Community Supply Buckets

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by bam451, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. bam451

    bam451 Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2005

    Our second grade team decided this year to put all of the students supplies in community buckets. The supplies get so tempting inside the desks and they loose them. Having community baskets has cut down on that. I have plenty of buckets of crayons, markers, scissors, and glue. They are available for whenever they need them. I have a parent who is very upset with me for having community buckets. I told them that it helps remind the students that we are working as a team towards the same goal. I told them that it cuts down on the fighting over what belongs to who. Everything belongs to everybody. I have open hosue next week and they are planning on coming to further discuss this issue. I dont know what more I can say. I do not feel like I should change my ways for one parent. I expressed to them that this was a part of my classroom management. Have any of you every ran into this problem? Are there any other ideas on what I could say?

    Thanks for the help! I really enjoy reading this message board!

    Beth
     
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  3. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I can see your point of it is a community, but personally,as a parent and child, I wouldn't care for that either. Part of the excitement of going back to school is getting your supplies, at least it was in my case, and my own kids case. They like to take "ownership" of their supplies as well. I think there are other ways of building a community rather then a community bucket. Like, sharing something with a friend should they run out of glue. That teaches compassion as well as sharing and being part of a community. What I do in my K class is collect their supplies and use baskets to put them in. I put their markers in individual ziplock bags with their names on them, and put all of them into my basket. When it is time to use these, I just get out that basket and hand out their own markers. I do the same for dry erase markers, glue, and crayons. That way, they still keep their own possessions, but aren't distracted by having them at their tables. They are only available when I need them to be. It works great, and also keeps their work boxes from getting crowded, messy and everything lost in them. And, they still get to have their own supplies, which many of them probably picked out personally.
     
  4. Gopher4

    Gopher4 Comrade

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    I teach 4th grade and we have community supplies too. I keep their glue, scissors, crayons and rulers. I specify on the supply list that they bring regular everything, nothing fancy or extra. I haven't had any complaints. I think older kids are more excited about their cool binders and cute spirals anyway. They get to keep those. I just keep the regular stuff. Even if parents did complain, I would still do it and explain my reasoning. Learning is more important than crayons and glue. When the students keep their supplies in their possession - there are distractions. Having sets of supplies is more convenient and helps class run more smoothly.
     
  5. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Gopher,
    I like that you specify it should be regular, etc. good idea. do you let them know on the class supply list that those items will be shared..........I think that would make a huge difference, rather then after the fact. parent's would prefer to know that ahead of time when buying the supplies, and so would the kids. I know what you mean about binders and notebooks.......my son is crazy about his lime green binder....loves it! :) He is in fourth grade. Maybe it is different for me 'cause I'm in k. but my basket method works great!
     
  6. bam451

    bam451 Rookie

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    I can see where you are coming from however I don't have time to pass out 26 bags of supplies to students. It is much easier to hand out 6 buckets of markers or crayons.
     
  7. bam451

    bam451 Rookie

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    I agree.. All of the kids bring in a box of 24 crayons. There is nothing fancy about them. I also let students know if they bring in fun pencils that they have the option to share them with the community or bring them home and use them for homework. I just think that there are far more things to be concerned with than this.
     
  8. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I only have to pass them out in the beginning of the year..they are still learning how to read names. they get their own after awhile, and it doesn't take long. the baskets could be color coded....all kids names a-d supplies in red basket, e-i in blue, etc. since they are in clear bags, they can easily grab what they need. i understand about the time thing....lots of kids. I just thought I'd let you know what has worked for me........and where I was coming from. as i said to gopher, if you let the parents know ahead of time that this is what you are doing, it shouldn't be such a big deal, but i personally don't think you should spring it on them after the fact. I also think it teaches the kids responsibility and organization in having to take care of their own supplies at that age. That in itself is an important lesson.
     
  9. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2005

    In my school we buy all the supplies we need. I bought 4 large baskets. Inside I put 5 boxes of crayons, 5 pencils and 5 glue sticks. I also use 4 coffee cans and put markers in them. I pass those to each table when we need them. So far so good with them. In the past I have had individual pencil boxes and it drove me crazy b/c since we sit at tables they had to go get their boxes from their cubbies and they constantly were banging them. They couldn't resist. I think you have to do what is best for you. Maybe what you can do is tell the kids what brand of things to buy so everything looks the same and no one is fussy.
     
  10. wdwteach

    wdwteach Cohort

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    In our team, we put a plastic tumbler cup on each child's desk with velcro. They can keep anything that will easily fit in there. (crayons, med. glue bottle, several pencils and a sharpener will all fit) Any extra supplies are stored in their lockers. (1st grade) They are aloud to replenish supplies in the morning. I am not crazy about community supplies because it spreads germs. I know kids are germy anyway but I do not will do my part to keep us all from getting sick.
    Anyway, I love the cups. Their desks are so much neater and they have everything they need right in front of them. Also I don't have to hear ten overloaded pencil boxes crash to the floor every day.
     
  11. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    AMK,
    In my opinion, that is different if the school is buying the supplies. Of course that should be a community basket. I just think it is different when you are asking parents to buy it for their children, and then not just your child uses it. I'm not a selfish person, don't want to come across that way, I do share things in our classroom such as crackers, ziplock bags, tissues, paper towels, etc., so it's not that I don't do that, but I do let parents know that those things will be a classroom item, shared by all. I just think pencils, crayons, markers and those type things are more personal to a child and should be just their own when bought by a parent. That's only my two cents, I understand if you don't agree, but being a parent and a teacher, I see both sides of the argument.
     
  12. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2005

    KinderKids I understand what you are saying.
    If I was a child I would want the crayons I bought. Maybe you can have label their supplies and put them in a basket in the middle. They have to use what they brought. There are many ways to handle it.
     
  13. wdwteach

    wdwteach Cohort

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    Oh yeah, I also have some general supply baskets on a table. They have extra supplies that were purchased by the school or donated and the kids can borrow them as needed. They keep their supplies from home in their cups. I put supplies in the cups of kids that did not have anything. Now everyone always has what they need.
     
  14. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2005

    I would have to agree with kinderkids - I don't care for that community bucket of stuff either.

    But, next year, could you set a supply fee for each student? - then you could purchase the supplies. Everything would be the same/uniform. Perhaps, you might be able to get them cheaper by buying in bulk. That would please the parents!
     
  15. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Sep 9, 2005

    I LOVE the community bucket! It makes life so much easier!!!!! One basket per group....no one fights over who has what....it all belongs to everyone! It really teaches them to share ( most of them live in a world where its me me me me!)
    In the past i have put on notes that supplies will be collected and shared umong the class....I never had a problem!
    This year in my new school the list was sent out before I was hired, so they all brought thier own things (many of which I will never use...markers which I hate...too messy!, real glue again too messy! So I collected them, and told the kids that I would let them know when they could use their own supplies and for now we are going to use the community baskets that we have for everyone......This way it makes using those supplies 'special' :)
     
  16. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    love2teach,
    not trying to cause an arguement, please don't take this the wrong way,but how is that teaching them to share when everything is community owned? wouldn't they learn to share better if they had their own supply and borrowed it to a friend when they saw a friend in need? I use that as a teachable moment and the kids learn to help their neighbor by offering to share their supply with them. and also, what's wrong with the fight? how are they going to learn to resolve the problem if the opportunity doesn't present itself? I'm not encouraging fighting, but kids need to learn how to resolve those kinds of problems and how to help eachother out. we aren't teaching them anything if it simply keeps them from fighting.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 9, 2005

    I put the note about community supplies on my class supply list so they know before they buy. Some things (glue, post its, pencils) are community supplies- others on the list are not- So the kids do have 'Ownership' of some of the supplies they brought. (My kids have desks so I don't have to hand out everything) Could your kids do something like that? Happy compromise!
    Don't let the parents run your open house or dictate how you manage your class- explain the policy ONCE at BTS night and then move on.
     
  18. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    I agree, you should do what you want to do in YOUR room.

    I have tables in my classroom and last year I let the students keep their supplies in pencil boxes in baskets in the center of the table....NIGHTMARE!!!

    This year I collected almost all of their supplies and use them as community.

    I've already found that kids are treating supplies better! Instead of having the mentality that "oh well I broke my pencil...mom and dad will buy me a new one" they now see it as....if I break this pencil then nobody will be able to use it anymore. I also found that the years my students kept their own supplies they didn't want to share at all and got really greedy and would horde things. This way has just been a lot easier for time and space and classroom climate.

    I also like community supplies because it cuts down on the bragging about items or showing off.

    I want my students to be excited about what they are doing WITH the supplies and not the supplies themselves.
    Hmmm I didn't intend to write that much, but I guess I had stronger feelings about it than I thought.
     
  19. Keling9

    Keling9 Companion

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    Sep 9, 2005

    In my classroom, I have a community basket for each table. The only things that have labels on them are their journals and crayons. (Our school corp. provides the crayons...and they get a crayon when that color has been introduced...I really stress the importance that "This is your only red crayon. You break it, too bad! You break your neighbors, you have to give them yours!" I try to express ownership there.) Everything else...glue, pencils, markers, glue sticks...all go into the community basket at their table. I have YET for a parent to complain!

    I do have some kids "argue" over who gets the longer pencil or what color of marker they're using, but very seldom. I love the baskets for each table!!

    Bam--I would ask the parent why they are so upset. If anything, tell them, "Sorry, this is my classroom and this is a part of my classroom management. I would be happy to label the items you bought and return what is unused at the end of the year." If they can't live with that, then too bad. If the child isn't complaining, then I wouldn't worry about it too much. I think many parents forget the reason why their child is in school! (Have you seen the Meijer commercial where the kids are "soo excited" about new school supplies only to make paper airplanes and paper wads? That's what this reminds me of!) Stick to your guns! Good luck!
     
  20. Gopher4

    Gopher4 Comrade

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    Wow! This turned out to be a hot topic. Kinderkids, I have not included the community concept on my supply list before. I probably haven't had any parent problems because there were teachers in 2nd and 3rd that did it before me, so it wasn't a new concept. Letting parents know ahead of time that some supplies will be shared is a good idea, though. That way you have informed them and you can move on and they know what to expect. I have also found that there are plenty of opportunities to teach sharing and other character traits throughout the day and year. This is just one thing that is incredibly convenient and works very well. I taught 1st grade for 9 years and we had the kids keep their labeled supplies in long plastic baskets that were taped to the top corner of their desks. This changed my life as a first grade teacher! The kids had quick access to their stuff and there were no more dropped and dumped boxes spilling out on the floor. Teachers have to deal with so much in a day and we all have different ways of surviving and trying to make things a little less complicated.
     
  21. Keling9

    Keling9 Companion

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    Kinderkids...although teachable moments are a very important part of teaching and learning, I'm hoping that by the time these kids are in second grade we're not arguing over which crayons are mine and which ones are yours and he's hogging the glue. There are many other opportunities for standing up for yourself. Coming from a large school district where most kids are "street", I think they have bigger issues to deal with than that. (More like, where's my next meal coming from, and he looked at me funny!) It's not to say that we don't have problems like this in ALL grade levels, but for many, the whole community basket thing makes life a little easier for the kids as well as the teachers! I do agree with you, but I also see the flip side.
     
  22. Keling9

    Keling9 Companion

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    The reason for children to be in school isn't for the new school supplies...it's to learn. Speaking from MY experience, I do think parents have a tendancy to forget the real reason why their children are in school. For them, it's "to get them out of my hair" or a "babysitting service"...regardless of age. If parents are going to expend that energy on arguing with a teacher about school supplies instead of their child's academic achievement, then yes, the parent has forgotten the reason why their child is in school.

    And as for me saying "too bad"...I would never really say that to a parent, but strongly stick to my guns and say, "Sorry, but this is MY policy." It's all about tact...especially with parents. Who in their right mind would say "Too bad" to a parent? If there's a teacher who would, then that would really be unprofessional, and they shouldn't be teaching! Obviously, if the parents are that uptight about it, then you'll know better for next year to say, "I have a community bucket of supplies. These items will be included."
     
  23. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    keling,
    I completely understand your point on making things easier for everyone, and you are right about kids shouldn't be arguing over things like that, but it sounds like they still are. I know what you are saying, not trying to make you angry, just am wearing my "mom" hat now, and not my "teacher" hat. I guess the best way to handle an issue like that is not to catch parents off guard, by telling them ahead of time, there are no surprises. And of course, parents should be willing to listen to what the teacher has to say as well.......it's a two way street, and it is important to keep it that way through communication and understanding. :)
     
  24. Keling9

    Keling9 Companion

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    That's the unfortunate side of teaching...you're the teacher, nurse AND the parent while at school...and the parent at home! You have to think like a teacher and a parent...see both sides, then approach things cautiously.

    Granted, stating the obvious up front will solve lots of potential problems later. What you know now is what you should have known then! Bam--You'll know for next year!
     
  25. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    I agree with Gopher4, this has become a hot topic! I wish I knew how to make this a poll! Personally, I prefer to let the kids keep their individual supplies and teach them to share. Our district is lucky because the Parent Group buys a lot of extra supplies and allows us to get supplies for those who don't purchase what is needed. I just give them to the ones who don't have them when they say "I don't have markers." I think the parents do not abuse it because they think I buy them! I don't know! :)
     
  26. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've done both- keep your own stuff, and share in a group. When I shared supplies, it was because of a logistic nightmare for the kids to keep their own belongings due to lack of cubby space and no individual storage. At the time, there was no other alternative. It actually worked out for the best. The kids were told we would split up all supplies at the end of the year and I had bought ten or so extras of everything so even if something was broken during the year, they would get to take things home. Usually by Christmas, none of the kids have a green crayon, and parents are asked to buy more supplies (and most do not). That year, everyone had every color they needed. Pencils didn't magically disappear, and glue sticks lasted longer than normal. I think there are pros and cons for each system but the teacher is the person in charge of his/her room and can make decisions that are best for his/her classroom.
     
  27. bam451

    bam451 Rookie

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    I totally agree. I think one thing that bothered me was that this child is below grade level. This is what should keep parents up at night. Not the fact that their supplies are being shared. If every child brings in a package of 24 crayons then what does it matter whose crayons they use. Also, this particular student did not bring in supplies the first week of school. So by me using community supplies, this child was able to particpate in all of the activities. Otherwise it would have been a bigger deal that he hadn't turned in his supplies and that he now needs to ask someone if he can borrow theirs.
     
  28. bam451

    bam451 Rookie

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    I think that is a great idea to inform parents ahead of time about the community buckets. I never really thought of that before. THe only problem is that the district sends out the supply lists and we do not have the option to personal notes. The only think I could do is send a note home a few days before school when I get my class list and let them know.
     
  29. researcher

    researcher Guest

    Sep 10, 2005

    Try compromising. I usually had 5 or 6 teams (with a class size of at least 30) within my classroom. Each team had a basket for which they stored their personal supplies. They simply needed to label their own materials within the basket. Additionally, the basket contained other items of that nature that were school purchased. The baskets were stored on a shelf, thus preventing the distractions that occur when rulers and markers and glue sticks are in close proximity (so much more fun than the task at hand...). Students maintained a small supply of pencils and whatever else they would need for the day. This strategy worked for me for years! There was just never enough room in those student desks!
     
  30. readingisgood

    readingisgood Rookie

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    Actually, community supplies creates the opportunity to teach about sharing and getting along. When students have their own supplies the only "teachable moment" is when one student runs out. As long as all students have supplies, they remain in an inward-focused mindset, i.e., my crayons, my glue, my scissors to use on my work.

    With community supplies, the very environment they work in becomes outward, shared, communal. The crayons are everyone's, and as they use them they are constantly in contact with one another, constantly reminded that they are part of a class and must work to get along. When two students reach into the crayon bucket simultaneously, that's an opportunity to practice (or teach) taking turns. When one student has a glue bottle and another one needs it, that's an opportunity to share. Furthermore, the students take ownership of materials, not as individuals but as a group. They start to think of themselves as a class, which can otherwise be a difficult transition (for kindergartners, especially, many of whom have never been in school before and are used to the world almost literally revolving around them).

    Add to this that community supplies greatly increases time on task (something my principal, in particular, loses her head over), and I think it stands out as a great classroom practice.

    I've had parents over the years who had a problem with the approach (although I indicate that supplies are shared in my class, it does not say so on the school supply list that parents get when they register over the summer). Usually, when I explain that it is both a community building and an academic time saving thing, they ease up. I always tell any that still have a problem that they are welcome to take their child's supplies home. I make it clear that their child will not suffer in class for this; they will use the community supplies the same as anyone else, whether they contribute or not, but that students in my class do not keep individual supplies and any supplies that are not to be shared should stay at home.

    I've had parents who took that $.25 box of crayons home, too, if you can believe it. But that's fine. I'd rather kick in an extra box or crayons or pair of scissors than deal with that person's ire, anyway. And since this solution gives them exactly what they asked for (their child's supplies will not be used communally), it sort of cuts the legs out from under their complaint, leaving them with little to do but either change their mind or walk away (we certainly shouldn't interact in a hostile way with parents, but we shouldn't be expected to accept abuse from them, either).
     
  31. ruralneteach

    ruralneteach Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2005

    I decided to buy all the supplies for my students that I anticipated we would need. Each table has a carousel on it with four sections that is big enough to hold a pair of scissors, box of crayons, eraser and three pencils. I have a plastic containers for rulers, markers, and spare crayons.

    The only supplies that I required were three boxes of Kleenex. My parents were very happy to not have to buy supplies and are helping out with the cost of snacks instead.

    I'm already glad that I switched to this method. I tried the individual supplies last year and hated the time it took for students to get their materials. Now there are no fights over who's pencil is whose ....
     

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