the mathsmith collage

the mathsmith collage

Saturday, November 10, 2012

#Made4Math Monday - No Cell Phones

It's been too long since I participated in #Made4Math Monday...I know it's Saturday, but now is the time that I have to do this.

Our trimester ends on Tuesday.  We have exams on Monday and Tuesday and a "teacher work day" on Wednesday.  I use quotation marks because the morning is filled with meetings.  I'm getting a crash course on data director since we use that to grade our exams, etc.

With the trimester ending and new classes starting up on Thursday, I've been evaluating how things have gone so far and creating goals for myself for next trimester.

My main issue with the students has been cell phone use.  Our policy changed this year for using cell phones that allows students to use them in the hallways during class changes, etc.  Also, we can let the students use cell phones in the classroom at our discretion (mainly for academic purposes).  However, we teachers reserve the right to not allow cell phones to be used during instruction, etc.  With the change in policy, when I catch students using their phones when they are not supposed to, they seem to have this attitude of entitlement.  "We are ALLOWED to have cell phones now." is one of many excuses I get from students.  I've had several instances where students REFUSE to give up their cell phones and end up being sent to the office for insubordination and receiving in-school suspension/restriction all because they couldn't live without their cell phones for a day or part of a day.  Also, I think they are somewhat concerned that I'm going to go through their phone to look at their texts and pictures, etc.  (like I have time or care about doing that...)

In an attempt to make my policy clear, I created a sign to add to my classroom.  You may access it here.  If you want the word document, let me know and I will email it to you.  The picture that I used is from Luke's diner in the TV show Gilmore Girls.  Also, to promote more trust with them, I plan on changing how I handle a first offense: the first time I confiscate a phone, I'll keep it and give it back at the end of the day without involving the office.  I'll even let them take the battery out of the phone.  After the first offense, the phone will be sent to the office on repeat offenses.  I hope this will decrease my number of office referrals.

Also, on a completely different note, I tweaked my syllabus signature page to have parents to give me more contact information instead of giving them the option to do so.  You may access that here.  Again, if you want the word document, let me know. :-)

One of my projects for this weekend is to go through my class binders and streamline them for use in the upcoming trimester(s).  I will be teaching Algebra 1 B again 2nd trimester and will be teaching Algebra 1 C 3rd trimester.

In the spirit of opening up discussion, is there anything you want to change in your classroom management or policies?  Often times we think about things throughout the year but forget to change for the next year.


  1. Good luck! Our school did a zero tech policy for september, then allowed kids to use phones and videogames at break time for October. It is mostly working out, but we have a few kids who are obsessed and in appropriate. (Are they lying or are they realy such black and white thinkers at this age, that they don't understand being allowed to use their phones SOMETIMES)

    One teacher I met with - from a school who piloted allowing phones and other tech - said that her policy is that when students come into class they have to put their phones face down on their desk. This cuts back on the amount of desk texting (and the oh-so-obvious glow in the face as they think they are being sneaky)

    I like being able to let students access the internet for quick research on their devices, and there are a few good apps out there for school (I recommend ken+ for a good, free, kenken game)


  2. I'd like to get my kids to practice logging in to check their grades via ActiveGrade and get class info from ManageBac (IB website) would think that they would be more clued in to using websites given how much time they spend on their phones, but I think for some it'll be a rude awakening in college when they're expected to handle deadlines and online submission without anyone reminding them.