Slice of Life: You Write with That?


(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

I had a student come up with this in his hand, complaining that he could not get it into the sharpener.

Tiny pencil

Well, of course. It’s a bit small to be writing with, don’t you think? I watched him, amazed at his focus on the sharpening. But by then, the pencil was even a bit too small for him. He ended up using one of my tiny hand-held sharpeners and then agreed to trade his teeny little pencil in for a full-size brand-new pencil, although he did it rather warily, as if he had spent a lot of time and energy to this pencil just right and its size represented the amount of words that he had written out.

The funny thing is, this is not unusual — this small pencil syndrome. And it is almost always boys. I can’t explain it. But I can write a poem inspired by it.
Peace (in the writing of small posts),

  1. Oh my goodness, you captured this perfectly! They are so reluctant to give up the tiny pencils…I never thought about it like this: “as if he had spent a lot of time and energy to this pencil just right…” Hmmm, so wise! Love this post!!

  2. Yes!! This is so incredibly true – though I do have some girls who end up with small pencil syndrome. I like your theory on why they are so attached to it. That little bitty pencil represents a lot of work!

  3. Interesting that this post appeals across the grades. In kindergarten, the pencil has special significance as well with kids complaining when someone is using “their” pencil that was in the community bucket. It’s usually a shiny glittery pencil that has a paper coating and peeling it later on is another source of distraction. The kids prefer the erasers on the end but those wear out before the second or third sharpening.
    As for short pencils, we actually pass out golf pencils for handwriting practice, and in many cases, we add a rubber grip to teach kids how to hold a pencil – but that’s another conversation.

  4. Wow Kevin . . . from that to this! It’s so true though, what is it about boys and hating to throw out those small pencils 😉

  5. Yes! I have boys do this all of the time. I think it is hilarious UNTIL they get their pencils stuck in the pencil sharpener trying to sharpen them. 🙂

  6. I love this post and will be sharing it with my students, who LOVE tiny pencils, tomorrow! I never thought about the length of the pencil representing the amount of work that had come out of it! Interesting thought! I have a Dead Pencil Cemetery in my room…small box, painted black, with floral foam stuck in the bottom. When a pencil will no long fit in the sharpener, we give it a good funeral and say a few words over it, and if there’s time someone can whistle “Taps”…usually me. Small stuff indeed!
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kevin,
    Thanks for always inspiring the writer inside us.

    Small moments
    Sometimes difficult to capture
    And bring to fruition.
    Need a sharper point.

    CV ’14

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