Monday, February 16, 2015

Pencil Management

Hi everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend and Valentine's Day!  I was surprised with a box of chocolates, a Sephora gift card, and a new Alex and Ani bracelet!  Was NOT expecting all of that! Such a good hubby!

Today I have a simple, yet effective management tool for you.  Pencils in the classroom can get out of control real fast if you don't have a system in place.  This is especially true for k-1.  I have used the same pencil system in my classroom for many years, if not all of my years thus far.  So here is how it works:

Get two small tins or cups.  Label one "Sharp" and the other "Dull."  I used stickers but you can write the words or type something up on the computer.  Sharpen tons of pencils.  I use an electric sharpener because my hands can't handle a hand-crank one!  Place the cups in an area of your classroom that is easily accessible to students.  Next is the train your students part.  I spend some time each day at the start of the year with this.

As students arrive in the morning, they go to get a sharp pencil.  They are allowed ONE pencil at their seat each day.  I am a real stickler on that.  During work, if I notice a student has more than one on their desk/in their box, I will quickly remind them of our rule and ask them to go put one back.  If they need to trade, they can do our hand signal {peace sign} and take it to trade it out with a sharp pencil.  I keep our hand signals reminder posters hung around the room.  If students jump up or shout out asking for a pencil, I re-direct them to our poster.

As the year progresses on, erasers get worn down very quickly.  Each student does have a large, pink eraser in their box, but it's sometimes a pain to get it out if you need to erase something quickly.  I purchased a large box of pencil cap erasers from Costco and I placed them on pencils needing an eraser.  Caps have been a problem years prior because I didn't do as good of a job explaining them {aka threatening the kids, lol!!!} as I should have.  This year, I was sure to let them know that the erasers are to be KEPT on the pencils.  I also told them that if I see them removing, breaking, picking, biting, etc...the caps, their clips are immediately moved to orange.  Harsh?  Maybe.  Not really because I pay a lot of money for our classroom supplies and I expect them to respect the things as they would their own.  They understand that and we haven't had any eraser cap causalities yet! :)

At the end of the day, I have one helper who collects all pencils and places them in the "dull" cup for me to sharpen.  I quickly sharpen the pencils and place them back into the "sharp" cup for the next day.  Simple, yet effective.

Have a great day!


Kim A said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I use the same approach but still run into problems. I'd love to know how you handle these issues. Some kids have their own pencils (which is great ha!) but they don't want to stick them in the dull bucket because they're afraid they'll never get them back for whatever reason. When I tell them to just take one from the sharpened side but return it later, then I'm the one who never sees my pencil again ha! I go through pencils like water. Also, even when the trading out for a sharpened pencil does work, the pencils end up with no erasers. Then I'm constantly hearing they need an eraser. I put pencil top erasers on them but they disappear like crazy too. Since I don't really know who is returning what shared pencil, I don't know where these erasers are going. I've tried giving them bigger erasers to keep in their desk but they end up lost or for some reason many kids get a kick out of picking their eraser into pieces. Sigh. The drama of pencils lol. I saw a post somewhere that was talking about a pencil challenge for the week and wanted to give that a try next week. Curious to see if that would help.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I have begun to put their classroom numbers on the pencils…it's easy and then students actually get back their own pencils when passed out by the helper with that job. I use a permanent marker, write their number up near the eraser part, and that also is helpful if a pencil falls on the floor - the number identifies the owner.

The D's said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I can do you one better! I have "pencil sharpener" as a parent volunteer job. Perfect for the parent that wants to help but isn't available during the day! When a bunch of dull pencils pile up, I send them home with a student in a gallon ziploc and some cap erasers and they return them when able! Need to have plenty of pencils on hand, but I haven't sharpened a pencil in years!

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