Prang Power!

If you work at any school in America I sure you are well aware of the Box Tops for Education Program. It's a super program and provides a lot of great resources. At most school I've been to the Box Top program is done as a school wide fundraiser. This certainly makes sense, there is strength in numbers. 

But what if you are a teacher and you are looking for an easy way to earn free items for your class? You don't want to do the Box Tops for just your class because that would undermine your schools efforts. It would be nice to find something that the other teachers in your building are not doing. The answer: PRANG POWER

What is Prang Power? Prang Power is an educational program created by Dixon-Ticonderoga the pencil company (which includes all Dixon, Ticonderoga, Lyra, & Prang products). Very few teachers are even aware of this program (I am the only person at our district). So how does this program work?

Step 1 - Sign up for the program

Signing up is easy and free. Just go to and sign up for the program. The whole process takes less than 2 minutes.

Step 2 - Collect UPC Codes

This is real easy to do at the start of the school year. Many of your students are going to have brand new boxes of pencils. Simply ask them if you can have their UPC codes. Most students are glad to get rid of the boxes. 

Ask you fellow teachers. Just like the students, teachers are loading up on pencils, chalk and other school supplies at the start of the year. Make the rounds at your school. Again most of the teachers are happy to get rid of their boxes.

Check in with your administration (this includes the secretaries). Often your school will purchase large amounts of pencils for testing and general use. Just like the kids and teachers, they are happy to get rid of their boxes.

Bonus Points - You can earn bonus points from prang for different things such as mentioning Prang Products on your school supply list.

Step 3 - Mail in UPC codes

As you collect UPC codes you can mail them to the Prang Program. Each UPC code has a point value approximately equal to the suggest retail price. So a $5 box is worth about 5 points. Prang will keep track of your points as you send them in.

Once you have earned 300 points you can begin cashing in your points for pencils, art supplies and other items.

Step 4 - Cash in your points for free Product.

At the start of this school year we received nearly 500 free pencils as the result of this program and we are close to getting more!

Todd Hawk is a middle school math teacher and the Founder of the Land of Math LLC ( You can reach him at or follow him on twitter: @landofmath2.



Don't fall for the seduction of the 1 cent pencil

The summer is wrapping up and the school year is about ready to kick off in full force.  This is the time of the year that is filled with optimism and excitement. Everything starts over.  Students get to meet new teachers, teachers get a new batch of students and parents get a chance to regain their sanity.

Despite all these warm and cuddly feelings that surround the start of school I am dreading another yearly tradition: parents buying their kids crappy pencils.

Don’t get me wrong, I to have been seduced by the allure of the 1 cent pack of pencils at Staples (or Wal-Mart, Kmart, etc.). As a parent you feel good about making such a wise purchase. After all a pencil is just a pencil.

“No so fast my friend,” to quote Lee Corso, the legendary football analyst from College Game Day (and Director of Business Development for Dixon Ticonderoga pencil company).  Pencils are NOT all the same and it DOES make a difference.

The trouble begins moments after the first bell.  The students complain that they can’t get their pencil to sharpen. Why? Because the quality of wood and lead is inferior and it is next to impossible to get many of these pencils sharpened. Many pencils are never able to be sharpened because the lead just falls out as you sharpen it. In addition, students are constantly getting up because their lead keeps breaking because of the poor quality. 

Mechanical pencils are no better.  Most of the time students are asking around for specific lead sizes because they ran out.  The lead in the mechanical pencils is so thin it snaps off with the slightest pressure.

Last year our 7th grade math department spent some of our supply money on extra Ticonderoga pencils (the Language Arts teachers just mocked us).  We could tell the difference and so could the kids.  The pencils were easy to sharpen, kept their point longer and didn’t break off as often.

By the way, I am not affiliated with the Dixon Ticonderoga pencil company.  There are many other fine pencil companies such as Blackwing (my personal favorite is the Blackwing 602), General’s, Golden Bear and Prospector.  Many of these companies make their pencils in the United States.

I know it seems like such a small thing, but anytime you can reduce distractions you are greatly increasing the students chances for success.   Parents are always looking for ways to help their children.  The purchase of a quality pencil is an easy and affordable way to assist with your child’s success.

Todd Hawk is a middle school math teacher and the Founder of the Land of Math LLC ( You can reach him at or follow him on twitter: @landofmath2.