First Friday Giveaway

Blog-Pencils-and-candyHappy first Friday, y’all! Ready for the long weekend? Me too! But first, we need to get you entered in this month’s giveaway! Today’s topic is pencils—you know that school supply that can bring a teacher to tears. Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating. However, teachers face pencil predicaments on a daily basis. “Where’s my pencil?” “My pencil is missing!” “My pencil just broke!” “I can’t find my pencil!” “Teddy took my pencil!” On top of these predicaments,  there’s also the dilemma of when pencils should be sharpened.

To be entered in this month’s giveaway, leave a comment on this blog before midnight ET Sunday, September 13, that shares a strategy you have for pencil predicaments in your classroom. The winner of the giveaway will receive this bucket that includes 75 #BeTheDifference pencils from The Mailbox and a bit of chocolate, too!

Eager to hear from you!


 Congratulations to Barbara P, the winner of this month’s giveaway. The pencils and chocolate are in the mail!

186 thoughts on “First Friday Giveaway

  1. I have a get a pencil, give a pencil jar. They can take a freshly sharpened pencil but must leave a dull or small pencil in return.

  2. Ugh! The never ending pencil problem! I took two old coffee tins and covered them with construction paper. One had a big smile (sharpened pencils) and one had a frown (broken pencils). Students were allowed only 2 pencils at a time (plus special decorated ones), and if one broke, they put it in the sad and took one from the happy. Pencils were collected at the beginning of the year so that I could replenish the supply. I also had a student job of pencil sharpener who was in charge of fixing the “sad” pencils during an appropriate time. Worked like a charm! 🙂

  3. Pencil sharpening in Kindergarten can be a nightmare! I usually have a bin or bucket of already sharpened pencils available for students to take a fresh one when needed. At the end if the week I collect everyone’s pencil for sharpening and they take one from the bin/bucket.

  4. I’m still learning that providing spare pencils with cool designs are a huge mistake. Suddenly everyone needs a pencil and nobody returns them.

  5. I have 2 containers out for the students. One says, ” Sharpen Me” and the other says, “Sharpened”. My students know that when their pencil needs sharpening they bring their unsharpened pencil to the containers and leave it in the sharpen me container and they then take a pencil from the sharpened container. I sharpen the pencils either in the morning or before going home. This system works for me and my students. The students also know if they can’t find their pencil (which usually don’t happen) they can take one out of the sharpened container.

    • I do this as well and it prevents sharpening while I’m teaching, Reducing distraction! You could also have a classroom job as pencil sharpener at end of day then…

  6. My best solution:
    1. Collect all students’ pencils at the beginning of the year, unless they brought super fancy ones they would like to keep.
    2. Create two containers: sharpened and unsharpened pencils.
    3. Teach students that pencils are tools. We don’t make a big deal out of it, we just get a new one when needed from the sharpened container.
    4. Assign two students to sharpen pencils when it is necessary.
    5. Periodically collect pencils from the students’ desks as they may accumulate and add pencils from the collected supply as needed .
    6 Purchase an electric sharpener for the job.

  7. As a former teacher, I hear my daughter a teacher of third graders talk about never having enough pencils for her students. So I am always on the lookout for pencils for her. I put pencils and school supplies in her stocking at Christmas. I send CARE packages to her classroom since she teaches in urban St louis.
    In her classroom, she has a tray for sharpen pencils and ones needing sharping.

  8. I always have a supply of sharpened pencils in a basket.I also keep plastic sharpeners in the basket.This prevents the “I don ‘t have a pencil “, “I broke my pencil ” and tons of other excuses.I make sure all of the pencils in the basket are sharpened before I place them in.

  9. I sharpen the pencils (students save instructional time and to protect the electric sharpener we’re lucky to have), and I have two containers labeled “sharpened” and “dull” the students have easy access to. I send pencils and sharpeners home for homework and those stay in their homework folder. No sharpening in class really helps. 🙂

  10. I can always use pencils because they disappear. I try to make sure everyone has at least two because electric sharpeners can be very annoying grinding away.

  11. I keep a container of pencils that are always sharpened in my classroom, and another container for dull ones. My kids can grab a sharpened pencil whenever they need one, and leave the dull one for me to sharpen and add back into the container. I have preschoolers, so this works great.

  12. I take the kids pencils at beginning of year and keep a supply of sharpened pencils in a can. I also have a can for dull pencils. When they need a pencil, they leave a dull and take a sharp. I also give each child a new pencil at the beginning of each month. I find that sometimes if their pencil has a good eraser, they don’t want to put it in the dull; so I have a pencil sharpening time once or twice a week.

  13. Pencil borrowing has always been an issue in the middle school. I have a container of sharpened pencils students can borrow. I have always had a problem with getting pencils back. This year, I am using 2 strategies;

    1. Let students borrow pencils I collected from events I have attended such as 5 k races
    2. A bin right at the entry way of the classroom to remind students to return pencils before they leave

    Always looking to collect pencils for my students to borrow

  14. I keep a team supply of 4 pencils in each teams basket
    That stays on their table. But I do have another
    Basket of sharpened pencils for those who
    Need a new one. There is never too many pencils–
    They seem to disappear quickly!

  15. I teach preschool so I have a pencil box full of pencils that are sharpened to work on journals, writing practice, etc. I love the free pencils you can find at community events and I am a HUGE FAN of back to school sales. When else can you get crayons for 25 cents a box and markers for 50 cents to 97 cents?

  16. Sharpening 2 pencils was part of my 2nd Graders morning procedures. There were 2 decorated cups by my electric pencil sharpener. One said, “Sharpened”, and one said, “Needs to be Sharpened”. It was the student’s responsibility to take care of this before the morning bell rang. Once the bell rang, students were only allowed to exchange their broken pencil for a sharpened one. It worked for me 😀

  17. No matter how many pencils you have and think it is enough for a school year….you are wrong! Never enough in the land of Kindergarten. Kinders love sharp pencils!

  18. I Attach a pencil cup (silver mesh type) with heavy duty Velcro to each desk top. They are only allowed to keep the basic essentials in each cup; in my class that includes 2 pencils, a 6″ ruler, whiteboard marker, felt for an eraser and a highlighter. The kids love the cup because they can always find what they need. I purchased these cups 4 years ago for $1.00 each and only had to replace 2. I only allow pencils to be sharpened at break time, before or after school. I have an electric sharpener that is rather loud, that is why I limit the time.

  19. Free pencils would be perfect for this soon to be substitute teacher! Super excited for this new school year. My strategy, in my Kindergarten classroom, was a “Pencil Pal”. I picked the student whose behavior showed a need for attention to pass out the pencils before the assignment and they would pick up the pencils before break, lunch, and at the end of the day! Worked miracles for my misbehaved students and they loved having a job to do in the classroom! The only ” lost” pencils were those that had accidentally fallen off the desk onto the floor.

  20. I keep all the pencils and they are sharp and ready to go. My secret vice is buying a variety of pencils all the time. I band them together and surprise the kids with which ones I pick for our worktime for them to use

  21. I keep a container with extra pencils that have already been sharpened. It also seems that every year I have a few very generous students with lots of extra pencils, and they are more than willing to share with others.

  22. I have a pencil sharpener near my rocking chair. Once the children discover this awesome tool, I never have to worry about dull pencils! This is true for regular pencils and colored pencils! (I also have a few cute sharpeners in the writing center. They’re the ones you actually have to use your muscles to sharpen the pencils!)

  23. Besides having the sharp/not sharp buckets, I also put little containers to serve as small trash cans on each pair of desks. They can sharpen their own pencil with the little sharpeners they have and put the pencil shavings in the desk trash container. No more pencil shaving put in the desk drawers. I do have established times for pencil sharpening so we are not sharpening pencils when we should be listening or working.

  24. We designated a time once a week to sharpen all pencils! We also have standbys on hand for those that break points. Seems to work!

  25. The rule for sharpening pencils in my class is right at the beginning of the day. They can sharpen up to three pencils. Also, I keep a box of sharpened pencils that they can use throughout the day. We would love to have more pencils as there is no such things as too many pencils in a fifth grade class. By the way, the chocolates would come in handy as prizes or for a little sweet treat for me during my break. 😉 Thank you!

  26. i swear my 4th graders eat them (pencils). No one ever seems to have more than one little stub. I have had to recruit friends and family to help me keep a supply at school. A bucket of any size would be great.

  27. We keep a container of sharpened ones behind the TA’s desk and when the kids get up to put their tokens in their bank, they can ask for a new pencil too.

  28. Be sure each student has 2 freshly sharpened pencils in their desk pencil boxes at the start of each new day. Also, don’t forget to give each child a pink eraser at the beginning of the year to keep at their desk. 🙂 Definitely helps keep children on task helps avoid the disruption of pencil sharpening during an assignment. Thanks for the chance to win! You can never have enough pencils! I sometimes think there’s a pencil monster that comes out after the dismissal bell rings each day to eat all the pencils he/she can before morning 🙂

  29. I do the same thing, with 2 canisters for sharp and dull pencils. This solved the problem of kids wanting to sharpen a broken pencil during class work time.

  30. I started something two years ago that I love!! I tried the sharp and dull buckets but they didnt work for me. At the beginning of the year I give everyone a pencil with their number on it. At the end of the day the ‘pencil patrol’ person will sharpen and get them ready for the next day. The students use this pencil all week. If they produce that pencil at the end of the week they get a class dojo point and piece of candy. If they lose it during the week they can use from the ‘old used pencil’ bucket. I will replace their pencil but not until Monday. Works like a charm. Anyways works for me.

  31. I teach in a middle school. I buy a box of the little “golf pencils” and I always have those available. Since they are so “uncool” nobody wants to steal them and there always seem to be enough in the jar for people who need one in a pinch!

  32. I use the Justin Beiber pencil defense. Each of my sharpened pencils has beiber duck tape wrapped near the eraser. I tell my kids that they’re welcome to borrow my pencils but if they don’t return it they will be “that kid” walking around with a Justin Beiber pencil.

  33. I set up supply cups on each table and place enough pencils for 2 per student this way if a point breaks, there is an immediate replacement. At the end of the day, the table captain gets to sharpen all the pencils for the next day. I also invest in eraser caps and put them onto of pencils who’s erasers have been used up. It gives the pencil and 2nd or 3rd life..

  34. I hate to sound redundant, but I have two jars – one with sharpened, one for broken. One of my students morning tasks is to have 2 sharp pencils. If the pencils don’t last the day, they can take a new one, if they replace it with a broken one. If they can’t find any pencil, I tell them to look around on the floor (were there is usually a wealth of pencils!).

  35. I have a jar for sharpened pencils and a jar for unsharpened pencils. Students can put their dull pencils in and take a sharpened pencil out. One of our classroom jobs is to sharpen the dull or broken pencils at the end of the day.

  36. When I taught 3rd grade I would have them leave a shoe at my desk until they returned the borrowed pencil. They could get back their shoe during lunch, recess, and special classes but they had to return their pencil.

  37. I LOVE pencils! I have several cups of sharpened pencils in different spots in the room. All pencils are classroom pencils. So far, so good!

  38. i have a jar full of sharpened pencils. If a student needs one, they get one from the jar. Each student has a red Kindergarteners are number 1! Pencil and a yellow pencil. If they lose the red one, it might make the jar or they have to wait until I pass out a new one.

  39. I always have a bucket of sharpened pencils ready to go every morning. For repeat offenders in the 7th grade who just choose not to bring supplies and just take my supplies, I have them take off a shoe and then when I get my pencil back, they get their shoe back. Works like a charm:)

  40. I’m going to be a first year teacher but have already anticipated from subbing the pencil problem. I have a jar for dull and sharp pencils that the kids can switch out when needed.

  41. Well, as an eighth grade teacher you would think that I’d reminisce about pencil problems. Wrong! My angels bring their grumpiness attitudes, their raging hormones, and a plethora of reasons why they have no sharpened pencil however they have enough snacks to service families at Open House. Lol. So I keep sharpened pencils on my table and they must trade in a slightly used unsharpened pencil. No eraser acceptable. Most students want their special pencil back so the return my pencils. Of course the eraser ain’t what it used to be. Everybody wins.

  42. Who doesn’t love pencils?. I love & use the 2 bucket system of sharpened pencils and need to be sharpened pencils. You have leave a pencil to get a pencil.

  43. My solution is, “Get lots of pencils, from giveaways and such!” I am a real pencilaholic! I can’t have pencils with no eraser, or pencils that are short. I replace my pencils quite a lot, and I always look for the coolest pencils for the first of the school year. For example, the Mailbox pencils look pretty cool. And the candy, don’t forget the candy! 🙂

  44. i am a retired kindergarten teacher. I always had two baskets for pencils: Sharp, Not Sharp. Students exchanged pencils as needed. Also I sometimes had a parent volunteer sharpen the pencils. That saved me some time!

  45. I haven’t figured out a great strategy for pencils. Some of my colleagues have pencil holders in the center of their tables and give rewards if the table has all of their pencils at the end of the week!

  46. My 1st grade students have pencil pouches. They are given 8 sharpen pencils at the end of each week. If they have all 8 pencils in their pouch, when pouches are checked, they receive a small prize, stickers, erasers, etc. My students know they always have a pencil to use.

  47. Oh, the never ending pencil dilemma!! I only allow each student to keep 3-4 sharpened pencils in their box at their desk. I store the extra. Students are allowed to sharpen those pencils in the morning. I don’t give any extra pencils out until I see those 3-4 are getting small in size. This works well for me, but I occasionally still find them scattered. I haven’t found a 100% foolproof system just yet, but I will keep trying!!!!

  48. Pencils are always a good thing to have. You give a couple to your students to always have and have a pencil holder full and ready if anyone is in need.

  49. My family attends NASCAR races every year and we collect pencils for my classroom by visiting sponsors’ tents. My dad has even asked the O’reilly sponsors for a donation and they gave me a box of their pencils. I thought that was pretty special and it helped me out greatly!! Thanks to my family and O’reilly!!!

  50. I rarely have pencil problems. I don’t sharpen pencils during class as at. Here’s my routine: I have a broken pencil cup and a sharp pencil cup. Students put one finger in the air if they need to trade a dull or broken pencil or if they are missing a pencil. If students have earned a birthday pencil and want it sharpened they can ask at recess. Students keep their pencil in a group caddy. I also won’t line up a table if there are pencils on the floor under that table. It’s worked for first grade. I sharpen pencils before or after school and I keep about ten extras (or more) in the sharp cup.

  51. Let’s see….the pencils in the classroom…we have a pencil tin container and a ziploc bag with pencils…usually the teacher aide would be in charge of keeping up with the pencils which sometimes gets busy and is forgotten, but we all work together to sharpen pencils so that the kids would not be at the pencil sharpener sharpening pencils until they do not have one and keep going ! 🙂

  52. I have a dull and sharp cup and a pencil manager who is responsible for sharpening. I make sure that there is enough sharp pencils at each table.

  53. I furnish pencils so that each child has the same pencil. Otherwise someone is always trying to grab another’s minion, my little pony, etc. pencil. I keep a supply of pencils freshly sharpened and replace as needed with those. Then my side or I sharpen any that need it before school, after school, or another time that the kids aren’t in the room.

  54. As a special ed teacher, most of my students don’t come to my room with a pencil so I have a basket with sharpened pencils. When one breaks they just have to go and get a new one. When I get low on sharpened pencils I will have one of my paraprofessionals sharpen them when they have a few spare minutes. This cuts down on having to sharpen pencils as soon as one breaks and all students that need to borrow a pencil know where to find them and put them back when they are done. This has been working well so far this year.

  55. I have a rule, all students,are required to have two sharpened pencils every morning and if those break I keep a “community” jar they can borrow from. The pencil sharpener drives me crazy throughout the day!

  56. i never had students bring pencils. Only my pencils were in the room. I had a bin for sharpened and a bin for pencils that needed sharpened. It prevented all of the he has my pencil issues. The needs sharpened pencil bin also was a great strategy for a child who needed a break or to get out of group to cool off. A simple hey john can you handle the pencils for me have the student an out without feeling like he/she was in trouble.

  57. When I had all of my reading groups, I used to put their name on a piece of masking tape and put the tape around the pencil. I always knew whose pencil I had and they couldn’t take other people’s pencils. Each class had its own small container for supplies to help keep us organized. It also helped keep some of the germs under control.

  58. I have tubs on tables or clusters of desks. I put a handful of sharpened pencil
    s in it for everyone to use. First thing in the morning, the first person to sit at that table or cluster is responsible for sharpening any that need it. If their table happens to run out during the day they borrow from another tub. No sharpening until the next morning.

  59. I have a pencil box for each table group. On top of the box I have used a labeler to place a sticket with the number of pencils in that box. Each pencil has also been labeled with a number. So if the box has 10 pencils, the pencils in the box are numbered 1-10. At the end of the day I have a student who has the job of sharpening them and making sure all of the pencils have been returned.

  60. Art teacher here! Students file in and grab a pencil from a plastic box. If it breaks, they put it in a cup marked “Sharpen” and retrieve another one from the plastic box. I start the year with about 60 pencils – all alike. I usually have to repurchase another 60 after about 6 weeks. Yes, I have to buy my own pencils for my art classes. Apparently, pencils used in elementary art classes are not included in the district’s budget.

  61. I sharpen up to 3 pencils per child in the morning. I also have a container of pencils on my desk. If they manage to lose, break, whatever all 3 pencils they have to use one of mine.

  62. I have sharpened/needs sharpening pails. It all depends on the group of students, though. This year so far and last year’s group were really good about keeping up with pencils. My group two years ago ate the pencils, I think. Lol! I went through that year’s supply, all my leftovers, bought pencils, and even had my mother donating pencils to my class.

  63. I have a needs sharpened cup and sharpened cup. Students place broken pencils in needs sharpened cup and get a new sharpened pencil whenever needed.

  64. I write the names of my students on each pencil, hoping that when they go missing, we can reunite pencil and owner. Doesn’t always happen, but there’s always “fancy” ones on hand to borrow!

  65. The past two years our school ordered pencils with a thicker lead and no eraser on top. Each student has a pencil box with their scissors eraser, crayons, glue stick, and of course their pencil. Each morning 2 helpers sharpen everyone’s pencils before we start. Now no one loses their pencil and no more broken points! The fancy pencils are the worse kind

  66. I always give a pencil if a kid needs one. No need to penalize kids for something so trivial. That being said, I beg for extra pencils from anywhere that has free ones.

  67. I have tried both community and individual pencils. I buy a ton to add and have on hand. I love round pencils. They sharpen much better! I love reading all of the great ideas!

  68. I have an official pencil sharpener that keeps us supplied with sharpened. We have two containers- one with sharpened pencils and the other with pencils that need to be sharpened. Students “trade” a pencil when they need one. Out sharpener keeps the supply ready by sharpening the needed pencils a few times during the day. We also began a competition to see who could keep their pencil useable for the longest time. Since this is new, we have not had too many winners, but they are getting better about being responsible for their pencils.

  69. I have a pencil sharpener job! So every morning the person for the week has to sharpen everyone’s pencil. He/she will call by tables, then the kids will have 2 pencils allowed so if one breaks.

  70. I use a community jar and if they need a pencil they just take one out of the sharpened container. I also stock up on pencils at the back to school sales.

  71. Students trade a dull for a sharpened pencil. Always ask for parent to donate pencils at the beginning of the year, (New or used!!) or purchase them myself at the back to school sales or clearances.

  72. Pencils or the disappearance of them is a never ending problem.. I have done pencil challenges and numbered pencils or put students names on them. I now make students “buy” their pencils. They are given 2 pencils for the week but if during the week they need pencils because they have been looted they have to pay rent to get 2 new pencils. At the end of the week if the kids have their pencils I pay them in classroom money. This seems to be working well. Hopefully it will end the pencil problem

  73. I do a lot of things to keep the pencil problem at bay. First, every kid gets a fresh pencil at their desks. I then “front load” the sharpened pencil cup with lots of pencils (especially the pre-sharpened kind that some parents thankfully send in). Then the kids put their broken or dull ones in another cup and get a fresh one. I have one of the quietest pencil sharpeners, so I don’t let my kids use it. I sharpen when I have a moment.

    I love pencils and chocolate!

  74. This is a continual problem, especially the “when to sharpen” issue! This year, I purchased 6 dozen tiny manual sharpeners from Oriental Trading for about $6. I’m issuing one to each child, and they can quietly sharpen at their seat anytime. I plan to allow them to get up to empty them only at transitional times.

    I’m still working on what to do about the fact that they seem to eat pencils! I’m considering putting their numbers on their pencils and running a contest to see who can make it through the week with two pencils; a colleague suggested this!

  75. Our biggest problem lately has been the cheap pencils that just won’t sharpen with the sharpeners we have! After several years and ruined sharpeners…we finally had to request certain name brands of pencils!

  76. Monday my kids get a pencil bag with 10 sharpened pencils and a pink eraser. That’s all they get for the week. Friday I take up the pencil bags, check to see if they have all pencils and eraser, and replenish any who need it. If they have all pencils and eraser, they get a small treat, like sticker or candy. I saw this idea on It’s called “Winning the Pencil Wars” and it’s genius! I never have pencil problems now!

    • I do what many other teachers do, I see. I have a container of sharpened pencils and a different container for “duds”. At the beginning of each week the students get two fresh pencils to keep in their toolbox. That way they can make a quick switch without leaving their seat. There usually isn’t too children that need to visit the pencil containers until the end of the week. I try to sharpen the duds before then.

  77. Pencils are needed but keeping them sharpened is really a challenge! I have had a student’s job be to sharpen all pencils each morning! But that works only if all pencils are community property!

  78. I teach Pre-K and each of my centers has a container of sharpened pencils. They use what they need and put any broken ones in a basket on my desk which I sharpen each night.

  79. I try to sharpen pencils before we start our day and make sure each student has more than 2 pencils, I also make sure I have a container with pencils as well we usually make it through half the day.

  80. I have a bin of extra pencils that are already sharpened. I put little flags made of duct tape around them just below the eraser. That way it’s obvious they belong to me and are more likely to get returned.

  81. I find pencils on the floors and in the hall, so I put them in a box for them to borrow.
    Another strategy is that I ask for a shoe, they can borrow a pencil. They put the shoes in the parking lot and sign a pencil out.

  82. I have 2 decorative cups on my desk. One is labeled sharpened pencils and the other unsharpened. I require every student to get 3 sharpened pencils for the day. All unbroken pencils go in unsharpened cup- and I sharpen after school.
    It didn’t work to let them use there own sharpeners- shavings got everywhere- and it took up class time. This strategy is very effective.

  83. I also use the two different pencil holders. One marked sharpened and one for unsharpened. I sharpen them on certain days of the week. It has worked great for my classes for the past few years.

  84. I have a container of sharpened pencils. If a student doesn’t have a pencil or their pencil is dull or broke, they borrow one from the container and return it at the end of the day. It prevents interruptions and wasted time.

  85. I can ALWAYS use more pencils!! I have 2 containers: one for dull pencils and one for sharpened pencils. Students are only allowed to have two pencils at a time. I sharpen the pencils before and after school with an electric pencil sharpener.

  86. I always buy pencils at Office Depot when they are on sale. The class shares pencils and I always have a few extra so we don’t waste class time to sharpen pencils. In my sub tub, I provide sharpened pencils to help them out.

  87. I leave a jar of pencils with a small color tape flag at the top. Any student needing one uses it for the day and returns it sharpened to the jar at the end of the day.

  88. In my kindergarten classroom, I keep a jar of “exactly the same” pencils sharpened and ready to go! Whenever we need to use pencils, the teacher’s assistant for the day will pass them out and then collects them. This avoid drama of fighting over pencils and loosing them. 🙂

  89. I have containers with pencils, pens, and a manual pencil sharpener on each table in my classroom, so students have pencils wherever they go in the room. Also, last year I decided to let my students sharpen pencils whenever they wanted as long as it wasn’t during a whole class lesson or independent reading time.

  90. I don’t know if I’m repeating someone or not (so many good ideas I didn’t even read them all!) but I used “Duck” brand duct tape and cut a piece about 2 inches long and 1/2 the width of the tape. I have 5 table groups and each table has 20 pencils. I bought different colors of tape for each group (and color-coordinate these with other things), thereby solving the “Whose pencil is this?” dilemma. I have a “Materials Manager” (a card; business card sized, printed on colored paper that matches the group’s color and laminated with the heavy-duty laminating) that rotates (velcro on desk and on the bottom of the “Materials Manager” card) daily. Each Materials Manager is responsible for sharpening all the pencils in the “Dull Pencils” cup at their table group. I set a designated time (each group is 5 minutes apart so I only hear the confounded pencil sharpener for one chunk of my day) and move them to the “Sharp Pencils” cup in their table tub. It’s a lot of initial set up but saves me TONS of aggravation and stress and time all year long!

  91. Middle School….usually much bigger issues are involved with kids who do not have pencils than keeping track of things.. I buy in bulk, have the custodian bring me all strays, collect from anyone willing to donate, so I always have a supply on hand. Surprising how many ‘chronic offenders’, by year’s end, are willing to donate a package or two to the class supply.

  92. I haven’t tried it…yet…but I recently heard a fantastic suggestion for older students. Purchase bulk quantities of “I LOVE JUSTIN BEIBER” pencils and use those for extras. Might motivate students to keep their dearly beloved plain pencils a little closer? 🙂

  93. I love sharp pencils. I put out one can full of sharp pencils every day. I have a basket for pencils that need sharpened. Sharpening pencils is fun for my kids. I give those that need a break five pencils to sharpen for me. I want to get a straw dispenser for my sharpened pencils some day so they can’t be tipped over.

  94. I have pencils in buckets around my Preschool room & they always need to be sharpened. We use pencils for journal writing, drawing, etc. Luckily, I have high school volunteers who love to help around the classroom & will sharpen pencils for me. I feel that monsters come in during the night & use my sharpened pencils.

  95. I number the pencils to match each table number, which helps keep track of them. Each table gets 2cpencils per student. If the team table doesn’t lose, break, or destroy their pencils when I check at the end of the week, the teams get 5 minutes extra recess.

  96. 1. Have sharpened pencils in a bucket and as soon as the students walk in they grab one y the door and go to their seats.
    2. If a pencil breaks they stay seated in their desk and raise two fingers (which represents they need a pencil) and I bring them one. If their pencil just breaks I bring them one and take the other one.
    3. At the end of the day I have two students go around the room and collect my pencils and put them in the unsharpened bucket. If I don’t do this then students will keep multiple pencils in their desks.
    4. After all the students have left I sharpen all of the pencils and put erasers on them if needed.

  97. I have a basket of pencils that I keep handy and sharpened for when a student needs one sharpened in the middle of something. I also try to write names of students on the pencils so we know who the stray ones belong to.

  98. My students bring 2 boxes of sharpened pencils and a pencil sharpener at the beginning of the year. One box for them and one box for the class. I keep a container of sharpened pencils on my desk and when a student needs one it costs two tickets. Each month I give every student a new pencil from the supplies. If a pencil is needed and they don’t have tickets or they need to sharpen and can’t find their sharpener I make a big deal of asking the class if anyone has one they can borrow. I make a scene right in the middle of the lesson loudly saying “Oh no! What are you gong to do?” They learn pretty quickly to take care of pencil issues quietly on their own without asking the teacher.

  99. I have a basket in my supply shelf that students can grab if they need one. I decided that having a pencil was a fight I was not going to do.

  100. One of the most important things I want my students to understand is that no matter what, I’ve got their backs. Our classroom is a safe place wrought with blunders and discoveries. We have a large red container full of pencils both colored and regular. Students are responsible to keep it supplied, and retrieve pencils that have mysteriously found other homes. This ownership= pride in being a part of helping each other out, just by keeping an eye on the pencils:)

  101. Always be kind to the janitors. Mine ended up being my pencil fairy. I always have my kids pick up after themselves but not all teachers were so kind so the janitor would collect them and put them in my pencil Jar 🙂

  102. I have 2 containers for our pencils. One for sharp pencils & one for dull pencils. Students place their dull pencils in the dull container and get a sharp pencil from the sharp container. I also keep sharp pencils at each table group too. This month we are having a contest to see who can keep up with their pencil the longest…it should be interesting.

  103. I don’t have time to sharpen pencils so the kids are responsible for their own. Each student has a drawer in a plastic organizer for their supplies and they usually have a couple of minutes at the beginning and end of each day to sharpen their own pencils. We also have a supply of extra pencils they can use as needed.

  104. I use a magnetic board and magnetic clips to hold extra pencils for my middle schoolers. When they don’t have a pencil for class, they write their name on a piece of paper, take the pencil, and replace the pencil with the paper with their name on it. If the pencil is not there at the end of class, you know who to look for!

  105. Hello!
    We have had containers marked sharpened… Unsharpened, but nothing works best like the Great Pencil Challenge! We have had pencils stay sharpened for days! Wouldn’t do it any other way!

  106. I use the skinny duct tape at the top of pencils. That way each group or group of students have pencils that when found can be identified. We Also have a contest to see who can get the most bang for their buck by using their lead down to the very end. As a class we gave a menu of choice items they get for the longest pencil by the end of the week. The group that has all their pencils etc. the rewards are popcorn for snack. A cold water from the teachers frig. It might be using my chair the entire class or teaching the lesson or teaching a lesson they want yo share. This has been very successful and lends itself to conservation and character trait learning moments. This has been very successful because it’s student driven with student choice and ownership. They love to compare and its lends itself to many interesting conversations

  107. Diane, I started a new gifted program in a new school. I only had a few left over pencils from last year and no sharpener in my room. I finally got an old school sharpener, the turn the handle grinder kind. I’d love some more pencils. My storeroom order isn’t in yet.

  108. I have the students write their number on the pencil with a sharpie. Dropped pencils find their way home. :). I need more pencils 😉

  109. i have a classroom economy system set up that my students “earn” money for jobs and good behavior. At the end of the year they can use their money to buy things in a classroom auction. If they lose a pencil they have to pay for a new one. Needless to say, they don’t lose them very often.

  110. I like so many others have the sharpened and dill basket. I have tried allowing students to sharpen their own pencils during non instructional times but it distracts others so this year I am trying the sharpened and dull baskets. We have been in school a week and I am liking it so much better.

  111. There is a bin for every group with pencils in for them. There is also one for scissors and markers. Teaching first graders easy access is key! Our parents were great this year bringing in all the supplies. We have a box in the back of the room making it very easy to grab whatever the student needs. It takes seconds to grab a pencil or dry erase marker which keeps the class moving.

  112. our “supply manager” makes sure all the pencils are sharpened at the end of the day, and put back into group buckets. The group who has all their pencils in their caddy at the end of the day gets “bark bucks” which is a PBIS incentive. At the end of the week the group whose returned pencils all week gets to dip into our prize bucket! It’s a small competition for the students and they love it! (I also put down colorful duct tape around the ends of the pencils ive supplied so if they end up on the floor they come back to “mrs. L’s pencil box”!)

  113. I ask for all the same kinds of pencils on my supply list at the beginning of the year. Then I give each student a few and put the rest in the community bin. I have a wall sharpener that is pretty quiet so they can sharpen a pencil anytime as long as I’m not teaching.

  114. I am going to try giving my students a numbered pencil. If they turn it in at the end of the week, they will get a small treat or prize. I also have a sharpened and needs sharing containers. We will see how it works.

  115. I would love to win these pencils and sweets for my class! I sharpen pencils every other day like clockwork, knowing that those are the days the after-school clean-up crew will empty my sharpener. Yes, it’s my job, because past year’s students have broken 3 high quality sharpeners and this teacher (and her budget) is not rich!

  116. I have a love hate relationship with pencils! I have my students make sure they have 2 sharpened pencils in the morning, and then I have a bucket full of sharpened ones for those who need extras throughout the day! It cuts down on sharpening during teaching time! 🙂

  117. We bought a box of golf pencils, the small ones that are pre-sharpened and have no erasers. The box is on the supplies table. If someone loses their pencil they are allowed to take and keep one of the class set.

  118. I had a discussion with a parent about pencils and why teachers request certain name brand pencils. You get what you pay for…I have a “sharp” and “dull” container for kids to switch out pencils and I sharpen the dull ones at the end of the day. No interruptions during class.

  119. I teach high school English Language Arts and have over 130 students a day, so I know what you’re talking about when you say ‘pencil predicament.’ First, I do like to have pencils available to students, so I enter contests to win pencils, and I request them through Second, I have tried methods that didn’t turn out to be ideal for me, such as having students give a shoe (stinky) or having them ask a neighbor (annoying their responsible classmates). Now I wrap washi tape just below the eraser so that the student remembers it belongs in the classroom. Even with that method, I was losing a lot of pencils, so my next step is to also have students write their names on the board when they borrow a pencil and erase their names when they return it. I’ve also thought about putting the pencils on a velcro strip on the wall and numbering a place for each pencil.

    • I always keep a basket of sharpened pencils in my writing center for my prek class. And as far as chocolate is concerned ,everyone needs a little boost now and then.

  120. I number my pencils so the kids can find theirs if it falls on the floor or is in lost and found. My first graders only have about 2-3 in their supply box at a time. I give out new pencils every 2 weeks. If they can find their numbered pencil and trade for a new pencil they may get a treat (like a piece of candy or a pencil top eraser).

  121. Being in kindergarten requires a container of sharpened pencils for students to pull from everyday. As we progress through the year each student is allowed to have no more than two classroom pencils in their pencil box. I have found that some students hoard pencils! This helps our class always have enough sharpened pencils for everyone!

  122. My colleague buys half-sized golf pencils. If a kid truly needs one, he will borrow one, but the students seem to prefer normal pencils enough that they make more of an effort to bring their own.

  123. I use washi tape and put around the tops of my pencils for each group (different colors). I make sure they are sharpened every morning (2 for each). I also have a ton of non taped pencils in a cup at the back of room. They all have their places and the kids are super helpful making sure they’re where there supposed to be. I love pencils! Just not mechanical! Happy 3 day weekend everyone!

  124. Pencils issues are one of my biggest stresses! I am constantly trying new things but no magical option yet. Just stockpile them I guess!

  125. I am always looking for quality pencils. So many seem to be made cheaply with leads that are weak or broken before my students even begin to write. I have developed blisters sharpening pencils while using the wall mounted sharpeners and electric ones are noisy and distracting. The hand held sharpeners fall from my young students hands and clang loudly with shaving scattering across the floor (few buy the screw on lid types of sharpeners. My best bet is to have a supply of quality pencils and to share them with my students. Thanks for offering this Friday giveaway! Chocolate never hurts either : )

  126. I have a cup next to the sharpener. Each student is responsible for sharpening 3 pencils each morning. If all 3 are lost, missing, broken during the day, they put them in the cup and take out what they need. I sharpen the ones in the cup at the end of each day.

  127. I teach 5th grade ELA and we do a lot of writing! Pencils have always been a “problem” in the past! Whether it be not having one, needing to be sharpened constantly during lessons, it was always something! No matter what idea I had, my pencils were disappearing! This year I bought Pencil Caddies. It is a small, gel pencil holder that you can stick to your desks. I decided to stick them underneath the side of each desk. This way the students cannot see it, but they know that it’s there. I refer to it as the “emergency pencil.” They are responsible for it at all times and it can never leave that desk, unless you are sharpening it. Each student who comes in must make sure it is still there and sharpened for the next student. So far so good and they love the idea of it being an “emergency pencil!”

  128. As a math teacher I always keep a supply of pencils ready for my students. I usually end up purchasing most of them out of my own pocket for my students. It is just one “battle” that I don’t have to face daily. You know you have to pick & choose your battles but my students’ education is not one of them!!!!

  129. For younger grades I like having a large container of pencils sharpened and ready to borrow. BUT in my second grade everyone has a pencil pouch that holds 6 to 8 pencils. If they can’t sfford the pouch I provide one or use a Baggie. On Fridays they drop the pouch in a basket and my morning helper sharpens them and returns them. They make sure they have 6 sharpened pencils. I started this from a post on Pinterest bc of the flu season. My kids were dropping like flies with step and the flu. I think pencils in a community container helped spread germs. I also hate to hear a pencil sharpener. Cheaply made pencils will not sharpen, the point falls out immediately. This works well for me!

  130. I have been lucky through the years – every class is different. This year I always buy extra pencils (we use mechanical ones) and I will always loan one out – they just have to return it at the end of the class period. When I have had those that cannot keep a pencil to save their life – I have them bring me a pack of new pencils and keep it for them. I’ve been very lucky as well as there is always another student willing to help out.

  131. I ask each parent to send in a pack or two of pencils at the beginning of the year. I put the students name on the pack. They are stored in a cabinet where the students are able to easily gain access. When they are in need of a pencil they are able to grab one. When they run low I ask the family to send in more. This has taught them responsibility and they hold onto them longer now than they have in past years.

  132. I’m a writing specialist so I see 1,050 students. Needless to say, we go through some pencils. The best strategy that has worked for me is having a sharpened cup full of pencils and then an unsharpened cup. The students know they have to put in the dull one to get a sharp one. I also get a volunteer from each class to help sharpen the dull pencils at the end.

  133. I teach a special day class and the pencil struggle is real. I could use this gift to keep pencils readily available to help my students realize their potential despite their challenges.

  134. Being a sub in many buildings, I love when teachers have the pencils set up as sharpened/need sharpened. That way the students can get up on their own and get a new one! Super easy and very time saving!

  135. Masking tape a “name flag” to each pencil. There will be no doubt then whose pencil is on the floor and who is missing a pencil!

  136. Pencils are always a challenge in first grade! I make sure that I always have a supply of sharpened pencils ready to go. The pencils that I offer as extras are usually all the same color so that the kids know that they came from my supply. If I run out of pencils that are all the same color, I put patterned duck tape on them. Then, I teach my students that if their pencil is lost, they may borrow one of mine but it must be returned at the end of the day. My students must also ask to sharpen their pencil but they may not do it during direct instruction time. If their point breaks, they borrow one of mine until the appropriate time comes to sharpen. I would LOVE to have the extra supply of pencils for my room! And chocolate, too!

  137. I allow students to give a pencil to get a pencil which seems to work well. If they don’t have a pencil I take their student id for a pencil and return the id when they return the pencil.

  138. I teach first grade. When a pencil breaks, students raise it in the air and I just nod them to the sharpened pencil spot. I use a straw dispenser with sharpened pencils. Students put their broken pencil in a bucket and roll out a new sharpened pencil with ease.

  139. I have the students keep their own pencils, they are responsible for those. I also send letters to as many universities as I can requesting college gear and information for my students, in return many of them send pencils. These pencils are used as rewards. If the student needs a pencil, I try to find an excuse to reward him or her.

  140. PENCIL PERSONIFICATION: Students do a quick write about being abandoned by accident and by choice. Making connections with pencils that are lost or left behind. At the end of the day, I’m amazed how many pencils are found on the floor.I encourage students to become the Change they want to see in the world by doing something positive. I allow students to adopt their pencils and to pledge to care for it for a week. I write the pencils nickname with a sharpie and tag it with a small piece of fancy electrical tape from a dollar store. If they can show me the same pencil after a week, they get a paper “terrific ticket”. 10 tickets equals 1 homework pass. They love it. I want to win your pencils and promise to give them a good home.

  141. I am an art teacher and with 5 classes a day of at least 30 – 40 students I sure better have pencils on hand!!! I have a three drawer cabinet by my desk. One drawer has pencils, the next, sharpeners and the last erasers. They are allowed to borrow the sharpeners but need to return them before class. Students are allowed 2 pencils per week.

  142. Last year in kindergarten I had a terrible time with pencils. I swear the little ones were eating them. This year I asked the parents for pencil pouches. I put an eraser, crayons, a pair of scissors and five sharpened pencils. I told the students if they still had five pencils in their pouches at the end of the week they would get a sticker. So far, three weeks into the school year it is working.

  143. I have After-school Daycare in my room each afternoon. I have an after-school kid sharpen pencils every day. That way, we always have sharpened pencils. My students put dull pencils in the “Dull” bucket for the after-school helpers.

  144. First few minutes of class are for sharpening pencils. I have a sharpened bucket on desk if yours breaks or you need one. Students must place name on the board to borrow a pencil. No one sharpens pencils after class begins.

  145. Pencil not working….???Just walk up and get a new one….in a smiley face bucket by the check out desk!! Love new pencils for the whole school coming into the library for reports!

  146. I have the two baskets as mentioned by many in their comments. One labeled “sharp” and one labeled “dull.” I have a student helper that puts the baskets on my desk at the end of the day. I sharpen them since my electric pencil sharpener is like gold!!!

    I give each of my students a number and put that number on their pencils. That works well because they can’t argue over who the pencil belongs to.

  147. A can with three times as many pencils as students and an electric pencil sharpener
    is a staple in my classroom.
    I sharpen the pencils every Friday. ☺

  148. I have a Pencil Person, who is the sole pencil sharpener all year long. This person sharpens all of the dull pencils each morning and also picks up the pencils at the end of the day to be resharpened. I have a designated substitute incase our Pencil Person is absent. We also have a contest to see who can keep their pencil the longest. This seems to promote healthy pencil holding(not pressing too hard when writing) and being responsible(not losing their pencil!). I’m a thrifty teacher and would LOVE to share these pencils with my students. I’m not sure the chocolates would get shared! Ha!

  149. We have two containers: one for sharpened pencils and the second for pencils that need sharpened. I have collected pencils since I was a girl, so I have pencil art pieces that display promotional pencils. Would love to have one of yours to add to my collection.

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