Calculators are a must have in seventh grade math class. Mrs. Dawson has math classes all throughout the day, and has found a system for making sure that calculators are always available when you need them. The students were asked to buy calculators, as well as the PTO kindly buying enough for everyone to use during class. They are a part of our shared bins on every table, which also includes highlighters, pens, sticky notes, scissors, pencil sharpeners and erasers. Most of these items the students were asked to help supply the classroom with, and they are definitely being put to good use.
The calculators in particular are a very important aspect. Students borrow calculators from the bins when they need them, use them during class, and put them back at the end of the period. This system has been working so nicely that bringing calculators to class is no longer a need. Mrs. Dawson is even planning on removing calculators from the supply list next year. Thank you so much to the PTO for helping give us this opportunity!
-Written by Maren Friedman with editing help from Ellie Storm
A note from Mrs. Dawson
I put out the opportunity on Google Classroom. I presented it as a chance to write this from a student perspective and to thank our PTO for supporting our classroom. Within just a few minutes I had two replies from students. “Wow! I’m so excited!” I shared with my family. “Kids are willing to write about this.” It was a really great Thanksgiving surprise when Maren shared her document with me the day before the holiday.
Our entire classroom culture has changed because of these bins with calculators. The kids have what they need and don’t have to worry about bringing their calculator to class every day. They just have to remember to leave it at the table (we’ve only lost one twice … and it has come back both times!) I originally asked the PTO to purchase them for me because I didn’t have many extras in case kids couldn’t buy their own. I also wanted to have a few for when kids forgot them in class. But there’s a constant struggle – when to loan, when to say “you need to remember your calculator.” It creates a stress that the classroom doesn’t need. I watched how the kids used the classroom bin supplies, and they were using them properly: leaving the green pens, scissors, post-its etc. “What if we add the calculators?” PTO bought us 14 and I had another 6 that I could use to have enough for my largest class. Let’s give it a go! I’m so happy I did.
I’m really grateful that Maren organizes the bins for us every Friday. She and Maya stay a few minutes into lunch and Maya washes our tables while Maren organizes the bins. The day before Thanksgiving I went in and added another little compartment to the bins – Maren noticed that the bins are truly a disaster on Fridays. She said something along the lines of what I’ve been thinking, “Wow are people trying to mess these up?” I’m hoping with this addition that keeping them organized will be a little bit easier. *A note on this system – each table has its own color of calculator and each is labeled 1-4 with the letter and color label from that table.
Thank you again to the PTO for this generous donation to our classroom. I don’t need to have calculators on next year’s supply list for school due to this successful system!! We are all super happy to have them. And I am so pleased to see the kids treating them well, and remembering to leave them in class!