Friday, July 10, 2015

Favorites for Friday: Winning the Pencil War

This week's Favorite for Friday is a Teachers Pay Teachers freebie:  Winning the Pencil War.

I LOVED this idea this year.  Oh. my. goodness!  I have been teaching since 1998 and this year was the first year that pencils didn't drive me crazy!  I have tried all kinds of systems for pencils and nothing worked - until this!!!

It takes a bit of up-front planning/cost, but in the end, I spent less on pencils this year and it removed so many headaches!  No more whining, no more pencil sharpener noise in the middle of class, no more broken pencil sharpener because a student wasn't careful!

Winning the Pencil War
Created By Ms. Hazelton © 2012
Winning the Pencil War - An Effective Management System

Ms. Hazelton does an excellent job of explaining how to set up the process.  I only made a couple of adjustments for my 5th graders -- I gave them 5 #2 pencils and 2 mechanical pencils, plus the big pink eraser, all in a zippered pouch (I numbered the pouches to help keep track of which pouch belonged to which student).  We also did not do the switching of pencils on Fridays -- We often collected them at the end of Monday afternoon because I had volunteers that came in on Tuesday mornings to help.

Prize ideas -- trying to give prizes to each responsible student each week could easily get out of hand, but I got very creative sometimes!  Check out this list of ideas that worked very well for my 5th graders:
*coupon to choose a "brain break" or "Go Noodle" activity
*coupon for extra time on the Chromebook for educational games
*bookmarks (sometimes I printed out color-your-own freebies!)
*binder clip to help them organize their planner
*one item to eat -- One pretzel rod, one skittle, I even did one fresh raspberry the week they were on sale at the grocery store! The kids LOVED that one and those who didn't earn one were so disappointed.  They all had their pencils the following week!
*of course, little erasers, stickers, a pen, a decorated pencil, or the prize box were also great incentives.

One other great tip -- Keep a stash of extra sharpened pencils so you can quickly trade at the end of the week.  Then you have a whole week to get volunteers to sharpen the dull pencils.  I had a few volunteers that came in before or after school to spend 10 minutes sharpening pencils for me.  My pencils sharpener didn't need to run during the school day ALL YEAR LONG!

Thanks for visiting!  Happy Friday!

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