Managing pencils

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by J. A., Sep 22, 2018.

  1. J. A.

    J. A. Rookie

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    Sep 22, 2018

    I feel like this is something a lot of teachers struggle with, so I'd like some input on how to manage pencils! I think I've posted this before, but a lot of suggestions said not to provide them in the first place. First, WV state policy mandates that basic school supplies MUST be provided free of charge in the classroom, so refusing to provide pencils is not an option. Second, having a pencil-less student can lead to disruptions since they will be off task.

    I've tried buying the jumbo kindergarten pencils (I teach 6th and 7th grade ELA), and that cuts back on sharpening and breaking. I also "brand" them with hot pink duct tape hoping I'll see it and remember to collect them, but I still always forget. Any tips on how I can manage the pencil crisis?
     
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  3. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Sep 22, 2018

    I hand them a crayon if they don't bring a pen or pencil. They hate it so much they just ask a friend, or find a pencil some other way.
     
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  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Sep 22, 2018

    This is not a hill I wish to die on. If we run low, I send a note to the parents to send more pencils in. Someone will always send more.
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Sep 22, 2018

    I don't understand how they can mandate something that isn't provided?

    I've collected a ton of pencils from various places (for free) and my school only gave me about 10. I have a pencil cup near my bathroom sign out that kids can take from. I put about four in at the beginning of the year and the cup emptied this week. I will probably add more next week, but I also find a ton of pencils on the ground that I pick up and put in the cup. Since I have pencils now, I give them to kids who ask.

    If they are going through pencils and not keeping track of the ones that you give them, I would ask them to borrow one or use a colored pencil. Otherwise, I would designate a student to handle pencil sign outs (ex. a "pencil king or queen."). They need to write the borrower's names on the board and make sure that the pencils get returned.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Sep 22, 2018

    I’m not going to die on the pencil hill.

    I bought two gross of personalized pencils with my name on them. I have pencil grippers on the wall that keep five pencils out for use. I also have a bucket of “floor pencils” that get left behind. We don’t sign them out. If they are gone, they are gone.
     
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  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Sep 22, 2018

    I, too refuse to make my stand over pencils. I shop Ebay for the best prices, have no problem asking thrift stores if they will donate used pencils for my kids, and I never let a pencil on the ground go to waste. I manage to buy pencils and pens dirt cheap simply because I am a vigilant shopper, but I also don't waste them. I only put a limited number in the pencil container, because if they see the container full, they assume that they can take the pencil with them to the next class.I tend to hand out pencils as they enter the room, and collect them before the bell rings. I don't stress over it - I have bigger fish to fry!
     
  8. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Sep 22, 2018

    I have 12 students and 12 pencils. Each student is given a pencil and are instructed to not touch the pencil container. My aide or myself will pass out a pencil and collect them immediately after an activity. I do, however, give a crayon to one of my students because this student will only write using crayon....
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Sep 23, 2018

    This is also not a hill I wish to die on. I buy pencils in bulk when they're on sale. Then I just replenish as needed. Honestly though, most of my kids would rather just ask a friend so I don't go through them very quickly. I keep pens and highlighters out too, and those go a bit faster. It still doesn't bother me though.
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Sep 23, 2018

    I should probably be clear that I work in a private school dealing with the EBD population. They bring nothing. The school provides some money for supplies, but like others have noted, it is never enough. Most of my pencils are consumed by random acts of destruction, or students removing them from class, almost like a trophy. I never give my students pens because they tend to be used in ways not intended, and none of them are good. I could rail against the situation, or adapt my actions and accept that this is my reality. I have chosen the latter.
     
  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    Sep 23, 2018

    I don’t ever buy pencils or pens — never have or will — because my students leave them in my class EVERY single day. I finally gave up in year 2 about reminding students to remember to pick up their pencils when they leave and now I just keep a container on both sides of the classroom with student pencils and pens in them. If a student needs something to write with, they know to go and look in the containers for it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
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  12. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Sep 23, 2018

    I'm elementary, so take my words with a grain of salt, but I've found that my not making something a big deal / even mentioning it aside from basic expectations, ensuring that there's a easy-to-use system in place (I have a sharp pencil bin and a dull pencil bin, and sharpen them after school each day. We're 3 weeks in, and there's the same number of pencils despite them being used tons), and then addressing individual situations privately, that there doesn't seem to be much of an issue. I spend about 20 seconds a day on pencil management, and that's literally the sharpening of them at the end of the day.

    Sounds like me in high school: I amassed a huge collection of mechanical pencils and never had to buy one, because I found them on the ground all the time!
     
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  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    Sep 23, 2018

    Exactly this, haha! Students leave them everywhere!
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 25, 2018

    I have tried so many things, and while they all worked for a while, nothing really worked on the long run, because I got tired of it, was not consistent or the kids got tired of it.
    I would say the best thing that worked was when I bought pencils at Walmart that were neon colors. No other teacher has used those pencils, so I could look around and see who had my pencil. This way I could just tell the kids, if they got one, please give it back and they did. I think a lot of time they keep pencils because they forget it's not theirs, they're lazy, or because their other teacher wouldn't give them one (I had kids return pencils at the end of the day).

    The only problem was that I had 60-80 students, and the cost added up, especially since they were kinda soft and sharpened down very fast. So after 2 months I just stopped and gave them regular pencils and then all the problems started again.

    Our school states that we provide everything, including pencils, so how do you require them to bring some? I would say 20 % of the kids brought pencils.

    The only thing I can think of is to buy enough from school teacher budget to last a long time and don't really worry about it.
     
  15. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Sep 25, 2018

    Like others, Pencil Hill 305 is not the hill I'll take my last stand on. I have a container of various pens and pencils that students leave and it never gets empty. Mechanical pencils are really popular at my school, so I do keep pt7 lead on hand for those. I buy it bulk for cheap. And I almost always have a pack of bulk pens that I like.
     
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  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    Sep 25, 2018

    Haha, love the first sentence!

    I love mechanical pencils, too, and despise pencils that require you to sharpen them.

    I have so many pencils and pens from students it’s getting ridiculous. This year alone, I’ve collected almost 50! The highest I’ve had in any one year was almost 500 and my current collection is in the several hundred. If I weren’t such a conservationist, I would just toss them, but I’d rather they be put to good use and utilized.
     
  17. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Sep 25, 2018

    Ugh....hill people drive me crazy though. My former principal....every time a staff member brought him an issue...ANY ISSUE....his response was almost always "that's not a hill I'm going to die on...." Code for: don't feel like dealing with that, you figure it out. New principal is much better.
     
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  18. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Mine are in an upcycled silverware tray. But I don't keep that many.
     
  19. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Sep 25, 2018

    That is exactly what that means. And when I say it in regards to pencils is a "Your responsibility, not mine. You figure it out. "
     
  20. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Sep 25, 2018

    The first week of school I put out a pencil cup and it stayed full for two weeks because all of the kids brought pencils. The cup has rapidly emptied this week and I've noticed more and more kids not bringing pencils!! Most of them just borrow from each other and it's fine but I'll be putting out a few more every week.
     
  21. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    I have never been in a situation where pencils were a worry. They've always been plentiful. And this crop of kids is super excellent about pencil use.
     

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