Students not having a pencil?
Losing them? Breaking the tip?
The pencil craze got to me too! It doesn't need to! During my student teaching we had cups with pencils at each group that we sharpened every morning and ensured there were plenty in each cup, which was great! That was in first grade. Over the years, I became use to about 2-3 students per class not having a pencil, therefore, I always purchased a box or two at a time and handed pencils out to those students. This year was a little different for me and the pencil craze got me! So many lost pencils, broken pencil tips, or students just didn't have a pencil. I felt pencil crazed! A solution must be found!!! After much thought I came up with my "Pencil Station"!
1. The Pencil Containers
I was on the "hunt" around my home one Saturday for a solution to my "pencil craze"! I found some containers I had around my home along with some foam letters, ribbon, and my hot glue gun. I was getting excited now! I quickly created a container seen below labeled "Pencil Check Out and Trade". After glueing on the letters and ribbon to decorate a "bland" white container I had kept for some kind of storage I'd need at school, I was getting even more excited! Next, I found another container in my cabinet, I labeled "Traded & Unsharpened Pencils". I wanted the containers to 'physically' look different for my students and was out of the 'foam letters' to spell out "Traded & Unsharpened Pencils", therefore, I used a marker and different container so students can easily identify which container is which.
2. Check Out Board
After creating my two "pencil containers", I then thought about how do I keep up with who has borrowed a pencil, traded a pencil, etc...? At this point, I started again looking around my home and saw one of my clipboards. "Fantastic! A clipboard!", I thought, "Now to find some paper!" After getting together my clipboard and paper, I quickly wrote down what I expected students to fill out at "Ms. Moore's Pencil Station." On the paper I listed 3 items to start with to see how it would work...."Name", "Date Check Out/Trade", and "Check In". As seen below the check out board is simple and easy to maintain which I wrote quickly. Many times the students switch the paper and write in the top portion of the "Pencil Check Out Sheet".
Now the implementation of "Ms. Moore's Pencil Station". I set up the pencil station as seen below and reviewed expectations with students. First, you may check out a pencil for my class only. It must be returned at the end of class and checked back in. You may not keep my pencils, yet, you may use them during class time with me. If your pencil breaks, you may trade it for a sharpened pencil. Yes, you may trade your pencil back at the end of class if you wish or let me keep your pencil and you may keep mine. This helps alleviate sharpening pencils during class time. When students check out a pencil, they write their name, the date they checked it out/traded it, and then the student or I mark when it was checked back into or traded back into the station. The unsharpened pencils I sharpen and put back into the "pencil check out and trade" container outside of class time. I monitored this with an 'eagle eye' the first week. The next week I let students check in and out the pencils and it went great for several weeks!
Needless to say there were a few downfalls with my pencil station. I was out a day sick and came back...guess what, all of my pencils were gone! Only about 3 unsharpened pencils were in the unsharpened container! AHHH! I was so frustrated, how in the world do 30+ pencils just disappear in one day? Also, some students want and need a pencil all day! Therefore, I rethought my pencil station. I took it away for awhile and told them they have to bring their own pencil or borrow one from a friend...this didn't work either. The pencil station is back in my class now with a few revisions.
Now, I'll select a "Pencil Station Monitor" to assist if I'm absent and during class time. Some students I let check out a pencil all day, yet, it must be checked back in. Some students I may give a pencil along with asking them to be responsible by keeping up with the pencil and not asking again tomorrow for a pencil. Some students I noticed love the idea of just checking out a pencil and checking it in, therefore, I let them do this. I do enjoy the pencil station and it has cut down on the number of pencils I go through each week, therefore, I am implementing it again this year.
There are many ways and ideas to keep up with pencils in a class, I hope this one quick solution I used this year helps you! Best wishes with the pencil craze!
Sincerely, Ms Moore
Certified K-6, 6-9 math, and 6-9 science
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