The War on Pencils

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by SleekTeach, Jun 26, 2014.

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  1. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    So I read about this one teachers method for pencils, which we all know can be a pain in the classroom. Here it goes:

    She buys a pencil bag for every student and puts 8 sharpened pencils and a pink eraser in it. The students are responsible for taking good care of their pencils for the entire week. Because there are 8, they do not get to use a pencil sharpener ever. On Fridays she has one student collect all the pencil bags. She then inspects every students bag to see if all the pencils are there and if they are in good condition. She also sharpens them for the next week. On Mondays, she returns the pencil bags with a little gift inside for all of the of students who still had all 8 pencils in good condition (no bite makes, snapped off erasers) and they repeat the process again. She changes the prizes frequently to keep the kids excited and motivated. She says it's great because she never has to worry about students sharpening pencils during the day or listen to their complaints about not having anything to write with.

    This sounds a bit complicated to me, but I honestly think I might try it if I could find some really cheap pencil bags or make some out of Ziploc bags or something.

    My procedure has always been to have the kids line up with a random pencil that I have put in a pencil cup, or their own. I sharpen them all every morning before we start the day, it's horrible because some kids break their pencils at their seat on purpose just so they can waste time.

    Anyone else have pencil procedures that word really well?
     
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  3. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I started using pens a few years ago, takes a bit of getting used to, but pencil sharpening issues are 100% gone.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    That sounds like it would be quite time consuming.

    I think the cans work best-one to be sharpened and one full of sharpened ones. They trade in a dull pencil and pick up a sharpened one.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I teach high school. Most students prefer mechanical pencils.

    I don't have a pencil sharpener in my room. Students would break their pencils just so they could get up and disrupt class. Even during lecture. When called out they'd feign surprise "what? huh? me? I'm JUST sharpening my pencil!" Not worth it. Students are expected to come to class with sharpened pencils, take care of them and not disrupt class. Students that don't come prepared and either beg another student for one or trade me something of value (cellphone) for one of mine. If my pencil comes back unharmed, they get their phone back unharmed ;)

    I've been doing this for three years and it works well. At the secondary level, of course.
     
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Jun 26, 2014

    In the Marines and (I think) in the Army (I don't know, I was in the Air Force) you have to recite what is known as the Rifleman's Creed.
    Well, I made something similar for their pencils.

    This is my pencil; There are many like it but this one is mine.
    My pencil is my best friend. It is my life.
    I must master it as I must master my life.
    My pencil, without me is useless. Without my pencil I am useless.
    I must hold my pencil true. I must write neater than I have ever written before.

    My pencil is alive, even as I, because it is my life.
    Thus, I will learn it as a friend. I will learn it's weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its wood and its eraser.
    I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage. I will not chew on it.
    I will keep my pencil sharpened and ready, even as I am sharpened and ready.

    My pencil and myself are the defenders of my homework. We are the masters of my writer’s block. We are the saviors of my report card. So be it, until there is no grade, but A+!


    You can guess that last year I had some problems with pencils and students losing and breaking them.
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    It sounds too time consuming to me too. I also use the pencil cans...It works pretty good.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    (high-school aged Sarge now speaking.)

    Hmmmm. Let me think. Give up my phone until I can cough up a pencil, or sit and do nothing for an hour. Think I'll sit and do nothing. After all, it's not my fault that my pencil fell out of my backpack and if I get an F as a result, that won't be my fault either. The F will be the teacher's fault because she didn't give me a pencil when I needed one.
     
  9. GG Fan

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    I used this with my 2nd graders last year and I loved it! Here's the rundown on how I do it:
    - I buy zipper pencil pouches and sharpeners from Dollar Tree as their welcome to school gifts, plastic baggies would work too.
    - I just tell them if they turn their pencil pouch in with 8 pencils, they'll get a sticker on their pouch. I don't care what kind of the shape the pencil is in; I'll even take nubs. I don't put in an extra gift.
    - If they don't have eight pencils nothing happens except I replace the missing ones with ones from their extra supplies I collected at beginning of year.
    - I set up a pencil sharpening schedule - Students ABCDE turn in pouches on Tuesday, Students FGHIJ turn in on Wed, etc. It doesn't take too long that way.
    - After the first few days, kids rarely ask to have their pencil sharpened because they know I'm going to tell them they have a pouch full of sharpened pencils or they need to borrow from a friend.
    I plan to use it again this year. Every class is different, but it went well last year!
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Ah, but it doesn't work that way. Because if you aren't participating, you are choosing to be insubordinate. Out you go!
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Yep, this is what I would expect to see with this sort of policy.

    Besides that, I personally wouldn't do it this way because I don't want to be responsible for securing student belongings. If something were to happen to that kid's cell phone while it was in my possession, or if he claimed that something happened to it even if it didn't, it would be a problem for me.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    It's worked well for me for three years. I got the idea from a veteran teacher who had been doing it for well over a decade.

    If you can't make it work in your room, don't try it. It works for me and has worked for those in my building that have tried it.

    I may have to loan out pencils three times a semester, per class.

    I'm not worried about securing students' belongings because our handbook requires us to confiscate electronics if students are using them anyhow. I'm protected on that front.

    I should add that I do have student supplies available in the back of the room for use during projects. Students are always welcome to do their work in crayon!
     
  13. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    My pencil plan is pretty simple, and works well for me.

    I have 5 tables that seat 4 or 5. Each table has a pencil caddie. They start off with 10 pencils, and I put a little piece of colored Duck tape around the top, by the eraser (each table has a different color tape). During the day, kids are not allowed to sharpen pencils. Each day, I collect the caddies, and sharpen the pencils. (It may sound like a lot of work, but it probably takes me 2 minutes.)

    At the end of the week, if the table has the same number of pencils that they began the week with, all students at that table get a paw (our school-wide PBIS token/reward).

    They are also allowed to keep any "special" pencils of their own in the caddie. I sharpen those each day, as well.

    I only have to replenish pencils about 5 times during the whole school year, so I only go through 200-300 pencils. Students have to bring in 24 pencils each year, so I usually have a few hundred pencils left over. (I forgot to give them back to students at the end of the year-oops!)
     
  14. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have always made pencil sharpening the student's responsibility. That job is assigned with all the other classroom jobs. The pencils that students bring in are placed in storage in the room. Two cans by the sharpener, "dull" and "sharpened". The pencil sharpener performs their job am and pm. I very rarely had to be involved.
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Last year I bought 2-3 boxes of these: http://www.gpencil.com/product/3690-GOLF.php

    Misprinted golf pencils with erasers.

    Worth it. Pencils were not a problem ALL year, they're too short to break, they didn't have to keep asking to borrow erasers. It was a simple signal, and I came around and gave them a pencil.

    The solution was cheap and I don't really care for fighting the battle of pencils when I'd rather they just get to work. I also didn't care if they kept or lost these pencils.

    Unfortunately, it looks like they're sold out (everyone must have had the same idea!) so I may have to search for a new solution.
     
  16. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Exactly. I don't like taking kid's stuff to hold as collateral since people steal. Also, it becomes a hassle because it's not like one or two kids need a pencil each period. Most kids do.

    I have a can of sharpened pencils that I sharpen myself and a few handheld (cheap) sharpeners on my desk. Students can use as they please.
     
  17. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    I teach 1st first grade in a very disadvantaged area. Some of my students are homeless living at the mission. I would never expect them to come to class prepared. I'm just trying to figure away to make my supply last longer.
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Mine is that I do not give out pencils... ever... in class (if a child comes for extra help outside of class time I will share). Students are only allowed to sharpen pencils at the beginning of class (before we have started reading our agenda) or at the end of class when I've dismissed their table to pack up and line up. That's it- no if's, and's, or but's. If you don't have a pencil, ask someone besides me.

    This has helped me to keep an awesome pencil sharpener that I purchased for almost 5 years now. (That and my students like mine so they don't want it to break either apparently :) )
     
  19. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I totally agree with this- if these students don't even have a home to go to, I would share everything and anything I had to help them out.

    (My situation is where most of these families have 2-3 houses around the world. :dizzy:)
     
  20. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I absolutely share with students that genuinely do not have. One year I bought a student a backpack because he was using his little sister's Lisa Frank one. She got a new one every year through a community program for younger kids. However, at my school such students are few and far between. Amazingly, they are the ones that take care of everything that is given to them and all I have to continuously provide is paper.
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Those are things I thought when the other teacher shared this method with me. Turns out students know exactly what they can get away with and accommodate accordingly. So many students at the beginning of the semester claim they don't have a pencil. Until I don't give them one. Amazing how there is one at the bottom of their backpacks!

    Again, if you can't make this work, or you choose not to, ignore what works for me. Don't use the suggestion!
     
  22. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Well, at my school at the beginning of the year, every student gets a new pair of shoes from the Alumni Association, which is really important, because I've seen some of their shoes. However free school supplies is a district wide thing depending on proof of economic status, but you have to go to certain locations to get it and some people have better access to it than others. I want to give my students a fair chance at having what others students have, but at the same time I'm only 23, barely out of college, I can't spend money freely yet. Pencils seem to be the most vital object the kids need in class, and I want to make mine last a while so I don't have to keep buying them!
     
  23. MsDouglas

    MsDouglas Rookie

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    I've been teaching in a low income school district for 3 years. Normally I just buy pencils. We aren't given any money for supplies. I've tried duck tape, which helped to slow down the disappearance of pencils. This next year I plan to use an idea I saw on Pinterest. The teacher drilled holes in a block of wood and labeled them with numbers. The students were assigned a number and that is the pencil they got to use. I assign calculator numbers so this will not be a big difference. The students are charged $100 if their calculator goes missing during the semester. I teach 3 classes a day so the numbers work really well to know who was in possession of the device when it disappeared. I haven't thought of a punishment if the pencil goes missing.
     
  24. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    A nice, good public shaming :) lol
     
  25. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Public shaming? What is the shame in losing/stealing a teacher's pencil?
     
  26. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think that was a joke...
     
  27. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Oh. Thanks.
     
  28. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    LOL. Internet is funny. I thought Go Blue got it was a joke and was replying with another joke.
     
  29. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Maybe, I WAS doing this and my "Oh. Thanks." reply was an attempt at sarcasm.

    I guess, we'll never know .... :cool:
     
  30. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    This thread is making me :lol:
     
  31. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I've done a similar thing to this (OP's post). It took me a bit of time to sharpen on Friday afternoon's, but it beat having to watch for scissors and other foreign objects getting put in my pencil sharpener 'by accident'.
     
  32. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I had to try several strategies for pencils, but I think I've found what works for me. It might not work in other situations, though.
    I teach alt. ed, and our students don't need to bring ANYTHING to school, no backpack, no supplies. Not even a pencil, according to policy.
    However, a lot of students must have been told to show up with a pencil, because they do, but we still have to have supplies.
    I got tired of always giving pencils, not getting them back and then the next day still needed one.
    My policy is this:
    - Every quarter each student gets one pencil from me. I have a clipboard with the roster for each class, and when I give them the pencil, I cross their names off. They don't all get a pencil on the first day, because at least half does show up with one, and if I give them one, they'd lose it.
    - if I've given one already, they can buy one from the office ($.25), 'buy' one from me (with a Blue Ticket, our school wide reward), or borrow one from another student who has an extra, in which case that student earns a Blue Ticket.
    - if their pencils are getting short, they can trade it in for a new one.

    This sounds time consuming, and a little bit it is for the 1st 2 weeks, because I'm handing out pencils, crossing names off, but after that it evens out, most students have pencils, or they just turn in a ticker / go to the office.

    I have used the block-method used in juvenile halls, but it didn't work. The pencils are kept in a block with drilled holes, so the pencils are handed out, gotten back and it can be seen if any is missing, but my students started keeping them because the other teachers wouldn't give them a pencil. It was a huge hassle. When I would just give them pencils if they needed it, I went through a LOT.
    So the method I described worked for me this whole year, and I'm keeping it :)

    If I had only 1 class, I would try the OP's method, it sounds good.
     
  33. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    In some doctors offices (and other places that I can't think of right now) the pencils have feathers or something else large and lightweight taped to the ends. They're so gaudy that no one would dare walk off with them, or at least it would be obvious if one did take it with them.
     
  34. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    That sounds like way more extra work than I'd ever want to do on a Monday or a Friday.

    My system:
    All pencils brought in (since it's elementary I ask for a box per student, and request more as needed throughout the year) are communal. (This is made clear ahead of time.)

    Each table has a shared pencil holder. 4 kids per table = 8 pencils or so. Every morning 2 students a responsible for collecting any pencils that need to be sharpened and sharpening them. I also keep a small box of sharpened pencils to take from if they run out at their table for whatever reason. There is absolutely no using the sharpener during the day and I never touch a pencil to sharpen it. It couldn't be any easier for me. My pencil sharpeners also know where the extra pencils are so they can throw away the worn down pencils and replenish when needed. It's out of my hands and I love it.
     
  35. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Last year, OMG, was the worst year for pencils...ever. The kids gave the teachers all their pencils, and we kind of rationed them out. Well, about half-way through the year, I got tired of this because I'd give a kid two pencils one day and the next day they would say they didn't have a pencil. So, I divided all the pencils equally and washed my hands of it. I'll be darned if a week later some of my kids said they didn't have pencils!!! I made them borrow one or get one out of the lost and found box. I was so over it.

    Next year in 3rd, I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. I'm really thinking about just having them keep their own pencils and having two sharpened before the day starts. IDK. I don't even want to think about it. :dizzy:
     
  36. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think third graders eat pencils or something. It baffles me how quickly they run through them.
     
  37. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    I teach 7 and they never have any supplies, my so actually bought be a ton of golf pencils so I put those out. Most kids only resort to them if they can't find any on the floor or from a friend and they usually put them back bc they don't want them
     
  38. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    I teach in a low income area where children often don't have supplies. My students know that they are responsible for supplying their own pencils.

    If they don't have one, they may come up to get a crayon. I keep all of the used crayons from the prior year for this purpose. Everyone hates to write with a crayon. I sometimes find pencils on the floor and put them in the can, so sometimes they will get lucky and get one of the discarded pencils.

    I also sell pencils for a dime each, or 3 for a quarter.
     
  39. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I don't fuss with pencils. If they don't have one, I give them one and write their name on the board. At the end of class, I try to remember to call them out for a return, but if it goes with them, oh well. At least they'll have one for next block. Not giving them a pencil would result in them not working and kicking them out for then not working would not be appropriate in my school.

    I also don't care about the getting up to sharpen. They are taught not to sharpen while I'm speaking and I rarely have issues with that. If they're getting up too many times, I'll call them out for it, but it's rarely an issue.

    Once in a while, a kid will give me a bunch of pencils and I praise him to such ridiculous levels that other kids will usually throw in a few as well.

    Office Max sells pencils for 1 cent during the summer, so I bought 300 last year. I ran out about 2 weeks before school ended and just said "sorry, I'm out." They figured out a solution.
     
  40. MissNikki

    MissNikki Comrade

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    I've been struggling for years with the pencil problem in my fifth grade classroom. This past year, I tried putting duct tape flaps on the edges and left them in a container near the pencil sharpener. It worked for awhile and a lot of them came back, but by mid-year that wasn't happening anymore. I'm beyond frustrated.

    I don't want to collect shoes or money or cell phones. I don't want to be asked for a pencil. I need a solution. :dizzy:
     
  41. live

    live Companion

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    Amazon has them for slightly less than 5 cents a piece (http://www.amazon.com/Dixon-Pencil-Hexagonal-144-Count-14998/dp/B000GP02B6/). No eraser though, unless you pay 3x as much. Found some here for the same price as the Amazon pencils, except they have erasers: http://www.forteachersonly.com/stat...=900246&pv=1&gclid=CI3n4NmYmb8CFQGtaQodB7AAvA. Good idea!
     
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