I have 4 classes of 4th grade children passing through my math classroom each school day. I can't begin to explain how many students come into my room each day without paper or pencil. That may not sound like a big deal to some folks, but, when there are 4-5 children in each class without pencils, it gets expensive.
I have tried various ways to keep track of the pencils I lend out each class period. Over the years, I have devised some extreme methods to keep those #2's in my classroom. Back in the good old days, (when I taught middle school), a student who needed to borrow a pencil would simply take a shoe off and put it in the corner, in shoe jail, until class was over. When the student returned the pencil, he got his shoe back. Believe it or not, it worked fairly well. A typical middle schooler does not want the kind of attention that comes with walking down the hallway with one shoe on. :) In this day and time, I would probably be sued for doing that!
I have had habitual pencil borrowers use crayons when they came to class unprepared. That really is a hardship, not just on a student, but, for me, the person who has to check, grade, and look for errors on a paper with thick, heavy orange or purple crayon.
Last year, I wrote down the names of students borrowing pencils on a clipboard. It worked o.k. but, I spent too much time writing down names, and checking at the end of class for people who had borrowed the pencils. I don't like to waste time like that either. Plus, it made me feel a bit silly.
So, when I came across several different pictures on Pinterest with large, colorful duct tape flags on the pencils, I decided to try this. Yes, students can still walk out of the room with the pencils. However, I don't think most children really want to steal my pencils. I believe the majority of students just forget about having borrowed a pencil. Hopefully, the flag will jog their memories as they leave my room, or they will bring it back later when they realize they walked out with one. (Hey, one can dream!)
Below is picture of my first duct taped pencils. I am very interested in seeing how well this works! The students come back to school next Tuesday. I will write an update and let everyone know how it is going. I hope it is good news.