Cell Phones in Class Driving You Nuts? Try One of These Clever Ideas

For times when you need their undivided attention.

cell phones in class

How to monitor cell phone use during class is a frequent topic for teachers. Some teachers come down hard on the “absolutely no phones in class” side of the debate, while others accept that cell phones are an intractable part of today’s culture and encourage teachers to embrace technology and weave use of them into their lessons.

One thing both sides can agree upon is that, left unmonitored, cell phones can be a huge distraction in the classroom. So for those times when you need your students to put them out of reach, or when students misuse the privilege, here are some clever ideas along with recommendations for managing cell phones in your classroom, courtesy of teachers on our WeAreTeachers Facebook page .

1. The Cell

SOURCE: PeachPopNW

This locking cell phone holder manages up to 42 devices and comes with padlock, coded stickers, and index card pouch. 

2. Stadium Seating

SOURCE: Decoration Good

Kids who are uneasy about relinquishing their phones can easily keep an eye on them with this stadium seating–style cell phone holder. Easy to put together, it comes in three sizes, 12, 24, or 48. 

3. The Classic Pocket Chart

SOURCE: C. Finkler on WeAreTeachers

Assign each student a number, and as soon as they enter the classroom—bam!—in goes their phone. Thanks for the recommendation, CF!

4. Pocket Chart 2.0

SOURCE: Coffee, Kids and Dolls

If you’re into more of a designer look, visit this site for a customizable cell phone holder for your classroom. 

5. Personal Zip Pouch Cell Phone Holder

SOURCE: Pinterest

Have each student be responsible for their own phone. They can tuck their phones away safely without worrying about them disappearing. 

6. Christmas Ornaments Storage Box

SOURCE: Catlin Tucker

Sturdy, organized, and easy to store. Slide it under your desk, store it on top of a table, or mount it to the wall. 

7. Denim Pockets

SOURCE: Lorra Metko on Pinterest

We all have old jeans that just don’t quite do the trick anymore. Why not hot glue them onto a plastic shower curtain and write numbers on them with colored Sharpies?

8. Cell Phone Hotel

SOURCE: Teacher J. Hart on WeAreTeachers

“Here is the ‘cell phone hotel’ that I built a couple of years ago. Students’ cell phones get ‘checked in’ for the day, unless I allow them for a specific purpose. I’ve NEVER had a student complain!” —JH

9. DIY Parking Lot

SOURCE: Teacher R. Littler on WeAreTeachers

“When students enter, I have them put their phones in the cell phone parking lot. Some have claimed a spot as their own, while others put theirs in an empty spot.” —RL

10. Cassette Holder

SOURCE: Pinterest

Search your basement (or your mom’s basement) for an old cassette rack and transform it into a cell phone holder. Place it in the front of the class where everyone can keep an eye on them.

11. Vintage Coke Crate Charging Station

SOURCE: Teacher C. Thompson on WeAreTeachers

“Students earn a bonus point for every day they put their phone in the charging station at the beginning of class and keep it there until the end of class.” —CT

12. Hanging Charging Station

SOURCE: Teacher H. Rogers on WeAreTeachers

“I use my cell phone pocket chart as an incentive to get to class on time. There are only 12 pockets, so the first ones to put their phones in the pocket get the charging cords.” —HR

13. Chalkboard Tray

SOURCE: Teacher LM on WeAreTeachers

“Lining up cell phones on the chalkboard tray is a cheap and easy way to have your students check their phone in for the class period. Have chalk available so they can label their slot, or pre-label them.” —LM

14. Cell Jail

SOURCE: Teacher C. Mefford on WeAreTeachers

“If I see students with their phones, they get one warning, then it goes into the jail. They must do something kind for someone else to get the phone back.” —CM

15. Padded Envelope

SOURCE: Teacher D. Hayden on WeAreTeachers

“I use these 4×6 envelopes, and I use adhesive Velcro for the flaps, that way I hear if/when a student opens it up before the end of class. If I see a student’s phone, I set the envelope on their desk, they put the phone in. They can keep the envelope wherever they want, and they get the phone back at the end of the period with no hassle if they followed all the rules. It has alleviated a lot of stress and struggle for my students and I, and I have not had to write any referrals for cell phone use since using these envelopes.”—DH

16. Chum Bucket

SOURCE: Teacher A. Elizabeth on WeAreTeachers

“Any phone seen out during class goes in the Chum Bucket for the rest of class. And we all know they don’t have Krabby Patties in the Chum Bucket!” —AE

Do you have an original way to deal with cell phones in class? Come share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook. 

Plus, what teachers need to know about the sleep epidemic.

Cell Phones in Class Driving You Nuts? Try One of These Clever Ideas

Posted by Elizabeth Mulvahill

Elizabeth Mulvahill is a passionate teacher, writer and mom who loves learning new things, traveling the globe and everything Zen.

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