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Sigh...You don't say what level you teach, but in my HS classes I order an art gum
eraser and 4 drawing pencils for each student, and it's the only set they get. If they
lose them, they can "purchase" another set by working for it at lunch or after school.
Because all the students qualify for free breakfast and lunch, they cannot be required
to purchase their own supplies.
For things that can be shared, such as scissors or bottles of India ink, put out very
limited numbers; 2-3 students can share. Insist that they remain in their seats after
clean-up and you will personally collect the items from each group. If I come up short,
everyone stays in and "looks for it" until it's found; this is especially effective
before lunch and for the last period. If you still don't get it back, well, that's one
less bottle for the class to use. I never replace stolen items if someone in a class is
stealing. Another tactic, like with carving tools, is to lend just one for each student
to use, and write their names down. This requires a lot of time and very careful
tracking, but it really helps.
Maggie**remove x in address to reply