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Pencils!
Old 06-05-2012, 06:04 PM
 
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Anyone have ideas for developing student responsibility for their own pencils? They seem to either disappear, get sharpened to death, or become collectors items. I HATE dealing with pencils!!!


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same
Old 06-05-2012, 06:39 PM
 
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I feel exactly the same. Next year, I think I will write our room number on class pencils to help differentiate between student pencils and class pencils. I am also going to start the first month of school with a "star" chart that has 5 responsibilities on it that every child must do and check off. I will collect them every day. One thing on the chart is to have 2 sharpened pencils. I'm hoping this will help.

I do bins at desk groups but next year I think I will do caddies so I can see how many pencils are at each neighborhood. It will be someone's job at the end of the day to collect unsharpened pencils and sharpen them or leave them for me. I am hoping that by writing the room number on the pencils, I will be able to easily see who is stealing all of the pencils!

I do not allow anything but yellow pencils to be sharpened in the electric sharpener and this seems to have cut down on fancy pencils that are wrapped in plastic and break the sharpener.

Last, I'm thinking of giving students a new eraser every month, and providing a few at neighborhoods. One thing I noticed this year is students have pencils but not ones with erasers, and students stop their work or avoid tasks to hunt down a pencil with an eraser (who can blame them?). Those are all my ideas! Would love to hear more.
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pencils
Old 06-05-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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In the beginning of the year, I have my students put all their pencils except 3 in a Ziplock bag with their name on it. That bag goes into a Rubbermaid storage drawer that has their name on it.

Every morning on their list of things to do is make sure they have 3 sharpened pencils for the day. I do spot checks (at the beginning of the year I check every day) and randomly give a small prize for those who have done this. Just to get them into the habit.

If they need a pencil, they go to their drawer and get one out of their bag. I have rarely had a student use up all their pencils in a school year, but if they do, they write a note to their parent explaining that they've used up all their pencils and they need more. Unless the student is from a financially needy family, I do not give students pencils. If there's a family in need, I fill the bag for the student.

I also have 3 of the Classroom Friendly sharpeners posted around the room so there's not all that electric sharpener noise.

All these things have helped tremendously. Hope they'll help you too!
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Pencils
Old 06-06-2012, 01:06 AM
 
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For the first time this year, I decided to do "community pencils." When our supply lists went out, I requested only the plain #2 pencils - 2 boxes from each student. First day of school, I collected all of them. I have 2 buckets in the front of the room, one for sharpened and one for needs sharpened. When my kids need a pencil, they exchange - no need to stop class and ask for a pencil .. just get up and get one. The only drawback is that I sharpen the pencils (perhaps that will be a job next year) but when new pencils are needed I just get more from the "stock" and go from there. For me, this has been a good system and has settled a lot of headaches about pencils.
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:54 AM
 
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I collect all of the pencils brought in by the students. I have 3 cups, one for the boys, one for the girls, and one for dull pencils. When their pencil gets dull, they put it in the dull cup and take their pencil from the sharp cup.

I could be a little OCD about this next part, but it works for me. I put masking tape 'flags' on the end of each pencil and write the student's names. Each student has 2 pencils with their names. If one gets dull, they put it in the dull cup and grab their other pencil from the cup.

At the end of the day I sharpen only the pencils in the dull cup. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure their pencil gets into the dull cup. (I remind them every day before going to the busses.)

I also keep a gallon baggie filled with pencils with tags and no names. That way when one pencil is too short to sharpen, I throw it away and can quickly replace it with a new pencil. (This also works well for new kids)


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Pencils
Old 06-06-2012, 06:46 AM
 
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Maybe we should color code them with tape each month. Then write the child's name on the tape. If you still have your pencil for the month, at the end of the month, you receive a reward of some kind.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:54 PM
 
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A teacher on my team does something interesting when studying measurement; they have students measure their pencils every morning and afternoon. The student with the longest pencil at the end of the unit gets a prize. Obviously, if they loose their pencil, they're out of the race (I think they put initials in Sharpie right under the eraser?) This makes them not only keep up with it, but not sharpen it every 5 seconds and actually use the pencil until they can't anymore. I know we all have those that feel like they have to sharpen it if it doesn't look like the end of a knife!

You might could modify this and give a prize at the end of each week or month? If students loose their pencil, they could start with a pencil that's already halfway used, so they could still win the prize, but they would have to really work at it.
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Great Ideas!
Old 06-07-2012, 01:00 PM
 
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I will definitely take up and store extra pencils. Plus, I LOVE the connection to measuring length with pencils. Oh ... we teachers are a sneaky bunch! While I'm at it, I think I'll see if measuring mass/weight of their eraser will keep the kids from poking holes, breaking apart, cutting into bits, etc., while also supporting an additional measurement standard.
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:34 AM
 
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Do you find that your classroom friendly pencil sharpeners make a huge mess of gray graphite everywhere? I love them except for that.
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:04 AM
 
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This year I had students take 3 sharpened pencils from the cup as they came in the room. One of the class jobs was to collect everyone's pencils at the end of the day and sharpen them and put them back in the sharpened pencil cup. Worked MUCH better than last year.

I hate pencils too! I bought erasable pens on sale from Staples last year, but they kinda smeared when erased. I chose to not let them use them very often. Maybe a better brand would erase better.


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First, I always buy tons of pencils
Old 06-10-2012, 06:08 AM
 
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at the penny sales at the beginning of the school year. I have a "trade your dull pencil for a sharp one" area (2 baskets) and I absolutely refuse to let any kids use my $90 sharpener! It doesn't take me that long at the end of the day to sharpen for the next day.

When it seems they are stock-piling the pencils in their desks, I have a "buy-back" day where they get one skittle for every pencil they return to me. I never let them know when this is coming though or the little kiddos will hoard them just to get the candy.
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golf pencils
Old 06-10-2012, 11:29 PM
 
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I'm going back to purchasing the fat pencils because with 30+ next year and NO sharpener it will alleviate interruptions. However I'm going to talk my new principal into purchasing a gross of golf pencils for students who loose their fat pencils . Does anyone know if there is a cheaper place to purchase them other than Office Depot? Does Big Lots carry them?
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pencil problem
Old 06-11-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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I really haven't had pencil problems in the last couple of years. Can't really say why, though. Every morning my students are supposed to sharpen 2 pencils (though 3 would probably be better). They keep those pencils in the pencil baskets velcro-ed to the top of their desks. Extras are stored in their crayon boxes or in baggies in their cubbies. Although I have an electric sharpener I allow them to use, I provided a whole bucketful of cheap hand-held sharpeners I bought at the beginning of the year from Dollar Tree that they prefer to use!! You should see them huddled around the trash can in the morning! If they make a mess, they have to clean it with a whisk broom and dustpan I keep handy. They are not allowed to sharpen again until after lunch, then they have a "free sharpen" period.

I use a classroom economy. Sharpening a pencil outside of the two allowed times costs $5. If they have no pencils to use, for $5 economy money I will sell them a used pencil with a new eraser cap (bought # Dollar Tree for cheap). These are pencils that made it to lost and found and nobody will claim. Apparently, my last few classes were really tight with their money, because they did NOT want to turn loose of it to sharpen pencils or buy used ones. I also have new pencils in my class store to purchase with economy money. If you don't use an economy, you could come up with some sort of appropriate consequence for having to sharpen out of turn.

In years past, I stocked up on cheap, plain #2 pencils when back to school sales were going on. Students could pay me a REAL nickel to buy a new pencil. I never sold more than two at one time because I had some kids who liked to collect pencils and would've bought me out in no time! Our school has a pencil machine in the office where fancy pencils can be bought for a quarter, but they'd rather get my plain old nickel ones.

Last edited by tweet; 06-11-2012 at 11:09 AM.. Reason: typo
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Pencil problem
Old 06-13-2012, 12:04 PM
 
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At the beginning of the school year, I collect all of the pencils. I have my students sitting in groups and I have a "pencil person" assigned to each group. The pencil person is in charge of collecting pencils from group members before we leave the room for gym, lunch,etc.. They also sharpen them at the end of the day and place bags on my desk at the end of each day and collect them in the morning. This has worked out really great for us. The kids take ownership and they depend on each other. I have a group card on their desks and each group earns a sticker for completing these types of tasks on their own. The winning group wins a reward at the end of the week.
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Great Suggestion
Old 06-15-2012, 03:26 AM
 
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Thanks for the measuring pencil tip. It may reduce the number of "lost", "stolen", "broken", and "conveniently" needing sharpened pencils.
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End the Battle
Old 07-03-2012, 08:32 PM
 
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I have given up fighting about pencils. I purchase bulk personalized pencils that say "Stolen from Mrs. V." These are always available on my desk when they need a pencil. They usually get returned...if they don't no big deal....
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Pencil cups
Old 07-03-2012, 08:48 PM
 
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As a PP said, I have two cute little fancy cups. As it is summer mode, I forgot cute names for them but one is sharpened pencils, other is broken/dull pencils.

Students are taught at beginning of year to put their dull pencils in and take out a sharpened pencil. They are allowed to use the crappy school sharpener (I swear we purchase the worst pencil sharpeners) in the morning before announcement to get their two sharpened pencil for the day. During day, they either trade or can sharpen their own at their desk with their own mechanical sharpener (which yes will occasionally fall on the floor, but I pick and choose my battles.)

So do kids steal extra pencils? Some do yes, but in general they are pretty honest about it. I have eraser tops available too so pencil isn't just returned since eraser is gone. At end of the day, I have a kid sharpen all dull or broken pencils and put them back in other cup.

I have my own good very expensive sharpener kept behind my desk. I will put in new pencils throughout the school year or will help some kids sharpen their pencils on a special basis.

I like the idea of an award for longest pencil as I know often pencils breaking is often an excuse to be social at the trash can or avoidance of work.
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