How Do You Manage Supplies?

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by White Pelican, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. White Pelican

    White Pelican New Member

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    Aug 18, 2009

    I was moved to sixth grade last year and will be there again this year. Great class, though some were very wasteful of supplies. This year especially we teachers will have to supply from our own money even more pencils, paper, and erasers because the district is really low on funds.
    Last year at the end of class I often found the erasers from pencil tips on the floor. I don't know if they rubbed them so hard that they came off or if they bit them off and tossed them.
    I came to resent just handing them more pencils and erasers and nagging them not to waste them.
    Does someone have a fair system that is very easy to manage? I would like to find a way to have them earn the supplies I buy for them, but again I need a system that's easy to manage.
     
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  3. SpecSub

    SpecSub Comrade

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    Aug 19, 2009

    I'm so sorry you have to buy for your students. I have a boy going into 6th grade and I'm more than happy to supply pencils, pens, paper, etc. I would feel horrible if the teacher bought them, especially if my child was wasteful.

    I have seen ideas here where teachers give out golf pencils or a crayon, and I would totally do that. I would also charge a 6th grader a dime for a pencil. And a dime for a cap eraser. It's 20 cents - it won't break their bank and will allow you to provide pencils without breaking yours.
     
  4. White Pelican

    White Pelican New Member

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    Aug 19, 2009

    It's very nice to read how understanding you are.

    Actually it is a law in California that the public schools provide paper and pencils, so teachers are not allowed to charge for them, even if we buy them ourselves. We are not allowed to fundraise in the classroom for them either, though one teacher I know has some kind of a gum-ball machine filled with trail mix that has brought in a good profit, but she'll get called to the carpet for it one of these days. We can do bake sales and car washes on weekends in front of stores to cover our supplies, but I'd rather buy the pencils than take from time I need at home. We do get some supplies from the district, but they are very meager, and if you go to the office asking for more before our monthly allotment, it'll look like you're not managing your supplies efficiently. Again, I'd rather buy my own. Actually, I really don't mind much, I just don't want kids taking advantage of it. I saw one girl with a stack of at least fifty of the notebook papers I had in a drawer for the class; she was drawing "I love Sergio" hearts all over them and doing other kinds of doodles and paper folding toys.

    I'm looking for some kind of ticket-token system. The kids earn tokens for good behavior and get them taken away for the opposite. If they want more than the one pencil a week I supply, they will have to use a token. If they had all their tokens taken, then I will call home to tell the mom the situation.

    However, I don't want to have to end up keeping tallies or have this interrupt my teaching in class. Maybe since these are older kids, they can take turns managing this themselves .
    I was just wondering if someone already has a system in place that works well.

    BTW, I just read this summer the book The Epidemic of Narcissism and HIGHLY recommend it. According to the authors, we are reaping the results of too much emphasis on self esteem and "I'm very special" awareness, and not enough on caring about others and asking kids, "What will you contribute to making this a better world?"
    I then saw a connection with my students wasting, yet feeling very entitled to supplies (and their throwing away food in the free breakfast and lunch program they all receive). I teach in a very low economic area, yet one doesn't need to wait long to see how kids have grown to feel entitled to be given things, and they expect the best. Last Christmas season we had Santa come for a party on a Saturday with literally a truck full of brand new wrapped toys, yet many of the grades 4-6 kids complained that their gifts weren't what they wanted. I could go on and on with such tales.

    They will get a very rude awakening when they become adults-- if not much sooner because I think Arnold will be cutting back on freebies dramatically. I don't know how this will impact their families with older siblings who not infrequently have babies while still in high school, fully expecting the government to provide for their child from birth through age 18.

    Sorry for the ranting--and I'm not very political, just expressing what I see and fear. I don't have kids myself, so I love bringing little holiday gifts and occasional food treats to my students, but I'd like to have a supplies-distribution system in my class that can teach kids that, as in the real world, they have to earn and take proper care of their tools.
     
  5. nogenrewriter

    nogenrewriter Companion

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    Aug 20, 2009

    At the beginning of the school year, I will put a coffee cup full of pencils and it's the students' responsibility to take care of them. I go through this whole spiel about how "you must take care of these pencils and return them when you are done because once they are gone, they're gone." This teaches them responsibility, accountability and the importance of conservation.
    As far as the latter part of your post, I could not agree more. Last year, I taught seniors and saw the fruit of our current politically correct self-esteem hoopla. I had classes of students who felt very entitled and over confident while seriously lacking skill. It just doesn't prepare them for life beyond public education.
     
  6. kidsandpups

    kidsandpups Companion

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    Aug 21, 2009

    Out of curiosity, what do you do when the pencils are gone and students show up without something to write? I have a student who consistently comes to class with no pen, none in his locker that I can send him to get (even if that was allowed), and no classmates will lend him one because he either complains about its quality or never returns it. Either I have to lend him one or he cannot do anything in class that day.
     
  7. mrsnikki

    mrsnikki Companion

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    Aug 21, 2009

    If he can't bring supplies to class and your school does not require you to provide a writing utensil...then let his grade reflect his inability to be responsible. Or try calling his parents about not being prepared for class.
     
  8. nogenrewriter

    nogenrewriter Companion

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    Aug 21, 2009

    My thoughts exactly.
     
  9. nogenrewriter

    nogenrewriter Companion

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    Aug 21, 2009

    I pretty much do what mrs. nikki suggests. if another student decides to replinish the cup than that is fine. i know a lot of teachers will take a valuable article from the student (shoe) and exchange it for the pencil at the end of class. i may try to do just that this year.
     
  10. 100%Canadian

    100%Canadian Companion

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    Aug 22, 2009

    I'll give each student a pencil from school stock each month; I'll even put their initials on it with permanent marker so there's no dispute of whose is whose. I also give out fancy pencils as monthly rewards but those tend to be a select few.

    The organized ones tend to make it last, or typically have their own anyway. It's the repeat offenders that we tend to battle most of the time. It's the one thing, I tell them, that they need for school, more than anything else. Forgetting one is like going canoeing without a paddle. Those that continue to show up empty handed - I just encourage them to find someone who will lend them one temporarily.

    I put it on the parents. I mention it in newsletters, occasionally requesting donations. It's sad that budgeting has become so handcuffed that the districts can't even supply pencils. Would they send surgeons to the O.R. without scalpels?

    As for the the "I'm entitled" theme, I think it's the whole generation, loosely speaking. I'm sure the vast majority of teachers see it on a daily basis. I just try to emphasize a good worth ethic and that everything doesn't need a reward. Sometimes, when I'm feeling sarcastic, I'll throw it back on them with, "Well, what's in it for me?" That gets them thinking... :)
     
  11. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Aug 22, 2009

    As for the kid showing up without writing utensils on a daily basis, it's his way of getting you off task. The more time he spends aggravating you, the less time you have to teach and the more time he has not to have to do anything.
    It's a vicious cycle and he's winning! KIds are smart and some are extremely manipulative. This one sounds to me like a champ at what he does. He has people on puppet strings. Time to cut the strings and dance to your own tune! Call home. Ask his folks to bring YOU a supply of pencils/pens and you will distribute them to him. Let them know that they are to tell him how and when you will get his writing materials to him daily. Make sure this distribution does not bring him any major attention during class. You can simply place the pencil on his desk before he arrives. Do not talk about it or respond to his nonsense about it. If he finds a new way to disrupt your class (which he most likely will since you will have beat him at this game) call home again. Repeat this process until he knows you are not falling for his tricks any more. My next concern, if this keeps up with new games, does he have any learning disabilities that prevent him from being able to participate in class? It seems he's going through a lot of work to avoid working in your class. There must be more to it than an absent pencil.
     
  12. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Aug 22, 2009

    You mentioned you were looking for a simple, easy token system:

    http://www.mspowell.com/tokensystem.html

    I just use tickets and have students write their names on them, and it works real well. (I teach four classes)
     
  13. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 22, 2009

    I bought my own set of sharpies during my time as an aide because I felt bad using the teachers and losing them. I'm HORRIBLE with keeping up with pens, pencils, highlighters and markers. I can keep up with other stuff but not that. Does that make me a horrible person? We have to teach kids to be responsible but sometimes we need to help them find a strategy that works for them. For most things, such as my keys, I have found something that works for me. I'm not good with writing tools though. I do have kids remind me and I thank them for it.
     
  14. kidsandpups

    kidsandpups Companion

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    Aug 22, 2009

    Thanks for the idea. I would have to get all of the middle school teachers on board and have a supply for him in each classroom which in the short term would solve the problem.

    On the other hand though, how does this teach him to be responsible and bring his things if we always do it for him? He'll be in 7th grade this year.

    We have contacted the parents about it and they claim that they'll handle it, but don't. They're never home and if they are they're fighting. He desperately wants their attention. He has no learning disabilities. He thinks he is above everything we are doing. His parents wanted him moved up a grade but it was decided that it was not best for him. He's very immature and manipulative.
     
  15. kim@kto5

    kim@kto5 Rookie

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    Oct 25, 2009

    Pencils, pens and other supplies are usually common items on the list of school supplies that students are to buy at the beginning of the year, but as the school progresses, supplies start disappearing and running short. Some ideas are to make a list of supplies needed and ask students to bring in supplies. If that is not an option, do you have a homeroom mom that can help? At one school I know of, there are one or more volunteers for each class and the parent can help to communicate with other parents for supplies needed. It can also come in handy when there are school events or parties, asking parents to help and send in supplies if they can.

    Hope that helps.
     
  16. KinderWonder

    KinderWonder Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2009

    Well what I was going to say was already suggested. My sixth grade teacher use to take our shoes or cell phones (we were not supposed to have them but all the teachers knew we had them and they didn't care unless they seen them) Then if we didn't return the pencil we didn't get our item back and if we returned it in poor condition she would charge us for it (I know you can't do that, so I would suggest maybe taking an item away from them to borrow the pencil or whatever then if it is returned in poor condition call their parents and explain that Susie was allowed to borrow a pencil today and she returned it in poor condition or failed to return it) I think that a point system would be a great idea too. Maybe tell them that they start the week with 5 points (1 per day) if they are wasteful of the paper or return the other supplies in poor condition they loose their point for the day and there is no earning points back. Then if they have all 5 points they get some fantabulous prize (maybe extra credit or a free homework pass, something you can change up but they will still want) 4 points they get a piece of candy or something and 3 and below they get another chance to try next week...
     
  17. KinderWonder

    KinderWonder Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2009

    Would it be an option for you to try the method of taking away one of his valuables (say a shoe for instance) and let him know he can borrow a pencil on a daily basis if he returns it, then he will get his shoe. Tell him it is his responsibility to turn over his shoe BEFORE class begins (or at least in the first few minutes) otherwise he will forfeit his opportunity for points for the day and it will reflect his grade. Then once it gets low enough, which shouldn't take long, give the whole class a progress report, when he sees how bad he is doing and that you are not playing around he might reconsider. Unfortunately many students do not care what their grades are unless their parents do, so this may or may not work...
     
  18. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    Nov 3, 2009

    Never mind the students and pencils, what about other teachers using your stuff?

    I have RE and language teachers come in and teach my students. They don't bring any whiteboard pens and use MY whiteboard pens. I do feel aggrieved because I buy unusual colours (pink, yellow, purple, brown, orange, etc) and they are more expensive than your bog standard red, blue, black and green. Why should I buy these pens for them to use? Then I think that's being petty and I should let them use my pens, there again . . . !!!
     
  19. paddlepops

    paddlepops Rookie

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    Nov 16, 2009

    I understand the frustration about not having enough resources. At my school, the school has a no A3 paper anymore. So I can't make posters for the children and the children have to do art on A4.
    I think at the end of each lesson, the students should be asked to return the pencils. If they do not, they will receive a detention.
     
  20. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Jan 17, 2010

    my kiddos are so wasteful! I have tried table bins with supplies , one box of supplies and even giivng out indivisual suplies but noting works! i dont know where the supplies go! We are supplied everything and I think thats why they have no concept of saving or taking care of supplies. They think can get more -- ( ya right at some point that stops)
     
  21. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Exactly. I have taught in one of the poorest schools imaginable, yet one thing that parents can always supply is a pencil. When a student comes in without one, I tell them they will have to write with a crayon. They never do. Because at that point, they somehow produce a pencil and never bother asking me for another. Everyone hates to write with a crayon, especially the worn down ones I supply.

    I tell students at the beginning of the year that their job is to come to school prepared with pencils and homework completed. I do not rescue them when they are unprepared.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 17, 2010

    I would NOT take a child's shoe.

    If that fire alarm goes off, you have a big problem. Likewise if he steps on something and gets hurt.
     
  23. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Jan 17, 2010

    haha not to mention at 6th grade they tend to get a bit smelly especially with gym .....Id rather not smell their shoeless foot all period.

    We have a grade "money" system and I collect 10.00 for a rented pencil and they can buy them for 30.00.
     
  24. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    Jul 3, 2010

    or you can always buy them for .25 at walmart before school starts...but as many as you can that will last you all year..buy a pack per student and take off pts from their grade if they run out
     

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