As I'm very much looking forward to next school year, I am looking back at some of the main "issues" I had this year, and previous years. My biggest issue is teaching the students to be respectful of property. They also need to learn to be respectful of people, but that's another blog post!
Anyways, as most of all you fabulous teachers do, I spend a lot of my own money on materials in the classroom. I've bought hundreds of books, and lots of supplies: glue, pencils, colored pencils, crayons, markers, etc. The last two years, I had a check out system for my personal books. My students this year did not go along with the check out system, and honestly, I was beyond caring. If they are reading, and they need a book at home that bad, they can keep it. Next year, I'm not going to have a separate shelf for my books, I will just intermix them with all the others. So..not worried about that one.
Other supplies, though, I really wish they would care more to respect them. I bought letter stamps and stamp pads at the beginning of the year from Target. They were perfect for my word work station. I had to throw them out before the second semester because they were just a mess. Same thing with the play-dough.
I have a "Have a pencil, take a pencil" policy, where students turn in their pencil supplies at the beginning of the year and I keep them. The pencils are sharpened each night, and students pick up a pencil in the morning to use. If one breaks, they can pick a new one up out of the container. I've done this for three years, and this is way better than supplying students with pencils all the time. The only problem is that a lot of times, the pencils don't get returned at the end of the day, so there are none to sharpen in the morning. It is a "job" to collect pencils. I have to open new packs every day it seems. Needless to say, we were out of student-supplied pencils about two months ago. I bought 50 right before our OAAs and the school supplied us with 30, and I told my students I was done buying pencils for the year.
I also bought tote bags (like from Kroger & Walmart) this year for my students to use instead of book boxes. I was very clear from the beginning that the only things to be stored in their bags are their books, their binder, and their spiral notebook. The bags started falling apart before the end of the first nine weeks! I see students dragging them on the floor, stepping on other bags that have fallen off the chairs, etc.
I welcome any suggestions that will help me with the procedures so that my students will learn to respect the classroom supplies a little bit more. I'm sorry if this sounded more like a gripe than a blog post!