Pencil Problems

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by Kim Thomas, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. Kim Thomas

    Kim Thomas Rookie

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    Apr 10, 2006

    Fellow Teachers,
    Do you have any suggestions on how to keep students in their seats and not at the pencil sharpener or the broken/sharpened buckets? My students are out of their seats too much during lesson time and I have tried many different strategies. Can you help?
    Thanks,
    Kim
    kimthomas1213@aol.com
     
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  3. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    Apr 10, 2006

    I'll bet my ideas are not new but I would either put dull/sharp containers somewhere so they can deposit theirs and get a new one quickly and quietly or I know some teachers who provide those little hand sharpeners to keep in desks. Good luck, the old I have to sharpen my pencil trick is one of my own from elementary....there were so many cute boys and fun girlfriends to talk to on the way there and back! :)
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Apr 10, 2006

    Let them each sharpen two pencils in homeroom then unplug the pencil sharpener for the day.
     
  5. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I keep bins on the tables...they are to be shared. Each bin has plenty of pencils and if one breaks, just throw it and grab another. My aide sharpens them every few days
    I also have an extra bin in the room filled with sharp pencils, just incase a whole bin breaks before my aide has a chance to sharpen....this rarley happens!
     
  6. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    I have a sharp pencil and a dull pencil box that they trade with. Also they trade during transitions, not in the middle of a lesson. We have desks, although if I had tables I'd have a container in the middle.
     
  7. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    This is an interesting topic because I am student teaching right now and the kids just seem to be crazyyyy!!:p No, seriously, the teacher really doesn't have the best classroom management so teaching lessons has been a battle for me. One battle is stopping the kids from getting out of their seats. The number 1 reason they get out of their seats is to.....sharpen pencils or get a sharpened pencil out of the basket. Miss Kirby, what you said seems to be right on. I think when I get my own classroom, I'm going to keep a basket of about 10 pencils in the middle of the table or in the middle of the group of desks. This should definately eliminate the walking. It would probably take time in the morning to sharpen them but it would be worth it to me. I am losing my mind student teaching!!:eek: :eek: Some kids just need a bit more structure and order. ;)
     
  8. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    Apr 11, 2006

    You will never have to sharpen them yourself. I can guarantee you will always have at least one youngster who would love to help you out during recess!!!
     
  9. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Apr 11, 2006

    Hello there!

    Pencils are often the bane of my existance as well! I teach the first grade and do not allow my children to use the electric pencil sharpener themseleves, as they would stand there for 10 minutes and watch gleefully as their pencil got eaten up completely. :D :D

    What I do is have my full time assistant (I'm lucky I know) sharpen pencils once a week, on Friday afternoons, so our pencils are fresh for the following week. If a pencil breaks, of course, we will sharpen it there. Those students of mine who chronically lose pencils or who break their pencil tips on purpose are required to write with a crayon for the remainder of the lesson and then I will sharpen them a new pencil. :)

    Hope this helps,

    :love:
     
  10. Teacher379

    Teacher379 Companion

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    Apr 11, 2006

    In my class my students are required to have their own pencil sharpener or share with a friend. No one uses my electric sharpener anymore since someone (mind you I have 3rd graders) decided to stick the eraser-end of a pencil in my brand-new electric sharpener and I had to buy another one.

    I also require for their sharpeners to have the container that holds the pencil shavings (can't think of the name right now), this way no one needs to walk to the trash-can either.
     
  11. LABooks

    LABooks Rookie

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    Apr 11, 2006

    Not too cute

    I prefer the solution by Teacher379 but it presents problems which could be solved.

    Some hand held sharpener are cute little "toys" which can be a distraction.
    An internet search brought up this page
    http://www.pencilrevolution.com/category/reviews/sharpeners/ which has some ordinary ones for less than $5.00.

    Arrangements would need to be made for kids whose parents say they can't afford it. (Maybe they could sacrifice candy for something useful!) Then there are kids who really can't afford many extras.

    Betsy Lee
     
  12. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I only have a select few that feel they need to be at the pencil sharpener a lot. The students are asked to sharpen 2 pencils when they get to the classroom in the morning. Usually I don't have a problem with most of my kids. I've had to set the 2 limit rule about how many people can be there at once. If students can't be by someone in line, then they can't be by them at the pencil sharpener. I also have those cheap pencil sharpeners from the Dollar Tree in my treat box. I think they are 12 for $1. Usually if their neighbor has one and they don't, they'll ask to us it instead of getting up.
     
  13. Teacher379

    Teacher379 Companion

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    I'm very strict with my students...if I see them playing with the sharpeners, I give one warning, and then I take it away for the rest of the day. If it becomes a problem, then this student cannot have a sharpener at his/her desk.

    My students are always actively engaged, so I rarely have that problem. Not only that, but since I only have them for the literacy block (ESOL students)...they don't have to time to be playing around.

    Like Miss W suggested also, I keep some erasers, pencils, and small sharpeners in my treasure box for those students who can't afford to buy these extras.
     
  14. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    The sharpeners and bookmarks are always the first to go! :) They love getting them as little prizes.
     
  15. MissE

    MissE Rookie

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    Apr 12, 2006

    All these ideas seem to be great. I use the dull and sharp pencil cups in my classroom. However, I don't have tables so the students still need to get up to get a new pencil. Also it seems that when students have their own pencils they don't want to put them in the "community" cup because they don't want others using it. My problem is that my students take the pencils out of the cups and never put them back. They end up taking them home, throwing them on the floor, or who's knows what with them. Any suggestions for an easy way to make sure I get them back???? The end of the day is too hectic as it is to add another thing to do. :thanks:
     
  16. missypoopoo

    missypoopoo Rookie

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    Apr 12, 2006

    Ahhhhh pencils

    In my classroom, students were required to sharpen two pencils every morning before class started. It was just one of our procedures. They were allowed to get up and sharpen pencils only if both were broken and only if I wasn't in the middle of presenting something. I also kept a cup of my sharpened pencils on my overhead table at the front of the room. That way if the students found they had broken both of their pencils I would give them one of mine. But when they were able to get up to sharpen theirs they had to return mine. These were 2nd graders. It took awhile to get into the routine but they finally caught on that I would not let them use the sharpener any old time they wanted to.

    I do find now that I am subbing many of the classes are allowed to get up and sharpen any time they want to. I explain to them the first time I am there that I will not let them do this. You would think that I had taken away their birthdays or something!!! :eek:
     
  17. AuburnTeach

    AuburnTeach Companion

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    I have all of my students bring in 10 plain yellow (not decorated) #2 pencils. Since they're all yellow, they don't have a problem putting dull pencils back.
     
  18. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    In my middle school classroom, I used to take a shoe when they borrowed a pencil, but finally I broke down and started SELLING pencils and pens. Surprisingly, the kids always had money for a pencil. Mechanical pencils and pens were a dollar. Refill leads were a dollar, also. Since I required pens at this level, but they needed pencils for math, I made enough every week to support my diet coke addiction and usually my lunch. But most importantly, the 'lost pencil' excuse was ground down into the dust. I took the sharpener off the wall and locked it away. With pens and mechanical pencils, we didn't need it. (I hate pencils of all kinds. I love pens.)
     
  19. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jane, I could hardly wait to read your response...it's like waiting for a letter! Yea, why mess around...take the dam thing right off the wall.
     
  20. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    I'm really big on not TELLING kids what to do. They're not going to learn any life long lessons from this. Instead, discuss when they think is a good time to sharpen a pencil, and when is a bad time to sharpen a pencil and why? Then, if a student gets up while you're talking, or it's another bad time... you can just say "Is this a good time or a bad time to sharpen pencils? Why?" They get the hang of it really fast. If they want to sharpen their pencil during group work time then that's a good time, so there's no problem.
     
  21. SoMuchToDo

    SoMuchToDo Rookie

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    This may sound silly, but my first graders love it. At the beginning of the year I have all the students bring in yellow #2 pencils and I take them all up. I give each student one unsharpened pencil, and we measure them. I tell the class that we are having a contest of who can keep the longest pencil. I make a class graph and at the end of each day we remeasure each students pencil and graph the lengths. This takes 5 minutes tops. We play the game for two weeks and at the end of the two weeks the student with the longest pencil gets a prize from the prize chest. The used pencils go into a bin to be used when a pencil is lost or broken in half. Students that lose their pencil are out of the game until the two weeks are up. I mark the pencils with a dot or sticker each time we start over to make sure no one sneaks in a new pencil to win. They work really hard to not break their pencils or bare down too hard. They sharpen sparingly. I call this "The Day In The Life Of A First Grade Pencil" We write short stories about the events of our pencil's day and why the pencil is getting shorter. It is so much fun. Sorry so long.
     
  22. LABooks

    LABooks Rookie

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    To "SoMuchToDo"

    That is so clever! I don't usually reply just to agree without having anything to add. :wow:
     
  23. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    When I student taught in kindergarten, the pencil sharpener closed at 8:45, right after the Pledge! In the beginning they didn't understand! We had to start turning the pencil sharpener around, they eventually got the idea. We also used the "dull" and "sharp" bins. One class I was in even had a closed sign on the pencil sharpener...beside it the hours of operation were listed! Just think about the vocabulary in that situation...operation, dull, sharp! I thought that was cute!:)


    SoMuchToDo,
    I absolutely love that idea! I'm going to print that idea out and definitely use that when I get my own classroom!:) (I'm NCLB now...but I might even be able to incorporate it in my small groups!) I bet your kids were excellent at measuring by the end of the year! Thanks for sharing!
     
  24. Jaytee

    Jaytee Rookie

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    You have a full time assistant? I'm lucky if I get an assistant for 3 x 45 minute time slots in a week!
     
  25. Jaytee

    Jaytee Rookie

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    Apr 14, 2006

    anyway, all those ideas are great, i might even try some of them in my own classroom...
     
  26. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    SMTD-Love it!

    I normally take all the pencils up at the beginning of the year (unless they have name on them) and put them in a box. I give them 2 special pencils to start the year off with. Whenever they need a new one, they just go get it from the pencil box.
     
  27. Kim Thomas

    Kim Thomas Rookie

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    Thanks for the reply. I will try the individual sharpeners.
     
  28. Kim Thomas

    Kim Thomas Rookie

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    I will for sure try the bins on their tables. I have never tried group table before but this is a great reason to start.
    Kim
     
  29. Kim Thomas

    Kim Thomas Rookie

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    I will for sure try the bins on their tables next year!
    Thanks
     
  30. Kim Thomas

    Kim Thomas Rookie

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    You are so clever. I love your ideas. You should write a book or something.
     
  31. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    I bought little watering cans that have bees on them at Wal Mart (I have a garden/bee theme in my room!) to hold pencils for each table next year. Hopefully they will work out. I figure I'll put a handful of pencils in there and sharpen them every couple days?? Or find some trustworthy kiddo to sharpen them. :)

    Also, the "special" pencils drive me nuts!! Kids drop them on the floor, put them in the dull pencil box, and then blame kids for stealing them when they pick them up and claim them as theirs! Makes me crazy. Next year I am going to make a "Keep Your Special Pencils AT HOME PLEASE" announcement. Haha.
     
  32. munchkin

    munchkin Cohort

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    Special pencils drive me nuts too,Miss Kirby. I also hate the sound of pencil sharpeners after the day has started. Its like nails to the blackboard :D Somehow, I can tolerate it for the first 30 minutes, but afterwards.... :O
    In one school I was subbing for, they had taken 3 colored foamie sheets and made "tickets" with their names. Red for sharpening pencils,Blue for going to get water, and Green for going to the bathroom. They could use their tickets only 1x a day for pencils , (2x for h2o and bathrooms) between the general group time of doing these tasks, and only when there wasn't direct instruction going on.
    There was also a bin of pre sharpened pencils by the ticket bin. They were to turn in the dull pencil and pick up a sharpened pencil. At the end of the day, one person had the job of taken the dull ones and sharpening them. There was a bin at every group that held their office supplies including cut up block eraser or art eraser , glue, red pens, crayons etc. Each team had a captian and they too had to make sure the group's supplies were "up to snuff" so to speak at the end of the day. That is when she had scheduled SSR/job time for the last 20 minutes of the day. Worked for that school! Those kids did not want to lose their tickets! If those were abused, they could lose them for a whole grading period!
    Sorry this note was so long.
     
  33. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I wish we could specify plain yellow pencils on our supply list. That and specific colored folders. We can't though because our list is for an entire grade level (there are 12 classrooms for our grade). I keep suggesting it each year, but haven't been heard yet. I'll just keep suggesting it until they give in.
     
  34. Starista

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    Yes I am a very lucky teacher. :) My assistant is wonderful. :)
     
  35. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    I hate pencils. My 3rd graders have broken 2 electric sharpeners this year. I tried having the "dull" and "sharp" pencil bin, but because we switch teachers for different subjects, my pencils often disappeared. So I too, have broken down and I "sell" pencils for 10 cents each. It's amazing how many students magically find their pencils now! I just put the money right back into the third grade field trip fund, but it helps. Also, they no longer use the electric sharpener...They are allowed to use small hand sharpeners once during a class, and not during a lesson. I wish we could all switch to using mechanical pencils all the time!
     
  36. Teacher379

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    Apr 17, 2006

    a nightmare for an assistant

    To: Jaytee

    Don't complain...an assistant isn't everything sometimes...I've had three different assistants this year...the first one quit six weeks of school and was useless, lazy, and late or absent most days; Then I had a wonderful assistant part-time until they could hire someone else. So now I have this fulltime assistant who can't help me with my groups because she has never done this before (i.e. doesn't know what the sounds are for each letter etc.), her assignments are repeated every week, and still I have to remind her what to do, so I decided to type the directions for her (not that it helps)....I had to teach her how to make double-sided copies and she still messes up and ends up wasting my paper.......she messed up my file folder games in the laminating machine (good thing I only gave her 3 folders to laminate).

    She came from the PreK area at my school and I was told by two different people to make sure she's SOBER in the morning and if she's not to call the office.

    I would rather be in my classroom by myself or with an assistant part-time, than to have to baby-sit this lady everyday.

    Good thing she's only with me when I have my students for the literacy block...


     
  37. Teacher379

    Teacher379 Companion

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    Apr 17, 2006

    I will definitely try this out with my 1st graders next year...maybe even my third-graders this year...


     
  38. LABooks

    LABooks Rookie

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    Apr 17, 2006

     
  39. Teacher379

    Teacher379 Companion

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    I have no idea what can be done...obviously the admin knew about her drinking problem, and I think she was given the position because she was actually supposed to be bumped out because of budget issues....During centers I tell her to read a chapter book with my highest group and I give her simple assignments (i.e. make a list of words that end with -ay) with the other groups, but that is about it.
    I had her overlooking my non-speakers during writing since they write in their home language, but those students end up playing or something, because at the end of writing time nothing is accomplished either.

    Personally I can't wait until next year when I will have 1st grade homeroom. I won't have an assistant, but at least it will be the grade I always wanted to teach.
     
  40. Julie

    Julie Rookie

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    My kids have to sharpen 2 in the morning upon arrival. If both break, they have to ask a friend to borrow a pencil, but not during teaching time! If that one breaks too or they can't find one to borrow, they use a crayon the rest of the day.
     
  41. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    They have the colored folders at my kid's schools and it is wonderful. Each subject is color coded and it makes it so much easier for the kids AND the teachers.............as well as parents. I highly recommend it.
     

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