Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Favorite Classroom Supplies: Pencil Sharpener

As a math teacher, I am a big fan of kids using pencils for most of their work.  As a math student in college, I got exposed to many different ideas about the best pencils out there.  I like really sharp pencils and for a while was all about mechanical pencils.  However, I work primarily with elementary students.  Mechanical pencils do not work well with kids under 12.  The push to hard to they just play with the pencil constantly.  As such, I have good back to my roots and the original old pencil as my primary writing utensil.  I still like my pencils to be VERY sharp.

Also as I have spent a great deal of time co-teaching and being in other teachers' classrooms, I have discovered how much time gets wasted by kids looking for pencils, sharpening pencils and trying to fix the pencil sharpener.  Because of this, I always have a huge mug full of sharp pencils ready to go for my students.  Since I spend my own time sharpening pencils, I have been on a quest to find the perfect pencil sharpener.  I have tried hand crank ones and electric ones and have found that nothing seems to last long.

I was very happy when I saw a few posts on Facebook about a small company making great pencil sharpeners for classrooms.  I love that it is a small company run by a teacher as a side business.  It is called Classroom Friendly Supplies.  Here are some pictures of my students using the pencil sharpener and some thing we have discovered about it.

You don't have to hold the pencil!  This eliminates students' pushing to hard and keeps the pencil held exactly where it needs to be!  It comes with a clamp to attach it to a table or shelf but works great without it as well.
Before and after shot.  The pencil on the left was sharpened using the electric pencil sharpener I bought at the beginning of this school year.  The one on the right is from the Classroom Friendly Supply sharpener. 

A shot at the inside of the sharpener.  I have a group of sixth graders who think a great STEM task would be to take this sharpener and a few others apart and see why this one works so much better.  It is a great idea and think of all they would learn!  However, it isn't happening to my new pencil sharpener!  

Here is the collection drawer after sharpening 5 new pencils.  Not much gets wasted!  My students can sharpen a new pencil in 7 seconds.  It takes me about 10.
What are your favorite classroom supplies?  Please respond in the comments below!

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