{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "What is your school's cellphone policy (& your personal classroom one if they differ)? What strategies have been useful for getting kids to keep them away!?", "post_id": "60f862bc32be22002094555d", "reply_count": 17, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "5c751b9f2f6b98001bc666f8", "bowl_name": "Teachers" }

What is your school's cellphone policy (& your personal classroom one if they differ)? What strategies have been useful for getting kids to keep them away!?

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We’re 1:1, so there’s no reason for students to use their cell phones in class. They used to be the bane of my existence. My district now has a no cell phone policy that is strictly enforced. Students can use them before/after school and during breakfast & lunch, but no other times. So, I make sure that my students know it is a district policy and that it is strictly enforced. I have a clear paint can, that I put black electrical tape on (to look like bars) and the words “phone jail”. If I see or hear a phone (I don’t care if it vibrates, we ignore that), it goes into the phone jail and then to the office. The office records the offense & the student can generally get it back at the end of the day, although it does depend on which # of offense it is. I usually take 1 cell phone the 1st week or 2 of school and then I don’t have any problems after that, because they know I will follow-through. I’m reasonable. If a student has something going on where they have to check it because of home (like Mom’s expecting and due, etc), then they can let me know and ask each time before they check it. If it falls out of a pocket or backpack, they can just pick it up and put it away as long as it’s not obvious that is was actually being used. If they think they forgot to mute it, they just ask and I thank them for being responsible and tell them they may check it and mute it. I always have a few students that try to sneak it, but I’m on my A-game and catch them very quickly, and then no one else tries it, because word gets around.

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My situation is almost the same as the Missouri teacher. They are not allowed to use them. If a teacher is reasonable, the students respect the rules. They really are unnecessary during class and easily a distraction to other students. I don’t see the benefit of allowing them. I would make it a policy in my class even if my school didn’t have a policy. It would mean more work for you though.

My district is pretty strict about them as a general rule but does allow teachers to make their own policies. As for myself, I’m pretty laidback. I figure these cellphones are going to be with them for the rest of their lives. They need to practice responsible cellphone use. Though stakes can be high in high school, they’re not nearly as bad as failing a college class because of a cellphone or being dismissed from a dream job because you couldn’t responsibly manage your phone use. My class is the time to practice. They are responsible for completing work and participating, but they are free to occasionally check their phones while working or to play on them if they’re done.

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Accept them and include their use in your lesson plan.

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The only strategy is if the whole school doesn’t allow them and there are consequences. Another thing that helps is not allowing outside devices any internet access which deters many kids. Otherwise it is a futile battle and some things may help “pocket points” or “cell phone caddies or locked boxes” but over all kids won’t stop. If you have a class policy that isn’t a school one that is “above” their discipline level you won’t get support from admin and therefore you can’t enforce it with fidelity

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We used to have a no cell phone policy but now it is up to individual teachers whether to allow them or not. For teachers who have a no cell phone policy many have cell phone or calculator holders like the one pictured below and that is how they take attendance each day. It hangs at the front of the room and students are given a number. If students don’t have a cell phone they have them use an index card and place in their spot. It has worked well for them.

Post Photo
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My kids will be putting their phone,in an assigned numbered pocket as they enter the room. If they do not, if they use their phone without permission during class, it will immediately be confiscated and sent to the office. I fought this addiction all last spring when they came back in person.

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Our principal bought us plastic boxes to keep phones in during class. Every teacher has the exact same box and picks them up at the beginning of class. If a student chooses not to put the phone in the box, that’s fine. We take it to the office if they get it out. They pick it up at the end of the day. The second time they get it out, their parent has to come get it:

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My district's policy differs from school to school. HS students can use their phones (at their teacher's discretion). MS students (where I teach) are supposed to put their phones in their lockers (last year was an exception b/c of COVID. The students didn't have lockers). As far as enforcement, that varied from teacher to teacher. Last year was pretty lax. Some teachers were fighting with the students on almost a daily basis. I didn't have an issue, but the students knew if they asked and had a reasonable reason to use it (as stated in the early post to which I am replying), I was ok with it. If I caught them using it without asking first I became their worst nightmare. Word got out pretty quickly (and it's a small district so I had many of these students siblings and my reputation seemed to proceed me). That being, I am pretty laid back, but do not tolerate disrespect and trying to "get over on me" is definitely disrespectful.

I have allowed them to use their devices, but I have them create a portion of the contract that they can agree on with consequences, with the district’s guidelines in front that they have to get signed. Then I display their part of the contract in the classroom. The kids are have been pretty good with their devices.

No phones on or out. If I see one a ask them to put away or turn off. If I see again I take for the hour. If I see again it goes to the office.

I couldn’t even tell you what our district policy is, and I know the school policy is none in classrooms (I think?) but it’s so not enforced. Whatever I enforce I’m always consistent. I have a strict policy personally and it really works for me. I tell them when we go over the syllabus that is their warning, first time I see it they have to give it to me. The first time I always give it back immediately after class, and the time I hold it increases from there (maybe to the next break, after school, etc). Rarely does it get so bad I have to get them to hand write a contract or anything like that. I have had classes in the past where the kids were used to not being held accountable or were used to being kicked out for everything and I would handle phones differently. Every day is a new day, first time is a warning, second is one minute after class, third is a 10 minute detention & call home. I would keep tallies on a seating chart that had boxes for each kid for all five days in the week. Again, rarely did it make it past the one minute. The one way I could improve is I’m not strict with it not even being out so I could work on enforcing that. But what about these Apple watches?! What are we supposed to say—stop checking the time?!

Cell phone policy is compex; but it doesn't have to be. You must ask yourself if you have what it takes to manage your class AND what are your school policies and district policies. 🤔 Once you have that information you can design a classroom policy that works for you. I agree with schools that identify phones as a significant challenge and distraction to education. Some schools actually provide locking phone bags to ebb phone problems. That is most likely the best approach because it saves countless hours of teacher and administrative time following through with student infractions regarding phone misuse. My school doesn't use that approach however. I start off each school year with a video produced by Katie Couric TV Series: Inside Out with the Episode"Your Brain on Tech". This episode explains the rise of technology (cell phones) and how a single beep or vibration can steal your attention for up to 15-20 minutes. The explanation uses irrefutable scientific evidence (that middle school and high school students can clearly understand). After the video I have questions students must answer and a class discussion of the most important points of the science. After the discussion I give the students my cell phone policy (no tolerance for cell phones in class) seen or otherwise. Of course you can design a policy to your liking. My policy is supported by administration. Each teacher must make their own rules at our school. Needless to say that many teachers who can't manage phones can't seem to manage any other critical issue either.

No cell phones from the time school starts until the last bell. Phones go to the office and parents must come pick them up. After the first time, it's ISP.

I’m elementary students can have them but they must remain out of site and can be used at teacher’s will in a lesson or call home for early release or emergency or questions. Once that policy was in effective many complied and not a lot of abuse. We are also one to one Chromebooks.

No phone policy at our school. I know the kids have them but they stay in their book bags. If they go off I tell the student to turn it off right away and put it up. If I catch them on it, I take it and parents can pick it up.

We’re supposed to collect them in a basket and store them away until dismissal but I’m fine if my kids leave them in their lockers

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