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    Mechanical Pencils
    By yesteach

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    I strongly encourage students to buy mechanical pencils. I know many teachers don't like them, but they work for me. I've done this with third, fifth and sixth grades. Third graders seem to be the worst about taking them apart to see what makes them work... but for the most part the hold up well. I buy a pack of 24 at Walmart at the beginning of the year and give each student one on the first day. I write their names on with permanent marker. I give them another one at Christmas... and a third when we do TAKS reading tests in February. I take up the TAKS one, and they get it back when they take the math test in April (and yes you can use mechanical pencils on TAKS as long as you make sure they are #2 lead/HB leadl)

    For those who just can't seem to keep theirs together, I have a Panasonic pencil sharpener. They sharpen pencils first thing in the morning... they keep their own, I don't deal with pencils. I do keep a few on my desk in case they've forgotten theirs or don't have one... they tend to sharpen three or four in the mornings, so we don't have a problem. They sharpen again after lunch before we change for reading classes. If they should need one sharpened between, most of them have the hand held sharpeners.. or they wait until instruction is over and go sharpen it at the electric one.

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