{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "How do you combat cell phones in the classroom at the secondary level?", "post_id": "5d179f90c210d2001e5c3f0f", "reply_count": 24, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "5c751b9f2f6b98001bc666f8", "bowl_name": "Teachers" }

How do you combat cell phones in the classroom at the secondary level?

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I plan on using Pocket Points in the fall!! It’s an incentive based app for students, you set the rewards and they get minutes towards their goal for however long they stay off their phone! If you have Instagram/Pinterest and search pocket points or #pocketpoints you’ll see so many teacher testimonies for it!!

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It's a STRUGGLE, to say the least. This past school year I actually had the students turn them in. I had the pocket holder with numbers on them. Their number was the same as their assigned calculator number. Most students were fine with turning them in, but there were a few who refused to. As long as I didn't see their phones, then I didn't press the issue. On final exam day, I let the ones who turned theirs in get a piece of candy. Prior to that, I let the students keep their phones face-down on their desks and told them if I saw them glance at it to check a notification and put it back down, then it was fine. That worked pretty well, in my opinion. But now they have the smart watches and that can present even more challenges. And it doesn't help that different teachers approach cell phones differently, so at my high school that is 4-block, they typically have 4 different teachers to see daily.

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I forgot to mention that having 2 power strips for them to charge their phones (as long as they ask me before doing so) makes turning their phones in a little sweeter.

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I’m like many who have tried it all! I have a “cell hotel” students put their phones in assembly assigned number ( I also have free numbers for students who are move ins). I have charging stations there (all of this out of pocket) which does help! The bottom line is this, studies (not that we need it) are showing an obsession to screen/phone etc! ). It DOES interfere more than help with learning! Maybe let’s be like other countries who JUST SAY NO to individual phones and technology?!??

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I 100% agree with you. Kids are addicted to their devices specifically the cell phone. Away for the day should be the norm for all schools in the US. I am preparing a team (teachers, students and parents) to present research and data that will encourage our district/BOE to amend the current cell phone policy (which allows for students to have them on in the hallway, cafeteria and in the classroom at teacher discretion). Our district is 1 to 1 so there is absolutely no need for cell phones in the classroom.

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My kids FaceTime each other during class. A lot of this comes from admin not backing us up, but the kids will be on their phones all day long while they are in class, or are cutting, as well as seeming to have free reign to go wherever to get headphones and chargers. They even share phones. I'm looking at Pocket Points for next year, but how do we combat this culture, especially if we get no help from above.

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My friend has a hanging shoe holder at the front of her classroom. Each student turns in their phone as they come in into their corresponding number pocket. If they don’t turn it in, they are counted absent

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I've had students who actually don't have a phone, some who lie about not having a phone, some who have had their phones taken away as a punishment, etc.

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I don’t restrict phone use until it becomes a distraction. They’re always going to have them, so they need to learn to be able to put it down and prioritize something else. If they want to listen to music while they work, cool. If they’re on Facebook or whatever, I’ll redirect once or twice, and usually offer a strategy to keep them from getting distracted by it (pick your playlist and then put it in your lap, put it on DND if you feel a compulsion to check notifications when you get them, etc.). They can always charge their phones by my desk where they feel it’s safe and no one will steal it. That’s a big help. I’m always really reasonable about phones, so when I do tell them they can’t have them (like during test prep or on test days) they’re pretty chill about it. I teach in a low-income neighborhood and my kids often feel like their cell phones are one of few things they own and control, so taking them away can be triggering and dramatic. I do it when a kid really can’t or won’t focus on their work, but I always frame it as me helping them focus, and honestly try to avoid it in general

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I have always been chill about phones but last year... it really go to me. I teach juniors and seniors. I believe if the chose to be on their phones rather than do my work, the natural consequence will be a lower grade if they don’t make up that work. However, the only time I expect the phones down is when I’m speaking to the class—giving instructions or notes. I am not a talk all period kind of teacher so there really is no excuse to be on the phone for those 15 (maximum) minutes. It’s the only time that I will take up a phone.

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I teach sophomores and I do what I call the paper bag method. If I see them on their phone or with ear buds in, I give them 2 warnings. On the third warning I give them a paper bag. They have to put their phone in the paper bag and not touch it until the bell rings. I explain they have a choice, they can either put it in the bag or I can take it and send it straight to the office. If they touch it, though, I take it to the office. It has been a great success! The kids know the consequences of their actions, they aren't anxious because I have it, it drives them crazy when they get a notification (which is hilarious), and the class loves it when someone gets a bag. They actually end up calling each other out and my job gets easier! I've loved it because it teaches phone etiquette and I don't have to fight them. On testing days, they turn it into a big bin like they would for any other standardized test, so they're used to that.

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Hmmm...I'm diggin' the paper bag method.

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I just try to be engaging enough that they don’t want to be on their phones. And I don’t sweat it if they check their phone occasionally. However, if I notice the phone becoming a problem, then I have them put it on my desk. The 1st time, I give it back to them after class and it’s no big deal. The next time, I turn it in to the office and the students have to pay $10 to get it back (school policy). I haven’t had phones be too big an issue.

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Honestly, I give my juniors and seniors freedom with their phones. I have the advanced, college-bound students. We have a talk at the beginning of the year about how they're mature enough to learn how to handle them and will need to learn to manage them before they get to college where their professors won't care whether they're paying attention or not. I do have them turn them in on test days though, and I'd there's a recurring issue, I may make individual students turn them in daily. With my freshmen, I tell them to turn them in to the calculator pockets hanging on the wall, but I don't enforce it unless I see them on their phones. Then I remind them to hang it up and go on with the day. Since I'm pretty reasonable about it, they've respected that policy so far. Again, they all actually have to turn them in on test days. Next year, I plan on allowing students to keep their phones to use as calculators on tests if they're in Desmos test mode. I just learned of this and it looks like a great tool!

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Great comments! I have to share that if you use the pockets, give yourself a few minutes at the end to make sure everyone gets their phone back. We had two teachers who did not do that and had phones stolen. If they weren't returned then the teacher would have had to pay for them because they were in their possession. One teacher pleaded with the class because the phone was over $400. Also, don't be fooled. Many of them are putting their old phones in the slots. I attended a session at a technology conference that discussed the addiction. It is very real. Parents can also be a great help, although it is annoying when it is the patent texting the child. I am going to check out that app! Thank you!

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Yes, my pocket holder is in the front of the room where the students can see their phones at all times and I allot about 10 minutes at the end of class for clean-up and then I call out the numbers for students to come get their phones. On another note...parents....I had students who would have their phones in the pocket and later say something like, "can I see if my mom texted me back?" Most times, I would let them since they asked. I even had some who would say, "can I text someone about a ride home from school? You can watch me do it!" 😂

It’s called cell phone purgatory. The hanging pockets mentioned above. Every student gets a number to place their phone in. They can opt out, but if it’s ever seen, it’s sent to the office. With the rise in chrome books and such for classes there is no need to let kids have them in class imo. But every situation is different too

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I have had parents texting students in class, then students arguing that they HAD to answer their parent. Then, a couple of years ago, a parent sent me a text during class that she had just see me teaching on a student’s Snapchat account. The student was raising the phone up every time I turned to write on the board or adjust the document camera. I was embarrassed that I hadn’t caught it! But, she eventually had to talk to our school police officer about legalities of broadcasting student who had signed a no photo form. Turned out, this student had also been broadcasting from other teachers classes as well as FaceTiming students in other classes. What a mess! Admin was good to get this cleaned up and shut down. All this in 6th grade. Phone are a big problem. Teachers were much more inclined to take up phones after that or allow students to turn them in.

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I agree with the comment above. It's an issue or can be an issue if it's not backed by administration. Teachers can do whatever policy they want but if admin isn't enforcing the policy or backing us then kids will do what they do with their phones without recourse. In my school, and district, students are to have their phones off,powered down and put away as soon as they hit the front gate. Of course there are those kids who aren't doing that, but I will say that if they are being out and used as a distraction, then our admin handles it pretty well. Once parents have to come down to the office to pick their kid's phone up, that's usually the last time it's an issue with that kid. So make it a school wide policy and back each other and get admin to step up do their job!

Give them a warning the first time, take it and give back at the end of the day the second time, and after that, their parents have to come get the phone. Stopped a lot of that right in its tracks in my classes last year. Or, like the idiot in my honors class two years ago, get a Zero on your final because you’re looking at your phone the whole exam and you’re directly in my line of sight; just staring right at me like she thought I couldn’t see the phone in her hands. Called her mom right after school ended and told her what the consequences were going to be and why. Her end of year grade went down to a B; she could have had an A, but......

My students simply refuse to hand over a phone in any capacity. I’ve had kids swing at me over it, so I just let them do it now. I call parents and let them handle it. I’m not getting punched over a phone.

Us too!

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