1. Better late than never. I love this! I want to get one of those dollar store reward charts and put a sticker uo for each week that they have it. They could then add up to rewards…such as fancy pencils or pens.

  2. Wow! What a clever and nearly effortless (on the teacher's part) idea! I'm in love. <3 I can even see this being effective for Kinders. As always, THANK YOU for your amazing printables. 🙂

  3. Brilliant! I will begin this on Monday! I usually duct tape the pencils or give out a specific color, yet…they STILL can't find the all black ones! I've threatened "you shall write in your BLOOD!" hahah
    Let's see how this works, thanks!

  4. I am unable to print the sign because it won't let me download it. it says that the site has been moved.. Any ideas or help!? It's a great idea!

    1. Hi Kristen, thanks for letting me know, I will try to fix it. I will be back tomorrow (hopefully!) with another related sign and will try to get it working then. Thanks for reading!!

  5. Love this, however, I'm getting zinged out of downloading the sign which is soooo cute. Any ideas?


  6. I love this idea! I remember having this high drama in ALL the grades I taught-from my little first graders all the way up to my 8th graders…lol…

    With my little ones, I had "pencil managment" as a class job. Perhaps, some "cool pencils" like smencils or those sparkly ones are in order for your honor roll…

    The Classroom Creative

  7. You are brilliant!! I didn't realize that so many of us spend this much instuctional time dealing with the pencil problem!! I love your Challenge sign and think the Pencil Honors sign would be nice. (Hint.)We'll be starting this tomorrow as well!

  8. I love this idea!!! I'm going to start it tomorrow!!! 🙂
    Pencils are driving me crazy right now. I tried doing the dull and sharp, but they don't' even attempt to keep their pencils, they just rush to get one from the sharp bin. I can't wait to try this out! THanks!! 🙂

    Smiles from 2nd Grade

  9. I agree with everyone else, this is a TERRIFIC idea! I have several kids who purposely break pencils, but I can never seem to catch them. I also have one that will cut the erasers off of the pencils. If he has to use the same pencil everyday, I wonder if he will continue to cut the erasers off????
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  10. This is a huge pet peeve of mine that for Valentines day I special ordered pencils with their names on them since I had a set and they always knew which pencils were mine. I gave them to them and I think it lasted a week or maybe 2 that I didn't hear it…they all had 4 each. This is a great idea tho!!

  11. I love this sign and I would love a Pencil of Honor sign. In my class this year I have given my students a labeled ziploc with 2 pencils. If by Friday they have two pencils to return to me then they get a prize. I your signs because it would save me some $ for the treasure box.

    Also, I have to ask – all your black backgrounds in your classroom, is it paper or contact paper? If it is contact paper, does the adhesive mess things up?

    – Sydney

    1. Hi Sydney, thanks! I'm working on the Pencil Honors sign right now 🙂

      The black backgrounds are fabric. Those are old chalkboards. I used liquid starch to put the fabric up. I love them!

  12. Love the poster! and the name! So dramatic, my secondgraders would love it! I used to do something similar like a museum for old and wised pencils that lasted enough to learn.

  13. How is it that you can make PENCILS look SOOOO beautiful! I love the poster! I started a couple of weeks ago a classroom economy and that has curbed my pencil problems and extra bathroom break problems! YAHOOOOOO! Your idea is brillant!! 🙂 I might use that next year! 🙂


  14. I have been using this method nfor a few years. I give the children 3 in the beginning of the year, along with an eraser and glue stick. I put their numbers on everything. They can sharpen only in the morning or end of day. They need to trade in their "Dead" items for a new one. It does help….there are still a few who can't manage their stuff no matter what!

  15. My problem this year is not so much the disappearing as the horrible quality of the pencils. I open a new pack and by the time they are all sharpened for the first time half of them are short already!!

    I love this idea and I'm going to save it for a pencil challenged class – this year isn't bad. I have sharpened and broken pencil cups centrally located in my kinder classroom and the kids are responsible for keeping 2 (and only 2) sharpened pencils at their desks. In order to take a new sharpened pencil they must return a broken or dull one first. I throw a few "fancy" pencils in every couple of days to motivate them to turn in their broken pencil for a new one. I don't monitor after the first few weeks of school, so I'm sure not all the pencil get returned, but enough that it's not a big deal. I also have "rubish" helpers at the end of the day that are in charge of making sure that useful items are not left on the floor to be swept away by the custodian – they usually return a handful of pencils to the broken cup.

  16. Hi Kristen-Dear!

    I just bought 200 pencils (at WalMart!) an hour ago! Needless to say, this could not have come at a more perfect time.
    Just printed the sign (SO CUTE!) so I am ready for tomorrow morning.
    Thanks for sharing your talent–and your brilliance!

    : )
    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  17. I started doing this a month ago. I added tape flags with their numbers. I was soooo sick of losing pencils. I even bought the expensive kind. No more tape flags…I'll just write their number on them. I like the idea of one pencil on Mondays…but what if they break? Do you let them sharpen them in the middle of class??? I hate that!

    Tonyas Treats for Teachers

    1. Hey Tonya, thanks! I like the tape flag idea, so smart! If they break, I just give them a new one. The sharpening I don't mind too much this year (my group is very easy-going) 🙂

  18. oh goodness! I am starting this TOMORROW! My kids cannot keep a pencil to SAVE THEIR LIVES. I will probably have to offer some type of prize incentive, but we will see how this goes!


  19. I just have my students bring their own pencils. When we find one on the floor it goes in our lost and found spot and every now and then I draw their attention to the ever-increasing pile and most are claimed.

  20. I love this! I reached my breaking point with pencils this past week. (& needed to buy more over the weekend.) The great pencil challenge will be taking place in my classroom this week – thanks for sharing!

  21. I love this!!!!!!!! 🙂 I have no strategy whatsoever and I'm pretty sure first graders eat ther pencils! 🙂

  22. Great idea! I wish the kids loved school supplies as much as I do. Then maybe they would care about knowing where they are! 🙂 At back to school time, I have the students put all their excess pencils in a ziploc bag with their name on it. Each morning they can dip into their supply bag if they need to. Out of sight, out of mind. 90% of my kids have pencils until the end of the year. I like the idea of numbering them. That way if strays are found you can return them to their owner.


    1. I love the idea of putting each child's pencils in their own ziploc. I think I would put their ziplocs in a cabinet though!

  23. This is like the funniest thing ever, Kristen. Funny because I am in this great challenge with my kids, too. But, I haven't really made it anything official like this…until now 🙂 This is the smartest thing EVER! Enjoy your spring break 🙂

    Fun in Room 4B

  24. I hand out on pencil per student every Monday. There are no extras. If you have to write in colored pencil or crayon, you have to copy the work over during Friday catch-up time. That means you don't have as long for free choice activities. With a particularly pencil eating class, I will number the pencils, but usually it isn't necessary after a few weeks. I do offer pencils in my class store (cute ones), but they are expensive and the kids don't usually want to "waste" their hard earned money that way. Some times there is the parent who will sent 100 extra pencils just for their kid so their kid can lose as many pencils as he/she wants, but it doesn't happen very often.

  25. YES! This year I bought 2 gross of discounted pencils and I'm about out… definitely doing this! 🙂

    Miss B.
    Real Teachers Learn

  26. Perfect timing! I just told my class on Friday that I wasn't Wal-Mart and would no longer be supplying them with pencils.

    Now I feel guilty and will try your positive approach Monday. Thanks for the great idea!


  27. Thanks for sharing this idea and awesome sign! We are not doing too bad this year but I have had some years that I had to announce in April (and we are in school to June) that I was officially out of pencils!! I too have added pretty tape to the top of my pencils – not to keep track of them but so students wouldn't get them stuck in the sharpener by pushing them in way to far.

    Have a great Spring Break, wow it seems late, ours was in March.

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  28. I've already gone through over 100 pencils this year! I finally switched my kids to lead pencils and that (so far) seems to be working.

  29. My question is where do the pencils go? My students have lost so many pencils this year. I hate hearing that dreaded phrase, "I can't find my pencil." I just don't get it. I think they do eat them. That's the only thing I can think of. I love your idea. I may have to try it. Thanks for sharing.


  30. Ugh. Pencils. Between the sharpening and the losing of them…if we didn't have to have them I'd say, forget them!! But, we do. Ugh. I reeeeeally like this idea. I asked my kids at the beginning of the year if they were eating them because every time I put out new pencils they were gone and no one had one!?! What!?! What are you doing? Eating them?? No, that would be nasty. But we still don't have one. Nice.

    It's gotten a little better lately, but not great. I will have to borrow this idea. I think it's a great motivator!! You are so clever!

    (And one day I'm going to get you to teach me how to take those neat pictures!!)

    Enjoy you break!
    Collaboration Cuties

  31. Oh my gosh! I am totally with you on that one. My favorite is when they wait until thirty minutes into class to tell you that they don't have a pencil, and only because I asked them why they weren't writing anything. All the time they were sitting there helpless, having no idea how to solve this problem. And yes, I have fifth graders, too!

    I tried a similar thing, but instead of numbering pencils, I used green duct tape at the ends. Everyday I would do a pencil check (just holding up the pencil so I could see the tape), and I would cross off those on my weekly list who didn't have one. At the end of the week, those who didn't get crossed off got a PBIS buck for our school store. Amazingly, almost everyone avoided any pencil mishaps, ie. laziness. On Mondays, I issued new tape and swapped pencils if they were too short etc. I blogged about it {here}. I'm totally using your sign next time, though 😉 Everything's cuter with a sign!

    Fifth in the Middle

  32. My friend, what a brilliant idea!!!! So clever:) I SO needed this last year:) I swear my kiddos last year, ate their pencils….like daily…..like seriously! This year it's not the pencils that are killing me, although I wish it was…it would be a lot less money….it's the dry erase markers!!!!! Good grief…..how much I have spent on those:) I will be filing this lovely idea into my Summer Bucket list and have it ready to roll next year…..next year???! That's scary as heck!!! It's almost over already:/ Enjoy your break:) Relax!!! You deserve it:)

    4th Grade Frolics

    1. Hey Tara- For your dry erase markers you can put their name and class number on each marker to help them be responsible for the marker. You just write it on paper and then glue it to the marker. Then you know who keeps messing them up or pushing down really hard. It might be to late in the year to start that but I think it would definitly help. Then you could do the great dry erase marker challenge instead of the pencil challenge. Good luck 🙂

  33. LOVE this! We're doing group supplies this year, but I have been wanting to incorporate a bit more personal responsibility around everyday supplies (um, I think my kids must eat pencils & erasers, they disappear so quickly!). This looks like so much fun- thanks for sharing!!!

    3rd Grade Thoughts

  34. OMG! I SO need to do this! "I don't have a pencil" {insert whine} is the bane of my existence! My response is, "How are you going to solve your problem?" … but it's getting old. Great Pencil Challenge, here we come!


    1. That's usually my response too! I'm so excited to have something different to help keep things together at the end of the year.

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