Pencil Problem

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by ldoyle02, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. ldoyle02

    ldoyle02 New Member

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    Jul 26, 2010

    Does anyone have any ideas to offer on how to deal with students who come to class without a pencil? I've chosen not to fight this battle with students in the past and end up going through pencils like crazy. I'm debating on whether or not I should come up with a procedure for this for the school year coming up. Any suggestions or ideas out there that are currently working? Appreciate your help! :)
     
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  3. ecochick

    ecochick Rookie

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    I have had the same problem. I've tried having them write their name on the board when they borrow a pencil. It works for some, but takes valuable time for others, who purposefully do it REALLY slowly or in super large writing to get attention from their classmates.
    I've tried having the kids hand over a piece of "collateral" in exchange for the pencil. It could be a notebook from another class or even a shoe (shoes actually work better than anything I've tried - though they must be wearing socks to give up a shoe and it can get smelly).
    I always buy plain yellow pencils, so there isn't a particular appeal to them. One of my colleagues tried gluing ribbon to hers to ID them and that worked pretty well. I'm thinking I might try that this year.

    I just can't stand the "i don't have a pencil" excuse.
     
  4. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    What if you ask them for 2 boxes (24 pack) of pencils, on for them and one for you. Collect all the pencils from them (24 from each student) and place them in a basket in the front of the classroom. If you see you are running out of them really really fast then you might have to assign a student to sign them out, it might be childish, but if their forgetting their materials thats worse. If they borrow more than 5 times in a week tell them you will take off points from their classwork?

    Just some thoughts..

    Also at walgreens they have a 30 pack of mechanical pencils for .99 so maybe you can start buying some now and save them
     
  5. ldoyle02

    ldoyle02 New Member

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    Jul 28, 2010

    Thanks to both of you! Ive tried the shoe thing - which Ive found to work to a point - but then you have students doing it on purpose to get attention. I like the idea of attaching something huge to your pencils to help ID them. I might try that. I wish there was a solution! I just feel like we have a million other things to worry about in a short 40 minute period than who has a pencil and who does not. But at the same time it drives me nuts and I'd love to be able to fix it. Appreciate your ideas! :)
     
  6. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

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    Jul 28, 2010

    Shoes as collateral?

    Signing out pencils?

    A complete waste of time for middle school in my opinion. How bout a “0” for the day for not being prepared?
     
  7. tb71

    tb71 Cohort

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    I would love be able to give consequence for not having supplies but I have 2 problems...1) I teach @ a title I school and frankly some students just don't have the money for school supplies and 2) I would never get the support from the admin.

    This year I bought a much of mechanical pencils, but those are for me. I will buy plain pencils for the students, they really don't like them. I'm going them some collateral and sign for a pencil in a notebook so I can keep track to use for parent conferences. Just like I have many students that can't afford supplies, I have lots of students that can and just choose not to bring their supplies.
     
  8. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I hate the taking a shoe thing. What if there is a fire drill, or heaven forbid, a real fire?? What if you took their backpack instead, or something else meaningful to the kids?
     
  9. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

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    This wouldn't work in middle school, but maybe you can adapt it in some way (not that I can think of one). In the first grade where I worked, we'd do surprise spot checks. Any child who had 3 or more sharpened pencils got a jelly bean. If there were very few with pencils, they got something extra special. They would jump for them, and beg us to do pencil check when they had their pencils ready!
     
  10. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    You know, that MAY work in middle school, but maybe a different reward. Our middle school has Bates Bucks that the kids use in a store to buy rewards. They are a hot commodity. I can just see that working here!
     
  11. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Jul 28, 2010

    How about if they bring their pencil to class X amount of times (say 30 days) they get a free homework pass or something.

    Also, watch staples. They have the penny pencil sales.
     
  12. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    <<A complete waste of time for middle school in my opinion. How bout a “0” for the day for not being prepared? >>

    How about just give them a pencil so they can actually participate?

    I just keep a tray of them in the front of the room. When I find them on the floor they go in the tray. When a kid needs one, they get one. I've found that since starting this I have far fewer kids "forgetting" since there's no disruption and no attention to be gained.

    They are 12, there are far more important battles to fight.
     
  13. maya5250

    maya5250 Comrade

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  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Again...
    :yeahthat:
     
  15. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

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    Jul 29, 2010

    Don’t get me wrong; I would give them a pencil and get it back after the work was complete. I was simply replying to all of the strategies in the post. i.e. taking shoes, numbering pencils, signing pencils out. I do however feel that at some point they do need to be made accountable and experience consequences.

    A friend of mine is a P at a high school (of which we are the feeder middle school) and every year she gives me a hard time about how pampered the rising freshman are.
     
  16. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I borrow shoes in exchange for pens. It's the only way to guarantee they can't leave the room without returning my pen.

    I tired borrowing cell phones and iPods in exchange (I put a sticky note with their name on it)... but they'd walk out of the room with my pen and come back in the middle of another class. Annoying.

    For the habitual borrowers... if I notice they never have a pen, I'll call home and let the parent know the child needs supplies for class. For my students that I know can't afford a pack of pens, a couple of pens will magically appear in their bookbag during class one day.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 30, 2010

    I've tried different things, but here's what I find works best: offer no pencils to them. They quickly learn they simply must find (look on the floor...easy), buy (from the quarter pencil machine), or bum (from a friend) something to write with. I'm not supplying pencils, trading things, striking deals. I don't have time to manage pencils. It really has been the best of the approaches I've taken.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Rockguykev, I do have students collect abandoned pencils for the classroom. They love it. They're so proud to find five or six in the hall and bring them to the classroom for the bin. But again, I'm not doing the work...and this works beautifully.
     
  19. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    I agree.
     
  20. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    I teach 7/8th grade and I have each student bring in a pack of pencils at the beginning of the school year. I will hand out pencils until they are gone. Then they are out of luck.
     
  21. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    I also teach in a Title 1 school - 97.4% free/reduced lunch, so very high poverty rate. It is unhealthy to recycle pencils through various hands unless you are going to clean. The kids have $ for phones, mp3 players, chips, etc. It is a choice! I have pencils available before class for a penny. Otherwise, no pencil, earn a zero or borrow before class. Until the district gives me unlimited pencils, I will not give them away. It's all about teaching responsibility. Don't buy into the I'm too poor to afford a pencil routine - that's very, very few. For those, they are given supplies at the beginning of the year outside the eyes of others.
     
  22. agsrule!

    agsrule! Companion

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    I ordered some golf pencils from this site just last night. I'm getting 2,016 pencils for $30.01. It's costing me 1.5 Cents per pencil. I could give away 11 pencils a day and make it through the entire year. But I never have that many students a day needing pencils. Many borrow from others, I sell regular pencils & mechanical pencils, and I always collect from the floor. And for the person who posted that this is not sanitary, I have hand sanitizer available for the students to use whenever they need it. It's kept next to their box of tissues. I also keep baby wipes for larger messes as well as lysol wipes.
     
  23. RRWilson

    RRWilson Rookie

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    Several things:

    1: I HATE the 'I don't have a pen excuse' also-I don't use pencils in my class.

    2: I don't take shoes or phones-I take ID badges. If they have to borrow a pen twice in a week they get detention. If they don't have their name badge they have to go to the office for a temporary one and they get detention or AC anyways. They also get a golf pencil--least favorite thing! They hate those and would rather be late to class looking for a pen than to come to mine without one.

    3: I also think they are too spoiled but if I even thought about giving them a zero or anything that even resembled academic punishment, my head would be next up on the chopping block.

    4: New idea for this year-we'll see if it works: Walmart has single subject notebooks for 15 cents. I can buy one for each student with my classroom money for less than $20. They will have their own pens. I am going to attach the pens to the notebooks and put them in storage bins by class, labeled with each students name. It will not be allowed to leave. Another teacher at my school does this and she NEVER has pencil/paper issues.
     
  24. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I'm not fighting that battle any more. I won't buy pencils. Any that are found are put in a cup. If a student doesn't have one, take one from the cup. If there aren't any in the cup, then borrow one quickly, or receive a detention strike and find one slowly. Just find one and don't talk to me about not having supplies. I'm teaching, not parenting. (Sounds harsh, but perhaps that's because I've been in school for two days and it's Friday evening and I'm exhausted.)
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    In my school, there's a huge difference between an academic issue (say, a 0 on a test for cheating) and a behaviorial one (say, a detention for disrupting class.) They're distinct behaviors, and get distinct consequences.
     
  26. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    I have tried loaning pencils, giving pencils, golf pencils, pencils from the floor, and refusing to hand out pencils.

    Nothing has worked.

    The last day of school in June for the final exam, the students were notified every day for the two weeks prior that they must bring their own pencil for the test or risk failure. Several students managed to show up to class without a pencil.

    I am standing by for a magical solution to this maddening problem.
     
  27. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    For us as well. We cannot reflect anything other than the level of concept mastery in grades.
     
  28. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    <<They hate those and would rather be late to class looking for a pen than to come to mine without one.>>

    Frankly, this is what I don't get. It is far more disruptive and builds far worse habits to have a kid come in late than to simply have a pencil tray/can/box/etc. for them to grab a pencil out of.

    How many times in life have you reached into your pocket for a pen only to have one put in your face by the helpful teller/salesperson who knew you wouldn't have one? I'd guess plenty. I understand the desire to have kids ready for school but there are far deeper issues in a kid who constantly doesn't have a pencil than the pencil itself.
     
  29. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    :thumb::thumb:, Rockguykev!
     
  30. jnnyknny

    jnnyknny Rookie

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    Flower Power

    I take the mechanical pencils and use green electrical tape to create large flowers. I tape a large hot pink flower to the tops of the pencils and stick about 10 of them in a vase. If they forget a pencil, they grab a flower and must use that for the rest of the class period. The kids do not walk out of the room with them because they notice if they are carrying one. This has helped out with my pencil problem in my math classes! :)
     
  31. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Not carrying a pen with you when you run errands is completely different from going into class without a pencil. You may or may not need a pen in a store, and even if you do, it is only long enough to fill out a check and hand the pen right back.

    Students WILL need a pencil every single day in class. I understand there are some families that cannot afford all the supplies for school, but many of them will still try to furnish the very basics - and it doesn't get any more basic than a pencil. As another poster mentioned, Staples sometimes have "penny pencil" sales. Students can take advantage of that, as well as teachers.

    In my opinion, it is a matter of responsibility. Students NEED to start learning to take responsibility for their actions and for coming to class prepared. I understand some students have deeper issues at home. For those kids, it is even more important that they learn how to be responsible for themselves, since they may not be able to depend on their parents or guardians.

    Still, the main issue I see from most kids coming to class unprepared is just flat-out laziness. I do NOT allow pens in my math class. They are too messy and too hard on the eyes, but during my ST, I had several students that kept whining that they didn't have pencils, just pens. I told them Wal-Mart, the Dollar Tree, Dollar General Store and several others sell pencils every single day. Our Wal-Mart is open 24/7. If they can afford pens for class, they can afford pencils. Most of the time, it was just students wanting to do things their way instead of the teachers' way. Once I gave a couple of students zeroes for doing their work in pen, they magically managed to find pencils by the next day. :eek:
     
  32. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    This is not a battle I choose to fight. I keep my eye out for stray pens and pencils as I move through the hallways, and if I see a pen or pencil, I pick it up and toss it into a mug on my desk. If my students don't have a pencil they can grab one out of that mug. I have bigger battles to fight, this one isn't worth my time.
     
  33. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Ditto.
     

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