Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pencils, Pencils, Pencils!

Pencils are my nemesis, they drive me absolutely insane!  They constantly need to be sharpened and kids lose them all of the time. I find them on the floor and strangely they don't belong to anyone.  Kids chew on them, eat erasers and even the little metal pieces.  I personally think they are the reason sickness spreads so fast through a classroom; especially with a broken and sharpened cup.  Ahhhh pencils drive me nuts!

So I had an idea to help a little with my pencil problems.  I thought if I could label the pencils with their names it would help with some of my issues.  When I find them all over the room I will know who they belong to.  Hopefully it will stop the spread of cooties just a little if they are not sharing pencils.  I also figured if I gave them each 2 pencils it will reduce the interruptions in the middle of lessons to sharpen pencils.  Then in the middle of the night an idea came to me!  I could use pencil flags to label the pencils and it would even stop them from rolling off desks.  I also figured address labels would be perfect for this!  So this is what I did.

Well my first prototype worked pretty well.  It even helped with kids not putting them in their mouths.  Periodically during the day I would have a pencil check and each student with their two pencils would get a point on Class Dojo.  (If you don't know about Class Dojo, check out the earlier post.)

Well this worked well for a few days, then some of the flags were being ripped and torn.  So I revised a little making new flags with labels and then making them more durable by using tape to laminate them.  

I did try just cutting strips of paper and putting them on with tape, but they didn't stick well enough.  I also figured out the easiest way to put them on the pencils was to stick the ends together, then slide over the pencil top and finish adhering it to the pencil.  If you use the wide packaging tape, it works great with just a  little piece just over an inch.  (The width of the tape is the perfect length you need.)

If you would like to download a label template in Word, click here.  You can customize with the names of your students.
Do you have any ideas or tips to help me conquer my skinny little yellow nemesis the pencil?


  1. You are a genius!! I WILL do this Monday!!! Thanks for sharing.
    Mrs. Christy’s Leaping Loopers

  2. I teach 5th grade and I am going to give this a try. I too, can't stand pencils and I will try anything to find a solution. Thanks for the idea and template!

  3. Thank you. I am going to try and get this done by Monday. We are back from break on Monday and maybe I'll be able to start the new year with less pencil problems. Thank you. Cecilia

  4. Each kid in my class has a class number and I use a sharpie marker to write their number on their pencil. I am with you, their pencils drive me crazy. They each have 2. Before I started marking pencils they would break them so that they could have their pick from the "sharpened jar". To us they all look the same, to a 1st grader each and every 20 of them are different. Again... Drives me crazy, I feel your pain! :-)

  5. I agree! I teach in a middle school and I constantly have this issue! Only they never return the pencils. I won't be putting 170 students names on pencils, but I am going to use this and put my name on it so they know who it needs to be returned too. Can't hurt to try.

  6. good to know I am not alone when it comes to being aggravated often with pencil "issues"!

  7. How funny is this!! Pencils drove me insane my first year teaching public school. I literally tied a piece of string to everyone's pencils in my class then taped the string to their joke!

  8. Brilliant pencil labeling idea!


  9. Thank you so much for the pencil labeling document...lifesaver:).


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