Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A sharpening dilemma...

Sharp pencils are important in an art room, right? I'd say so. The problem I've run into is how to consistently keep the pencils sharp. This is the sixth year I've been at Thomas, and I have lost track of how many different electric pencil sharpeners I've had. They all work great for a while, then, without exception, FAIL MISERABLY. I only allow my students to sharpen regular pencils (no colored pencils) and I even have hand-held sharpeners at each table. Nothing has helped. 

Two years ago, I thought I had finally found the best sharpener out there. It was very nice X-ACTO sharpener with auto shut-off, a little blue light that came on when the pencil was sharp, and an 8 year warranty. I thought I'd buy two so they got half the use and would last twice as long. Both failed before the end of the year. True to the warranty, X-ACTO has sent me replacements (3 now), but each of these has eventually died as well. One I'm currently using still sharpens well, but makes a sound like a dying animal.
The culprit.
Have any of you ever had much success with electric (or even good hand held) sharpeners? I would love to have something that actually works for multiple years. Is there even such a sharpener out there? The best sharpeners I've ever used are little metal hand-held sharpeners, but I really don't want to deal with the mess from the shavings. Maybe I just need to hire this guy-->

 

9 comments:

Hope Hunter Knight said...

I think this is the burden we art teachers shall bear forever. I used to keep two electric ones for kids to use but the noise drove me crazy. Midway through the year last year when my last, very expensive sharpener died, I gave up and bought handheld to get through the year. What I discovered is that the lack of sharpening noise was just delightful. This year, I bought one new electric one for me only. I will use it when necessary, a few times a week, but what I am focusing on now is using the handhelds correctly and reminding the kids to only sharpen when absolutely necessary. Otherwise they'd just sit there, sharpening until the pencil was gone. It bugs me, but we are making headway and most of the kids are getting used to it. I bought "chubby" style sharpeners from dick Blick. Good luck!

Katie Schaefer said...

The X-Acto Trimline Sharpener!
http://www.dickblick.com/products/x-acto-trimline-electric-pencil-sharpener/

Teachers come to my room just to use my sharpener because it's sooo amazing. It last so long and is a beast! Expensive but worth the money. I have been using them for years.

Mr. E said...

THAT WAS THE BEST VIDEO EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh..my student teacher & I LOVE IT! :) That guy is crazy. He's made 12,000 in sharpened pencils. Wonder how much he pays in his supplies and for shipping though?!? hmmm Maybe he just does it for the love of it.

I use the metal hand held. I have small rubbermaid containers on each of my tables with lids on them. It works for me. Never have had much of an issue with stealing or messes.

artwithmsk.com said...

The little metal handheld ones are the best. Each teble gets one and they can put the shavings in a cup and dump it out. I thought this idea from One Happy Art Teacher was really brilliant: http://onehappyartteacher.blogspot.com/2013/09/sometimes-its-little-things.html

Nancy Miller said...

I suffered with this problem for 20 years. I purchased every brand and type of pencil sharpener and they all failed -- usually in less than one school year. About 4 years ago I found this manual pencil sharpener. http://www.classroomfriendlysupplies.com/ It's all I use and I recommend it to everyone.

Zach Stoller said...

You guys have such good ideas. Thanks for sharing! I think I'm going to go to the metal hand-held kind with little containers for shavings on each table. I've been doing that with little canister hand-held sharpeners for a year or so, but those sharpeners constantly jam with lead that pops off the pencil. Metal, here I come!

Ms Novak said...

Granted I have only had this pencil sharpener for a few weeks but it is AMAZING!!! http://www.classroomfriendlysupplies.com/

It is fairly inexpensive and sharpens like a dream. The only issue I have had so far is that students were purposely breaking their pencils to use the sharpener.

So far I have used it for both colored and normal - I am planning on writing a review for the guy who sells them and I want to put it to the test!

Jeff Dubin said...

I was reading your blog earlier today, and then just now came across this pencil sharpener review on another blog I haven't read in a while (but is one of my favs - lots of good product recommendations!):
http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/12986

Tallulah said...

I was plagued for years by the needless deaths of pencil sharpeners from over zealous sharperners. Then I read about the great idea of the "pencil exchange" on another blog. I keep a cup full of sharpened pencils and a cup for dull ones. If they need a fresh pencil they can exchange it on their own. I just resharpen the dull ones when needed. For the first time in 20 years of teaching I have kept the same sharpener all year! )They use hand held sharpeners for colored pencils.)