I polished up my back to school forms and information packets last week. One of the things I got ready is an instruction page for the open house my school is having the day before school starts. I wanted students to look around the room and have the items in their desk ready for the first day. (A post sharing these forms is coming later in the week.)
One of the things I decided to have them do is to sharpen their own pencils so they are all ready for the first day. I could have spent quite a bit of time sharpening all the pencils, but 5th graders are fully capable of such a thing, especially now that I have the AMAZING pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies. It really is the best sharpener I have ever used! It's so easy that I'm sure my fifth graders can use it without breaking it. My two year old can do it for heavens sake! If students have a chance to use it the day before school, the novelty of it will have worn off a bit and they'll each know how to use it appropriately using it with their parents so I don't have to take class time teaching that procedure. Read to the end of the post for a free instruction page.
So, here is the sharpener all set up on the counter in my classroom. The sink is just to the left there.
It grips nicely to the edge there and has quite a range of adjustability to fit just about any counter thickness.
Just pull the front plate out then grasp the two knobs at the top and squeeze together. It's so easy I did it one-handed so I could take a picture!
Then turn the handle until you no longer feel any resistance.
Then you have the sharpest pencil ever with no waste or pencil eating like an electric sharpener might do.
As you probably saw in the first pictures, I do have an electric sharpener provided by the school. They break easily, the kids like to stick their pencils in and see how small they can get them and for some reason they also like to stick crayons, erasers and pencils in backwards! So pencil sharpening had become a teacher only job in my classroom. Thus, the reason for the two baskets you also saw.
Here's a comparison of the un-sharpened pencil, electric sharpened pencil and the manual sharpened pencil:
I'm planning to get another sharpener soon so I have two in my room. I'm thinking that my procedures for pencil sharpening will be that students can sharpen their own pencils anytime during work time. If they're in the middle of something, they can put them in the dull basket and a class job will be "pencil sharpener" and sharpen when they are available and place in the sharp basket to be picked up. Each student is starting with 3 pencils, so they should have an extra or two on hand in an emergency. I also labeled each pencil with the students' class numbers to they can keep track of them and be responsible for their pencils. They can also grab them from the sharpened box and keep their own. I just used a brand new sharpie marker so it had a nice tip on it to write the numbers small on the pencils.
Get with some of your colleagues and order a set of sharpeners together for the best price. Be sure to head over to Classroom Friendly Supplies to see all the color selections. You can also buy replacement parts if you need them and not have to purchase a completely new sharpener, especially if the blade gets dull or gummed up with a crayon.
Now that you've made it through my ramblings about this great classroom tool, you can grab the instruction sheet I am posting on the wall next to the sharpener for FREE! Just click here to grab it.
What classroom procedures do you have in place for pencils?