Think about all of the supplies you ask for at the beginning of the year. Think about all of the supplies you use in one day of school. Which one supply could you and your students not work without? For me, its a pencil. All of my students need a pencil each day. The one supply they use every single day of the school year is a pencil.
That being said, I take pencils very seriously. I also have a problem with pencils… They break. When a pencil breaks, it must be sharpened. Pencil sharpeners are loud, messy, and distracting, so I don’t allow them.
That’s right! My students do not have personal pencil sharpeners and they do not sharpen their pencils. Instead I have two little buckets. One bucket contains plenty of sharpened pencils. The other bucket contains unsharpened pencils. Here is how it works.
Every Monday (or the first day of the school week) I give every student a brand new, sharpened pencil. If the pencil breaks, then the student places it in the unsharpened pencil bucket and gets a sharpened pencil from the other bucket. Students can sharpen their pencils during homeroom if they want to, but after homeroom they do not sharpen pencils. At the end of the day I sharpen all of the unsharpened pencils and move them to the sharpened bucket. It is that simple.
No mess when a personal pencil sharpener accidentally breaks open. No loud electric pencil sharpener going off when I’m teaching in a small group. No problem.
This year my pencil buckets are from the dollar section of Target. I have tied a blue chevron ribbon on the handle and hot glued a cute label to the front of each bucket. The labels can be found here.
For fun, I do have holiday themed pencil buckets to decorate the classroom. Be looking for images of them as the holidays approach.
My other pencil is a door hanger for the month of September. It was probably the most simple to make of all of them.
My father (an architect, builder, and in general jack of all trades) keeps all scraps of wood (no matter how large or small). I asked him for a pieces of wood about two and a half feet long and six inches wide (about one inch deep). He of course had exactly what I wanted (Thanks Daddy!). He then was kind enough to cut the board to a point on one end and sand the edges to nice rounded corners (it took him less than 5 minutes!!!). Then I took over. I painted it to look like a pencil with yellow, pink, and silver paint. After it dried I wrote my name on it with a black sharpie. Then I sealed it with a clear spray. It has a cute yellow ribbon to hang it and is one of the most beloved door hanger of them all!
I apologize for the not so cute picture (the pencil is tucked away at school).
I am back at school! And have a cute picture of my pencil!!!
As you are preparing for the school year, really think about the little things (like pencils) that drive you crazy. What can you live with, and what drives you crazy? Fix what drives you crazy before the kids get there!!!