Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Pencil Dilemma

Ahhhhh, The great pencil dilemma! Every summer I ponder over what to do about the pencils in my classroom. Should I request them from parents? Should I let the students use the pencil sharpener? Should I do all the pencil sharpening? Didn't I just sharpen 50 pencils yesterday and now they are all gone? How can the students actually write with such a teeny tiny pencil? Do I allow mechanical pencils? Do they eat the erasers?  Okay, I think you get the idea. I have literally lost sleep over trying to come up with a good game plan each new school year. I have tried having community pencils. I wasn't too keen on that because I felt it caused "too many germs" (I am a Germaphobic) and  I was forever buying pencils. I have also tried "not caring" about the whole pencil dilemma but in the end I really did care and it really bothered me. 

Last year I tried giving out a "pencil pass". Each table had one pencil pass and only one person from each table could go up to sharpen their pencils at a time. I had six sharpeners (one for each table). The students passed the pencil pass around the table until the entire table was done. Students were allowed to sharpen up to 3 pencils. After the pencil pass routine was done in the morning, the only other time students were allowed to sharpen their pencils was during recess and lunch. Out of all the things I have tried I have liked this one the best but I felt it wasted too much time in the morning. So, I am seriously thinking about giving out pens this year. It would resolve the whole pencil sharpening problems and the students will be forced to not erase any of their work. I'm looking for ideas. What have you done in your classroom? Has anyone ever used pens instead of pencils?


Rebecca Rojas said...

I think that has to be my biggest pet peeve as a teacher! Where do all the pencils go. I joke with my students that they must eat them!! I may have to try your pencil pass idea. If you have any others...please share!!!


Heather's Heart said...

I have 2 for sharpened pencils and one for pencils that need to be sharpened. They are only allowed to have 2 pencils in their crayon boxes. I sharpen the pencils. This has worked great for me. If the bucket gets empty before I can sharpen the other pencils, they must find a friend to borrow from.

I did have The Year of the Beaver one time. This child didn't just chew off the erasers...he ate entire pencils!

Heather's Heart