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Child chewing other student's pencils
Old 03-07-2007, 08:19 AM
 
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I have a particularly difficult child in my room this year. One of his many problems is that he steals pencils from other students, chews them up (he thinks this makes them his), and then he lies about it to me. I am at my witts end with him!!! I feel like taping his mouth shut! Help!!


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Names
Old 03-07-2007, 09:26 AM
 
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Write your students names on right their pencils in fine point Sharpie marker. Then when this little one decides to take someone elses pencil, he can't lie and say it's his! This may take a while and be tedious, but it could save your sanity!

Also, make sure he has his own "stash" somewhere, maybe someplace that only you and he know about, to make him feel extra special. Of course that will only work if he isn't one to go a blab to every one else!

You might even tell him how chew on the pencils can make him sick via germs, the paint on the pencil, etc.

Have you talked to the parents?
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Old 03-07-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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I have a chronic pencil chewer in my class, but he doesn't chew other people's pencils. This won't solve the stealing issue, but this is how I broke him of the habit. I talked to him about the paint and wood he's eating (he actually bit off and swallowed pieces of the pencil) and how it's dangerous for his body. I then talked to his parents about the situation. I approached it from the angle that I was worried about his health. The mom bought him mechanical pencils that really helped.

Maybe your student's parents will buy him special pencils so you can determine which are his and maybe keep him from wanting to bite them. Also, if he's a chronic chewer and needs something in his mouth, maybe make an exception and let him chew something else (like gum).
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another option
Old 03-07-2007, 05:17 PM
 
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I had a student with sensory issues last year who would chew pencils to the point that he was eating the wood and destroying the metal band around the eraser and doing damage to his teeth and gums. Besides giving him gum, tough-to-chew foods, and "chew toys", I got him golf pencils. If you would give only golf pencils to your student, it would be pretty obvious that the others don't belong to him. Not sure if this would help you or not.
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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Thanks for all the good advice. Keep it coming! Writing names on pencils is a good idea, but my kids go through pencils so quickly, I think it would drive me nuts! The child and I have talked about the dangers of chewing pencils and he doesn't seem to care. Keep in mind this child has MANY problems in the classroom. I don't think allowing him to eat or chew gum in the room would be fair to the other students. This particular child is rude and mean to the others. He causes drama in my class on a daily basis. He would brag about it to the others and it's cause me more stress.

I do like the idea of golf pencils though. It might also stop him from breaking them in half, because they are already short. Where can I buy them at? I'll go to the store tomorrow!


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Old 03-07-2007, 08:49 PM
 
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I like the idea of golf pencils, too! I have a student who does the exact same thing (and I teach 5th!), and he also destroys mechanical pencils, pens, rulers, etc. It's to the point where I give him one pencil in the morning and he has to turn it in to me in the afternoon, but even then it's totally destroyed by the afternoon.
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if he needs the oral feedback...
Old 03-07-2007, 10:13 PM
 
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chat with your school's occupational therapist. She/he may be able to give you some free appropriate "chewables", like pencil toppers made of special material.

in a pinch, i've bought clear aquarium tubing and stuck it on top of the pencil--much less toxic for chewing than painted wood and graphite.

chewing things is a self-regulatory behavior for some kids, the way twirling hair, tapping feet, pulling shoelaces, or, hell, drinking coffee is for others. it may drive us insane, but there's often a genuine need being expressed that will NOT go unsatiated.

your friendly neighborhood special education teacher may also have ideas. good luck to you!
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Old 03-08-2007, 03:08 AM
 
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If I were another kid in this class, and the choice was between having my own stuff chewed up or watching someone chew gum, I'd definitely vote for allowing him to chew gum.
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pencil eaters
Old 03-08-2007, 04:10 AM
 
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I have one too. Mine is a boy who is overweight. He chews them especially after lunch/recess. Do you think he is still hungry? Our lunches at school probably don't satisfy the appetite of my pencil chewer. He has destroyed the metal part too.
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I have one too!
Old 03-08-2007, 06:17 AM
 
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I love the ideas because I have 3 chewers in my class also. They, however, chew on everything (expecially their clothes). They often go home with torn and wet shirts because they have been in their mouths all day. I have talked to them, their parents, our psychologist and they just continue to do it. I also heard that it could be because since they are young (K), they may be getting new teeth coming in and it may be hurting them. Chewing helps them just like puppies chew. Giving them something to chew on while they are working or having to concentrate, sometimes helps alleviate this problem. One person suggested gummy bears/worms/etc. I just always worry about the choking hazard. Now wouldn't that be a great invention, to help alleviate the tension in chewers in your class, give them something to chew on!
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if you're looking
Old 03-08-2007, 08:39 AM
 
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for golf pencils, you can find them at an office supply store like Staples or Office Max. This made a real difference for my guy last year. I was very frustrated with his chewing until I started to understand his sensory needs. He had a sensory integration disorder) and would chew on everything. Gum (the harder the better), licorice, beef jerky, and some plastic tubing "chew toys" from the OT really helped and allowed him to focus much better. I believe for some kids, these impulses are not controllable, so it's best to develop a plan to address it. I explained to the other kids that these things were to meet his needs, and they were fine with it.
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Chewing Shirt
Old 03-08-2007, 09:13 AM
 
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I had a 3rd grader that would end the day with his shirt completely soaked from the neck down.... gross...

This kid had MAJOR issues, and our school psychologist said it was his way of "dealing"...

sure is hard on others to have to watch him do it, tho... and unsanitary...
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have you given him ...
Old 03-08-2007, 04:53 PM
 
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other things to chew on? it sounds like he's orally fixated. a lot of kids w/ OT issues have those problems, and that is how we deal w/ them. Obviously chewing other kids' pencils is not sanitary for him, and I think he is lying to you because he knows it makes you mad ... so try and deal proactively and give him gum or other things he can chew on.
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Old 03-08-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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I don't think this child has a problem with chewing or something. He doesn't chew constantly on objects during the day. I never even see him chew the pencils, they just show up everywhere half eaten. He has this idea that if he puts his mouth on something it becomes his.

Mom picked him up from daycare one day and was told he and another child were arguing over who owned a particular watch. Mom told the child "You don't own a watch. It's not yours." He responded "Yes it is. I put my mouth on it."

I went looking for golf pencils at Office Max tonight. They didn't have any, so I'll keep looking! I am still open to any more advice on this subject!
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pencils
Old 03-08-2007, 08:00 PM
 
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*did he see one of those shows where one of the characters spits on someone's food so he gets to eat it???

*faster than writing names on pencils--get a colored sharpie and draw 3 (or however many) rings around his pencils--by the metal eraser holder

*those golf pencils are the same pencils that they sell for protractors--i have seen them at BigLots.

good luck--chewed up stuff all around--gives me the heebie-jeebies!
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:34 AM
 
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I found the pencils today at Office Depot. I also bought the child some big erasers and his own pencil sharpner. The sharpner will stay on my desk for the time being. The eraser and golf pencils will need to be turned into me at the end of each day so they don't end up going home with him. Hopefully I can break him of this habit before he goes to 3rd grade! Thanks for all the help everyone!


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