Sunday, July 21, 2013

That's My Pencil!

Last year I went through over 350 pencils! That's more than three pencils for every student in every class! It has gotten out of hand and I'm not going to take it anymore. So I say........

The fact is I am a softy when it comes to students asking for paper, pencils, and other supplies.  I am also often asked for supplies from kids working on projects in other classes and will try to help them. However, it has become so bad that I feel a little abused.

If you are a teacher and are planning on doing a project that requires colored pencils, construction paper, glue etc..... don't rely on other teachers to supply your classes, and if you do get the goods make sure to return them.

Sorry about the rant, but I must admit I feel much better. I did see a pin on Pinterest  of a cute way to mark your pencils so I made some. I bought the Zebra pencils at Mardel's and put red tape flags on them. Will it work to keep my pencils in my classroom? Who knows but they are easy and cute!

Let me know if you have any ideas on how to keep your classroom supplies from walking out the door. Maybe one of those detectors like they use at Walmart. No, they go off way to often.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas and don't forget to follow me.


  1. Love the cute pencils! I am also loving the I <3 Justin Bieber pencils that are floating around on pinterest. I find it hysterical, because as you know middle schoolers have a love/hate relationship with the Biebs (mostly hate now...). LOL!

    I have found that the only thing that seems to work is taking a shoe. They aren't going to forget to give me back a pencil if they only have one shoe on.

    I do have several pencils that I just give to my really poor kids because I love them to pieces and it breaks my heart that most of them don't have school supplies as the beginning of the year, yet alone by the end of the year. I also have a few who are too proud to go to the student resource center to ask for school supplies. I hate to send them on trip to get school supplies from there because it also eats into my instruction time. GAH! It is a lose/lose.


  2. So your basically a softy too. LOL! I used to take a shoe also, but about three years ago I had a group that had extremely bad foot order! It made my room smell so bad that I stopped. However, it was very effective. I may have to reconsider this option. I could take their phone;they won't leave without them.

    When a student leaves a book in my room, I make them give me 25 of something. Their options are push-ups, sentences (usually a run-on that only an English teacher can write), or cents (for my Jolly Rancher fund). This works well, but I still pick up a few books every day.

    I have never had an issue with the students who are poor. I will always try to help them out and do buy several extra supplies just for them. I have noticed that they aren't the ones who come borrow from me every single day. My biggest culprit's parents both teach in my building! By the end of last year I had him call his mom or dad to ask if he could borrow a pencil or get some paper from them!

    Thanks so much for responding to my post! Makes my day to hear that I am not the only one who is frustrated by students who lack responsibility. I think I need to follow the advice an old saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff."

  3. Dawn, I am completely in LOVE with your blog. I am venturing into the realm of interactive notebooking this year with my 9th graders and I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. One question that keeps nagging me is how long do you have for each of your classes? My school system is reverting back to the 8 period day, thus we will only have 48 minutes per class. How do I handle notebooking during that time frame? P.S. I think your flagging pencils idea is hilarious and great! I'm stealing this idea. Thanks for the hard work you put in to making this blog interesting and informative!

    1. Sheree, Thank you for the complement! I started this blog for people like you and me. Last summer I was where you are with my notebooks, so I totally understand your emotions! I created model notebooks for each of the 3 grades I teach, and boy was I busy! This year I got new textbooks geared toward the Common Core so I will be redoing my ISN's throughout the year. They are the best thing I have ever done by far to help my kids and improve my teaching.

      I have the same schedule as you do. In my room, I will spend several days just introducing the notebooks and setting them up. The most confusing thing was page numbering! My students suggested that I number my copies so if they get behind or are absent they know exactly where the page should go. I also went to a three subject notebook instead of the five. There are days that you won't use it or go to a new page. For example: library time, computer lab, assemblies, testing, when you have a substitute, field trips ,etc... and some lessons that take two days will stay on the same pages.

      We start off on a new double page spread for the days lesson. I have had some issues with my kids over what side of the page to write their notes on. I tell my kids that "I'm odd, but am always right". I also will tell them what I want them to do on the left side, (create a diagram, paste and answer these questions, illustrate)or I will have them choose from a list I gave them during the notebook setup.

      They complete the right side during class, and the left at the end of the class. If they need more time they can work on it during homeroom or as homework. I also take my kids to the library every other week and when we finish I come back and do silent reading or notebook catch-up if they need it. The coloring seems to be the most time consuming and I require color for total points!

      Prior to a test, instead of a study guide, I have them highlight their notes. My freshmen loved this!! It really helped their grades too!

      My final piece of advice is to have students get notebooks such as the Mead or something similar that is college ruled and the pages will hold an 81/2 x 11 piece of paper. Otherwise, they have to spend a too much time cutting down handouts so they will fit in their notebooks. This year I am requiring that their notebook have at least one pocket to hold papers that need to be glued in. I allow them to keep their ISN on a shelf in my room and sometimes papers fall out. I have a shelf for each grade and they store them stacked with the spine out. This helps those kids that have problems with coming prepared to class. Now all they have to do is borrow a pencil and their good to go! LOL!!

      I hoped this helped you and in the future if you need anything or have a question just let me know. Look for future post on the notebooks throughout the school year. Good luck!!!

  4. Tremendous Help! Thanks so much. :)

  5. That cry, "I don't have a pencil..." makes my blood boil. I don't mind providing them with one, but I don't want it to interrupt my instruction time. I use toolboxes to minimize these disruptions. I have a blog post about these toolboxes that is scheduled for Thursday (8/1). I'd love for you to check it out!

  6. LOL! I definitely will will check it out. I have found it very comforting that so many teachers are irritated with the same issue. It sounds petty, but it is so aggravating and disruptive.

  7. After 20 years of teaching and hundreds of dollars spent on other peoples' children, I hijacked a tactic for this classroom irritation from a colleague. I keep containers of spare pencils, pens, etc. in my room and when a student asks to borrow something, I require that they put something of value in my "collateral" box. They can have their collateral back once they return or replace the item they borrowed. I have collected money, lunch bags and even shoes!

  8. Hey! No, you are not ranting! You are vocalizing what we are all feeling. Budget cuts don't help this situation. Out of pocket spending is precious. Thank you for providing this forum.

    A couple of years ago when it got to be the same students borrowing the pencils, I began writing their name on the pencil (e.g., "John's pencil") and being clear that they could only use it in my room. They loved the special attention and were more likely to return it to me--even to the point of catching me in the hallway to return it between classes. The collateral idea (explained by Fitness Mary) has also been useful especially when they have to use something needed for dress code: at my school, students must wear their IDs to be in dress code so I have the students, who have trouble remembering to return "Jackie's pencil" trade their IDs for a pencil. Some end up deciding that it is much easier just remembering a pencil than remembering to trade it back for their ID especially if they worry about being late to lunch or their next class.

    Best wishes,

  9. I feel your pain-I went through over 1000 last year. This year-they're getting golf pencils. If they whine about no erasers, I tell them to strike through their incorrect answer and move on. They are also welcome to pick up pencils from the floor and hallway. This has cut down on some of the "No pencils" cries.

  10. Golf pencils! I love it!!! This idea is priceless. Thanks for sharing. Made my day :)

  11. A teacher friend of mine requires students to leave one shoe for to borrow a pencil. You know they aren't going to leave with just one shoe on! ;)

  12. Hi,

    I happened to chance upon your blog and found it very interesting!

    We have recently launched a science app that uses augmented reality to enhance classroom teaching. The app has 3D models for kindergarten to grade 12. I thought you might want to check it out and may be review it on your blog, if possible.

    It is a paid app(with a few models free) but in case you are interested in trying it out I will be happy to provide you with a free copy.

    The link to the app is:



    You can also search for the app on the app store as 'Augmenter'.

    Do let me know if you would be interested. I am really Looking forward to your response.

    happy teaching!