About Those Pencils

Did you know that pencils don’t contain lead? I sure didn’t. A few weeks back a colleague received a phone call from the nurse at her son’s school. There had been an incident that perhaps involved a pencil being poked into a palm. Panic! Lead poisoning? My colleague rushed to the school. Fortunately, no pencil was involved and her son was fine. Come to find out the stuff we call pencil lead is actually just a mixture of clay and graphite. Who knew? My tiny bit of research revealed that lead has never been used in pencils, however at one time the paint on pencils did contain lead. Interesting!

Since I’m rambling on about pencils, I may as well share a bit of pencil trivia that I discovered:

You can write underwater with a pencil. (I haven’t tried this!)

Supposedly an average pencil holds enough graphite to write roughly 45,000 words. (If you’re tempted to test this one, let me know how it goes!)

Before pencils had erasers, writers used bread crumbs to erase their mistakes. (Wow, I would need to keep a loaf handy at all times!)

The world’s largest pencil resides in Casey, Illinois. It’s 76 feet long!

So how is your classroom pencil supply? Are you in need of reinforcements?

Making a point,


10 thoughts on “About Those Pencils

  1. You totally cracked me up!
    For teaching cursive , pencils were the thing!
    Shading with art pencils is also very intriguing….

  2. Pencil supply is okay, so far. Some kids brought 75 or so at the beginning of the year! Some, welllll, just enough to get by. I haven’t liked mechanical pencils, personally, until I discovered the newer ones last year that look like pens or the ones that are “fatter”. They work really well, and I prefer to write/take notes in pencil rather than ink now.

  3. I teach Kindergarten. I LOVE the first pencils from Ticonderoga. They last the whole year with most students. I buy the ones without erasers. I ask the students to put an “X” on their mistakes rather than erasing because the children will tend to erase EVERYTHING rather than the one letter/number they did incorrectly. I always say it’s ok to make a mistake, we are practicing, that is how we learn.

  4. Pencil supply still good. My students are using the large pencils right now. Some students still don’t have that control. I purchased pencils from HomeDepot. They were cheap too.

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