"Fat" pencils vs "Thin/Everyday" pencils

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by TeacherSandra, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Mar 18, 2009

    What are your thoughts? What pencils do your preschoolers use? I'm really hating the fat pencils...they are so huge for my little ones to hold and normally, kids use the everyday pencils around the home, so why not use them at school?
     
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  3. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Mar 18, 2009

    Comically, in my mixed age group the bigger children love the fat pencils and the regular pencils are the choice of the preschoolers. I am not sure why. When my middle schooler son is the classroom, even he chooses a fat pencil. Crack me up.
     
  4. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    We use thin pencils and we also have the handwriting without tears pencils (basically golf pencils with erasers on them).
     
  5. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    Mar 18, 2009

    We put both kinds out and the kids decide which they like the best.
     
  6. vbubbles1874

    vbubbles1874 Companion

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    Mar 18, 2009

    I use the fat pencils for my lefties and beginning writers. I have taken them out of the pencil can and switched to the everyday pencils. I had the same problem as Waprovider; my older writers wanted to use the fat pencils. They thought it was cool!!!
     
  7. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    May I ask why for the lefties?
     
  8. dcnuck

    dcnuck Companion

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    Mar 18, 2009

    I have always used the regular size pencils and regular size crayons. It just does not make sense to me for four year olds with small hands to put something so big in their hand and try and teach them how to write. Also if a child is struggling I use the short pencils like the previous poster stated. Then they have to use the pinchy fingers grip instead of trying to fist it.
     
  9. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Mar 19, 2009

    I have both in my pre-k classroom and let the students choose. When I am working with them in small group activities, I give them the size that works best for that particular child. I have observed that some children who are having trouble with the correct pencil grip do better with the fat pencil while some do better with the regular one - depends on the child.
     
  10. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    I start my kids out with writing (basic forms needed to make letters) with the fatter markers becaue their fine motor is so weak. Then when we start writing our letters and names we use the chubby pencils. I ahve had some issues with the pencil being so long that it is hard for the chidlren with smaller hands to hold, not because of the diameter but the length puts the end (eraser) past the center of gravity and they dont'have enough wrist control to hold it in place. So I broke the pencils in half. Easy fix. In a few weeks I willt ry th em with regular pencils.
     
  11. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Mar 20, 2009

    I used to be a firm believer in the skinny pencils because the children's hands are so small, the big pencils looked like tree trunks in their tiny little hands and seemed so awkward. I used to use only the golf pencils (short, no eraser, like from Ikea or keeping golf scores). Anyway, we recently had a training in our district given by our Occupational Therapists and they presented an hour long presentation on why our youngest students need the fat or "chubby" pencils. They explained that the muscles in their hands are not fully developed and they don't always have proper pencil grip or dominant hands established so therefore the big pencils are best for them. They explained that the little pencils actually encourage poor pencil grasp and letter formation in young children (5 years and under). Therefore, our district has now mandated only chubby pencils and crayons in pre-k and when they get to kinder if they have proper grasp and good fine motor skills they can move to regular pencils. The OT's showed examples of writing from children who used chubby vs. fat pencils and surprisingly the children who used the chubby pencils did better. The one thing I do want to do is get somebody with a wood saw to cut those big ole chubby pencils in half because they are too long and some of our kids hold them at the top like paintbrushes.

    There are lots of different opinions on this topic but I figure OT's went to school to study this type of thing so I guess I will listen to them :)
     
  12. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Mar 20, 2009

    Our district uses handwriting with out tears. We have to use small (thin) pencils for small hands. Our OT encourages us all to cut our pencils down to the right size (golf size) and use thin ones. I guess it just depends on what philosophy your school uses. I'm sure you will find evidence supporting using fat pencils for preschoolers and skinny pencils for preschoolers. Personally I like the smaller pencils. I have found my students handwriting to be neater.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2009
  13. Historygeek

    Historygeek Companion

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    Mar 20, 2009

    just a side note - I personally use fat pencils myself that i cut down because my carpal tunnel is so bad. I keep putting off the surgery because I hate surgical procedures and I'm a nurse! lol:)
     
  14. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    Like I said in my last post--- I use the chubby ones, but some of the children do have toruble because they are so long it goes past theri center of gravity for their wrists-- and seems to twist the wrist. I didn't use a wood saw-- i simply pressed it hard against the edge of the table and was able to easily snap them in half and then take the part that has the eraser and sharpen the broken end.
     
  15. kteachone

    kteachone Companion

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    I use skinny pencils, with the exception of students with fine motor issues. Those students have fat pencils with pencil grips.
     
  16. teacherstuff1

    teacherstuff1 Rookie

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    Apr 4, 2009

    We use golf pencils and broken crayons. I recently observed a child hold a regular size crayola marker in a fist/awkward grip. He then got the broken crayons and used a tripod grip. We discourage markers/fat crayons/fat pencils etc in 3's/4's classroom. One OT said it is like winning a giant 12" pencil at the fair and trying to write with it--it is awkward. There is also a product called Crayon Rocks that we have purchased that works well. It is basically a small crayon that you have to use a pincer grip to pick it up because it is small.
     
  17. teachpk

    teachpk Rookie

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    Fat pencils are not appropriate. I went to a early childhood conference, and they (the professionals...many were OTs)
    were opposed to pre-k and k centers using fat pencils for the little hands. They used this analogy...."How would you like it if you teachers were forced to start writing using tree trunks for pencils? (very bulky and awkward, wouldn't you say???) :) :)
     
  18. jillo5w

    jillo5w Rookie

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    Apr 4, 2009

    Interesting... I have both fat and skinny pencils, crayons and markers out for the kids.
    I honestly never thought about breaking the long pencils or using short ones...
    I think with the fat crayons the kids can't do very good coloring either.

    I might have to break some pencils on Monday. Good stress relief too!
     
  19. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    It does help with that too!
     
  20. knutcase

    knutcase New Member

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    Dec 19, 2010

    I have a hard time finding them

    I have a 5 year old that has a hard time writing. We tried everything. I finally found a fat pencil at an arts and crafts store. It worked he can finally hold it and write legibly. His printing has become almost like the kindergarten teachers. But the fat pencils are prohibitively expensive at almost $3 each. The teacher loves his pencils. She says sharpening the skinny ones is a pain since they break in the sharpeners and the kids press down so hard they constantly need sharpening. She says my sons pencils don't need sharpening as often and when they do they don't break off in the sharpener. It is cost efficient to her time wise, but then she isn't the one having to constantly buy the pencils. Of course having to sharpen less frequently makes his pencils last longer and other children don't challenge him to games of pencil breaks.
     
  21. knutcase

    knutcase New Member

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    Dec 19, 2010

    ha!!

    Yes but try writing with a single piece of broom straw. My son can't hold the regular pencils. We don't know why but we have found the fat crayons and the fat pencils are the only things he has control of. We are trying to ween him to skinnys but there are no in between ones like there was when I was younger. They used to have some that were medium and some that had one flat side to teach proper grips. We have even tried adding the rubber grippers for him but they still slide around on the skinny pencils and get lost too easily or he thnks they are toys. For now the fat pencils are working and he is gaining confidence in his handwriting where before he was frustrated since the pencil seemed to jump out of his hand when he tried to write and the kids would laugh at him. Now all the kids want pencils like his.
     

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