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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pencil Management

Hey Everyone! 
Today I'm here to talk about everyone's favorite thing, and what they DON'T teach you in college... pencil management. At first I was all like, I will just put these nice sharp pencils in a bucket and let the kids choose when they will get new pencils. They can be responsible. They can make an educated decision on when they need a new pencil. I just have to show them. Then I found myself sharpening pencils ALL THE TIME. After a short couple of hours all of the sharpened pencils were gone, and I had a basket full of broken/slightly not sharp pencils. 

What was a teacher to do?

After talking to my teaching team, one of the teachers came up with the "Pencil Board." Each student is assigned a number, and they have a corresponding pencil with their number on it with a sharpie. 

It used to be blue. I painted it this summer with chalkboard paint and used a chalkboard marker to write the numbers on it. I start the year off with brand-spankin-new sharpened Ticonderoga pencils.  Each kiddo gets ONE. The kids get *hopefully* only one sharpen a day, but sometimes things happen and they need more than one. I also sharpen them ALL before writing time (typically). I will call them by table and the kiddos stand in line (only 4-5 kids) to get their pencils sharpened. 
What happens when they lose their pencil is what you're wondering, right? 
Well... this is where it gets tough. First, I ask them to look around. Did you check your desk, the floor? You would be surprised to see how many kiddos just  drop it on the floor and deem it "lost". If it's really gone (for serious... where do they go?) it's a clip move and a new-ish pencil. I remind the kiddos that they need to be responsible for their supplies and to put their pencil in a responsible place. They don't lose them often, but sometimes a pencil loss does result in tears. It's so sweet and endearing when they are so sad that they lost something. 
You know what's really awesome though? When a pencil lasts until Christmas. I kid you not, at least half of my class held onto their pencil until break. AMAZING, right? I went through less than 60 pencils during the entire school year. Talk about saving some money! What do you do to manage the pencils in your classroom?

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