Pencils

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by S Dubb, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. S Dubb

    S Dubb Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2011

    Every year I stock up on pencils from Staples's $0.01 deal, and right now I've got plenty ready to go. The same thing happens every year though. No matter how often I contact home...no matter how often I stamp in their notebooks that they are running low on pencils...I always end up running out (or very close to it) by the end of the year because I'm giving them out to students in need. Of course I don't mind giving them out. I mean...that's what I bought them for! I think what irritates me though is the lack of accountability that my students (and sometimes even parents) have for their supplies.

    For the first few months of school I will have extra pencils in a bucket ready to go each day, and I'll pass out pre-sharpened pencils to students who need them when they ask. Right around January though, things change.

    To help students try and become more accountable for their stuff, I keep a list of who borrowed a pencil from me. Students can get one pencil per week. So if Student A borrowed a pencil on a Wednesday, then he won't get another one until the following Wednesday. It's my intention that on Friday when Student A asks for another and I politely say not until Wednesday, he will remember that and tell his parents that he needs more pencils for school.

    This has worked for the most part in the past, but not to the extent that I'd like. I still get students asking from January until June for pencils, and I'm looking to minimize that from happening this year. I'd like to change things up a bit with how I handle the pencils situation. I hesitate to charge any money (even if it is just a penny) for a pencil because something about that just doesn't seem right to me. I'm also not really looking to set up any kind of classroom economy with fake money either.

    Does anybody have any suggestions on how I can make my students more responsible when it comes to their pencils?
     
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  3. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 26, 2011

    Several of us use golf pencils that you can buy in bulk for a ridiculously cheap amount. They kids HATE them, so they tend to remember bringing their own.

    For Teachers Only: Golf Pencils
     
  4. kidsr#1

    kidsr#1 Companion

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    Jul 26, 2011

    Class supply

    For the past 5-6 years many of our teachers have had students bring in 1 pack of yellow #2 pencils. At the beginning of the year, I have students take 2 of the pencils out of their package and sharpen them. I pour the rest into a clear shoebox with a lid and set them inside the cabinet or under my desk. Usually on Mondays one of my students will hand out a pencil to everyone. I also keep a small cup full of pencils at the front of the room. This has worked great for us.


    I haven't had to request parents send pencils during the year for a long time!
     
  5. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I love those little pencils! What a great idea.....
     
  6. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I've heard kids having to give you a shoe while using the pencil and get it back at the end of class when they return the pencil (although I personally think that is going too far and God forbid there be a fire!).

    I just think of all the things for kids pencils aren't that big of a deal. I understand responsibility, but I can't stand teachers causing problems for kids simply because they don't have a pencil - at least they came to school! Perhaps if there's a citizenship grade you could deduct points as a reminder.

    I can't tell you how many lunches I've bought for my students. Yes I get irritated at parents for not sending money, but I teach little kids. Many older kids won't tell parents they are out of supplies.

    I think the golf pencil is a great idea.
     
  7. tb71

    tb71 Cohort

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I had a student last year tell me I was responsible for supplying him with pencils, ugh! So this year I'm either using golf pencils or another teacher I work uses construction pencils. He said he bought one package and they lasted almost the entire school year, not only the kids hate them but they also don't waste away when you sharpen them.
     
  8. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I know this will sound over the top, but I swear it works.

    Each child in my class has a number associated with their name in alphabetical order. I use it to label things quickly.

    On the first day of the month I give them a pencil with their number written on it. They are responsible for taking care of it, keeping track of it, and making it last the month.

    This prevents the obsessive sharpening and carelessness. I typically have classes of 22-25 kids and rarely does someone not have their pencil at the end of the month.
     
  9. S Dubb

    S Dubb Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I like the golf pencils idea, and that website really seems to have a nice deal on them. Thank you for that!

    @skittleroo: I hope I didn't come across as a teacher who "causes problems for kids," as I can't stand those teachers either. Supplying my students with pencils isn't the issue that bothers me. I'm just trying to teach them to be responsible. Nothing more, nothing less.
     
  10. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Glad you like the golf pencil idea! It's been a life saver for our art teacher! Sorry for the lack of editing in my original post. LOL. I was typing and trying to manage a cat/dog conflict in the house at the same time. :) I would have gone back and fixed it, but then it was quoted, so there you go.
     
  11. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    oh no, no! I've just heard of teachers that refuse to give a pencil so that a child could complete tests! That to me is crazy.

    I understand what you meant. I do agree we have to teach responsibility. I really like to golf pencil idea!
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    just ordered some golf pencils! and some sharpeners, and erasers, too!
     
  13. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I also use golf pencils. I got the idea from another teacher, and the kids really do hate the pencils. They start bringing them from home. I have two boxes left over from last year:) They were very cheap as they are seconds!!!
     
  14. S Dubb

    S Dubb Comrade

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    What is it exactly about the golf pencils that the kids hate so much? Size? Lack of eraser? If so, that makes me a bit hesitant because I've seen many students try (and somehow succeed!) to write with pencils that are smaller than my pinkie finger! It doesn't seem to bother them. Me on the other hand... ;)
     
  15. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Our kids get frustrated with the size and the lack of eraser, but maybe that's because they are in high school. I don't know. Of course, a few kids don't care either way, but the majority don't like to use them.
     
  16. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    I'd like to see this in action. I've had students who would probably lose pencils just so they could wear one shoe every day.
     
  17. rgossett

    rgossett Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2011

    I swear pencils are the bane of my existence...
    I tried the golf pencils, the kids loved them because they love to try to get their own pencils as little as they can. Then, I also got messy papers because they didn't think they had to erase.
    So good luck :)
    I've found it does vary with class, this year my class went though the number of pencils by January as my previous class did the whole year.
    Still looking for a good solution !
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I just ordered a couple of boxes of the golf pencils. I go through a lot of pencils because I pretty much hand them out as needed.
     
  19. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    I have tried many things. I find it depends on the kid on what you should do. For my repeat offenders, I don't give them a pencil. I give them one of those big fat kindergarten style crayons and to write across the top of the assignment that they were not responsible and did not bring a pencil to class. That is usually enough to make them bring a pack of pencils the next day.
     
  20. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I love the fact that Pencil monkey has weighed in on this. LOL. :)
     
  21. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I am totally stealing this idea!
     
  22. Hitchcock fan

    Hitchcock fan Companion

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    Oh, thank you -- I LOVE that idea! Thanks for the link.
     
  23. Hitchcock fan

    Hitchcock fan Companion

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    Something I do for my 6th graders -- I keep a "found pencil" cup beside the pencil sharpener. Every day after class change, especially at the end of the day, the hallway is littered with pencils -- nice ones, at that. The custodians have even started picking them up and bringing them to me. My nickname is "Sanford & Son" because of my pencil scavenging...one custodian starts humming the "Sanford & Son" theme every time she sees me lean over to grab a pencil. :)
     
  24. Hitchcock fan

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    Bandnerdtx, you ROCK! I ordered 8 boxes of misspelled golf pencils today for my hallway, and I am now a goddess. :)
     
  25. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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  26. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I charged my third graders a quarter/pencil. If they returned the pencil, they got the quarter back. I had a couple of kids that would buy the pencils from me, knowing that they wouldn't return it. It was just easier for them. If they didn't have a quarter, they either borrowed a quarter from a friend (usually what happened) or gave me a shoe.

    For my kinders, I put their name on the pencil!
     
  27. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    :lol: Being goddess of the hallway is always a great way to start the year! :D
     
  28. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    This worked for me last year:
    I let students borrow and return pencils anytime they needed to. Some did so everyday in which case I had a discussion with that student privately about what kept them from having one and working on better responsibility for next time.
    the procedure:
    I had my whiteboard sectioned off and taped numbers 1-10 on the board. If a student needed a pencil they didnt say anything to me. They just wrote their name on the board next to a number. I would check the board at the beginning of class and hand out pencils. Each pencil was numbered so if they wrote their name next to number 3, they got pencil number 3. At the end of class, they returned the pencil and erased their name from the board.
    If they did not return the pencil, I wrote their name in a list that indicated they were not allowed to borrow more pencils until they gave me a pencil back. (It could be any pencil.) I was a stickler for the rules of the system and it made it very successful. It was very simple to implement and the kids said they appreciated it. Occasionally, the kids asked to borrow a pencil for the whole day and with few exceptions followed through on returning it to me.

    This year: same system but I am going to number the pencils 1-27 to coordinate with my student numbers. I am assigning each student a student number like elementary teachers typically do. The first number will indicate the period and the other two numbers will indicate abc order. (101, 102, 103 etc for first period, 201, 202, 203 etc. for second period and so on) So student 317 would borrow pencil 17. It seems complicated in words, but it will be simple in reality.

    organization:
    I am going to poke holes in a block of styrofoam and label the holes 1-27 to hold the pencils and keep them in order and easy to locate each number. It will be easy and quick to see which student did not return a pencil and call that student up if necessary.

    (I would go through a hundred dollars or more worth of pencils if I did not have this system.)
     
  29. janney

    janney Cohort

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    There should be a "teachers who hate pencils" support group. I'd join. It's always something annoying that someone is doing to all of the pencils. Eating them, taking them home, breaking them, throwing them, waving them in front of their face like they're made of rubber, etc., etc. I'm surprised there isn't a book just about pencil management ideas for teachers.
     
  30. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    There's also the students who think their pencils are drums! They're drumming on anything they can find: the desk, their crayon box, a shelf, I could go on! :lol:
     
  31. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Yes, Because I feel like a wound up monkey (imagine one of those little monkey toys that clangs the cymbals) sharpening pencils, handing out pencils....

    Pencils make me :dizzy:
     
  32. Hitchcock fan

    Hitchcock fan Companion

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    GREAT idea! Also, the fact that you can't find a decent, durable sharpener for the darn things that can withstand daily abuse from 110 students.
     
  33. S Dubb

    S Dubb Comrade

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    I bought this for my classroom four years ago and I can easily say it's the best item I've ever purchased for school. Yes, the price tag is a big hefty (it was $20 more when I bought it!), but if you can look past that and think long-term, it's definitely worth it. It also comes with a warranty--8 years according to this Amazon page. I let my third graders use it every year, too, and it's still working beautifully.

    http://www.amazon.com/X-Acto-Commercial-Electric-Pencil-Sharpener/dp/B00006IEI3
     
  34. TXowl

    TXowl Companion

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    I bought one from Sam's Club for $17 that is AMAZING!!! It lights up when the pencil is sharp so the kids know when to stop.
     
  35. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    For the past 3 years, in addition to doing all of the electric sharpening myself (after school), I have purchased hand-held two hole (large & small) pencil sharpeners, that I allow the more responsible students to use at their seats (as long as they only empty the sharpener into the trash!) when needed.
     
  36. mwil

    mwil Rookie

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    My students have two boxes of pencils on their supply list, and I have them keep one of the boxes in their locker and the other in their supply box. I tell them at the beginning of the year that these pencils are what they have for the year, and if they run out because they are not using them properly, they will need to go home and explain that to their parents and bring more to school.

    I do keep a private stock of pencils handy, but it is rarely used. If someone is out of pencils and needs one, I ask them to find a friend and ask if they can borrow it. But I remind them that they must return it tomorrow when they bring their own pencils. If they need one right then or it would interrupt the class, I will just lend one of mine. I simply remind them at the end of the day, since I have the same students all day, that they need to bring pencils tomorrow or they will need to call home. I love having them call home on their own, because then they have to explain to their parent/guardian that they ran out of pencils, why they ran out, and that they were loaned one yesterday and asked to bring more in today. It puts all of the responsibility on them.
     
  37. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I have thought of doing what my doctor's office has begun doing to their pens - using colored tape (preferably green), tape a big, gaudy fake flower to the eraser end of the pencil. Then when a student borrows it (and one of those rectangular erasers), there is no doubt where it came from!
     
  38. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I do this too. At the end of last year I had the same kids coming to me asking for pencils but at any point of the day I could easily find 5-6 pencils on the floor.
     

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