Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blog Post #10

Adventures in Pencil Integration

I'm a Papermate.  I'm a Ticonderoga.

I actually have some background regarding the above cartoon.  When my son was in the first grade, I bought some Papermate pencils because they were very cheap.  His teacher sent home a note requesting better erasers because the erasers on the pencils were not very good, and the pencils themselves were very smudgy.  This led me to the discovery of Ticonderoga pencils.  They are my absolute favorite!  They are also the favorite of my now freshman in college son.  He will not buy or use any other kind of pencil.

Now to interpret the cartoon.  Hhmm.  The man on the left looks older than the guy on the right.  He is dressed in a suit.  I do not know if he is supposed to be more mature, professional, or nerdy. However, his caption, explaining his cheapness, gives the message that you get what you pay for. The best pencil, the Ticonderoga, is what a hipster would buy.  According to this definition of hipster, a hipster is smart, educated, and frugal.  Again, by purchasing something more expensive, you should get what you pay for.

The dilemma I have is determining if there is a further meaning to this cartoon.  Does it stop at the quality of pencils?  Is it making fun of pencils, because the artist thinks pencils in general are obsolete?  Refer to my picture in Blog Post #3.
*10:38 p.m. P.S.*  After reading a few other people's blogs, I see that this cartoon is a play on the Mac/PC commercial.  I have seen this commercial a while ago, so I actually get the cartoon.  I explored Mr. Spencer's blog, but obviously not the extent to discover the meaning of the cartoon.  Oops.

John T. Spencer
The blog post I chose to comment on is When a Child Hates Pencils.  This post is about a student who hates pencils because he associates them with work instead of learning, and failure instead of success.  This post also addresses trinket reward systems and the punishment of being sent to another class to then copy words over and over.  

"Our principal encouraged me to keep Josiah away from pencils until he was "mature" (as if a pencil was something one has to mature into) and has "proven that he can earn the privilege of using them again."  I ignored his advice and handed Josiah a new pencil the second day of school.  I told him he could draw, write poetry, tell a story, whatever. 

"Will I get a stamp?"

"No. I don't do stamps."

"A letter?"

"No letters here either."

"Then why should I do this?"

"I write because I have something to say.  I draw because I want to create.  I can't control it.  There's something in me that propels me to draw."

"Will you read it?"

"Yep.  I'll even write comments and on some parts I'll ask you to do an assignment I choose.  I'll make some corrections.  I'm still your teacher.  But my goal is feedback, not judgment."

He tears a page out of the journal, writes a poem about wanting to fly and then creates an origami flying dragon with the poetry written on the wings.  It's beautiful and quirky and it didn't happen because of letters or stamps or peppy praise."

This post perfectly reflects my experience last week at Fonde Elementary, which I am still processing.  The teacher I observed is really a great teacher.  She taught in Baldwin County for 2 1/2 years.  She has been at Fonde for 7 years.  She has gone from a high performing school to a low performing school.  I felt very inspired to be there.  She said herself, "I know we are not supposed to teach to the test, but that's what we have to do here."  She is so focused on test scores.  I am afraid she is losing that special something she must have had in Baldwin County.  I shared with the students about setting goals and taking the necessary steps to achieve those goals.  I shared with them about running the Azalea Trail Run the following day.

I was asked by a fourth grader, "Whatcha gonna get for runnin' that race?"  


"You're not gonna get nothin'?"

I tried to explain that I will have personal satisfaction.  I will have happiness within myself.  I will be proud of myself.  I might as well have been speaking a foreign language.

Dr. Scott McLeod
Dr. McLeod has many credentials.  Most recognizable is the fact that he is the creator of the Did You Know? video I watched on YouTube earlier this semester.  I agree with his positions in Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff-Please?, however I will have to do a lot more learning myself to be able to use and teach the technology he thinks should be in the classroom.  I will have to educate myself on filters, controls, etc.  Again, referring back to my experience at Fonde, the absolute quietest those students ever became was in the computer lab.  They were working on math problems on computer programs that were identical to the type they had been working on in the classroom.  The students were so engrossed.  I could have heard a pin drop.


  1. I like your story of the Ticonderoga v. Papermate. This is a very thorough blog post. Good job!!

  2. You got them both: metaphor and sarcasm.

    Well done.