Every since school started back I’ve been hearing about these “amazing” pencil sharpeners. A couple of teachers in my school purchased one and my initial reaction was “What’s so great about it? I’ve already got a great pencil sharpener.” I didn’t really try the sharpeners out and didn’t think much else about it. I own this electric pencil sharpener. I purchased it about 5 years ago at Staples and it wasn’t cheap. However, I was very impressed when I bought it. See, I am one of those mean teachers that do not let students sharpen their own pencils. I hate the noise, the mess, the kids out of their seat and in line all the time sharpening. I actually had my classroom pencil sharpener taken off the wall so the only sharpener I had was the electric one. I have a pencil cup system. One cup is for sharpened pencils and the other is for broken ones. Students trade in their broken one for a sharpened one and I never
have to had to deal with it. My class last year understood this system well and I didn’t have many issues.
Enter this year’s class.
I had to put the pencil cups on my desk and not allow the students to trade pencils in/out. Why? Kids were spending too much time trading in their decently sharpened but worn down pencil for a new sharper one. They would stand by the shelf and just go through each pencil one at a time to find the “perfect” one when the pencil they had was still in good condition! I started making the students bring me their pencil when they needed a new one. This got annoying really quick. Every time we start some work and I turn on the document camera to get the students ready to follow along with me I have a line of kids telling me their pencil is broken!
I swear, the kids this year EAT pencils and ERASERS. I mean, we all have those few kids that chew off the eraser or break it off and chew the pencil and break it on purpose. 98% of my class this year does this! I have been going crazy because of pencils. I can give everyone a brand new pencil with an eraser for the top and by lunch…. half of the class is missing their pencil or it’s broken already (and we have lunch at 10:30!!)! Is there a pencil fairy that comes and takes pencils to mess with teachers’ minds?
I originally thought the broken pencil issue was due to students breaking them on purpose. Then I got to thinking about it. I thought maybe it was my pencils. I had a lot of Wal-Mart brand pencils that students brought in and out of a box of 24 usually about 7 or 8 would not sharpen. I would stick them in my pencil sharpener and pull it out to find the lead already broke off or it only sharpened the pencil on one side. Annoying. The kids were going through pencils so fast that when I got those several that wouldn’t sharpen it made it even harder on me.
Browsing the internet one night I came across the “amazing” pencil sharpener again. I decided that maybe it was time I explore the possibility that the pencils weren’t the problem but that maybe it was the sharpener itself. I decided to try out one of these magical pencil sharpeners. I contacted Troy at Classroom Friendly Supplies and he agreed to send me one to review. I was so excited! So excited that I told the students I hoped we were going to have our pencil woes come to an end.
Here is the beauty that came in the mail:
This pencil sharpener is really easy to use! As soon as I got it in the mail, I grabbed a box of pencils and tried it out. It is so simple! I had already watched the video on Troy’s website about how to use the sharpener so I set to work. In no time I had sharpened 12 pencils. My husband came home from work and found me happily sharpening pencils. Yes, it truly was enjoyable to sharpen the pencils! Who know?!
I decided to integrate the pencil sharpener into my writing lesson. We have been reading a lot of “How-To” books and writing our own How-To pieces. When I took the pencil sharpener to school the next day, I showed the students exactly how the pencil sharpener works. I also showed them the YouTube video. We then wrote a “How To Sharpen a Pencil” as a class. I had the students model how to use it and explain to me how to use it. These are the steps we came up with:
How to Sharpen a Pencil
By: Mrs. Magee’s Class
Supplies Needed: a pencil, the amazing quietest pencil sharpener, your hand!
1. Get a pencil.
2. Pull out the silver part until it clicks into place.
3. Squeeze the black lever.
4. Insert the pencil into both holes.
5. Turn the handle to sharpen the pencil until it slows down and the silver part stops moving.
6. Squeeze the black lever again.
7. Remove the perfectly sharpened pencil.
8. Have an amazing writing experience!
Look at these beauties!!!
I challenged the students. I told them we were doing an experiment to see how long our pencils would last without breaking. I gave them a brand new sharpened pencil on Monday of this week. Tomorrow is Friday and I have not had ANY student tell me their pencil is broken. NO ONE has asked me for another pencil. It is a MIRACLE! Such a miracle that I return the pencil cups to the shelf and got the off my desk. Seriously, this is a big deal. Before this amazing pencil sharpener kids were bombarding me all the time with pencil problems.
If you do not have this pencil sharpener YOU. HAVE. TO. GET. ONE. It really is awesome! It comes in four great colors and includes a clamp so you can attach it to a table or counter. Go to Classroom Friendly Supplies and pick one up for yourself. You won’t be sorry!!
Now if I could just solve the issue of the kids “eating” the pencils….
Guess what! Troy is allowing me to give away one of these fabulous pencil sharpeners to one lucky reader out there! Are you having pencil woes of your own? Enter to win your own amazing pencil sharpener! Entries will be accepted until midnight, February 15th. The winner will be announced on Saturday, February 16th. Good luck!