As a teacher, pencils can be the highlight of your day or the vein of your existence!
If you’ve been around my site long enough, you know that I’ve taught four different grade levels. With each grade, I’ve tested several different ways to handle pencil management with students.
Here are things that just DID NOT work for me:
- Allowing students to sharpen their own pencils throughout the day
- Sharpening their pencils for them
- Letting students keep hand held sharpeners at their desks
The Pencil Trade
Then I tried a new system called The Pencil Trade: I kept a jar full of sharpened pencils and when a student’s pencil would break or become dull, they would just hold it up in the air to signal they needed an exchange. This system kept students engaged in learning because it didn’t require a long pause to sharpen pencils. I would just drop the dull/broken pencil in a separate jar and keep the good times rolling!
Even though I really love The Pencil Trade, it had its flaws too.
- I had a huge stack of pencils to sharpen at the end of each day or week.
- Students had no responsibility or work involved concerning their pencils.
So with some tweaking and Pinteresting, ahem- I mean thorough research; I now feel that I have the BEST Pencil System EVER!
My New-And-Improved Pencil System
Each student’s desk has a basket, the same kind you can get at The Dollar Tree or here. Students brought pre-sharpened pencils for back-to-school because the teachers on my team requested those on our supply lists to parents.
By the way, this brand is my all time favorite for pencils! I recommend these to everyone.
Students put 7 of those pre-sharpened pencils in their desk baskets along with a dry erase marker, whiteboard eraser (which is just a small black felt square), a highlighter, two red ink pens (for students to self-check their work), and a glue stick.
As a part of my beginning of the year procedures, I teach students how to keep this basket organized.
Throughout the week, when a student’s pencil becomes dull or breaks, they just swap it out for a sharpened one from their desk basket. Every Friday, we have a ‘Work-Time’ included in our class schedule for my student helpers to complete their classroom jobs. They are responsible for sharpening all dull pencils during that time.
The pencils live in our ‘Work-Station’ area for student helpers to easily access. (This sharpener is my all time favorite and has held up longer than any other sharpener I’ve purchased!)
No more tedious pencil management for me.
No more interruptions to our learning because students are out of their seats sharpening pencils.
Our grade level uses Class Dojo, and I give Dojo Points to students who have all their supplies in their desk basket each week.
They easily remember to keep 7 pencils in that basket, because I have a checklist attached with Velcro Dots to their desks for daily reminders.
I haven’t ran into any major hiccups with this system yet! So far, it is my favorite pencil management system for my classroom.
How do you manage pencils in your classroom?
Share your tips and techniques beautiful butterflies!