Pencils and Pens in the Classroom

8:17 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

Since I made pens yesterday for my Monday Make It, I decided to go one step further and talk about my writing implements of choice in my classroom.  I believe that a teacher's choice of writing implements is very important and makes our work much more pleasant.  I prefer grading essays with purple or orange instead of black...the colors make grading a more pleasant experience, which is awesome for me and for students.

I addition I remember years ago at a conference (once again I can't remember where, when, or with whom) and being told that red is a harsh response color to grade with, so I very, very rarely use red to grade.  This is probably why I have so many red pens in my desk as school...I don't use them as quickly.  This same person suggested that green is the best color in terms of something being taken as a suggestion.  I do not claim to know if there is any truth to this, but I have lived my it for my entire career.


     For Students

High school students never seem to have a pencil and never seem to give them back.  I don't go through as many as I did when I taught middle school though.  Middle schools students devour pencils, I swear.  About seven years ago, a co-worker gave me, what I consider a brilliant solution: Golf Pencils.  These are the little half pencils that you get on golf courses, put-put courses, and at bowling alleys.  I firmly believe that co-worker was a genius in doing this for two main reasons:

1)Students really don't like golf pencils, so they are much more likely to bring their own or borrow from someone because they are uncomfortable to hold and have no eraser.

2) These are way cheaper than regular pencils.  I can get a gross (144) for less than $10.  Each gross lasts me a little more than a semester.  At this price I don't have to worry if students bring them back or not.

     For Teacher

When it comes to pencils, they are not my favorite, but I do like them for my lesson planner (Yes, I do my lessons by hand on paper. I'm not sure I will ever go digital here.) because they can be erased when things change...and they ALWAYS change.

I am strictly a Bic mechanical pencil girl....with one exception.  The mint green mechanical pencil my dad bought for me when I was in high school.  The poor thing is so beat up, but I LOVE it.  I have even turned my dear daughters into pencil snobs; they steal the Bic ones out of my desk at home and at school.

My high school pencil that I still have and use.

Ink Pens

     For Teacher

I love ink pens in all shapes, colors, and mediums.  I have felt-tip pens, ballpoint pens, and my favorite GEL pens.  I have been a faithful Pilot and Uni-Ball pen user for my whole teaching career.  They come in a wonderful assortment of colors, which fulfills some strange creativity gene I have.  I also love being able to change up the color I am grading with from assignment to assignment.
This past year, due to a smaller budget for school supplies, I tried Pilot G2, which I had a coupon for.  I LOVE them too.

     For Students

I talked yesterday on my Monday Make It post about why I need student pens in my classroom.  The short answer is that AP students have to do their written test in ink, so I have them practice that way.  As a result of this, I keep a stash of blue (black just doesn't do it for me) ink pens in a bag for test days.

There is one other thing that I use ink pens for with my students: self-grading.  I haven't done a lot of this in recent years because I was teaching mostly English classes, which don't always lend themselves to items students can check themselves.  This changed mid-year last year when I picked up an American History Class.  I will also have two Civics classes this coming year, so self-grading will be more common in my classroom.

I walk around the room and check to see that all students have the work complete and circle any items they don't have complete.  I then pass out pens from my holder.  I prefer Bic Green ink pens for this purpose.  However, I had a difficult time finding these last year, so I used my red stash...I know it is against what I said earlier, but I added the class right after Christmas and didn't have much preparation time as I didn't know it was happening.  Anyways, students grade their paper with ONLY this pen.  They are colored, so I can easily glance around the room to see who is trying to use something else...a BIG NO NO...  Then I have a student collect the pens back into the holder, and I know that I got them all.

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