Pencil Drama

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Bella2010, May 25, 2013.

  1. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    May 25, 2013

    Hi All,

    Last year, kids lost pencils, had pencils "stolen," didn't come to class with a pencil, lead kept breaking, tried to sharpen a pencil even when it didn't need it, etc. My life would have been so much easier if I had a container for sharpened and need to be sharpened. I didn't do that, though, because the 6th grade teachers don't do that. I didn't want the kids getting used to having a pencil provided and then not having that next year. Hopefully that makes sense.

    Anyway, I'm really thinking about doing the pencil cups this year, but I don't know if I'm doing the kids an injustice seeing as how they don't have that in 6th grade. :confused:

    Beth
     
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  3. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    May 25, 2013

    Pencils in general drive me insane. Having community supplies has definitely cut down on how annoying they are! Kids bring in the pencils in the beginning of the year, I take them out of the closet as need be. When we run low I offer tickets for bringing in more. Two students are in charge of sharpening pencils in the morning. After that pencil sharpeners are off limits for the day. Students do not have their own sharpeners and any fancy or mechanical pencils are kept at home for homework.
     
  4. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    May 25, 2013

    Community pencils work for me.
    Besides curriculum, don't worry about what will happen next year.

    I also found that .9mm mechanical pencils work well if you can keep the kiddos from pressing out the lead.

    My teammate has pencils on strings at each seat and at centers. At the end of the day, the kiddos switch them out and it's someone's job to sharpen the used ones.
     
  5. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    May 25, 2013

    Do whatever works for you and let the 6th grade teachers deal with it. I've spent too much of my fairly short career using policies I don't necessarily agree with just to 'prepare them for 6th grade'.
     
  6. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    May 25, 2013

    Exactly. Do whatever you want.
     
  7. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    May 25, 2013

    Thanks for the advice! :)

    Beth
     
  8. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    May 26, 2013

    Pencils are not a hill I choose to die on. I collect all the pencils they bring in at the beginning of the year, and I buy some with my supply money, too.

    On the 1st day, I pass out 5 pencils per kid to sharpen and keep in their pencil box. When they run out they get 5 more. They have individual sharpeners that they can only use before the tardy bell rings. I also pass out an "emergency ink pen" at the beginning of the year for them to use if all their pencils are broken in the middle of class.

    I also have about 5-10 sharpened pencils in a community supply box in the center of the room with a few other supplies. Kids sharpen those for me each afternoon. They have a name tag velcro'd onto their desk that they have to pull off and "trade in" if they take anything out of this box (community scissors, glue, pencils, etc.) because otherwise it disappears and I'd have to put out new supplies daily.
     
  9. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    May 26, 2013

    Go with your gut feeling!
    On the breaking of the lead; OMG! They don't make pencils like they did before. They are so cheap now that I swear one of my kids look at a pencil and the lead just breaks off! Is it done that cheap so that we continue to buy them, and put more money into their pockets? It is so frustrating when right after you give a child a pencil, he/she goes to write and the dang lead breaks.
    It ticks the heck out of me! I am about to invest in mechanical pencils. At least their lead don't break off as fast.
    Rebel1
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    May 26, 2013

    You can't always focus on "preparing" the kids for the next grade...you have to meet them where they are currently. Besides, teachers are individuals who do different things...it's possible a sixth grade teacher will see the idea on Pinterest and use it. :)

    I had that system when I taught middle school.

    Good luck! I know it's frustrating...and bringing and using a pencil seems so darn simple!
     
  11. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    May 26, 2013

    High school teachers still have this issue.

    In my class students that need a pencil must borrow one from a classmate or give me some collateral - a cell phone or iPod. They NEVER forget to return the pencil to me ;)
     
  12. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    May 26, 2013

    Or some of them are so cheap that they don't even sharpen properly in the first place. Staples brand are the worst!
     
  13. MsB2012

    MsB2012 Companion

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    May 26, 2013

    I have a cup of pencils that I sharpen each morning. I give each of my students one as they come in, and it is their exit ticket as they leave to switch classes. Haven't had any problems all year with someone not having a pencil! I collect all the ones they bring at the beginning of the year, and that's how I replenish the cup when pencils become stubs!
     
  14. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

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    May 26, 2013

    ooooh, love the velcro with their names idea! that is awesome.
    Also really good ideas about how to have pencils available! I am going to try some of them next fall...
     
  15. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    May 31, 2013

    I have stopped wrestling with pencils, pencil sharpeners, and so forth. It is the parent responsibility to provide their child with a pencil. I simply refuse to spend my hard earned paycheck on pencils. If a kid doesn't have a pencil and the standard hand crank sharpener "isn't good enough" for their little angel then they can find a way to provide what is good enough. At the end of the day I walk around and pick up all the dropped pencils. The next morning I put them in a basket for anyone who doesn't have one. I usually make it a point to show my class on a day where I have found a lot of pencils just how many I find. They catch on!

    After a few months in my classroom something miraculous happens! Kids start remembering to bring their pencils to school and they pick up after themselves. They sharpen them at appropriate times. Please stop catering to the pencil madness.
     
  16. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    May 31, 2013

    THIS!!!
     
  17. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    May 31, 2013

    I never gave them a pencil last year. I made them borrow one from their friends or find one someone had left somewhere, and I swear during the last week of school I had kids come to class without a pencil. Maybe it was just the group I had.

    Beth
     
  18. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Jun 1, 2013


    Yes, there are always going to be those "frequent offenders." That problem is usually solved with a quick note or email to the parent. There have been a few kids that I have set up a system with the parent where the kid brings in their pencils and takes a few out of the box and gives me the rest to hold. I only do that for the kids that really need it.

    I have found that if students think you have a big box or cup of pencils free for the taking they will take them and become less and less responsible with them. I have a family to support. I simply can not provide pencils every day.:dizzy:
     
  19. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jun 1, 2013

    It depends on where you teach. A quick note or email to the parent wouldn't solve this problem in any way with the majority of my students. Hardly any of them have pencils at home let alone sharpeners. (Ever see a pencil that's been sharpened with a knife? I see it all the time.)

    I don't provide the pencils. The students provide them at the beginning of the year and we give them out as needed. Part of the reason I like community pencils is not having to deal with the, "that's my pencil" "he took my pencil" "someone stole my pencil" drama. Also, my students have tables, so they don't really have anywhere to keep their own pencils.
     

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