The Teachers' Scrounge

News and comments from the world of public education. A middle school math teacher shared what he learned today.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Get the Lead Out!

I was visiting with a summer school teacher today about our pencil supply, and one thing led to another until I found this discussion online. This is from the ProTeacher forum. I am not familiar with the forum, but this particular discussion thread was very thorough and useful regarding pencils in the classrooms. Here is a summary:
  • Dixon Ticonderoga pencils are the absolute best. They are more expensive, but they last longer, sharpen better, have quality erasers, cure cancer, etc. Some teachers required this particular brand of pencil in their school supplies and found that parents rebelled by sending no pencils at all.
  • Recommending mechanical pencils instead of wood pencils brings a series of special headaches -- kids don't realize they are almost out of lead, lead comes in multiple sizes, kids don't know how to use appropriate pressure and break the lead constantly.
  • Atlas Pencil Company sells misprinted pencils by the gross. You can visit their teacher site at
  • Classroom Direct has good prices on pencils. You can view their catalog online.
  • Golf pencils are short stubbies with no eraser that you buy by the gross. It a bad idea. They only sharpen a few times, the kids need erasers, and many kids don't take care of them (or return them) because they are just silly little golf pencils.
  • Personal pencil sharpeners at each desk make a mess. Kids can be trained to be careful of this mess.
  • Kids oversharpen pencils.
  • Industrial pencil sharpeners exist. One teacher trains kids to use the electric sharpener -- "Count to three, then check."
Useless information: Lee Corso of ESPN's College Gameday works for Ticonderoga Pencils.

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