My teaching partner and I, like most teachers, share a love of pens. Give us all the flairs in the world. Our first year of teaching together we were shocked when students started to bring in flair pens. They even replicated the colors we used when we took notes in our interactive notebooks. At first my instinct was to ax this growing trend, but then I realized the importance of using pens for interactive notebooks.
Color coding helps with organization. I use different colors when I write in my notebooks to represent important information, similarities/differences, headers, etc. Limit the number of colors you use to be effective. For example, when I taught physical and chemical changes, my notes on chemical changes were always in red, and physical changes blue. Keep it simple, but colorful.
Presentation is important for students. Something as small as using a pen to write a summary can add a little fun to any assignment, especially if the child is in the final edits of an assignment.
Any time you introduce something new to the routine, review expectations and rules. I don’t allow my students to use pens on assessments or during math. Majority of the time we use pens when we take notes in our interactive notebooks, or for something special like a project. I always give permission first. My students know it’s never a privilege that they can cash in any time they choose.
Using pens is fun! Reward your students by allowing them to use pens from time to time. Do you currently allow your students to use pens in class? Leave a comment below!