The Great Pencil Challenge (managing pencils!)

  1. SummerBeech says:

    I had to get rid of my sharpened/dull pencil cups. My children would drop a pencil and rather than pick it up off the floor, they would go to the cup and get a new one. I changed my strategy. Now my children get four pencils. I sharpen as many as they need on Monday and Friday and I sharpen 2 on the other days. On a random day I will do a pencil check, they get ten minutes of extra time to play or free choice. It is amazing now I hardly ever see a pencil on the floor and no more travel time during lessons. Next year, I will add numbers to the pencils, which I have done in the past. I do trade out when the pencils are too short to sharpen.

  2. Once again, YOU ARE AMAZING!!! I shared this with my entire staff! It is SUCH a wonderful idea!

    Young Teacher Love 5th Grade Blog

  3. oh' boy says:

    love this LOVE LOVE {puffy} heart love!!!

  4. I LOVE this! I am starting this on Monday!

  5. What a GREAT idea. I will absolutely be starting the challenge on Monday! 5 more weeks-I can do it, lol!

    -Gayla
    Teach On.

  6. ThIs Is A Fabulous Idea…I Have A Used Pencil Cup…The Kids Can Borrow A Pencil If They Leave A Shoe…I Get The Pencils Back Most Of The Time…I Need To Monitor It more. I Think This Would Work So Much better

  7. ThIs Is A Fabulous Idea…I Have A Used Pencil Cup…The Kids Can Borrow A Pencil If They Leave A Shoe…I Get The Pencils Back Most Of The Time…I Need To Monitor It more. I Think This Would Work So Much better

    • Tara says:

      I used to do that and it was so effective! My principal told me that our district's risk management person wouldn't allow students to be shoeless, so I had to change my policy. 🙁

  8. Ms.B says:

    This is awesome. My first graders loose pencils like literally every assignment. Im always thinking, you was just writing, what could you have possibly done with that pencil. I'm doing starting this tomorrow with a new set of pencils.

  9. Jessica says:

    Love, love, love this brilliant idea!! I definitely will be trying this out. I swear there are over 60 pencils floating around in our room, but I never see them. My students are always up for a challenge.
    Jessica

    Apples and Papers

  10. goodsie says:

    This is wonderful…I may think about accommodating this for my high school classroom. You think it's bad when 1st graders or 5th graders are constantly asking you for pencils? Imagine how frustrated I get when my 11th graders do the same thing.

  11. AmyH says:

    I love this idea! I feel like I teach a bunch of beevers instead of students! Thanks for the idea – I'm going to give it a shot!

  12. Muriel Rand says:

    Terrific idea! I'm going to share this with my student teachers. I love the game-like atmosphere and the way your kids helped each other!

  13. Mrs. Hereau says:

    I actually do something quite similar and have had great success. Not only were my students losing pencils, they were chewing on them, removing the erasers, or making countless trips to the pencil sharpener. So I challenged my students to be "parents" and take good care of their pencils. I gave them each two pencils with their name/number on them and instructed them to treat them like their babies. They were told to keep them "healthy"(in good condition), and to keep track them. We checked in at predetermined dates and at unannounced times. We also compared pencils (great measurement activity) and I gave out small prizes for the longest pencils and the best erasers. It didn't take long to see the results…less pencil sharpening, no more destruction, and no more lost pencils. And as a side benefit, I found the students were more careful when working so they didn't have to use their erasers!

  14. J says:

    When my students borrow one of my pencils, I make them give me their shoe. When I get my pencil back, they get their shoe back. 🙂

  15. Dawn Miller says:

    You are a genius!!! I Teach middle and high school students and go through about 500 pencils a year. I would much rather hand out Jolly Ranchers on Fridays for those who are responsible!!! (I have learned that kids are willing to jump through fire for a Jolly Rancher) Thanks for the great idea!

  16. I am so doing this in my class tomorrow!!! My kids chew on, break in half, and strategically "lose" their pencils throughout the day. This is a wonderful idea! I think I'm going to start this on the first day of school next year! Thanks for this great idea!

  17. What an awesome idea! You're a genius!

  18. Melody Brock says:

    I wrote student names in sharpie near the eraser & then wrapped clear tape around to keep names from rubbing off. I average sharpening each student's pencil only 1 time per week & only in the morning. They bring them up for inspection & I only sharpen if they really need it. I invested in TriWrite My First pencils this year & will never go back to regular ones. They are super sturdy & encourage proper grip. Rarely do they break. Most students used the same pencil from August to January/February, but a few made it to April. Wow! We use skinny block erasers with their names on them when the erasers wear off.

  19. Melody Brock says:

    And if their pencil breaks, they can trade it for one if mine until I have time to sharpen & return theirs. It has been great this year. It also helps them learn how to recognize each others names quicker. They like helping pencils find their way back to the owners.

  20. Kelly T says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! What a great idea, and such lovely signs.
    http://www.KellysKnack.blogspot.com

  21. A says:

    I had a friend who made her students' nightly homework would be to bring three sharp pencils to school daily. They were never allowed to sharpen during the day. It totally worked but my principal said I can't do that because it's our responsibility to supply pencils. I've gone through at LEAST 250 this year!! I've been keeping track. And I only have 23 students!

  22. I had the same problem with my kids misplacing their pencils. I started almost the same challenge. I made each child a smart choices punch card. Each card had 10 punch spots. At the end of every day, if they turned their pencil in to be sharpened and it was still in good shape, they got their card punched. Once they filled their card they got to pick a prize out of the prize box. It made them completely responsible for keeping up with their own pencils. It worked like a charm.

  23. supermrsc says:

    You have changed the elementary school world as we know it, and I'm going to nominate you for the Nobel Peace Prize, Teacher of the Year, and anything else deserving of your awesome imagination.

  24. Heidy Roman says:

    What a great idea! I'm always having pencil issues with my 4th graders. I should give this a try. Thank you for sharing.
    Heidy Roman

  25. Veronica says:

    I teach first grade. This year I started only dealing with pencils on Monday morning. I would allow each student 3 pencils. I would use the electric pencil sharpener and sharpen 3!! pencils for each student on Monday. If they did not have 3, I would give them another one. If they lost their pencils they had to borrow from a friend or the bucket where pencils found on the floor were put. I would not sharpen pencils during the day or get any out. They actually did really well with this process.

  26. Kelli Prue says:

    I got so tired of replacing pencils in my Kinder classroom this year that I finally placed them all in a jar on my desk and at the end of the day all 35 pencils had to be accounted for. The first couple of days it took 5+ minutes to track down the missing pencils, but after that it there were only 1 or 2 unaccounted for each day and with everyone searching (floor, table boxes, book boxes, center areas, etc) they were found quickly. It was so simple and effective! Just wish I'd thought of it sooner!

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