Broken pencils driving me crazy!

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by Tek, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Tek

    Tek Companion

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    Nov 15, 2012

    If you have an effective pencil system, please let me know!

    I tried the whole "box of sharpened pencils, if you break yours go get one of mine" system. I've heard many teachers trying this, and I prepared 40 pencils thinking I would be good for a while.

    My kids went through it in 4 days! And now they're missing, or completely broken (literally, in half). I found one girl hoarding like 11 broken pencils. I was horrified. I guess I was naive to think 40 pencils could last me longer.

    The sharpening drives me mad! The same cast of students are constantly sharpening their pencils in the mechanical device. I don't know if they're breaking them on purpose to get up and move about, if they're sharpening them too much or what, but it's driving me nuts.

    Any 1st grade veterans who can tell me what's an effective pencil system?

    And should there only be manual quiet sharpeners? I'm just at my wit's ends with this pencil business....
     
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  3. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Enthusiast

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    Nov 15, 2012

    I'm not a veteran; I'm a first year teacher.

    I don't know what to do about the broken pencils because I've only had that problem with a couple kids this year (and I don't know who!)

    For pencils, I have two buckets in the back of the room - one for sharpened and one for unsharpened. They're right next to the electric sharpener but I NEVER let the kids use the sharpener. Pencils being sharpened during class is my pet peeve - drives me NUTS! When the kids need a pencil, they show me one finger - that's the silent "I need a pencil" signal. I then motion for them to trade their pencil. They put the dull/broken one in the unsharpened bucket and take a new sharpened one. Done. The kids each have two pencils so they're not trading all the time. Some mysteriously end up with more...so I just put them back when I notice. I sharpen the pencils in the unsharpened bucket every couple of days. My sharpener is fast so it only takes a couple minutes.

    This system works for me with my group of kids, but of course each class is different! I just use it because like I said, pencil sharpening during class drives me CRAZY!

    Edit: I was trying to figure out how many pencils I must have in rotation at one time. I know I started with each kid having 2 (2x19=38) and probably at least 20 more in the sharpened bucket. So I must have had 60 pencils out there at one point... yikes! :eek:
     
  4. Tek

    Tek Companion

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    Nov 15, 2012

    Ah! Your system is similar to mine (even with 1 finger to signal I need a pencil) but my mistake is I don't have two buckets and the student putting the broken pencil in the dull bucket! That way, there's a fair exchange and I can sharpen at the end of the day.

    I'll try this! I knew I forgot an important step... d'oh!
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 15, 2012

    The two baskets works pretty well. I would also suggest having the students each take two pencils in the morning so if one breaks, they have a second. Then at the end of the day, collect all the pencils back from the students. This way you can easily see who is breaking or ruining pencils.
     
  6. Cicero

    Cicero Companion

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    Nov 15, 2012

    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=166998

    The link takes you to a system that I am using in my classroom. It is really working out so far! Kids seem to just like the convenience of taking our pencils because they are there and they are free. When they come at a cost (like with my incentive system), it makes them rethink if they really need to rely on our pencils (or if they need to hoard our pencils.. I had one of those girls too). I imagine you might need to modify it since you are working with younger kiddos, but I thought I would share in case you found it interesting.
     
  7. HelloLove

    HelloLove Rookie

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    Nov 15, 2012

    I also do the "sharpened/unsharpened" baskets. But lately I've noticed kids are not returning my pencils. I know this sounds a little OCD, but over spring break I'm going to print labels with the kids names and put the labels on two pencils for each kid. I thought this was crazy but my mentor teacher says it saves her a lot of time dealing with pencil issues. It's worth a try I suppose.
     
  8. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Nov 16, 2012

    I've labeled pencils before! I did it for every pencil one year because they were fighting over identical pencils!

    I never let students use my electrical sharpener & I don't allow manual pencil sharpeners in my room. I can't stand pencil shavings!
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2012

    I've been teaching for 15 years...this year pencils, markers, you name it...is out of control....kids don't cap markers, leave materials laying around, don't clean up after themselves....:dizzy:
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2012

    czacza---I agree. My students think I'm their maid, so we've really started focusing on cleaning up after yourself.

    If you have the time and energy for labeling pencils, go ahead an do it. I'm not sure that it is something I would do unless the problem is severe (fighting).
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2012

    I gave the 'Cinderella doesn't work here' speech this week....if anything, I'd be the Cinderella with the glass slippers, not the one cleaning up.:lol:
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2012

    I may just have to try that one. They were so much better this week after we talked about and modeled what a cleaned area looked like (again).
     
  13. Cobalt_Waves

    Cobalt_Waves Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2012

    I taught grade one and two last year and the pencil thing drove me insane. Without knowing any better when I first started out, I was letting kids use the electric pencil sharpener. During coloring activities, it was going straight time!! NEVER AGAIN. I would only let them use manual sharpeners if I were you...even if that means buying them all one.
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Aficionado

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    Nov 17, 2012

    Oh, the sharpener. So at the school where I was we give the students pencils. They come in with nothing, we provide papers, pencils, everything and at the end we get them back.
    The teacher allows the students to get up (with permission) to sharpen them as needed. After 2 days I put the sharpener away.
    I noticed that they were constantly sharpening them, and that was just a way to get up walk around, make goofy faces at the class, etc.
    I took out 2 manual (quiet :) ) sharpener, sharpened everything before class, had about 5 pencils left over, so if they needed a sharp one, they could just change it out and I would sharpen them at my convenience.
    All of sudden there wasn't as much need for sharp pencils :)

    And the funny thing was that the kids thought I was pretty smart and way ahead of them because there was one more distraction I cut out, that they have been successfully using with their teacher.
     
  15. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Nov 17, 2012

    I use the 2 bucket system where I sharpen the pencils, but was getting pencils back where it was obvious that the tip had been broken off on purpose. I saved the pencils for the next morning, and showed them to the class, and talked about how this was wasting our pencils, destroying school property, wasting trees(one little person thought of that one), etc.
    There haven't been any broken pencils since then.
    I also buy the primary pencils without erasers on them, and give them an old fashioned pink one.
    My last class liked to take the erasers off of the ends of their pencils, and tore the pencil cap erasers up.

    Now I don't have eraser or pencil problems!:D
     
  16. NickiMacaroni

    NickiMacaroni Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2012

    One of the teachers I work with figured out a system that might work for you... just put a twist on something you've already done. He does keep a mug full of sharpened pencils on his desk, for kids to use if theirs break or if they can't find one. (The kids are supposed to sharpen pencils when they come in in the morning, or after recess in the afternoon, but if it breaks during a lesson, they can take one of his.) HOWEVER, in order to take one of his pencils, they need to leave behind one of their shoes! This works very well. They return their pencil and get their shoe back, and don't need a lot of monitoring. The system seems to make sense to them.
    If you don't want your kids hopping around with just one shoe, try giving them something else, like a laminated card with their name on it velcroed to their desk. When they need to take a pencil, they have to leave their card on your desk. If there are any cards left on your desk at the end of the day, you just tell those kids they need to bring their pencils back!
    I hope that helps!
     
  17. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Nov 22, 2012

    I've tried the shoe. As I was in a portable, it didn't work as well. So, a I charged the students a quarter for a pencil. I'd give them the quarter back if they returned the pencil. Most of them kept the pencil and I had money to go buy more. My kids were 3rd graders.

    For my K's, I sharpen their pencils, I try not to sharpen to a sharp point, more of a dull point. The fat laddie pencils won't break as easily that way. I have a set of pencils that are ready to go so when I see a pencil that is getting too dull, I trade pencils with the child. I sometimes check pencil boxes to see how many pencils each child has.
     

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