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community supplies for older students
Old 06-29-2017, 10:33 AM
 
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What are your thought on community supplies for upper elementary?

Last year I had several students that "lost" their supplies, and it became a real hassle when we had to cut something out. They would just sit there and not even ask for a pair of scissors or to borrow. I sent numerous notes home asking for supplies - not a single one sent in supplies. One student swore all year he didn't have scissors until I supervised him cleaning out his desk in December and what do you know, scissors!!! Just too lazy to look for them.

I didn't know if community would make it easier to keep track or if items would go missing a lot faster due to the fact their is no accountability. I thought about putting a tub at each group of desk with pencils, glue and scissors. But if they disappear "who has to buy replacements"


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Old 06-29-2017, 10:49 AM
 
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I did community supplies last year and will not do them again this year. When I did community supplies it seemed like no one took care of anything because there was no ownership. So we will be doing individual supplies.

I do have some supplies that I lend out...but I require collateral (usually a shoe since that can't be forgotten).
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:02 AM
 
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I did it one year when I taught 4th and it was a train wreck. For some reason, I ran out halfway through the year, things got lost and destroyed faster, keeping track of things was a mess. I think a big part of it was me, but UGH!!

Never again.

I would be curious to hear from someone who had done it successfully.
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Old 06-29-2017, 12:25 PM
 
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Most of the classrooms in the K-5 school where I work use community supplies. But our situation is probably different. We require very little in terms of family provided supplies because of the high poverty level and high % of refugee families. Most of our student supplies are donated by local organizations and the teacher are allotted a certain amount. (No personal ownership of most supplies)

Most of our teachers use supply tubs that are either left on the tables or are moved back and forth between storage/shelf and table as needed. For older grades, I would say it is the table group's responsibility to have everything back into the tub, or they will need to figure out how to complete their work by sharing the items. That way they are helping to hold each other accountable. Also, some of our teachers use tables but our desks are the kind that you have to reach in - they don't open - and many of the teachers have the desk opening facing away from the student so that random items aren't hoarded inside.

Re: not having scissors. I may be "mean" but if a student is responsible for scissors and can't deal with that - either they lost them or are spinning them on fingers or otherwise being unsafe with them - I leave it to them to figure out how to solve that problem. My last year as a grade level classroom teacher (2nd grade) I had a student spinning scissors and he had to finish the project by folding and tearing instead of cutting. Guess who didn't spin scissors again for the rest of the year? If kids lost their scissors and you want replacements, have contacted parents and still nothing - I'd leave it to them to solve their problem, especially if they are older students.
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Old 06-29-2017, 12:37 PM
 
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I've done it both ways. For many years I had community supplies and never really had any problems. Pencils were always collected and sharpened at the end of the day and supplies were never left on the floor.

Once I went to flexible seating, I eliminated community supplies for the most part because I couldn't use baskets with supplies like I did when I had desks. Students had their own pencil box which always housed a Expo marker and a whiteboard eraser (https://www.dollartree.com/Microfibe...4106/index.pro), 2-3 pencils, white eraser (https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pentel-Hi...r-3pk/20977412), crayons, and 2 glue sticks. The rest of the glue sticks sat in a tub on a shelf. I surprisingly never had any issues with glue sticks. They knew to use one up and throw out the casing before getting another. I actually ended the year with a ton left over. Students kept additional pencils (markers, extra pencils) in an over-the-door pocket shoe organizer. If they ran out of supplies they could either ask their parents to buy them more or they could purchase them from me using classroom money (I did a yearlong classroom city to tie into our social studies curriculum and they earned money from having city jobs (mayor, city council etc. and businesses.)

One thing that I never have students bring for themselves though is scissors. Those are definitely community supplies. I don't trust kids with scissors. There are always the few that decide to cut their hair, someone else's hair, their clothes, or a neighbor's belongings. (and these are 3rd and 4th graders) I stored scissors in a tub that sits on a shelf next to the glue sticks. When we are needing scissors, I have a student pass them out. Always worked well for me.


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Been there done that
Old 06-29-2017, 12:38 PM
 
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Kids didn't take care of the community supplies. I quickly went back to letting the kids keep their own supplies because it teaches them responsibility.

Our counselors have extra supplies for the students with financial concerns.
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Old 06-29-2017, 12:41 PM
 
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I have a set of supplies that I use in my classroom. I picked up adult scissors at the dollar tree. I hate little scissors. Glue and coloring supplies. I pass them out when they are needed. I always say a number at each table group. The kids know that is how manny I want back. I do well with glue and scissors. Coloring stuff is always missing. My scissors have lasted 5 years plus.
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Supplies
Old 06-29-2017, 12:53 PM
 
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I've never gone the community supply route. This year for sure it would have been a nightmare. I had a few kids that couldn't take care of their own things.
I have team baskets for their tables that have supplies that the school or I supply - glue bottles, markers, multi-cultural crayons, scissors... this year is the first time I have had someone steal the classroom scissors.
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Old 06-29-2017, 01:34 PM
 
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The only supplies I collect are pencils and dry erase markers. I've done this for two years now and have made it the whole year without running out.

I let the kids keep five pencils and two dry erase markers, the rest I hold onto and distribute as needed. But they also can't just go up and take whatever they want out of these bins. They have to ask or let me know first. I'll pass out pencils, a new one to everyone on a regular basis also, so they don't have to ask a lot of times.

In the 13 years I didn't collect these, we always ran out of both by January.
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For some things
Old 06-29-2017, 02:24 PM
 
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I use community supplies for pencils, dry erase markers, and I have a class set of scissors. The markers and pencils are kept in table baskets for easy access.

How they take care of them varies greatly depending on the group of students. This past year I had pencils and markers left over at the end of the year. The year before we ran out of both by March.


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Community supplies
Old 06-29-2017, 03:46 PM
 
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I vote no. At this age they should be responsible for their stuff. I teach second grade and discovered many kids were too lazy to look through their messy desk to find supplies. I would just start the project and tell them to find a way to solve their problem.

Sometimes I would say "If I go through your desk and find X, you owe me (time at recess/something they don't want to give up)" Low and behold, the lost item would miraculously appear.
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Old 07-01-2017, 06:43 AM
 
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I collect glue bottles, looseleaf paper, pencils and dry erase markers. The kids keep/are responsible for everything else.

I have a set of community supplies (scissors, rulers, markers, erasers, crayons) I purchase and resupply 3-4 times per year. I have begun purchasing smaller, adult-sized scissors for my community supplies since those always go missing. We have almost 75% free and reduced at our school, so I do have some kids come with nothing. The community supply area has been a life saver.

One thing that I've done that's been successful (but a pain in the butt) is to periodically do a 'scissor check' that's unexpected. I give kids 20 seconds to get their scissors out and put them on their desk. If they can do it, they get a small prize. If not, too bad. By doing this, kids were more willing to keep track of their scissors. I've done it 4-5 times per year. Like I said, it's a pain in the butt, but not as much as having most of my class without scissors!

I have read over and over that teachers tell kids to 'solve their problem' by themselves. I tried that last year and had absolutely no luck at all. Kids literally just sat there and stared at me. Kids that were lower academically, kids that were really smart, kids from low SES homes and kids who had everything. No one could 'solve their problem' and it drove me totally nuts to have kids just sit there and not do their work/finish a project. My opinion is that this is not the way to handle younger kids (I teach 3rd). While I am ALL for teaching problem-solving, I don't think that method is actually TEACHING anything. JMO.
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Supplies
Old 07-01-2017, 11:04 AM
 
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I have done both community and individual supplies at both lower and upper elementary. I'd say that community supplies work well in K, because you are teaching them how to use the supplies, share, etc. I prefer individual supplies at other grade levels, but you have to constantly be on them about what's in their pencil box, especially if you don't have desks!

I teach 4th grade, and scissors are still definitely a plaything when they are not being used for a specific purpose! I keep scissors in a central location, and we get them when we need to use them. Same goes for glue sticks. Pencil boxes contain whiteboard marker and sock eraser, pencils, colored pencils, crayons, correcting pen, and eraser. We clean them out once every two weeks at least! I post a list on the board and the kids check it.

A note about whiteboard markers, which we use every single day: Most kids forget to snap the top shut when they put them away, and they dry out faster. I used to care a lot about that, but since I set up a spot where they can get a new marker if needed, they seem to take better care. I wonder if it's because they can't disrupt instruction for a new marker?

I make sure that nobody can skip out on doing a project because they don't have the materials. They try, believe me!
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Tried it one year...
Old 07-01-2017, 07:11 PM
 
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and it was a disaster in my class. No one would take ownership and things were left in a mess despite repeated examples of modeling and practice how to take care of things. There was always one person in a group tha would blame others. It might have been my class that year, but like some others who have posted, I have a loaner system with consequences. After losing things a few times, they quickly learn to be more responsible with what they have. For those who cannot afford supplies, I buy extras and give the. To them in private. I have found most students to be grateful and take ownership.
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