The Pencil Catch 22

It happens to all, forgetting a needed writing untensil. In classrooms it seems to happen endlessly. A student really can’t participate fully without a much needed writing tool. As Joshua T Dickerson illustrates in his poem “Cause I Aint Got a Pencil” there are many reasons a student might not have a pencil on any given day. As one who can be forgetful at tines, I want to be forgiving, providing pencils for anyone who needs them. Just like most jobs, if you forget the writing untensil you can just grab another one. Many students carry pencil cases with them, showing that they are prepared for class.

But lately some have become relaiant on the pencils in the room. Asking daily for a pencil to borrow. Of course I allow them to grab a needed tool out of the class pencil case in front of the room. The borrowing really isn’t the issue, but then again it is a concern, because students aren’t borrowing. They are using and then disgarding. Pencils end up everywhere except the pencil box in front of the classroom. At the end of the day I usually can rescue a few from the floor. Many are broken up into unsuable pieces, while others end up in the bottom of bookbags and lockers. How can we get students to value the writing tool when we provide them daily?

Becca who blogs for Science Lessons that Rock lists many methods here. Teachers need to find a method that works for them. I use golf pencils frequently, handing out around 500 per month. I have used the collateral system but it has lead to students leaving items in my room, having to return during different class periods often without the pencil. Our PTC has donates 1000 pencisl to each classroom to help out. I don’t like reward systems that give out rewards for doing the expected. Students don’t need participation rewards. Actions need consequences for learning to happen. This is why we learn more from failure than sucess.

So what consequences should occur when a students fails to borrow properly?

Should it impact their grade? no

Should they be no longer allow to borrow? Maybe

Should they need a different intervention? probably

Its a catch 22. Students need pencils. Many devlopmentally struggle with concept of borrowing. Pencils run out.

How do we solve this issue?

Is this a bigger issue in our society? We don’t value others belongings?

Love to hear you suggestions in the comments.

Sincerely a teacher who doesn’t want to be the pencil cop!


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