To many this is a Starbucks cup with pencils in it. To my students is the Cornucopia in the Hunger Games. Everyday it's a battle for pencils. You'd honestly think there was a competition to see who could use up the most pencils in a day. 


My Pencil policy is this:

I sharpen about 20 or so pencils in the AM. The kids are welcome to trade out one of their not sharps for one of mine. If they don't have a pencil at all (often) they can take from another cup of sharp short pencils I freely give away. Multiple times during the day I sharpen the pencils in the cup so there are sharps for the dulls the kids have. The trades happen through out the day as the kids need a pencil.

Why do it like that, Whitaker? 

  • This keeps the kids from making a game out of killing my pencil sharpener. 
  • The personal sharpeners are a disaster! Pencil shavings are all over and they make the floor horrid! 
  • The kids don't have to fidget with the sharpener. 
  • The sharpener becomes a noise distraction as well as a movement issue. Sadly my students can't take the freedom of 1 person sharpening 1-2 pencils and sitting down. I'd have so many kids "needing" the sharpest pencil all day it would be craziness. 



I thought this would quell the foolishness that I saw when I came into this class. But really it hasn't. Just new foolishness has arisen. 

  • I have the black market personal sharpeners. Shavings everywhere!
  • Kids stealing my pencils. I give them for free just don't take 8!
  • Kids not even trying to bring a pencil to school. "Whitaker will take care of that for me"
  • Kids bringing 10 pencils and swapping all 10 out first thing in the morning, thus depleting my stash for the other students. 

I know this seems so simple, but what do you all do to maintain Pencil sanity in the class? 


4 thoughts on “HELP!

  1. I first suggest hiding the cup. Children (especially young ones) want what they want when they see it. When it’s not visible, it’s not desired as much. Also, I would either lower the number of sharpened pencils to 5-10 or just only give them a pencil if they don’t have one or theirs is broken. If the sharpened pencils run out and they really don’t need one, then they don’t get one (yeah I know mean but hey they’ll be ok). If the sharpened pencils run out and they don’t have one or it’s broken, use a crayon/marker/colored pencil (yeah still mean huh? No wonder my kids say I’m mean).

  2. Seriously, LM, this is a chess match. The kids would destroy a sharpener, but they put you in a bind if the broken pencil fairy visits. Some are real sweet and they take care of their stuff, but most are just horrid. They’d break pencils just to write with a marker only to do all the problems wrong and need another sheet. It a trip. All I can do is smile cause we all know what kind of life awaits people who just don’t want to do right.

  3. It’s a pencil cup for God’s sake! You’re not Indiana Jones! Monday morning they’re all getting cheap pens. I can’t think of a good reason for them to have pencils and they abuse the system. Besides since no one is donating pencils I can honestly say I’ve run out.

  4. I think you should make them answer a question in order to get a pencil. Base the question on the class topic of the day. Maybe even have them give the class the answer. I should have broken this up into several posts. Just for the burpee’s!!

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