Managing Cellphones in the Classroom | Teacher Tip Tuesday

Managing Cellphones in the Classroom | Teacher Tip Tuesday

I get asked a lot about my cellphone policy in class and how I deal with the disruption of cellphones in class. Here are a few tips that I use to keep kids off their phones without making it a big deal.

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50 Comments

  1. Matthew Williams on October 8, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    I invested in a company called Yondr. They are individual pouches that lock up like a security tag using a magnet. This way they get to hang onto the phone but can’t access it. The upfront cost wasn’t cheap but totally worth it. I bought 30 for $200 but they have sent me free replacements if any have broken.



  2. Joyce Harkey on October 8, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    What about those clear hanging caddies? I was thinking of putting a big charging strip right next to it. But my question is is it easier to start the year out saying ‘you put your phone here’



  3. Marc Wyant on October 8, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Can I vent for a minute!? I work at an inner city school and phones are such a frustration. If I notice a kid on their phone I tell them to put it away in a firm voice. If they still have it out a minute after than initial warning I take it. I’ve had students tell me to my face, "No, I don’t have to give you my phone, you’re not my mom!" Pisses me off SO badly! After watching your video I realize I should probably just chill out.



  4. Gaby’s POV on October 8, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    My school has a no phone policy, so students must leave their phones in the locker at the beginning of the day and if they are seen with it, the principal keeps it for three days and only gives it back if students bring a letter from their parents apologizing.



  5. Teachers Things That Work on October 8, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Love the proactive approach! I will be adding a charging bar in my room next year.

    My favorite reactive thing I do is to pull the index card i keep in my pocket that says “no phones” slide into the camera and snap a selfie with the card.

    If you get one of those foil lined bags for carrying frozen groceries home and use it for a cell phone jail it will drain the battery twice as fast.

    Having fun is the BEST!!!!!



  6. Tanya Hobson-Begraft on October 8, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Thank goodness kindergarten kids don’t have cell phones.



  7. Jim on October 8, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    You obviously have a great rapport with your students. One issue I have with confiscating phones is what happens if I take and accidentally drop and iPhone X and break it. I am going to be held liable for a $1000+ bill?



  8. Jody Mitchell on October 8, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    I’m a parent and it sounds good to me👌👌👌👌



  9. Rosa Romero on October 8, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    Love these ideas! First year teaching and greatest challenge is to keep students engaged because they are constantly on their cellphones. Thanks for this !



  10. Braeden Larson on October 8, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    Or you can acknowledge that cell phones are just as much of a distraction as books, and you’re just being difficult in a position of power. I look up stuff pertaining to the subject to assist my studies and I still get it taken lol



  11. Julia Detmer on October 8, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    The school I’m student teaching in just started their new cell phone policy this year (Monday) where they will have to turn them in and put them in their individual envelope before they go through the scanners. At the end of ninth period, they will receive it but it will also take up time from instruction ninth. The students and parents both are protesting it by petitions, and a walk out.



  12. The Road to Cosplay and Comic Con on October 8, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    How would I approach this from a Elementary special education approach? I was a student teacher during my high school years and I was teaching in an elementary school special education isolated unit classroom. One day, one of the girls decided to record me on her phone and that goes against our District’s policy so I confiscated the phone from her for the day and I explained to her that the school rules state that she cannot have her phone out during class time. Do you think there was a better more professional approach I could have taken?



  13. Joseph G on October 8, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Best way to discipline the phones: Don’t mention it or even care (unless it is making sound and obviously distracting everyone).The biggest punishment is to let them get a bad grade or let them not know the stuff. If they don’t care about grades in the first place than let them be. Not everyone has to care. Quit being an attention seeking bum that has to have all eyes on them to teach. Just do your lil lesson and go on with your day.



  14. Kevin Benedict on October 8, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    awesome tips,I subscribed, I mainly teach adults, but some of these tips I can use, I created a instructor techniques channel and could use some support, plz come check it out and leave a comment



  15. Kristin Lovecchio on October 8, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    😂



  16. Sean Overall on October 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    I really hate that the school I teach at doesn’t allow us to confiscate students phones and just place them on my desk until the end of the lesson, we are not allowed to even touch them full stop. Might try implementing the power board for charging, but not sure how it will go as I’m a woodwork teacher and students are moving around the room.



  17. Rebekah Bennett on October 8, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    I truly appreciate your videos. Thank you so much for sharing!



  18. Aubrey Mikos on October 8, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Your interactions with your students are what make these videos golden! Talking about not getting into power struggles with kids is the #1 thing I would tell any teacher!



  19. Blanca Rodriguez on October 8, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    I’ve tried the “phone call” and “administrator” advice. I get “I don’t care go ahead” 😒😒



  20. Dana HC on October 8, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    I agree with explaining it and breaking down the rationale of why. I feel like students buy in more to your policies and procedures when they understand it. I also tell my parents the policy, so please stop screaming at me in emails and calls because I took your child’s phone. However, with one class, we were working on graphing, so we decided to leave our ringers on for the day (me included) and keep data on how many times a phone got a notification. 83 times in an hour with 21 phones. Then, we separated into categories who or what app the notification was from. Texts from parents were our biggest category. That was eye-opening.



  21. Joe Gross on October 8, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Awesome video and hilarious interactions with those students; love it.
    As a teacher that deals with cellphones in a similar manner I agree wholeheartedly on avoiding a power struggle, with refusals. Conversation over confrontation, always.
    A tip I would add, when confiscating a phone is necessary, say "thank you" when they hand it to you… and mean it. I want them to know I appreciate that they just did something that will help their learning, even though they didn’t want to.



  22. Sara Collins on October 8, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    I tried these tips today in class and they worked really well! Thanks for the advice!



  23. Nicole Freeman on October 8, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    I loved this video. It gave me some great ideas. What do you do about computers? My kids are constantly on youtube or playing games instead of working.



  24. Ryan Prieto on October 8, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    This man speaks truth. The some of the greatest moments in my classroom revolve around discipline. Just giving students a real consequence, or a goofy way out, can often diffuse a situation, and get the desired response anyway. At least that has been my experience. I will say listen to our man Reynolds though, do stuff that works for you, there is no catch all, or magic bullet.



  25. Bless Gillette on October 8, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Gary sent me



  26. SteppingBlindlyYetFaithfully on October 8, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    No mention of disability or how cell phones can be a tool. Too bad. Good vid otherwise



  27. Esther Koch on October 8, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    I love the relationship you have with the boys!



  28. Jasmine Hill on October 8, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    I LOVE the game show idea. I’m wrapping a phone in duct tape and paper towels tomorrow, though.



  29. Ren Johnson on October 8, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    As a student I was kind of a pain the ass, BUT when a teacher leveled with me, they earned my respect and loyalty for forever!! I hated and so so resented the "because I said so". That does NOT work.



  30. Jason Stewart on October 8, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    I really dug your video Reynolds and am inspired to do my own. I think you and I share the same philosophy about cell phones and respecting where the kids are coming from but we have very different approaches. I’ll let you know if I get around to making a video. Thanks for this!



  31. BlackRoze29 on October 8, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    I think I’m going to invest in a charging area next year. We have an out of sight policy, but it’s not really followed. I’ll remind my 8th graders over and over, but it just gets tedious. I do take phones though. Doesn’t do anything. I wish parents would just call the school instead of calling or texting their kids. That’s problem #2 for use.



  32. Samuel Miller on October 8, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Great video and some great advice. Not a fan of the duct tape and paper idea, because it creates waste.
    One question: if this problem is so persistent and new devices, like smart watches and augmentation goggles are coming in, why not find a way to put them to good use, like in classroom activities?



  33. goforth115 on October 8, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    I had a teacher in high school who would tell us to put our phones in this shoe rack at the beginning of each class. But I would forget that I put my phone there like almost every day. So eventually I stopped putting it in the dumb shoe rack and just kept it in my backpack like a normal person.



  34. Noah Pickens on October 8, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    I’ve always been tripped out by how much the adults in the building complain about student cellphone use when we are just as guilty in our meetings and professional development sessions. Lead by example!



  35. Cayleigh Sorella on October 8, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    I had a teacher in high school who allowed us to use our phones in his class. It was an honours biology class, and he wanted photos for our lab reports, so we were allowed to have them on lab days. There was complete trust in us that we would use them wisely. He also allowed us to charge our phones in his class, even let us borrow his own phone charger. You could let it charge there even when you weren’t in his class. There was total trust between him and his students, and he really fostered it.



  36. Taylor Gill on October 8, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Hey Reynolds do you have any tops on how to get students to somehow signal you when they need your help because they don’t understand something. Like today at school my one Math teacher knows about my Anxiety and so does the person that comes in and helps him but anyways today they noticed that I am a shy kid who doesn’t raise my hand and when I don’t understand something I don’t tell him so he wants me to figure out something to somehow signal him that I do t understand something without raising my hand and telling him I don’t understand it. So do you have any tips on how I can move something or do something to get him to notice I don’t understand what he is teaching to us. ( Sorry it is so long!!!!)



  37. Yesica1993 on October 8, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    I thought there was something one time about these kids not being to afford haircuts? But they have cell phones.

    It’s ridiculous that teachers have to deal with this crap. Phones belong either at home or in their bags, OFF. Not on vibrate. First offense, phone goes to principal’s office. 2nd offense, meeting with parents. Anything after that should be suspension. End of story.



  38. Stephen O'Brien on October 8, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I have been teaching for 42 years – you are fantastic – happy for you to teach my Grandchildren (That’s the highest compliment).



  39. TXsugarcane on October 8, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    I love every last one of these ideas. This year, I can honestly say that cell phones were not that much of a problem.

    Also, your classroom is AMAZING!!!!



  40. tb3eriko on October 8, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    In my schools phones are not allowed. They almost prefer that security takes them, but that can be troublesome and take time. As teachers, we can take them; but there is a problem. If we take a phone and a student picks it up later and says "oh no! there’s a crack on the screen that wasn’t there before." We could be reliable for the phone, whether or not the crack was there when the phone was taken. Also, an out of the way charging station is not bad. But unless you are constantly watching it, phones can be stolen. My question is what can we do in these situations?



  41. Lana Pipkins on October 8, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    I loved every last one of these ideas. This year, I can honestly say that cell phones have not been that much of a problem.

    Also, your classroom is AMAZING!!!!



  42. Michael Wall on October 8, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    If I take a phone from a student I try to guess their passcode … except it’s never all 1’s. This will lock their phone for 1, 5, 15 or 60 minutes. Once their phone is locked with enough time to get through the class I give it back to them. If they don’t have a passcode, I’ll put one on their phone for them, and then tell them they can have the new passcode at the end of the class … if they’re good. 😉



  43. Valdesgreen on October 8, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    I love how happy Siphus looks in your classroom.



  44. Annalicia Green on October 8, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Do you have any advice for future substitutes (who may want to teach at that school when certified)?



  45. Troy Gunderson on October 8, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    This is exactly how I handle cell phones in my class. Every class, after attendance, I start with this announcement "phones away" and I give them a few moments to do just that. I start class and away we go. If a phone is out, I ask them to put it away and it’s over with. I don’t make it an issue, I treat my kids with some respect, and I rarely have a phone problem. It’s not that difficult.



  46. Valdesgreen on October 8, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Sorry, Cephas, I mispelled your name–great name. I can never spell names



  47. Welcome To This amazing life on October 8, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Haha. I am watching this in class. And I am a student.



  48. Mollie Rierson on October 8, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    I made one of my students answer his phone the other day to remind whomever was calling him that he was in class.



  49. CColtManM on October 8, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Document, document, document. Don’t fight with the student. Record that you made the expectation clear, and use that documentation if they have a lower grade then they should.



  50. Megan Landry on October 8, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    His classroom is beautiful. I kept getting sidetracked from the message because I was looking at all the decor and books.