unprepared students (ex. no pen, no pencil)

Discussion in 'High School' started by mthteach, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. mthteach

    mthteach Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2008

    I have found that many students show up to my high school math class without something to write with. I have found that teachers use different methods in dealing with this situation. Some teachers sells students a writing utensil, while others take collateral to use one of theirs, some teachers just let the kids sit there if another student does not have a utensil that can be borrowed. I am not sure how to deal with this appropriately. I find that trying to track down my pencils by the end of the period that were borrowed when you are teaching bell to bell can be difficult. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Tape artificial flowers to the ends of the pencils. They won't be able to use the erasers, but you'll probably get your pencils back! I keep some flower pens in a pretty flower pot on top of my filing cabinet.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My rental fee for a pen or pencil is the student's left shoe. Seriously! They will walk out without their IDs, notebooks, or even their wallets, but they need both shoes. Why the left? I'm not sure, but that's the foot I always demand.
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Golf Pencils - kids hate them and I found students eventually remember to bring pencils to my class.
     
  6. createdtoteach

    createdtoteach New Member

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    Give 'em pencils

    Have a pencil cup just for them and let them know that once the pencils are gone, they're gone.
    Any loose pencils on the floor or desks at the end of the day are put into the cup.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    When I run out of regular pencils (I have TONS), I'm going to get the golf pencils. I don't really care of they walk away because you can get like 2,000 of them for a couple of bucks.

    For now, I usually just give a pencil or pen (not one of MY pens, though) to a kid who asks for one. Our school is pretty low SES, and I know that's a factor in the students being able to bring in their own supplies. I'd rather just hand over basic items without consequence or penalty because at least the kid is trying to do the work, you know? And it doesn't seem fair to me to call a kid out when the reason he doesn't have any supplies is because his family can't afford them or doesn't have a car to drive to WalMart.

    If I notice that a student is habitually asking for pens or pencils and just seems to be really unorganized, I usually tell him or her that this is the last one they're getting for free, and after this they have to pay for them. I charge 10 cents per pencil.

    I don't accept collateral because I don't want to be responsible for a student's personal belongings. I also don't want them taking off their shoes and stinking up the room!

    For paper, I do something unique. Our school uses Cornell-style note-taking. I designed some Cornell notes on the computer with the headings in Latin (of course!). I take them to the copy guy and ask for 1,000 copies--copies are free and unlimited. When a kid doesn't have paper, I just tell him to take a few sheets of Cornell note paper.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2008

    Oh, and another thing!

    Before we take semester exams, we talk about what items are acceptable to bring to school/class. I tell kids to bring a pen and a pencil. I stress this daily in the week leading up to the exam.

    If a student comes unprepared for the final, I usually ask, "Why do you not have a pencil? Did you not realize where you'd be coming today?" And then I either hand over a pencil if I have any handy, or I tell them to borrow one from a classmate.
     
  9. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I have pens with silk flowers attached in a vase at the front of the room. I have lined notebook paper in a bin by the vase. Students use it if they need it.

    I'm curious to see what happens this school year. Every student is getting a laptop (a notebook laptop that has a stylus-pen to write on the screen ... the screen flips around like a notebook). I'm going to try to use these as much as I can ... so, no notebooks, no pens needed ... it's all in the laptop. BUT, I've had my laptop since March and I lost my stylus last month. I looked EVERYWHERE! The replacement cost? $60 with shipping. HolySCHMOLY! The laptops have a "stylus garage" that holds the stylus securely when it's not in use ... but, I still managed to lose mine! I don't know what our school's plan is for replacing a stylus lost by a teacher or student ... I didn't even ask, I just bought a new one.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Oh, ps, I've been told, but I have never verified, that shoes off in a classroom is a violation of the fire code. Worth checking if you use shoes in exchange for a pen.
     
  11. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    ku_alum, every one of your kids gets a laptop? Wowza!
     
  12. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    HIJACK, temporarily.

    Mrs. K ... yeah, we are becoming a 1:1 school (1 student, 1 laptop). We are K-12 under 1 roof and we state test grades K, 3-8, 10-11 and MAP test K-10 ... all of these tests require computers. We had 4 computer labs and 3 laptop carts for student use. But, there would literally be MONTHS that every computer was booked for testing. So, to help with this, every HS student is getting a laptop. All computers from labs and carts and classrooms are going down to the MS and the Elem.

    Return to original thread topic:
    I've considered having 4 points available for every class day. If a student shows up prepared they keep their points. If a student forgets book -2, forgets pen/paper -2. I haven't implemented this because so far it hasn't been a real problem just to give a student what he needs and carry on with class.
     
  13. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Losing the stylus was the major problem that we have had with the laptops. My old school charged $40 per stylus that was lost because they purchased them in quantity and sold them through the school. With the Toshiba's I had at my last school, each student had the option of purchasing a coiled string that attached the stylus to the computer. This helped with many stylus that would have been lost otherwise. With my new school, I have an IBM ThinkPad and it doesn't have the part to anchor the stylus.----Sorry about the hijak!!
     
  14. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Hijak on the hijak--Sorry Will the students only have the laptop at school or will the be able to take them with them.
     
  15. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    The laptops go home with students, too. Our school considered allowing seniors to buy the laptop upon graduation at a reduced price. As of now, this is too much cost, but rumor has it in 4 years that will be student's option.
     
  16. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Seems the problem in need of attention is students not showing up with proper materials. Selling, lending, withholding may send message, - no need to be responsible we have an infinite resource at your disposal. Therefore, why should students take seriously the directive, be prepared for class, when teach will prepare for them? On the other hand, there are students who would jump at the chance to get out of work with, "But I don't have a writing implement, and you won't give me one. How can I demonstrate my love for this assignment if I have no way to express myself in the written form?"

    So.... perhaps a realistic approach is to cut losses, say by 80%, with Responsibility Training yet have a plan for the *occasional* (not chronic) student which rewards this student for not bringing one pencil but two pencils. The reward can be a "gift" from student to the class in form of extra time to do a preferred activity. In other words, the class (peer pressure) becomes the motivation or answering question, "Why should I?", while teacher no longer the enforcer.
     
  17. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    I considered some kind of collateral for pencils but decided it was more trouble than it was worth. The kids I work with are lucky to get themselves to class. Most are low income. Most have much bigger problems in their lives than remembering to show up with a pencil. I get them to borrow one from another student if that is feasible. If I have a pencil, purchased or found, they can borrow it. I don't make a big deal if I don't get it back, although I do try to remind them that I expect it back. Some return them, some don't. I can get 240 pencils for $5 if I hit the sales. It is worth the small sum not to have to deal with the problem. The school provides binder paper, also pencils for standardized tests.
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is a battle I choose not to fight; I'd rather focus on more important things. I have a cup of pencils and a stack of paper that students can use if they need it. Some of the pencils are new, but many are those I "rescue" after the caretakers sweep out the classrooms at the end of the day. Paper is inexpensive--I supplement the lined paper with misprints from the copier that are blank on one side. The students know where things are and don't cause a disruption.
     
  19. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    I have made an issue of it before but with no success so I am going to take a different approach and have it available if they need it. As long as they get what they need before class begins and do not cause a disruption I won't make a big deal about it.
     
  20. kajfkr79

    kajfkr79 New Member

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    I work in an inner city school in New York. I found my students come frequently to class unprepare. I am lucky if my students remember all of their supplies on a daily basis or even a pen or pencil. This past year I have tried my different tactics. The first was to loan out a pen or pencil only if they gave me collateral. I found many of my students would either leave without their item (bus pass, notebook, ect.). Secondly I tried putting flowers on my pens because many teachers in my building suggested it. I found my students would just rip the flower off or play with it during class. I found my pens being returned about 80% of the time. Thirdly, after all my flower pens were gone, I only would sell pens to my students; therefore if my students did not have 10 cents on them or borrow from a friend, they could not take their noted or complete any tests or quizzes in class. After awhile many students caught on and made sure they had at least 10 cents with them everyday. As for paper, I kept extra worksheets and such and told the students they could use the other side of the paper in order to take their notes or complete homework assignments.
     
  21. MissAmy

    MissAmy Companion

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    I collect pencils at the end of the year from students who are cleaning their desks and backpacks out. I just put a box by the trash can and let them know what it is for. I always end up with a box full of old stuff. You would be amazed at how much the kids will throw away at the end of the year. I then use the box for the next year for kids who have lost their pens, pencils, highglighters, erasers, or whatever else I end up with in the box.
    I'm not sure this would work as well in a high school set up but it works great for me!
     
  22. kyblue07

    kyblue07 Companion

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    This issue has been the bane of my existence since my first year. It absolutely drives me nuts. I tell my students that I'm responsible for getting my three kids to school with pencils, but I'm shouldn't be responsible for getting my 8th grade students pencils. However, at my school we are discouraged from making this an issue because many students are low SES. I asked my daughter, who is a junior in the same high school my 8th grader students will go to next year, what they do if you show up without a pencil. She said they just give you one. So, I've decided to just give this issue up. I'm with MrsC on this one. It's a battle I choose not to fight. I encourage and talk with the students on this issue, but I always keep pencils handy for those students who never bring one.
     
  23. math_teacher

    math_teacher Companion

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    Staples had TONS of sales last summer 1 penny for 8 pencils. I stocked up on these over the summer and still have tons left. I figure - spend a dollar, and I don't have to listen deal with kids lacking pencils. I make it known that I expect the kids to have pencils daily - I've noticed that the kids who forget regularly (often seniors) wind up making a bigger commotion if I ask them to get one from a neighbor. The conscientious kids always return them, and the more absent minded kids forget. I have, on occasion, had a few kids come in the next day to return the pencil - thats always neat!
     
  24. mandagap06

    mandagap06 Devotee

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    I know I have had a teacher who If you borrowed paper from someone lets say 3 sheets of paper or a big stack you had to give that much paper back to that student after your parents bought you more. This was in middle school tho.
     
  25. LMath85

    LMath85 Companion

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    I had this problem all year, especially with my freshman. I just wonder how they can come to school everyday and not think that they NEED a pen or pencil to get through the day. I usually have a bunch of cheap pens and pencils in my desk. I know other teachers ask for metro cards because they need those or else they can't get home.

    ps - i love the shoe idea... my kids are SO into sneakers that they would NEVER forget to give me my pen/pencil back. One time I stepped on their shoe by accident and the kid asked to go to the bathroom to clean it!!! LOL
     
  26. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    I sell pencils. One of the classes I teach has a real problem with kids keeping their pencils. They lose their pencil between class every day. It is annoying and disruptive.

    If a kid is not a frequent flyer or falls into the can't afford a pencil category I let them borrow one.

    My biggest pet peeve is the kid that waits until I notice them not working to inform me that they have no pencil. Wasted time!
     
  27. am elisheva

    am elisheva Rookie

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    I am going with the golf pencils this year and not even telling the students they are available, they will find out on their own what kind of pencils are available.
     
  28. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I think you will find that students will start bringing their own pencils to class. When I started this about 3/4 years ago, it was amazing. I went from 3 to 4 students EVERY class period needing a pencil to maybe 2 students a DAY needing to borrow a pencil. Also, I don't make a big deal about any student needing to borrow one of my golf pencils; they don't have to leave collateral, don't have to pay and I really don't care if they return them :lol:
     
  29. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Can I ask...what exactly are golf pencils? Especially since students don't seem to like them...I'm also thinking, since I'm teaching High School, some my little pony or other "embarrassing" pencils might be in order. . .
     
  30. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    pencils that are used to keep score in golf ... basically, a pencil cut in half with no eraser. I find the "lightness" of the pencil makes them difficult to use while writing. As for My Little Pony pencils, my students would like the dorkiness of them and want to use them. I had a Tinkerbell pencil that boys would fight over. :~
     
  31. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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  32. math_teacher

    math_teacher Companion

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    HS kids would totally love my little pony pencils. Go for boring!
     
  33. ByCandleLight

    ByCandleLight Rookie

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    I usually take collateral (though be sure and take something they'll actually want back or else you'll be left sitting in class staring at some ghastly kewpie doll eraser all planning long). Since I teach 10th grade, I've begun taking their driver/learners licenses or cell phones. One of the math teachers I work with actually demands a shoe. She says that's the only way she knows they won't accidently walk out with her pencils, but I don't know about that option; it could quickly turn into a stinky situation.

    I think that this year I might just start selling pencils. Yet another co-worker does this and she says it's far more convenient than other methods she's tried. She buys large packs of pencils during the Back-to-School sales and then sells them for 10 cents a piece if a student desperately needs it.
     
  34. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    I just tell the kids to borrow from someone else. 99% of the time this works, and you don't have to stop what you're doing. However, my current school is not a low-income environment. When I worked in such a school, where the kids generally could not afford supplies, I sold pens, which was OK except I had one student who would buy 10 or 15 at a time. Set a daily limit if you go that route. If I were still there I think I would go for golf pencils.

    For testing days I do keep a set of pencils with good erasers - but that is the only time I use them, and I collect them back and they go in the closet until next time. Otherwise if the kid absolutely cannot get a writing instrument from anyone else she gets one of the ones I picked up off the floor.
     
  35. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    I have had very little problem with pencils since I started my "system" years ago. I loan them a pencil, but they have to "pay" by doing 5 fraction problems that day at lunch. When they borrow a pencil, they write their name on the list provided, with the date. They return the pencil at the end of class, and underline their name at that time. They then must show up in my room at the beginning of lunch (within the first 5 minutes - normal passing time.) If they don't show up, they get a detention for being unprepared for class. I know who they are because of the list that they signed - it's easy and quick. (I can't remember when I've actually had to give a detention - the kids show up!) I made up lots of fraction problems, cut them up into the groups of 5, and put them in a coffee can with a bunch of old, and golf, pencils. At lunch, the student draws their piece of paper from the fraction can, and has to show his work on another piece of paper, so I can reuse the fraction paper. I check their work, and any not done correctly they have to re-do (I usually give a hint.) I cross off his name when he completes the problems, but I make sure I can still read the names so I can call home if the pencil borrowing happens too often. I have almost no problems with borrowed pencils after the first couple of weeks! The kids are pretty nice about it, too - they appreciate the chance to get a pencil when they are desperate, and are good sports about the "price" for a pencil - but they also don't like doing fractions and will almost always make sure they have pencils after having to do the fractions once!
     
  36. MissAmy

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    Great Idea CindyBlue! I love it! We use marker boards (elementary) a lot and the kids are always losing their markers. I might have to borrow this idea for that! :)
     
  37. math_teacher

    math_teacher Companion

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    Those who might borrow this idea, please be careful how you word the program/price......if you make it sound like the fraction problems are a punishment for not bringing a pencil it will only make kids dislike fractions more. There is a major "fraction dislike" epidemic right now at the HS level. Kids who grow to hate fractions like 4/5 + 2/3 = ___ really flip out when we try to teach them about algebraic fractions. The kids just shut down because at some point they hated regular fractions...

    Thanks :)
     
  38. kyblue07

    kyblue07 Companion

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    For those of you that use golf pencils...where do you get these? Do you purchase them or get them donated?
     
  39. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I buy my at Office Max or Staples. They are in the pencil section usually down on the lower shelfs. I think I get 300 pencils for about $4.00. I usually try to buy them when I get reward cards and points built up so I get them for free more or less. I have never tried to get them donate - great idea esp. since this year I will have the son of the local golf pro in one of my classes :p
     
  40. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    I agree with you, math teacher, about the "fraction phobia"! It's a huge problem. I figure I'm covering two areas - the missing pencils, and generating more practice in fractions that the kids really need. While it is a "punishment" for not bringing a pencil,it usually turns out to be a good learning experience, too!
     
  41. CAMathMom

    CAMathMom Rookie

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    My students are usually fairly responsible about returning them. I tried Finding Nemo and others and they liked them too much so it was back to plain yellow last year. Other supplies, like a calculator, cost a cell phone.
     

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