Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pencils


Giving out writing utensils drives me nuts.  Even more so is the kid that waits until 10 minutes into the period to ask.  Seriously??

Every year I start out with no real policy in place and I'm not sure why.  And every year I end up losing a bunch of pencils so I end up reverting back to the same system: collateral.  For me it's been the most successful system.

Eventually some of them still disappear with this, but it takes longer. This year I have 9 pencils, flagged and sitting in a custom made pencil holder.  It's been a couple weeks now and all 9 are still accounted for and I'm pretty impressed.

I had a kid build the holder for me out of a piece of scrap wood.  He even stained it for me.  (sidenote: I still can't get over how much I love having kids on hand to construct whatever I think up). Each pencil has a piece of masking tape with my name and a number from 1-9.  I'm not sure what the numbers are really for.  I had something in mind but it never happened.  The holder makes it really easy though to check with a quick glance if/how many pencils are missing.  And if one is gone but there is nothing on the shelf I know to ask who took a pencil without trading.

The pencil holder is sitting on a shelf and the kids just leave their item on the shelf and take it back when they return the pencil.  Easy and takes no effort on my part which is the best part.  My usual policy is only "good things."  Things like phones, iPods, bookbags, IDs, or shoes.  Things they definitely won't leave without.  Trading me their broken pen doesn't fly.


Sure it drives me crazy that they don't bring a pencil, but it's not worth being frustrated over every period. Kids end up with something to write with, I don't lose a ton of pencils, and I don't have to deal with it.  Success.  Now the trick is making sure I actually start this back up in September instead of waiting until I'm already down a bunch of pencils.

12 comments:

  1. Do you worry if they leave something valuable, that it will be stolen?

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    1. Nah, not really. For the most part I really do trust my kids. The shelf is also in the front of the classroom by the front board so it's not an area that kids are walking by a lot. When I started this idea of holding stuff I had a "stuff" basket that I would keep on my desk for more safe keeping. Also if a kid is ever the slightest bit hesitant I will of course take their item and put it somewhere more secure.

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  2. I've got a similar set up, using silver pencils and neon green flags. For those kids that ALWAYS forget a pencil, I give them a "special pencil" and it has a home on a wall. Only that child can use it, and they put it back when they are done. Same kid has used the same pencil for 2 months!

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    1. That's a great idea to assign special kids a pencil. Love it that a kid has been using the same pencil for 2 months...that would never happen if the pencil left your room with them.

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  3. I ask my students to bring 10 pencils at the start of the year. I tell them they're making a "deposit" into the pencil bank. I end up with a ton of pencils that I keep in a drawer of a rolling cart in my room. Kids just take a pencil if they need one. I've never run out. In fact, I've amassed such a stockpile that I didn't even have kids bring them this year.....

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    1. I like this idea...I do the same thing with tape for the ISN's, but doing it with pencils too would be a really good idea.

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  4. The janitor at my school collects all the pencils he finds on the floor for me. I tell my students that I won't give them a nice new pencil, so I break them in half (2 for the price of 1!). I like to think that it gives them some sort of incentive to bring a pencil on their own. The disadvantage is that there can be a lot of sharpening pencils at the beginning of class.

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    1. That is so awesome! How did you luck out with that? Breaking them in half is a great way to double your pencils too. Awhile ago I got a bunch of golf pencils and handed them out with a similar thinking that it would encourage them to bring their own...no such luck though for me, they just thought it was funny.

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  5. My pencil policy is exactly the same for the exact same reasons! When one student notices another missing a shoe, the response is "Oh, you needed a pencil!"

    http://shlager.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/math-pencils-brilliance/

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  6. I am going to try this tomorrow. I give out coupons for good behavior, great work, helping others etc. So when a student needs a pencil they can give back two coupons to borrow and 5 to own. It works well, but I don't always get the pencils back that are borrowed. I am going to flag those tomorrow. Great idea!! Thanks for sharing!
    Christine
    Math Central

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  7. Why do you let the students drive YOU crazy? They're the ones who haven't come to class prepared! I always tell my students, "Wow, I sure hope somebody will let you borrow one of theirs," and then I don't give the matter another thought until I call their parent(s) to let them know that their child seems to need more pencils. Please start putting the responsibility for being prepared back on the students -- where it belongs.

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  8. I love the "I <3 Justin Bieber" pencils that are on pinterest too! Nice to add a little humor to the teacher collection! ;)

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