Friday, April 24, 2015
What Worked; What Didn't: Calculator Storage
For the past two years, I've been frustrated by calculator storage in my classroom. I had calculator tubs, but the calculators never seemed to make it back in the tubs. My school provides calculators for all of our students instead of asking our students to purchase their own calculators. Because these are the school's calculators, my students sadly don't take as good of care of them as they should.
This summer, I bought three shoe hangers at Tuesday Morning (pretty much my fav store!) to keep the calculators more organized. I had to do some rearranging in order to even find wall space to hang up the shoe hangers.
I had this idea that I thought was pretty brilliant. Students would enter my classroom. They would take a calculator out of a pocket. They would place their cell phone in the pocket. At the end of class, they would return their calculator and retrieve their cell phone. This would leave my room cleaner at the end of the day, and there would be no distractions from phones.
There was something I failed to account for with this plan. My students.
During the first week of school, one student stole another student's phone out of their pocket to be silly. So, that was the end of having students put their phones in the pockets.
I've found that my students are much more likely to put their calculators back in the shoe holders than they were when I was using a tub. I have found that my students do a better job of putting them away if I give them a verbal reminder at the end of class to put away their calculators. I shouldn't have to do this. But, I haven't found a better way.
I don't want my students packing up until the very end of class, so I can't really hold the class until all of the calculators are put away. I do like that hanging the calculators on the wall has cleared up flat table space.
Did these solve all of my problems? No. Have they helped? Definitely.
Tweak I'm thinking about for next year: numbers on each calculator that match up with numbers on the pockets.
Also, I need to come up with a better system for students to check out calculators to use on their ACT exams. Writing names and calculator numbers on post-it notes and losing them in the mess on my desk is not cutting it.