“Do you have a pencil I can borrow?”
Any math teacher can tell you this is a familiar request as middle school students (boys especially) often turn up in class without a pencil. What to do, what to do. I’ve tried setting out a can of sharpened pencils only to find it’s empty by the end of the day. Golf pencils are less likely to walk out of the room, but they are painfully short for those with man-sized hands. One colleague has her students remove a tennis shoe and leave it up front when they borrow a pencil , but I teach 8th graders, and honestly, I really do not care to have the lovely aroma of middle school feet floating around the room. SO, when one of my twitter buds (@Fouss? @druinok?) linked to this post, a #made4math solution was born.
I love the artsy ideas on this blog, so I thought I’d attempt these pencils covered with scrapbooking paper with feathery type plumes at the top. Although the project left me feeling like I was molting at times, I think it was a success! Hopefully this little collection of pencils will look cute on my desk while serving as borrowable items that will be identifiable enough to discourage students from walking out with them!
Although I had some cheap pencils and a ridiculous amount of scrapbooking paper (wow – I feel pretty guilty for having so much scrapbook paper gathering dust!), I did not have any modge podge, so I made a quick trip to JoAnne’s to gather supplies.
To make these pencils you need:
- pencils (Ticonderogas are my very, VERY favorite, but since I was covering up the erasers with feathers, it made sense to use inexpensive ones)
- glue stick(s)
- scrapbooking paper (you can also use magazines or wrapping paper)
- modge-podge (I used Collage-Pauge brand)
- optional – sponge for applying modge podge (I ended up using my fingers)
- floral tape
Sharpen pencils, and then cut paper the length of the pencil. I cut mine so you could still see the eraser, and then down to where the pencil starts to narrow to the point. The paper should be about an inch and a half wide.
Use a glue stick and apply glue to the paper, then wrap the paper tightly around the pencil. Apply modge-podge liberally around the pencil, especially on edge of paper. Boy. That sounds deceptively easy, but it took me about an hour!
After pencils have fully dried, attach feathers to the top of the pencils using floral tape. This also sounds pretty easy, but the floral tape is sticky, and that stickiness gets on your fingers quickly. I looked like a multi-colored version of Big Bird by the time I was done! It was well worth it though – the pencils look great, and hopefully kids will return them at the end of the class period.