Desks or Tables? Community supplies?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by lindalou, May 7, 2006.

  1. lindalou

    lindalou Rookie

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    I'm having a dilemma. I used to have desks for each child. They kept their school supplies in their desks. But this year, I moved all the desks out and moved tables in. So there is no place for them to keep their stuff. So I decided we would do community supplies and all pencils, crayons, markers, etc were dumped into baskets for them to move to their tables when they need them...

    I'm not sure what I am doing wrong, and I think it must be me, but there are pencils and crayons everywhere at the end of the day. We pick them all up, but it didn't seem to be such a problem w/desks. Also, we never seem to have enough to go around and I can't figure out where the pencils and crayons are going! So.

    1. Should I go back to desks?
    2. Should I keep tables and if so, what is the best way to solve my school storage problem?
     
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  3. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I know a lot of teachers who have tables and have community supplies with no problems. I have had problems with community supplies and tables (I teach autistic students and they have problems with others in their personal space), so I stopped using them. Everyone has a their own pencil box, with their own supplies but they are kept in a larger container in the middle of the table when not in use. I prompt my students to look on the floor before transitioning. Everything left on the floor after this warning is mine and I quickly go around and pick everything up in front of them. I put everything in a baggy and use a magnetic clip to put in on my whiteboard so that they could see how many things that I have had to pick up off of the floor. I only have about 20 crayons and 2 pencils because after my students realized that they will not be getting anything returned that I have picked up after I have given them their warning (they have to borrow from a friend or I LEND them mine), they have starting picking things up and telling their peers to pick up items off of the floor. Work items found on the floor has to be redone because if it is left on the floor, it must be trash.

    Most of the items are from one student whose room must be a real pigsty. He could have 10 crayons on the floor within the first 10 minutes of school even when we don't do an activity requiring crayons.
     
  4. lindalou

    lindalou Rookie

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    ok, proud2b - I have a couple of questions! Do you really NEVER give the stuff in the baggy back. I love this suggestion but it would not work w/community supplies. They just look down and say it's not mine. And exactly what kind of larger container in the middle of the tables (you have to draw me a picture LOL!) I'm picturing like a household caddy w/a handle in the middle? Thanks so much and I'm totally doing the baggy thing next year!
     
  5. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    I use community supplies on each table. There is a basket in the center of the table. In the basket are cups. One cup with pencils, one with scissors, and 2 full of crayons. When we clean up after any activity, they put everything back in the basket. Other than an ocassional crayon that rolls on the floor I really haven't had a problem. I do remind them to "check the floor" if I am walking the room and notice anything. They know this is the expectation and they take care of it.

    Last year I had a little more difficulty so I assigned table captains. One of their jobs was to clean up the basket at the end of the day. They loved having a job and it became a big competition to make theirs look nicer than the next table.
     
  6. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    It is a household container (like the shoebox size plastic containers). I have just started the baggy thing last month because I was tired of stepping on crayons... I have to keep from smirking when they go to look for something and can't find it and then they look at the baggy and realize it is there. For the first week, I had a student constantly come up and hug me or rub my arm, look at me with his puppy dog eyes and very sweetly ask me for a crayon in the baggy - made me want to give it him, but I didn't. Maybe if he had offered me chocolate :).

    I really do not give back the items I take. If I get a special pencil (the kind with the designs)... I will give it back at the end of the year, since the end is so near. If I were to get it earlier in the year I would probably send it home (to stay) at the end of the month and make them use a yellow pencil until they earned another designed pencil.

    I have sent home personal markers (to stay) if a student could not use them responsibly. I do keep their markers and they could come and get them only with permission.

    I write names on pencils with a skinny permanent marker about 3 times, at the top near the eraser. One of my students hated it and decided to chew it off, but he hasn't done it again after I wrote his name on a new pencil about 20 times -- too much chewing I guess :D . We now know whose pencil I have found and who has lost/broken their pencil and taken someone elses. I had a couple student who used to take someone else's pencil, will not pick up a dropped pencil or will kick it under a shelf so he will not be able to get it, take it to the media center/another class and leave it there...., so with the names on it they cannot fight over who lost a pencil, who used all of the eraser on a pencil, who put a pencil in their month and which pencil it was with the germs on it....

    Last year I had pencils with the silver metal holding on the eraser. I bought another package and it had gold metal. THE HORRORS! They argued constantly who had the "golden pencil" first and who used it yesterday...
     
  7. Irissa

    Irissa Cohort

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    I do recess at the end of the day. If the floor isn't picked up we don't go out. My kids have learned to pick up because everything in the room is "ours". Alternately you could stop during the day for 5 minutes and have them pick up. One teacher I know uses the magic item prize. She chooses one item and if the child picks up that they get a piece of candy.
     
  8. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I must make a comment about community supplies from a parent's point of view and I'm sure I'm not alone. As a parent, I hate it. I feel that I buy the supplies for my children and they should not be dumped into a huge community pot for those who don't bother to buy their fair share of supplies. It may be different over there, but we have long lists to fill in before the school year starts and I want to know that everything I buy is for MY child and no one else's.
     
  9. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Besides, kids learn to be responsible for their things when they have to keep track of them themselves.
     
  10. lindalou

    lindalou Rookie

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    Canadian Teacher's point of view is noted. I guess I feel that way as a parent, too, now that I think of it. I'm thinking that my students will take better care of THEIR stuff, too. I sent a note home that we were short on everything and I made separate cubbies just for the children who brought new supplies and sure enough they DO take better care of their own stuff!
     
  11. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I would have hated having to dump my own precious crayons and scissors, etc, into a community pot for every other kid to dig into. I took really good care of my own things, and tried hard to keep them nice. Ditto for my own kids and their supplies. The very thought of turning them over for community use and never having them for my own again, almost makes me cry. I vote no. Besides, everybody's stuff is really nobody's stuff. And nobody is going to care what happens to it.

    Please, let your students have their own things! And I completely agre with Canadian Teacher's comment.
     
  12. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Jane, you must have read my mind! AMEN!
     
  13. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    I buy things for the community containers, but each student has special containers for their personal things on the corner. Works great.
     
  14. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    I guess it depends also on the area you teach. I have all community belongings but I and the school buy everything. Our students do not provide any school supplies at all.
     
  15. Irissa

    Irissa Cohort

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    We cannot ask for more than $15 in supplies and most of what I ask for is comp books which we use a ton of during the year. Every child brings in one set of 12 yellow pencils. My parents have had issues sending in resupplies of items like pencils or paper. I solved that by making the items community. I decided when pencils are to small to use or ready to be moved to the retired pencil grave yard. Allowing the students to keep their own pencils meant they were gone in the first 2 weeks of school. Now they last us all year. And I am not spending my own money on pencils. While I understand parents feelings of I bought the stuff my kid should use it, that just doesn't work in my area.
     
  16. Minerva

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    I give the students in my new class the supply list before school lets out for summer with advice to shop the "Back to School" sales in August. I give it out again in September. I remind parents when we have conferences that their children run out of paper, pencils, etc. and these need to be replenished. I try to keep the list to the very basic things because I know our parents don't have a lot of money.

    Despite all of this I find that the many of my students never have a ruler, crayons, or scissors. If I ask the class to do a paper in pen, you'd think I was asking that they write it in blood. I am left in the position of either buying the supplies myself, or the student not being able to do the assignments. Once I buy rulers, scissors, crayons, pencils, etc., and make them available for those who do not have them, I soon find that fewer and fewer children even try to bring their own supplies. I would never want to deprive a student whose parents did not have any money for supplies (I was poor as a child), yet many of these kids have cable tv in their bedrooms, ipods, and video games. I'd love to know how other teachers deal with this problem. The school gives each teacher $100 per school year for supplies such as bulletin board paper, borders, posters, etc. We all know that $100 doesn't go very far.
     
  17. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Same here. I have actually heard parents complain about not needing to buy supplies because that is the fun part about going back to school. Going out with mom or dad and picking out a new pencil box and so on.
     
  18. RainStorm

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    I guess I'm really an odd duck, but I let one student stay a few minutes after class to pick up all the odds and ends on the floor. The others are VERY jealous if they don't get picked, so they quickly pick up everything so there is very little left for the "chosen one" to do.

    We use community supplies -- and at the beginning of the year, I tell parents if they aren't willing to do this, they make take all of their child's supplies back home. I still provide community supplies for ALL. It is just less hassle for me.
     
  19. crnewton

    crnewton New Member

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    It can work

    Last year I worked in a grade 1/2 classroom with communal supplies. In the centre of each table there was a basket with pencils, erasers and maybe a pair or 2 of scissors. As well, there were 5 hard plastic cases each of markers, pencil crayons and crayons, a bucket with scissors and a bucket with glue in it. Instead of each student bringing in supplies at the start of the year, each paid a set amount at the start and these supplies, along with scribblers, duotangs, etc.

    Last year, the teacher would make sure that at the start of each week, the baskets were filled with supplies. This year, at the start of each week, her helpers for the week sort out the colouring tools, sharpen the pencils, and make sure each basket is filled for the week.

    Last year, we had difficulty with the kids dropping pencils/erasers on the floor and not picking them up. Eventually, we (teachers and assistants) stopped picking up the supplies, and the kids started to realize that they needed to take care of their supplies if they wanted to be able to use them.

    It's an interesting approach, one that I had never seen before, and for them it seems to work. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
     
  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My students are terrible about having the necessary supplies at school. I could hand out 10 pencils and 50 sheets of lined paper every day, but I don't. The students have quickly learned that they need to bring their own, or find a good friend to borrow from. I will pass out new pencils to all from time to time, and have "Borrowing Bins" of scissors, glue sticks, pencil crayons, etc. The caretakers laugh at me because I follow them down the halls at night picking up the pencils, rulers, etc. that they sweep up from other classrooms (these are what my students can borrow). I need to stretch my budget any way I can!
     
  21. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Ms. C what grade level do you teach? And are pencil crayons the same thing as colored pencils?
    That is so funny about picking up the pencils in the hallway.
     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I teach grade 5. Yes, pencil crayons are coloured pencils. The teacher in the room beside me have been known to race down the hall to rescue the "good stuff" from the dust piles that have been swept out of the rooms--new glue sticks, rulers and scissors. I laugh when I think about being caught on the security cameras picking up things out of the garbage!
     
  23. KatieS

    KatieS Rookie

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    During my student teaching, we played magic trash at the end of every day. The students pick up everything in the room and put it in its proper place. I choose 1 thing in the room that is out of place and the student that picks up that thing wins a small prize. Usually a piece of candy. It worked wonderfully. The students thought it was fun and the room was clean and organized every single day. Or you could try making it one of the classroom chores and rotate on a weekly basis who is in charge of picking up pencils and erasers.
     
  24. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    LOL! I wasn't sure if anyone would have picked up on this. Colored pencils is one thing that I am still getting used to saying after moving from Canada to the US (in Canada we call them pencil crayons). My students look at me like I am an alien when I tell them that they could use my pencil crayons :p .:p
     
  25. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I laughed out loud when I read this. It made me smile. It's so strange that two countries can be so close yet, worlds apart in some of the ways that the communicate.
     
  26. ctclem

    ctclem New Member

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    It is almost a necessity in my school to have community supplies. At the beginning of the year, we ask for 12 yellow pencils, cap erasers, glue sticks and tissue. We also send home a list for supplies needed at home to be used for homework. We suggest that students keep "special" pencils at home because they will be considered class pencils if they are found on the floor. Even with the donations of supplies, I have found it necessary to purchase pencils several times this year. Recently, I started having the children sign out a pencil if they borrowed one. They write their name on the board and can erase it at the end of the day if they return the pencil. If a particular student habitually fails to return a pencil, I warn him that he or she will no longer be able to borrow a class pencil unless future pencils are returned. This seems like a big deal over a small issue, but it is unreal how many times my students have argued about whose pencils are whose. As a parent, I would buy special items for my child to use at home and generics to send for supplies.
     
  27. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    My students all buy their own supplies, but if for some reason they can't bring them we have a stash. We don't tell parents that. At the beginning of the year we have a supply checklist to see if students have brought all their supplies. Reminders are sent home a couple times after that. Our local Wal-Mart has been really good to donate supplies to us each year.

    As for community supplies, I do this with a few things. Scissors, glue, and markers are by biggie for keeping in community supplies. I learned the hard way during my student teaching about those. We only use them when we need to, and names or intitials are put on everything so we can send them home at the end of the year. I teach my students at the beginning of the year that it doesn't matter who's we use, because we're sharing them. I also put pencils in a box. Students use what they have, and when they need a new one they get it. I find that if students keep their pencils in their desks, they use all 12 in the first 2 weeks.

    If you have cubbies, like me, you can have them keep their pencil box in the divided section until they need them. It just takes time to train them the way you want to.

    You could also do a table contest at the end of each day. Get something like little pompom balls and give one to everyone at each table that has cleaned up for the day. You then have a small basket for each table. The students but their ball in their basket. Whoever has the most at the end of the week gets to get a treat out of the treat jar. You can even pass out the balls after they've left for the day. They can put them in their baskets the first thing in the morning.
     
  28. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Here's a previous thread where we discussed tables and chairs. It may help give you a few ideas.

    From desks to tables
     
  29. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    For my sixth, seventh, and eighth graders: I kept a few stubby pencils for emergency use, but all of my assignments had to be done in ink. If a student came into my room without a pen and paper, he/she failed for the day. On the first day of school, I gave each student a paper copy of the classroom rules. At the bottom of that paper, were places for the student to sign, and for the parent to sign. I did not accept excuses.

    I also sold pens and mechanical pencils for a buck apiece. Funny, most of the kids usually had the money for that. They didn't use the pencils in my room, but the math teacher next door required pencils.

    There were also opportunities to 'win' pens in my room. Plus, at holidays, I gave each student pens. It was up to the student to keep track of his/her things. At the middle school level, there just weren't any viable excuses. None, none, none.

    And as a parent and as a former child who loved school supplies and kept my own VERY nicely, I abhor the community pencil pot. Let the kids who don't have the organizational skills take the consequences. And if the child is too poor to have supplies, give him/her the stuff and require him/her to take care of it.

    No, I can't agree. To each his own, and no sharing.
     

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