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How to Conquer Pencils in the Classroom!

Disappearing pencils, No-Name papers, Germs, and more! Can these scary classroom things be conquered? Yes, with a little help from Pinterest tips!

Do you love Pinterest? What about Pinterest fails? I know there is a whole section of Pinterest boards just for things people have seen and tried and made a mess of! It’s actually quite funny!

Anyway, this post is about Pinterest things that I have tried and they worked! And, in some cases they worked very, very well!

Fabulous classroom Ideas from Pinterest that Really Work!

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I call this The Great Pencil Dilemma!

First up, do you have that disappearing pencil problem in your classroom? Ha! I think we all do! You know- at the beginning of the day you have tons of pencils and five minutes later there are NONE!

Pinterest Finds: Here's a great tip for what to do about keeping pencils sharp and ready to use! You just need two little buckets, some fresh pencils, and a great pencil sharpener!

So, one year I collected all the pencils students brought (on the first day of school) and I kept a Ready can and a Sharpen can. Each morning part of our arrival routine was to make sure we have two good pencils. During the day these can be replaced, but only when you return one. This has totally eliminated pencil drama, including listening to kids sharpen pencils endlessly. I also purchased one of those cute little pencil sharpeners you have seen on Pinterest and it really does work extremely well! Here’s one:

To help even more with the pencil dilemma I taught ONE student how to use this sharpener and he does all my pencils in the afternoons and they are ready for the next day!

No-Name on Your Paper Syndrome

Next, seriously, how many times have we all said, “Put your name on your paper!” And no matter what- there’s always one or two or five no-name papers.

Pinterest Tip for No Name Papers: This works amazingly well! Start this at the beginning of the school year and eliminate those no-name papers!

So, what is the trick to get kids to put their names on their papers? In front of my desk is my”Hand-In” basket and inside the basket is a little can full of highlighters and pencils. The message on the can says to highlight your name before turning in your paper. We learned this procedure in the first few days of school and after a few days, I found that most kids used their desk highlighters to do this before walking across the room. We also learned to highlight by just drawing a box around the name since pencil does smear a little.

How to Get Kids to Use Hand Sanitizer!

Here’s is the BEST Pinterest find ever. To this day I still use that hand sanitizer bottle and I still get comments and questions about it!

Pinterest Tip: Stuff some Lego pieces inside hand sanitizer and your kids will use it more often! They really do because they want to see the Lego move around!

The hand sanitizer has been a really big hit! Not a day goes by that I don’t have a student comment about it and ask how I got the toys in the bottle.  My goal was to get the boys to keep their hands clean. One little girl pointed out that it has pink LEGO in it, too! And they all use it! I just periodically refill the big bottle!

What do YOU Need?

So, I know the beginning of the year is the perfect time to try this next Pinterest idea, but I think it will work at any time of year, too!

Pinterest Tip: How do you build community in your classroom? This anchor chart is a great way to get kids to think about how they treat other other and what they need from each other!

We started a morning meeting one day with an anchor chart. We talked about the ways small things distract us and whether we have a duty to help one another. I asked the question on the anchor chart and kids went away to write a response on a post-it note. The next day we read all the notes. How eye-opening was this! Kids quickly saw that tapping, humming, constantly kicking the floor, and whispering were all distracting to someone. Very few of them said that nothing bothered them. In the end, we decided we did have a duty to keep from bothering our neighbors. Now, if we could just turn off the intercom!

Pencil Tub Inspiration

Pencil tub messages! I originally saw this and made the labels for every tub. Later it occurred to me to try a variation. More about that in a minute.

Pinterest Tip: Make a very visual display of Think Before You Speak hints and place it right on your kids' tables.

Each table has its own tub that holds all the students’ glue, highlighters, crayons, pencils, and post it notes. I placed the little signs at the ends of each bin as a visual reminder to be kind.
Every table was the same!

But what if every table is different. That would be an interesting way to bring about even more messages to each group and, of course, all the students.

Here are the tubs I use for my tables:

These tubs are a perfect size and come in LOTS of colors!


One last idea I found on Pinterest was a way to stretch a sentence to make writing more meaningful. I know you have seen this one!

We called it “Str-e-e-e-e-t-t-t-c-c-c-h-h-h Your Sentences”
Pinterest Tip: Here's a fabulous way to teach kids to make a better sentence. Practice this often!

We completed this one on the anchor chart and then as a morning work exercise. For days after that each student completed a similar sentence in their Writer’s Notebooks. We LOVED reading these aloud to see how students stretched the simple words into something spectacular.

So, there you have some fabulous Pinterest Tips that I have tried and I know they work. I would love to do a post about Pinterest fails one of these days- just for laughs! What about you?

Pinterest ideas that really work in the classroom! Take a look at these ideas and tips for elementary classrooms. You just might find a trick or two that will work for you!


  1. Chevron and Crayons says

    My pencil procedure is pretty similar to what you use! All of my students have their number and when the take a pencil their number comes off the board until that pencil is returned. So at the end of the day I can see who still has my pencils! I also have a student that I have designated the pencil sharpener!I love the Legos in the hand sanitizer! My girls especially love to pass out hand sanitizer!
    Chevron and Crayons

  2. Carol Davis says

    Great idea for your pencils! I have also seen a suggestion with hand sanitizer to have one bottle designated for girls and one for boys. When the students goes to the restroom the bottle is placed on their desk and when they return they use it and then put it back for the next person. But, I would still put Lego in it! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher says

    Love these ideas! I also use the highlighters for names on papers. It's a miracle cure! I will have to try some of the others.
    Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

  4. Carol Davis says

    The highlighters worked well for me! I had very few papers ever turned in with no names. Third graders love highlighters and any excuse for using them works! Thanks for visiting!

  5. ithappenedin3rd says

    I do something similar with my pencils and it has saved my life. I still have over half of the pencils I received at the beginning of the year…while last year I was convinced they were eating my pencils, because they were all gone before winter break!

  6. Furkhundababy1 says

    Thank you so much for sharing this great blog.Very inspiring and helpful too.Hope you continue to share more of your ideas.I will definitely love to read. best-mechanical-pencils