How I Keep the Pencils in my Classroom

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I know that in August, that 1/3 of your supply order consists of pencils. 

You stock up when Staples and Office Max have their back to school sales.  

You even have parents send 2 boxes of pencils with the rest of the required school supplies.  

But by October, there are no pencils in sight, except for one with no eraser, 2 that are inch long nubs, and a couple of broken colored pencils that got put in the pencil jar.  

My first year of teaching, I went through, I kid you not, over 100 pencils in the first few months of school.  And I had TEN students!  That's insanity!  I had none left.  And I was not about to keep buying pencils like this for the rest of the school year.  So I came up with my "Pencil Plan" and it is still working to this day.

The Pencil Plan
I provide each of my student's with one pencil, one dry erase marker, and one felt eraser.  My student's keep their supplies in a pencil pouch that is Velcro-ed to the back of their chair.  Students are welcome to trade in their pencil for a new one if it's too small or the eraser is gone.  They can trade in their marker when it dies. 

But if they lose their pencil, they have to pay me from their class money.  Dun, dun, dun!  I charge $10 whole dollars.{Side note- they can earn up to $32 in a day but rarely have more than $5 left by the end of the day.} Oh, it's the worst thing in the world when a student misses out on a fun free time activity because they had to spend all of their money on a tool to complete their work with!  And then we have to have the little chat about being a responsible student.  It's very rare that a student ever has to pay for more than 2 pencils in the whole school year.

Don't worry, there's a positive, preventative part of the plan as well.  {I'm not that mean.}

At the end of the week, one of my classroom jobs is to check student's pencil pouches for all required supplies.  Students who have all of their supplies get a bonus $10 in their wallet!  Since we also clean out wallets on Fridays, this bonus money is the only money that gets to carry over to the next week.

With this in place, I have NEVER come close to running out of pencils again!  Even when my students go out to their regular education classes, they come back with their pencil.  It's an amazing system and I highly recommend it.

What if you don't use classroom money? Well, use whatever behavior management system you use in your classroom.  Tokens, beads, points, etc.  Make it work for you.  The important thing is that it's something that the students don't want to lose AND that there is reinforcement for student's being responsible for their supplies.

Hope you never have to run to the store to buy pencils again!

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  1. That is a great student leadership job. In my Kindergarten class (I'm the para), I implemented a Pencil Rental system. The students who did not have a pencil were allowed to line up at my desk and rent a pencil. Each pencil has tape around it with a number on it (it ranged from 1-40). The students pick up their pencil and record on paper their name next to the number represented on the pencil chosen. When it's time to return pencils they line through their name and place it on my desk. Later I go through and highlight the names and numbers, on the paper, of the pencils returned. If I'm missing any, I call out their names and have them return their rented pencil. It is helping our students learn responsibility.

    1. Allison, What a great idea! I love that it's teaching the students responsibility and how to borrow and return. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Great, last year with my firsties, I got over 100 pencil too :)
    This year I'm with second grade. I will try this.

    1. Thanks for reading! Let me know how it works for you!

  3. I love this idea. Can you give me information on the money system. How do they earn and how do they lose and how do they use. Thanks

    1. Thanks! I just posted about how I use a money system in my class. Here's the link.

  4. Can you let us know what your behavior system is with the money? I have been wanting to do something similar and would love some ideas.

    1. Sure! I just posted about how I use a money system in my class. Here's the link.


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