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EvaKin EvaKin is offline
 
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4th grdrs sharing own school supplies as a community
Old 08-12-2012, 09:06 PM
 
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Hi colleagues,

I always go to PT for advice. I need your help! My daughter's school stated in their welcome back ltr to all 4th grade parents that all fourth grade students will be sharing their school supplies (that their parents bought!) as a community in their own classroom with their other classmates and also that each individual 4th grade teacher will be providing labels for all the students' folders and notebooks. This school's 4th grade supply list was lengthy. Some of the things they asked for was 12 plastic folders (2 of each for a specific color) 10 black and white notebooks, 2 boxes of tissues (boys and girls), 2 boxes of pencils, packages of sticky notes (3 x5 and 2x2's) glue sticks, 1 ream of copy paper, 2 yellow size ltr pads, etc. The list goes on. I believe in a community of learners, especially for the early childhood learners (k-2). I'm note sure how fair this is to expect a parent who is barely able to afford all the supplies needed on this list -vs- the parent who has no problem affording the cost to pay for all the supplies. Yes, I know about bargain hunting for supplies. I am uncomfortable sending my daughter back to school with the new supplies she picked out, colors/designs she picked for her new notebooks or her new plastic folders to the pencils she picked to write with in school. I don't want to be a problematic parent. I am wondering if I should just label my daughter's supplies any way, write a note to the teacher on the first day of school explaining that I labeled my child's school supplies and expect her to get back what she did not use at the end of the year. I just don't get it. Why would the principal allow 4th graders to have to share their school supplies as a community and not label their own supplies with their own name for every supply. I am sorry for this long message. Please share your advice with me. Thanks.


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Tough one and I do empathize
Old 08-12-2012, 09:12 PM
 
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I am a third grade teacher and the only supplies I collect for the group are lined and plain white paper. I remember how exciting it is as a girl to shop and get those supplies. I am sure the teacher has her reasons and I think it best to go with the flow in 4th grade. By all means label her supplies and hope for the best.

What does your daughter want to do?
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:26 PM
 
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I think that if schools want to do community supplies, they should ask parents for a specific amount of money to cover the costs of supplies and then teachers can order what they like and everyone has the same thing. This is what my school does and it's so easy.

If parents are given a supply list, and they go to the trouble of picking out supplies, those should be for their child's use.
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Old 08-12-2012, 11:36 PM
 
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I totally agree with Kiki.

I also think your daughter's list asks the parents to provide way too much. Schools should provide their own copy paper and sticky notes and legal pads. Or at least make it a wish list, and not mandatory. What about parents that have three or four kids? That's a big financial burden for many families.
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:36 AM
 
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I'm betting that the teacher knows that many parents won't or can't buy everything on the list and she plans to do community supplies to cover the ones who show up with little to nothing. That doesn't make it right though and I wouldn't like it either.


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Old 08-13-2012, 02:58 AM
 
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Wow! That is an extensive and expensive list. I would feel the same way as you are feeling. Hopefully, the teacher is using the term "community supplies" to refer to the paper and not such personalized items as notebooks and pencils.

I agree that most kids take time for shopping for the right folders and pencils. I would be a little miffed too.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:52 AM
 
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I have a hybrid community supply system. I ask for plain pencils, glue, & loose paper which are completely community (excess paper is sent home at the end of the year. I never have excess pencils). I ask for colored folders and collect them at the beginning of the year. I keep them until we need them. If a student has a name on a folder, that is the folder he gets back. Same with notebooks.

If a student has special pencils, it is the student's responsibility to keep up with them.

I haven't asked for crayons in years. I have quite a supply. I have rulers, calculators, & protractors.
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hard one
Old 08-13-2012, 05:07 AM
 
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I can definitely see this from a teacher point of view and a mom point of view. I would try not to let this give you a bad first impression of the teacher, since some of this may be out of her control. We have no input in our supply list and my school doesn't provide teachers with any school supplies. I'd also be very careful in how I worded the note, because it's so important to start the year on a positive tone. I can see getting items like notebooks back, but I wouldn't worry about the smaller items like pencils.

Personally, I use a hybrid community system (love that term, trishg1) for my third graders and did the same thing when I taught fourth grade. We have community supplies for things like sticky notes, paper, glue, and tissues. I let students keep more personal things like notebooks, folders, crayons, and scissors. I do make it the students' responsibility to keep up with their things.
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No community supplies...
Old 08-14-2012, 05:28 PM
 
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I am not a big fan of community supplies. I have found that kids really respect their own supplies (as do the parents) when they picked them out, labeled them, etc. Kids that get supplies from me don't seem to be as careful - going through 5 pencils a day, forgetting supplies I gave them at home. That may just be at my school.

My sister pays a "supply fee" and the school district buys in bulk, saves money and all the kids get the same thing. I LOVE this idea. I actually would like to work up a plan for this in the spring and see if the district will go for this and let us be a pilot for it.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:06 PM
 
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I think you should call or email or stop by and talk to the teacher about your concerns. I think they are valid.


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supplies
Old 08-15-2012, 05:44 AM
 
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I wouldn't suggested you label the supplies you purchased. The list said they were going to be community supplies. I think you should explain that to your daughter so she knows when she brings things in they are going into the classroom for general use. She may or may not use the supplies you purchased. I understand that you are frustrated because some parents don't have to struggle to purchase these and some just may not purchase any, but that's the way things go.

Students need supplies and they have to be paid for somehow. Either the teacher pays, the parents pay or the taxpayers pay.

In my district it's the taxpayers and the teachers that pay. We are not allowed to ask parents for supplies. I'm sure some parents love that, but every year I have 3 or so that are angry that I don't give them a supply list. They see it as their responsibility to provide for their children's learning and want to contribute. I would love to allow this since I have decided I am not paying for classroom supplies anymore. My students notice the difference when other classes have things that we don't because their teachers pay.
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Supplies
Old 08-15-2012, 10:20 AM
 
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I use community supplies, I inform parents of this with the list. I ask for Duotangs, notebooks pencils. etc If there are some left over, some items are taken off the next years list. (This year it was no Construction Paper/glue/paper or crayons )

I make every attempt to be sure the (cost) is about the same for each year. Some students due to not fault of there own have no supplies....

This is a issue I have heard time and time again, however, for me community is the way we go I would much prefer to have parents send $20 per student and go out and buy the supplies however, this will not pass in our school.

In my first years of teaching I purchased $60.00 worth or erasers, pencils, notebooks, etc. while the sales were on..... before the end of the year these would have to be replinished by me. Even though the students had supplies, they wasted glue, construction paper, can't find the blue homework book jsut get out another one then when you look one student has five homework books, erasers were toys, etc. etc.

Is my way the correct way,,,,,,,,,,,likely not but; it is what works for me. To posters who are upset about fancy pencils, etc. I suggest you buy only what it requested on list and explain to your child that teacher is trying to make classroom community to work well together.

I continue to buy supplies each year, for example I will puchase construction paper, duotangs etc. Oh yes, the spoons/napkins cups etc for the times when parents forget, I will continue to stash extra granola bars, snacks,

However,. these will also be added to classroom community. At the end of the year, I recount supplies, and then decide what to add to next year's list. how can you decide which students gets one of the ten boxes of kleenex that are left, or there are
extra erasers, glue but no class sets... (Never mind the new students who come with mo supplies from another school )

If a parent comes in asking for supplies, I ask them to take what they think little Johnny had left from supplies brought in for September... usually they take a few items but; I think this is fine... Whatever makes the DP happy!!!
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I agree with you...
Old 08-15-2012, 12:28 PM
 
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As a parent of 4 school aged children and a teacher I agree with you. If teachers/schools ask for an excessive list, then it should be individual supplies for individual students. That way I can purchase what my child needs and then replenish through the year if needed. My kids take care of their folders (and I usually buy poly folders) and they don't lose their things. They can go the weeks with a pencil and 2 glue sticks and one folder for each subject usually do them for the year. I resent having to purchase tons supplies for their teacher to share with others when my district does not allow the parents to purchase so I end up buying for my students as well.

This year my 4th grader needs Avery 250 count labels (now really - a large pack of labels from EVERY student - what could the teacher be using them for???) They are very expensive. Our supply"kit price" for the 4th grader was $48. They wanted 3 packs of 100 count index cards, 6 large glue sticks, 2 - 6 packs of folders (1 each of red/blue/purple/yellow/orange/green in each pack -- BUT they want 2 packs - 12 folders ) then they want an additional 2 green folders. They also wanted 2 boxes of 50ct. sandwich bags and 2 boxes of gallon size (from every students???) Their list goes on and on as well and I find it excessive.

Here's what I do...
I send in 1 of everything they need for the first day/week of folders/notebooks and then refill for my child as needed. I send in 2 pencils and one glue stick, a few ziplocks in their pencil case. If they come home and say they need more, then I send it in. Notecards and Avery labels and extra ziplocks sit at home on our homework desk -- if and when kids need them, they bring them in. My older daughters both took in a small handful of index cards in 4th and 5th grade -- but we are still working on that first 100 count package and we have our 3rd going into 4th grade.

No to community supplies. Now, I do help the PTO all year and will donate "community" items such as clorox wipes and tissues if the teacher indicates that she needs them. Sending in nearly $50 worth of supplies (just for one kid) is wrong wrong wrong and I won't do it.
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:28 PM
 
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When my kids were in elementary school, I sent what I thought was reasonable and ignored the rest. I refuse to supply copy paper! Just my pet peeve, I guess. They asked for 12 dozen of pencils, I sent 2 dozen. They asked for six boxes of crayons, I sent 2. So I guess i was the parent that everyone else had to make up for. But somehow I just didn't see my kid using 144 pencils in a 180 days. Some of these lists are truly over the top!
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Well...
Old 08-16-2012, 07:00 AM
 
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When my daughter was in 4th grade her teacher did community supply of most things. I sent in five dozen pencils and the teacher requested more pencils two or three times. By spring she was desperate. When I volunteered in there I saw pencils on the floor, pencils leaving the room to reading class and not returning, pencils being broken for fun, etc. When my son went to 4th, his teacher said she preferred to let the kids keep what they brought in. I had bought four dozen pencils, guessing it would be community supply again. He ended the year with one unused box and a handful of partially used pencils in his school box.
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Wow!
Old 06-30-2017, 08:02 AM
 
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That is a really big list! I'm surprised. I teach at a Title 1 school and we make sure to keep our lists as short as possible. That said, as a 2nd grade teacher I do community supplies, but if a student comes in with fancy folders (not the ones asked for) or specialty notebooks (instead of the basic composition books) I will make sure that item goes to the student that brought it. As a parent, I feel like my son can get more personalized with his choices in middle school, so for him I insist on basic folders, etc. Once the items are purchased, he couldn't care less. Considering the list is so long and costly, I would consider contacting the teacher and finding out if you can cut out anything. I'm a single parent in a state that barely pays their teachers, I have no problem asking one of my colleagues if something can be left off my son's list. Even if it's til next payday! I would be totally if a parent told me they couldn't get something. Teachers often make sure that students don't go with out. Or buy the basics, and let her know you will get the other supplies as you can. Best of luck!
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Respect the Teacher's Wishes
Old 06-30-2017, 08:14 AM
 
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Don't have your daughter pick out anything "special." Choose neutral colors and stick to the list. The teacher informed parents well in advance of what she expects.

At the extreme end of things, I'd feel disrespected if a parent sent a note like you described. You're starting off the year showing your daughter her teacher's expectations don't matter, and to do what she wants (again, extreme end).

I do agree the list seems long. We actually are only allowed to list 5 items on our list. We always choose the "expensive" ones (Kleenex, dry ease markers, Clorox wipes...) and those things that need to be replaced regularly (crayons and glue sticks). The school district provides 5 folders and notebooks for the kids and we all have a class set of scissors. It's sparse, but it's plenty for our needs. Anything else we want, we are responsible for purchasing. That gets just as expensive as parents shopping for one kid!

I understand where you're coming from, but I just don't agree with how you are thinking of handling it.

Last edited by MissESL; 06-30-2017 at 10:10 AM..
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