilty and pride for her belongings. I also want to include the factor that I am a teacher and see her point, but as the parent and the supplier, I am making this choice.

    Please help me with key phrases and "nice words." Thank you !!!
     
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  3. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    I know this isn't what you want to hear, but I don't think you'll be able to be able to get past the community supply issue, and making an issue of this now is going to start off the year on a bad foot. Community supplies is a classroom management issue more than anything else. I always had community supplies in my classroom, as did most of the other teachers around me. I was very picky about the quality of the supplies and taught the class how to take care of them. If all the things you fear start happening after school has been in session, maybe then it would be more appropriate to bring up the issue.
     
  4. Kteacher06

    Kteacher06 Companion

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    I agree with Amanda. If the teacher focuses on teaching the students to take care of their materials, then the issues you bring up won't happen. Try waiting it out and see what happens.
     
  5. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I think if your mind is made up to discuss it with the teacher, you just say you prefer that your child use her own supplies and is there a way we could make that happen? If a parent said that to me, I would respect their wishes.

    I've done it both ways and like the community supplies better only because of the time it saves. Waiting for each child to go get their pencil box takes forever and I can just sharpen all the class pencils to prepare for the day, instead of searching through cubbies. Also taking pride in your belongings is important but I think sharing and even contributing to kids in need is an important lesson too.
     
  6. dolphinswim

    dolphinswim Companion

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    She runs her classroom, and her supplies. This will be a good experience for your child to see that not everything is perfect, clean, used right or taken care of the same way she might think is best! Life is full of differences and diversity...that is what makes it so unique. I hope everything works out for you both and that it makes a difference in the end. I know I would feel good about helping/providing other children with better supplies.
     
  7. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Silly me, I have always believed that a child's own supplies help teach responsibility and pride of ownership. Dump them in a pot and who cares about taking good care of them any more? Please, teachers, allow each child to have his/her very own property, exclusive unto himself/herself. Children who can't afford supplies can be furnished and then THEY will have their own, too.

    People of ANY age who don't have any investment in a product/service/whatever, won't give that product/service/whatever the respect and good care they/it might deserve.

    Compare it to a house: when SOME people rent, they couldn't care less about taking care of the property; it's not THEIRS so they have no vested interest in it. When SOME people own, they bend over backwards to take extra-good care of it because it's THEIRS; they paid for it, it has their name on it, and it's by golly THEIRS.

    Same with a pencil.

    I would have removed my children from the school and made headlines telling the world why, if their private property had been taken from them and dumped into a pot for the convenience of classroom management.

    Convenience. . . that's not why I teach.
     
  8. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    This too might not be what you want to hear.:unsure:

    At first, I also had a problem with the supplies I bought being used by all the students. I thought that it shouldn't be my responsibility to supply other peoples kids with pencils and such. The teacher's reason was that some children showed up without supplies and this way, the children who's parents didn't contribute wouldn't know or feel any shame. It still ikred me a bit, and then I swallowed my selfish pride in the fact that I could buy the name brand crayons and the nice pencils that sharpen easily or the glue that doesn't get gloopy and realized that these are children. It's not their fault if their parents can't or won't buy supplies. But it will be THEIR shame if their classmates found out that that their mom or dad didn't contribute.
    The next year, I bought the basic supplies--buying exactly what the teacher specified--not the best ruler, pencils etc.

    just my opinion
     
  9. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    I know how you feel. Our school asks for tons of stuff for each grade, not because of need, but because we are having to supply for those who don't buy the stuff. It is really frustrating.

    The odds of this teacher changing her classroom because of one parent is probably slim to none. Does it stink? Yes--but like others have posted, there are lessons that can be taught from this experience. Plus, honestly, for lower grades, it is so much easier to have a basket of crayons to share, rather than wait for them to get them out. Maybe if you approached her by saying how much pride your daughter takes in her supplies and how she is about germs, you may get a positivie response. But in all hoensty, if it were me, I would probably think the kid didn't like to share or something. If they are in individual desks, you may have a better shot at this, than if they are at tables, just out of ease.
    Good luck!! :)
     
  10. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Well, what about the things that you want to be hers (like the good writing pencils and such, keep them at home and buy some cheaper stuff to put in the community supply stash.

    Send her to school with the good things, if she misplaces them or something else happens to them, then she will have to dig into the community stash.
     
  11. Mrs_Barrett

    Mrs_Barrett Cohort

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    My niece's school does a community supply. Her mother has learned not to purchase nice school supplies. In the past she would buy pencils with her name on it and etc. She attends a low-income school, but isn't low-income. If I was in the same boat as a parent, I would just buy materials that are on sale cheap. I don't think you are going to change the teacher's mind about this.
     
  12. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    I understand that I might not be able to change her mind, but as a teacher myself I am always the one who has to bend over backwards and "provide the customer service" attitude. If I have to do it as the teacher, I WILL NOT do it as the parent too. It can't work both ways against me. It's not a sharing issue, and I'm not looking to be selfish. It's not a poor district.

    BTW- Last year was her first year as a teacher, so she's not tenured. I have NEVER complained about any teacher before, and I have only praised any teacher in front of my daughter. I know the principal very well at the school and if necesary, would feel like I could talk to him if an issue arose. That however, is not a threat, and I don't go around saying that it is.

    Mamacita - Do I have a choice? The house analogy is excellent. I feel that is a very VALID way to compare ownership and responsibility of ownership. I will be as professional as I always am, and explain my reasons, but I feel strongly about this issue. I feel it is my right to be respected and my daughter's right for her to be responsible for herself. If a problem arises about her responsibility, then I will go with the teacher's plan.
     
  13. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Aug 11, 2007

    This issue has come up before on the forum, and nobody is going to change his/her mind. I know I'm not, and all the elementary teachers who find community supplies more convenient probably aren't, either.

    I meant it when I said I would have pulled my children out of a school that required the children to dump their carefully-selected, often personalized property into a community pot.

    And, I honestly believe the 'community supplies' issue is the cause of students at the COLLEGE LEVEL waltzing into the classroom fully expecting pencils, paper, etc, to be supplied by the professor. This is a mindset that needs to be stamped OUT.
     
  14. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Mamacita, I believe in your philosophy, 100%. I definitely let them have their own supplies in my room, but of course to each is own.

    On the other hand, it is probably not the best idea to contact the teacher about this- not because I don't agree with you- but because she is probably very set in making this decision and most likely doesn't want to change back now after already telling parents this information.

    I would definitely let your daughter keep a deal of supplies at home to use for when she writes her own stories and works on homework.

    The only thing we really share in my classroom is notebook paper because it really isn't that appealing appearance-wise. Okay, that sounded sort of lame. Yet you know what I mean- it's not personal like Crayola markers.
     
  15. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    This teacher has probably thought hard about how to handle supplies in her room and it is obvious that she doesn't want any children to stand out, or to hold up the rest of the class searching for lost pencils. One of the best ways to have a child learn to be part of a community is to actually let them be part of a community. There will always be the kid who chews on markers, or the glue bottle that drips... that's life.
     
  16. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Amen, Mamacita! I totally agree! I have been in too many college level classes, when supposedly adult students wander in (usually late), then spend 10 minutes supposedly looking for their supplies, only to have to bum them off of one of their classmates! Argh!

    My cooperating teacher has community supplies as part of her classroom management plan as well. I don't think I will do so in my own classroom. In fact, I have already begun purchasing "good" or brand-name supplies when they are on sale, so that I will be able to help students who are not provided with their supplies by their parents. I wish I knew what the answer to Pony's problem was. The only thing I can think of is that it might be bad to approach her daughter's teacher about this right away, because that might seed a negative thought toward her daughter in the mind of the teacher. Just my :2cents:
     
  17. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Why not donate the minimal required items for the community supplies, but speak to the teacher about your daughter also keeping her own small set of supplies in her desk? Explain about her difficulty with communal germs (I have the same problem).
     
  18. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    In my school, community supplies are a school-wide policy. As are tables instead of desks.

    I tell parents matter-of-factly about it at orientation and no one has so much as batted an eye.

    I disagree that it doesn't teach responsibility.

    I never realized this issue was such a hot topic!

    Ponypal, I hear where you are coming from. I think the part that would bug me is that you got the supply list early in the summer and are only just now finding out that they will be community supplies. If the same situation happened with my son I think I would just keep the "special" things home for him to use and buy basic stuff for the classroom. But you want to stand your ground on this and that's your option. Please let us know the teacher's response!
     
  19. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    OH Boy I get to rant

    Being a conservative democrat I can use some of my politically incorrect feelings.
    As a parent I ask:
    1. Why should I support other children?
    2. Just where does my tax money go to?
    3. My child picked out his/her supplies for his/herself not the whole class.
    4. What is this Sharing is caring foolishness?
    5. I give to my church why should I give to students who do not take care of their own supplies?
    6. This is forced contributions
    You have heard them all I can sympathize with these parents

    Being a conservative democrat I can understand how we need to help the underprivileged student.
    When I was in school, after I tied up the horse and went into the school :toofunny: , if any student did not have supplies we were admonished and you had to stay after school, unless you were “poor,” it seemed the teacher always knew which students were “poor” and could not bring in the required supplies. The teacher without fanfare would quietly give the “poor” students their supplies.

    Then Again I do have a community pencil can, orphan pencils found by the Janitors, who I have a deal with they give me all the pencils they find on the ground and I keep their Soda cold in my refrigerator.

    Having their own supplies instills a sense of responsibility.
    Now I have taught middle school for over 30 years where at times responsibility is lacking.

    I feel having community supplies is an easy way out for some teachers.
    This is a teachable moment, responsibility.

     
  20. trulyblssd

    trulyblssd Companion

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    Why not just opt out of giving supplies altogether?
     
  21. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Will the teacher allow that?
     
  22. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I do a mixture....I take up glue, pencils, and scissors. The children are responsible for their crayons, markers, and any special pencils that they may have. I do this because the pencil boxes that fit in the cubbies are not large enough to hold everything. If a child has a special pencil, I allow them to keep it. Most of the time it ends up in the pencil basket in the middle of the table. If I have a child that eats pencils, I have them keep their on in their box. I don't want to use a pencil that has been chewed. I also ask parents not to put names on everything because it is easier that explaining what I do. I put names on the scissors and anything else.
     
  23. MrsLilHen

    MrsLilHen Comrade

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    I agree that the teacher might not change her mind right now - and maybe the best thing would be to buy other not-so-special things to bring to school, and have the special things for at home. BUT, I do think you should mention it to the teacher, in a "Have you thought of ...." kind of way. If she is relatively new, she needs to hear different perspectives. That way she can make an informed decision about how she wants to do it in the future.

    In our supply letter we ask for some donations for the community (extra pencils, paper, red pens, etc.) But I would never force a student to put their things into a community pot. I'm picky about my school supplies (I like a certain kind of pen/pencil/paper, etc.) when I'm not working with the kind of supplies that I like, it makes the work harder. I think it's only fair to realize that some kids might have that feeling too. I'm not trying to sound spoiled here - but who among us hasn't enjoyed a favorite pad of paper or pen, or had a smooth writing pencil that made us "in the mood" to write?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2007
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree with everything you've said, and this is how I would address the situation as well. It's not confrontational in any way, so the OP's daughter won't suffer because the teacher thinks she has a mean mommy. Better yet, the teacher will feel that the OP is very helpful and take certain ideas/advice to heart.
     
  25. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    Yeah?! How would it be if I played the other end of the fiddle and sent nothing? (You know I could never get away with that.)

    My daughter is left handed. I bought Fiskars for her. I don't want her to end up using some crummy 59 cent scissors that don't work.

    Did you ever get a junky off centered pencil that wasn't worth a hoot to write with? I bought them for my class one year thinking,
    "a pencil is a pencil." Let me say that they are not all created equal. Those were junk and then I tossed them out and bought the Ticonderoga brand. I have considered my own child when choosing her supplies. I know her needs.

    Do you want your own child to get stuck with the pencil that someone else chewed on? I DON'T!
     
  26. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    This looks like a grade level thing

    The upper grades do not do it, but the lower grades do

    I find when my 6 graders come in they seem to lack "personal survival skills"
    I feel I need to wipe their noses for them and
    hold their hands to go to the lunch room!


    I am just a grumpy old man
     
  27. kabd54

    kabd54 Cohort

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    I, too, have communal pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, and glue - paid for by me, but with a :) because it keeps me sane. If the students have special crayons or pencils, they keep them in their cubbies to be used when needed. If they take too long finding an item, they are told to take from the communal container.

    Probably one of the reasons I have all this stuff is because I'm addicted to Staples! :lol: Now... if I could find a way to get them to use Post It Notes and not be distracted...
     
  28. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    It is an elementary thing.... I guess...

    I'm trying to cure my daughter of not being responsible. We have made great strides this summer and I need that to continue and follow her through life, not rely on some community "hand-out"! She needs this lesson early in life. All kids do.

    We have horses and barn cats and the rule at my home is that you do not eat until the animals have been fed. This teaches her to be responsible and makes her aware of what ownership is all about.
     
  29. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I still say talk to the teacher and see if she will allow your daughter to keep some things separate.
     
  30. Teacher807

    Teacher807 Rookie

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    What does her being a second year teacher have to do with the community supply issue? I don't see how that is related.
     
  31. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Okay, now some information I can sink my teeth into! I also have a left-handed daughter. Left-handed scissors (if you can find them at all) are expensive and SHOULD NOT be shared -- EVER. Right-handed scissors do not fit into their hands well, and can cause repetitive motion injuries if used over much. Lefties have enough of a problem starting out because everything -- and I mean EVERYTHING -- is written/geared for right-handed people. Pony, I wonder if you could reference the Americans with Disabilities Act as legal backup for your stance?
     
  32. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Spoken like a true conservative living in "fly over country"
    :clap: :clap: :clap: :2up: :clap: :clap: :clap:​
     
  33. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    I do, she has not had the time to try the many "ways" of the supply issue.

    Me, I have seen many "ways" of the supply issue but I have yet to see the end of the supply issue. (translation : I have not solved it either)
     
  34. Teacher807

    Teacher807 Rookie

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    If that is the case, then what does tenure have to do with it?
     
  35. kabd54

    kabd54 Cohort

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    And, if I may say so, Dave.... nor are you likely to any time soon!!
     
  36. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    Thank you Irishdave, that's all I was saying. I like your political reasoning from your past responses.

    Can I use these possible excuses?

    It's a political thing ma'am.

    Size does matter!

    But those materials don't match her ensemble!!!!

    Where I come from, people are responsible for themselves.

    Do you have a teacher community box for your post-it notes?

    What are you going to do when my daughter wants to color a yellow sun and someone has used the yellow marker on top on black marker drawing and ruined it, DESTROYING her masterpiece!!!! Will you be responsible for the years of counseling?!?!? It's 12:37am in my time zone, I'm tired.

    I will look into that act pwhatley.

    I will look around the house for donation materials and I WILL talk to the teacher still.
     
  37. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I'll say it again: we all have our opinions about this issue and none of us is going to change.

    Some of us believe in helping instill pride of possession, individuality, and responsibility in our students, and some of us believe it's just easier all-round to throw it all into a pot and force all the kids to share.

    As for the "sense of community. . . . " wouldn't a "community" wherein everyone was required to carry his/her own weight be a lot healthier than a "welfare community" wherein some people are babied, catered to, supplied with every need, and told it's not only all right, it's POLICY?

    You know, like the real world has lowered itself to be?

    Ahem. None of us is going to change.

    One request for community property teachers: Please remind your students that when they get into the upper grades, they're expected to bring their own **** pencil to every class, and if they come without, expectantly looking for the mass bin of free loot, they'll not find it and they. will. fail.

    As for a college student who expects handouts instead of doing the right thing. . . . on second thought, who cares?

    No, I am not mean. I'm just tired of people with a well-nurtured sense of entitlement.

    I believe that if children are allowed to have their own property and expected to care for it properly, the whole world will improve, one non-chewed pencil at a time.

    But go ahead, throw each child's property into the bins for the entire class to paw over. It's so much EASIER, and any little child who mourns for his/her Hello Kitty pencils might as well learn early that the world has become a welfare state, encouraged from K, first day.
     
  38. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    People are thinking that I'm "rocking the boat." I have to put on my Mary Poppins hat when I'm in my classroom and let parents feel accepted and listened to.

    So, NOW I AM the PARENT! What am I supposed to do?

    "If you work in a retail store, and the customer is always right, then when the retail employee goes to shop somewhere and gets a raw deal, he's supposed to just ACCEPT IT?!"

    NO... not working like that... I am the tax payer this time, I am the consumer.

    Before I was tenured, I made sure I didn't upset parents. It's not a threat by any means. It's not like I'm going to the school board. You just need to know when to let a parent have what is important to them. It doesn't cost her anything from her own pocket to grant my request.
     
  39. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    Well said Mamacita!
     
  40. BASAM

    BASAM Comrade

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    Aug 11, 2007

    I can relate to both sides.......

    The son where my son attends in also the same place that I teach and they do community supplies so I donate what is on the list by shopping the sales. However he also likes to pick out supplies that are just for him so I usually wait a few weeks and then let him take in his stuff, maybe you could do that. I think that if you donate to the class supply then it shouldn't matter if your child has personal items in their desk. The left handed scissor issue is definitely justified and she should keep those in her desk.

    As a teacher I collect pencils (they bring in about 20 each), glue, rulers, scissors ( I have had students-2nd graders- cut hair, eyebrows, and even a tongue once) but they keep the rest of their supplies.
     
  41. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Aug 12, 2007

    So the haves have their Hello Kitty pencils and their nifty multi-colored segmented rulers and the have nots---too bad little Suzy, your parents can't afford those, so you get the old left over supplies from last year.


    playing devil's advocate here
     
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