Pens In The Classroom

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by cutelilram, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. cutelilram

    cutelilram Rookie

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    Oct 10, 2009

    I have just begun my third year of teaching and this year, I am teaching 4th grade for the first time at a new school. The children have major behavior issues and I am looking for ways to keep them in their seats and to minimize the way they waste time during the day. One area that I am looking to improve on is the use of pencils.

    At the beginning of the year, many of the students came to school with erasable pens. At first, I was thinking I didn't want them to use pens. Now I am leaning towards setting up table caddies with pens for them to use throughout the school day. It would eliminate the need to sharpen pencils and the students would feel somewhat more mature because they are writing with pens. I would supply the pens for the class. Are there any other 4th grade teachers that allow their students to use pens for classwork?

    Just as a side note, I tried keeping a container of sharpened pencils in my room and carrying around a mini sharpener. Both of these did not work because I was constantly being interrupted during conferences to sharpen a pencil and all of my pencils eventually disappeared. I have never dealt with a group of students like I have this year and I am still working on my classroom management skills as a teacher with only two years of experience. I have bigger fish to fry then trying to ensure that all of my students return a pencil with a black marker dot on it at the end of the day.
     
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  3. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Oct 10, 2009

    Label their pencils! Put some responsibility on them. If it also means having them with their own personal little sharpeners, then try it and see how it works out. If anyone loses a pencil, let them buy another one with points that they have earned MANNERWISE or any other kind of POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT. I know, it's bribery BUT whatever works, DO IT! I work with 4-5year olds so they still treat their property with respect. EXPLAIN TO THEM THE WAY RESPECT WORKS. You know the whole lecture, but make it so they realize that they can be responsible 4th Graders. PENs aren't going to be any better!
    Good luck,
    Rebel1
     
  4. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I wouldn't bring in pens. I would sooner have a basket of pencils for them to use, and then have them return the pencils when they were done... make this part of the routine, have someone go around to collect them so that they can't just keep pencils at their desk. This way you don't lose them.

    Pens are just so messy... ESPECIALLY the erasable ones!
     
  5. cutelilram

    cutelilram Rookie

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    Oct 10, 2009

    So should I put pencils in the caddies on their desks and give points to the tables that have all of their pencils returned to the caddy at the end of the day? I teach in the South Bronx and the children are very much a product of their environment. I have read Canter's book, Assertive Discipline, and I am currently reading the book Setting Limits in the Classroom. I will give up on the pens and I really appreciate any advice that can be given.
     
  6. gottagoodgig

    gottagoodgig Companion

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    Oct 10, 2009

    I had a class one year that was horrible with pencils. I asked for every single pencil to be returned to me. I got a huge bin of them back!!! I then labeled two pencils for each child with a fine-point permanent marker. I talked to them a lot about respect for their supplies. I also made it a big deal if they lost both pencils. They had to come to me and ask for a new one. Another note, you might need to review some basic handwriting with these kiddos and let them know that you only need to press lightly to write so as not to break the lead. Mini-sharpeners work well and I give one to each team. Also, high quality pencils will last longer than the cheaper ones. It pays to get the good stuff. One more thing, I also give one larger eraser to each team to share. If the eraser is gone off their pencil, they will still have a way to erase. I give out lots of prize pencils and pencil top erasers too. That helps them have more options than the two I give them. And, sometimes they'll treat the fancy prize pencils better anyway. Good luck!
     
  7. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Oct 10, 2009

    I always preferred a pen to a pencil. It's so much smoother to use and easier to see! Unless the kid is the kind who would draw all over himself, why not let the students use whichever utensil he/she is more comfortable with? I mean, seriously, what difference does it make?

    Besides, out in the real world, pencils are just not used for anything official. Occasionally, we'll get an application filled out in pencil. We throw them away.
     
  8. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I prefer a pen to a pencil as well (in fact, I HATE pencils) but in grade four, students are simply not ready to use a pen imo.
     
  9. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I prefer a pencil to a pen because I have more control over it.

    But I do have dysgraphia, so.. yeah :p
     
  10. KLSSwimmer

    KLSSwimmer Habitué

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    Oct 10, 2009

    Last year, when I taught 4th grade, I let the kids use pens for certain things. They were able to use them to correct our daily DOL/DOM and to do editing. Sometimes I would also let the kids use them to underline things on papers, etc. I did have a reward game that I called Schoolopoly (similar to Homeworkopoly) where a reward the kids got was to write one assignment in pen.
     
  11. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I have my pencils in 2 boxes - new and used. They know that to get a sharpened pencil, they have to turn in their old pencil (mostly). At the end of the day I try to sharpen all the worn pencils myself.

    It is a constant irritation I know. Are the kids in a position financially that you could ask parents to each send in a package of 20 sharpened pencils? This is what I do and then use the new/old system. I let them keep 2-3at their desks and the rest are my class supplies. My kids are supposed to trade in a pencil for a sharp one, but I would just as soon have them go get a darn pencil if they have lost theirs. At the end of the day, any pencils on the floor go into the class boxes. This has worked best for me, though by 4th you would think they would keep track.

    Hang in there. The main issue is for everyone to have a pencil and be ready to work, and not waste time. Maybe you could designate a pencil manager with a pencil box of sharp pencils who gives out a pencil whenever someone needs one. It would have to be a couple of responsible kids. Or maybe the job would be interesting enough that everyone would want to have a turn to be in charge - would make your job easier. While papers are being passed out, anyone who doesn't have a pencil asks the pencil person for a pencil.

    eeeeerrrrrrgggghh. I have a feeling I lost a lot of pencils as a kid, so I can't be too harsh with them. Do whatever you have to do to make it work for you.
     
  12. KinderMissN

    KinderMissN Companion

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    Oct 10, 2009

    Part of my dismissal routine is a pencil count. Before a table can be dismissed, they have to do a pencil count and give me a thumbs-up that all their pencils are there. They can also earn table points for being responsible for supplies.
     
  13. ~Nic~

    ~Nic~ Rookie

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    Oct 11, 2009

    Engineers use pencils for all calculations. :)
     
  14. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    If at the end of the day, I notice I am significantly short on pencils (somebody has them in their desk) I offer a "bounty' on lost pencils. Kids will rat each other out in a second for a free book mark or a piece of candy, or even a colorful mini notepad.
     
  15. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    ~Nic~ I forgot about people who use blueprints, etc. I stand corrected.
     
  16. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Oct 12, 2009

    I let my kids sharpen their pencils once in the morning and once in the afternoon. If it breaks (which is rare) and they only have one pencil I give them a new one. I have found that most of the time when they want to sharpen a pencil the pencil really is fine.

    Also, maybe throughout the year you could transition them to using pen more. I know for me, in 5th grade we only use pen and a lot of the 4th graders have problems with this
     
  17. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I let my kids sharpen their pencils once in the morning and once in the afternoon. If it breaks (which is rare) and they only have one pencil I give them a new one. I have found that most of the time when they want to sharpen a pencil the pencil really is fine.

    Also, maybe throughout the year you could transition them to using pen more. I know for me, in 5th grade we only use pen and a lot of the 4th graders have problems with this
     
  18. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2009

    My second graders use blue erasable ink pens in their journals and for their formal writings. We use yellow highlighters for a lot of different things too.

    I sharpen or have my Star of the Week sharpen pencils at the end of the day. I place them in a "New" glavanized quart bucket and they children put their dull pencils in the "Used bucket. It works pretty good.
     
  19. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Oct 13, 2009

    When I taught 3rd I always had pencils for 'loan'...kids could borrow a pencil but they had to give me something- ex. trade their watch for a pencil- then I would always get it back!! I also had a sort of classroom store where they could buy a pencil for 10 cents or 3 for 25 cents (all were pre-sharpened)...the money went toward their field trip :)
     

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