Last year I got so frustrated that my students broke every pencil sharpener I bought for my classroom. In fact they broke 5 including the one I borrowed from my principal (oops!). I tried everything to keep those sharpeners working while still making sure my students took the responsibility of having pencils and being prepared for the day. I was just about to give up and let my students use those annoying (not to mention, messy) hand held sharpeners this year.
Then I saw a posting on one of the blogs I read about this beauty.....
A fellow blogger posted that Classroom Friendly Supplies was giving away these sharpeners to teacher bloggers who were willing to try them out in their classroom and do a review on their blog. Well, I could not sign up fast enough and almost immediately I was contacted by a rep who asked me what color I wanted. I picked green because, well green is my favorite color. Less than a week later, it arrived at my school just in time for me to start my new pencil program in my classroom (see below). I can be a little mechanically challenged so it took me a few minutes to figure out how to put it together and attach it to my table in the classroom. Then I grabbed a fresh pack of No. 2 pencils and I found Nirvana!!
This sharpener sharpens pencils perfect every time. The cup that holds the shavings is big enough to hold the shavings of at least a dozen pencils before needing to be emptied. And the best part is the little gripper thingy (I am sure there is an official name for it)...you just push the two levers together and pull out the mechanism (doesn't that sound move official) that holds the pencil, then crank the handle and start sharpening. The entire sharpener can be mounted to a table or counter in your classroom with a vise like-grip that can be inserted into the bottom of the sharpener. It makes sharpening pencils a DREAM!! I really don't know how I have survived this long without this sharpener. Thanks Classroom Friendly Supplies....I love my sharpener and I know this one will survive my students this year!!!
And as I mentioned, it will really help out with all the pencils I have to sharpen each week now as part of my new pencil program. If you are like me, the last thing you want to endure while teaching is one of your little friend's hands shooting up and announcing that they need to use the pencil sharpener. If you let said friend get up to sharpen his/her pencil then we know that this invites every other student in the class to then want to sharpen their pencil. And this leads to mass chaos, and anarchy!! Not to mention the number of times that students come to class WITHOUT a PENCIL! Who does that???
So the one time I was on Pinterest (okay, that is a lie, I am on there every week...okay...every day....hour) I saw a pin for a perfect solution to my pencil problem. "Winning the Pencil War" is what it was called and it is free HERE on TeacherPayTeachers. Here are the basics--you give each students eight pencils at the start of every week. I bought plastic pencil boxes at Walmart for 50 cents each and placed 8 sharpened pencils and a pink bar eraser in each one, then put the students name on it. They use them all week and turn the boxes into me on Friday. I check them and if they have all 8 pencils, I leave them a small prize --a sticker, a novelty eraser, etc. We can't give out candy but are a PBIS school and use a paper money system called SOARbucks (we are the Eagles) at our school in conjunction with our school store and I gave them a SOAR buck the first week. I then sharpen the pencils that need sharpening and return the boxes to them Monday morning. If they are missing one or more pencils, or if their bar eraser is not in there, they do not get the prize Next month, once we have been practicing this for several weeks, I will begin keeping track of who has all their pencils each week for the month and give those students a larger prize and perhaps do a drawing for something bigger. So far so good. The first week I had 6 of my 17 who were missing pencils and last week only 3. The overarching benefit is that students know it is their responsibility to keep up with their pencils and not break them (I suspect some of my little friends were intentionally breaking a pencils lead so they could get up and sharpen their pencil because it meant a) they could escape my lesson for a few minutes b) could get out of their seat and c) they could pass by their friend's desk for a little connection. This program stops those three from happening as frequently, as they are not allowed to use my sharpener. I plan to have a student become my Pencil Helper later in the year also, as I will eventually grow tired of doing all that sharpening!!