When it is discovered that something is missing, it is so hard to get it back. Kids DO NOT want to tell the truth when they have taken something. Today, I actually got something back that was taken, and I have no idea who took it--and neither does anyone else!
I was sharing my room with the Librarian because the PTO was using the library. She took a toy away from a kid who was playing with it (it was a little skateboard) and set on the computer. Later we noticed that the toy wasn't there anymore.
We tried telling whoever took the toy to give it back now and there wouldn't be any trouble--I have never got that one to work, by the way. We tried talking to them about how we could search them and find it and that would be more embarrasing than giving it back now--that didn't work either.
Finally, I told all of the kids to gather around the rug. Then I had them all turn their backs to the rug. Finally, I said, "OK, now I want everyone to get out one thing to toss on the rug behind you. It can be a necklace, a shoe, a watch--whatever--I am gonna toss my keys. Whoever has the skateboard, you can toss it--and no one is allowed to look. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1--TOSS!"
There, among all of the other things that the kids tossed, was the skateboard.
"Thank you, now can we please get back to the lesson!?"