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Re: [teacherartexchange] theft in the art room


From: Melissa Enderle (melissa_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Oct 14 2006 - 09:16:59 PDT

I taught art in inner-city public schools and had to deal with theft
issues as well. To top it off, the one school only gave me $200 for a
budget! Regardless of one's budget, it's important for kids to
realize that stealing or breaking supplies is unacceptable. I had a
clear plastic art bin at each table. Inside were a few erasers,
enough pencils per chair, one box of crayons, usually two different
boxes of markers, scissors, and sometimes gluesticks. Each box was
labeled and all markers had a permanent marker stripe (corresponding
to the table color) across it. That way I could tell which table the
marker on the floor (or misplaced) was from, uncapped, etc. All
scissors, pencils, etc. were also marked ART in permanent marker. For
the one school that continued to have theft problems with pencils, I
ordered fat primary pencils - those were NOT cool to take, nor could
they break them! I explained right at the beginning of the year that
I would NOT replace any materials that were broken or stolen. I stuck
with that, and the kids developed a much better respect for the
materials, because they knew they would have to use those items the
entire year.

Before the kids were allowed to leave the room, their bin had to be
neat (i.e. all regular markers in the correct box) and all items
accounted for. I would make them do it over if the bin wasn't neat
and would not allow the class to leave until all items were accounted
for. Kids quickly realized this, so they monitored themselves/
tablemates. Because kids sat at the same tables, I knew exactly who
the potential culprits were. There were a few instances where small
items such as erasers disappeared. I would march up to the classroom
and the guilty kid(s) ultimately produced the items, as they knew it
could only be one of their tablemates and that I had the backing of
the teachers/administration. Since students saw that I cared about my
art supplies and would indeed follow through on what I said, the
amount of theft/breakage was minimal.


On Oct 14, 2006, at 1:49 PM, chris massingill wrote:

> While we're on the topic of supplies, I am having a
> lot of theft in my room lately and I'm having trouble
> stopping it and I thought you might have some
> suggestions. Last year I taught at extremely poor
> schools no one ever stole anything - this year I'm at
> a school where most of the students come from middle
> class homes and things are disappearing from my room
> like crazy - nothing really valuable, just little
> things - scissors, pencils, the magnets off my
> whiteboard, - yesterday we made some flour and salt
> papier mache paste and someone in my first period
> stole some salt!! When I spoke to my students about
> the problem they told me that one of my students has
> been selling little yarn balls in his study hall!
> I started off the year with little plastic caddies on
> each table with crayons, 4 pairs of scissors, pencils
> and a hand held pencil sharpener - about half the
> scissors are gone now as well as the pencil sharpeners
> - I've tried assigning table captains, I've tried
> ending class early and counting things up - which has
> been more effective but seems like a monumental waste
> of time - in order to do so I have to have clean up
> time 10 minutes before the bell instead of 5 so that's
> a quarter of a 40 minutes class we're spending with me
> counting scissors and tape, etc.
> Surely, there is a better way to go about this -
> suggestions?
> Thanks!
> Chris in Central Arkansas

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