Yesterday was our first staff development day, and luckily our administration gave us quite a bit of time to work in our classrooms, which was a relief because I still have a lot to do! Luckily, I crossed off quite a bit on my checklist (only to find that there was more stuff to do that I overlooked...go figure!), including putting away the remaining supplies in the high school room, cleaning out the last supply cabinet that I hadn't touched yet, and finishing up my No-No Board in my elementary room.
The night before, I pulled out the colored pencils to finish making the pictures for my board. In case you haven't seen a No-No Board before, I just want to say that the idea is not mine...I found the idea over at Mr. E's blog. Now, I've noticed there tends to be a bit of a debate whenever one of these shows up in a teachers classroom, but I think it will complement my craftsmanship rubric pretty well. (Phyl did a post a while back about the controversial No-No Board as well...)
I concentrate in all grades on these drawing ideas ("Y" trees, using a horizon line, etc.). Don't get me wrong, this is not here to squelch creativity, but particularly with the older students, they should be moving past these drawing cliches. Unless a project or assignment calls for these "stereotypes" (like cartooning...it's okay to have words in your art!), I'd be more impressed if students were more creative and more mature in their depictions, which is what I aim for. If you check out my craftsmanship rubric, you'll notice that the things on the No-No board correspond with the craftsmanship rubric descriptors.
So, here are my findings:
-thinner pencil & lead = easier to break
-thin pencils are harder for small hands to control
+thin pencils fit into most pencil sharpeners
-does not come with a pencil sharpener
-harder lead makes for harder blending
+comes with a white
$2.59 at Office Depot
$1.95 at Walmart (though current school sale puts them at 97 cents)
+thicker pencil and lead = sturdier
+thick pencils make it easier for younger students to hold and control
-thicker pencils that don't fit into all pencil sharpeners
+comes with a pencil sharpener in the package
+medium lead makes for easier blending
+comes with gold and silver
$1.96 at Walmart
$1.97 at Amazon.com
My Personal Prang Ticonderogas
+thin pencils with a thicker lead (fit into pencil sharpeners, less chance of breakage)
+soft lead makes for excellent blending (no streaky coloring!)
All in all, I'd say the Prang colored pencils are a pretty good deal. Crayola is a good one to go with if you catch them on sale, but otherwise the price is comparable. Once I go through the stock-pile of colored pencils I currently have in the next year or so, I may consider purchasing some of these Prangs for my younger elementary kids. Now, if I could find the Prang Ticonderogas at a decent price, I'd definitely buy them for my high school students! This year I am trying out Sarget colored pencils with them...