I Don’t Want To Be A Pencil

Slice of Life Day 27

I am trying to encourage my little group of ten Class 1 students, how to open up their imaginations and write more freely. I want to see if they can pretend to be something else. Yes, it’s a little tricky because they are not writing in their own language, they have no books at home to stimulate them and the curriculum does not call for use of imagination, just learning by heart.

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about being an insect and they chose to be a ladybug. They don’t really care for insects, but they do think being a ladybug is okay as they are pretty and harmless. Ladybugs over here are light orange with black spots. We do have a lot of other rather nasty spiteful bugs that emerge around about now and can really bite you hard.

So today, I ask for suggestions for something small that we could describe or write about. Hands shoot up eagerly.

“A ladybug!”

“A caterpillar.”

“A ladybug!”

“A spider.”

“A ladybug!”

“No, today we are going to write about something DIFFERENT. We have already written about insects and you chose to be a ladybug. Let’s think of an object, something that is not alive?”

Some puzzled frowns.


“What about a pencil? Yes, I think today we are going to pretend to be a pencil.”

These seven year olds have no concept of how to think of themselves as a pencil.

I write some prompts on the board.

“I am a pencil.”

“What does a pencil look like? How can you describe a pencil?”

We decide that a pencil can either be new and long and sharp, or old and short and blunt. At least this gives them a modicum of choice. They need to be one or the other.

Then we work out how to describe what a pencil does and that if we make a mistake, then it needs to be rubbed out.

I thought everyone would love to be a pencil, because a pencil is all about WRITING! And we are trying to encourage everyone to use his or her imagination and that’s all about writing…

Turns out pretty much everyone would rather be a book because you can read a book….

(No, no, you are not reading the book, you ARE the book, would you still rather be a book than a pencil? If you’re a pencil, you can actually write the book and decide what to put in it.)

Seven out of ten kids write: “I do not want to be a pencil. I would rather be a book…”








10 thoughts on “I Don’t Want To Be A Pencil

  1. Love the way you get the children thinking and steer them away from what they have already done. This is a great way to get students to think about objects that we may just take for granted.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really loved your use of photos in your slice today. I could enjoy the words/dialogue you used to describe your lesson and the children’s responses, but the photos, especially the last one of the writing, was perfection.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know it must have been frustrating to experience this, but I was just so delighted by your story! I could just imagine the looks on their little faces as they tried to puzzle out what it would be like to be a pencil. And then their relief when they decided instead to be a book! I like their thinking! Your pictures made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, it is frustrating at times, but overall we have a lot of fun and I know eventually some of them will start to ‘get it’ even if it’s not this year! And at least they wanted to be a book and not something that has no connection to writing!


  4. I love everything about this. Making “I Am” statements about an object, especially a pencil or pen, sounds like a fun writing thing for us to do during SOL#2018. Thanks for the inspiration! (I wonder where you teach? I guess I’ll have to get back to Day 1 and read to find out.)

    Liked by 1 person

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