How to manage pencils in middle school?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by J. A., Feb 19, 2018.

  1. J. A.

    J. A. Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2018

    I run into the never-ending problem of students who never have a pencil. I have tried "flagging" mine with duct tape, as a reminder to myself to collect them at the end of class, but I would still forget, or students would still carry them off. Also, I have found my pencils snapped in 2 either in the room or the hallway. Would it be too extreme to do a pencil sign-out sheet and assign detention to students who do not return them?
     
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  3. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Feb 19, 2018

    golf pencils.....and a hand sharpener for them since they are too short for my electric sharpener.

    And no, I don't also hand out erasers. Students only asked for a pencil.

    I teach high school, so students would rather NOT use the short pencil and will borrow from their friends.
     
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  4. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    Feb 20, 2018

    You've got a few options here. One popular method is to make the students fork over something as collateral- a shoe, ID, phone, backpack, anything that they're not likely to leave the room without.

    You could also incentivize having a pencil in the first place. One school I worked in had pbis points tied to having pencil and paper and being on time. If you didn't meet a number of points, you couldn't participate in events like school dances. When I was a student, we had random pencil checks in band a few times every semester that were worth points.

    If your students would care, you could always get really embarrassing pencils. For some kids, being seen with a Doc McStuffins or cheesy boy band pencil is enough to want to give it back.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Feb 20, 2018

    I hand them out as I welcome each student to class, and then collect them right before the door at the end of class when they hand in their work before they leave the room. I am going to be at the door anyway, so it has become a routine. I generally remember who took a pencil, and if they hand me work done in pencil, but tell me they used "their" pen, I can gently correct them and ask them to check pockets, etc. It is surprising what shows up. Broken pencils are a write up for destruction of school property.
     
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  6. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Feb 20, 2018

    I ask them if they thought they were going on a field trip to the zoo today and continue with my lesson.
     
  7. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    Feb 21, 2018

    I write names of students on the board, then collect pencils at the end of class. If I don't get a pencil back, the student cannot borrow again from me for a week. I also make sure students hand me the pencil. I don't accept, "I put it on your desk".
     
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  8. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    Feb 21, 2018

    I give out one or two free pencils to students who need them in the first week or two of school and after that I charge 25¢ per pencil. Even in a low-income area, my middle school students almost always have some change on them, or if they don't want to pay they can borrow from a friend. They get a brand new Dixon-Ticonderoga pencil for their quarter. They can also return the pencil to me at the end of class and get their quarter back. This is my second year doing it and it works wonderfully. You do have to be firm after the first two weeks about not giving out pencils unless they can produce the quarter, though. Sometimes in extreme cases when nobody is loaning a pencil and the kid really doesn't have a quarter I'll give them a much less nice pencil for free, but that is very rare.
     
  9. CharRMS

    CharRMS Companion

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    Feb 21, 2018

    Collect all pencils that are left on the floor/desks or train your kids to pick up pencils that get left and put them in a cup that is free for the taking. Other than that, have pencils the kids can purchase. Wooden for quarter and mechanical for 50 cents. I tried letting kids borrow pencils from me, but it was just another thing to keep up with, and I was still going through pencils like crazy. I tell my kids early in the year that I don't provide pencils.

    They have three options when they come to my room:
    1. check the extra pencil cup
    2. borrow from a friend
    3. buy a pencil

    I sometimes will put one or two wooden pencils in the free cup every once in awhile (these are usually holiday pencils I find in the clearance section after a holiday). I do give out cap erasers and led though, but I don't go through those as much. Also, when it is time to replenish the mechanical pencils for purchase, I usually ask my kids which ones they prefer, and if reasonable I will buy those. Usually its the BIC .09 or .07 led type.
     
  10. J. A.

    J. A. Rookie

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    Feb 22, 2018

    Thanks! I did use my instructional money to order 5 cases of 144 pencils (golf pencils were not available at the county warehouse), so hopefully that gets us through to May. lol. We aren't allowed to charge for supplies; however, one idea I may ask my admin about is this: offer the cheap pencils for free, and offer nicer mechanical pencils for 25 or 50 cents as a school fundraiser or something. I will start asking them to turn in a phone until they give my pencil back.
     
  11. J. A.

    J. A. Rookie

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    Feb 22, 2018

    How do you monitor who broke the pencils? Mine always say, "well, I went to the bathroom and So or So broke it," or "So or So took it from me." Do I assume they are being truthful and write up the accused, or write up the pencil borrower for leaving it unattended?
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2018

    Pencils has never been a hill I choose to die on. I pick up strays in the classroom and in the hall and buy a couple of hundred every year with my classroom money. It's usually only a couple of kids who consistently need them, and it is more of a disruption having them find one to borrow than it is for me to give them one.
     
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  13. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 22, 2018

    When I taught middle school, I was always given 100 pencils to use for the class and 500 more pencils to hide.
    While my classroom isn't middle school or even GE, I think my pencil policy (I guess, you could call it that) could be worth a gander.
    I have 12 students in my classroom, so I have 12 pencils in a plastic cup. Students only have their pencil near them when a pencil is required. When a pencil is not required, all 12 pencils are in the plastic cup. Of course, I pass out the pencils and collect the pencils.
     
  14. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 22, 2018

    To answer your question (instead of going on a tangent):
    It would not be extreme at all. In fact, it may actually solve your pencil problem. (Taking your pencil without asking for permission is a form of stealing. Technically, the student could be written up and suspended.) So, assigning a detention for students who did not return your pencils is acceptable. A pencil sign-out sheet is a great idea, as well. Just make sure the students actually sign-out the pencil.
     
  15. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 22, 2018

    For the students without pencils excessively, as part of my unprepared policy, I would send them to ISS (work on assignments in there). The ISS room has pencils for students. (This was when I taught Middle School)
     
  16. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Feb 28, 2018

    I remember eons ago when I was in school, I had a high school teacher who'd do a trade for us to borrow a pencil. A shoe, or something obvious that made it certain we'd return it at the end of the class.
     
  17. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Mar 1, 2018

    Depending on where the OP is, this may not be an option, and might even be illegal! Not sure if this is just CA, but public schools here are obligated to provide the necessary supplies -- we cannot *require* students to purchase anything, including paper and pencils. I have given up this fight and just use my supply $ to provide paper and pencils as needed. I am lucky to have enough in my supply budget to cover it, and enough students who bring their own that it works out in the end. I have bigger fish to fry...
     
  18. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Mar 1, 2018

    True...this was when I taught middle school.
    For my current class setting, I provide a lot of school supplies. Parents have more concerning matters to handle in my classroom such as goals, curriculum, and progress.
     

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