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    By Jennifer in OK

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    I teach 5th grade. Here is the rule I give my kids at the beginning of the year. Pencils are sharpened at the sharpener only at these 3 times: before the bell in the morning (giving them 15 minutes), after recess, and at the end of the day as we are preparing to leave. I keep hand held sharpeners at the back of my room for their use at those in-between times. They are not to use them while I am teaching - only during their work time. No complaints and it saves my sanity. It also helps with those that are the pencil breakers just so they can avoid work. I used this when I taught at the inner city schools and still use it in the 'burbs.

    Stick to your guns. Establish the rule and don't bend. Yes, they have to be responsible. I don't loan pencils, paper, etc. I don't make enough money. They can borrow from someone and I tell them to write in their planner that they need more of whatever it is they don't have.

    They should have folders to keep papers in. Make them have a homework folder. Any unfinished work goes in it to go home and then they have only one thing to keep track of homework in. They need to learn responsibility. I taught 2nd grade in the inner city 5 years ago. I know they are capable of doing it. Yes, there are always a few who can't grasp it, but nothing in life is perfect. Just keep reminding them of what they should be doing. Everyone slips up once in awhile. We just have to be understanding.

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