Blog Posts,  Teacher Tips

Are Your Pencils Disappearing?

Disappearing Pencils

One Amazingly Simple Solution to Keep Your Pencils from Disappearing


At 7:55a.m., I had 100 freshly sharpened pencils in our “Sharp” bucket to start the day.

By 8:05a.m., I had a student asking me for a pencil.

“W.H.A.T?!” *chokes on a donut* (No judgement, I was pregnant at the time).

I can remember my brain screaming, “How in the world?!…Where did all the pencils go?!” If you’re a teacher, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This might be a common problem in your class right now.

I soon discovered the ANSWER to the mystery of the disappearing pencils.

I saw a student open his pencil box which revealed about a dozen pencils…Out of curiosity, I asked the rest of the class to open their pencil cases as well. Students had anywhere from 5 to 15 pencils in their boxes!

Mystery solved! CASE CLOSED! Literally, the cases were closed over all the pencils.

Right then, I knew I needed a new pencil system. That’s when I discovered Pen Pal holders! A Pen Pal is a rubber pencil holder that can stick to a desk. Here’s a link to see it yourself!

Phase 1 of My New Pencil System:
  1. Each student gets 1 (or 2!) Pen Pal holders attached to their desk, where they must keep their pencil(s) at all times when they are not being used.

Yay! Now students have a specific place for their pencils that isn’t cluttered underneath crayons, markers, or glue in their pencil boxes.

Phase 2 of My New Pencil System:

2. Add “Pencil Police” to your list of classroom jobs.

Here’s What the PENCIL POLICE Does:

  • The Pencil Police checks each student’s desk at a time of the day where students are not at their desk (Read-to-Self time works great!). The Pencil Police can do a “security walk through” once a day, several times a day, or every other day. It’s up to you!
  • If the student’s pencil is in their pen pal holder, the Pencil Police will put a piece of candy (or whatever incentive you choose) in that student’s desk.
  • Teacher Tip: Make the Pencil Police come to life with their own police hat and fanny pack (which can hold whatever incentive you decide to use, such as: candy, mini erasers, gum, school bucks, etc).
And just like THAT! No more disappearing pencils!!!
My students made sure their pencils were always in their Pen Pal spot when they weren’t using them. Not only were we going through less pencils as a class, I was sharpening fewer pencils too! If your pencils keep disappearing, give this “out of the box” pencil policy a try! #punintended


  • Christine

    I love this! Great tips! I too had a major problem with missing pencils. I used to ask my students if they ate them. I found that many students were pencils hoarders and I had to swipe pencils out of their desks everyday after school, sort of like the “pencil police.” I also had a cup labeled, “pencil pickup” and at the end of the day my students had to pick up any pencils under or around their desk and put them into the “pencil pickup.” I also collected ALL pencils at the beginning of the year and distribute them as needed. Crazy, I know…but I bet you understand. 🙂 LOL

    • Hannah Holbrook, Mrs. Holbrook's Nook

      Yes, Christine! Oh my goodness, the things we do to try and preserve our pencils!! So funny! Mine were little pencil hoarders as well. Basically, you know you’re a teacher when you think this much about pencils. 😉