Monday, March 19, 2012

Pencil Sharpener Review

Back in January the nice peeps over at Classroom Friendly Supplies sent me one of their buzz-worthy pencil sharpeners to try out. I was curious, because I read a review of a fourth grade teacher saying it was great and a first grade teacher saying she could use it but the little firsties had trouble with it. I'm sorry I don't remember where the reviews I read came from. I put the challenge to my secondies (it's always bothered me that there isn't a good nickname for second graders) and here's how it went.

First I just attached the sharpener to my desk and used it myself for about a week. I had no problem operating it other than the clamp is not as secure as I would like it to be. I think it would be better if the metal arm attached to the clamp went entirely through both sides of the sharpener rather than just stopping somewhere in the middle. Also, the directions leave something to be desired. It was after a reader's comments about the videos posted below that I realized we weren't even using the thing correctly. So those are my two cons - needs a better clamp, and definitely needs better instructions. As for pros, it is waaaaaay better than the standard wall-mounted pencil sharpener and a lot quieter than the electric one. And it makes a perfect point every time.

It wasn't too long before the kids noticed the sharpener and began to bug the bajeezus out of me inquire about the new addition to my desk. I picked a student with average motor skills and put him to the task. Here goes! ****Like I said, these videos were taken BEFORE we realized we needed to pull the top part out before sharpening.

So first I had him try it without the clamp and it was a dud. He got a good hold on the sharpener but he couldn't get a point on the pencil.  So next we tried it again with the sharpener clamped to the table.

Unfortunately we had the same results even with the clamp. Then we realized something... he was turning the handle the wrong way! Thankfully he didn't mention that I had been using the darn thing for a week and didn't notice he was turning the handle the wrong direction. So we tried it one more time with the clamp and turning the correct direction (which just seems backwards to me).

Apparently there was no luck to be had that day because even after he did everything correctly, the tip broke off the pencil as he pulled it out of the sharpener. But that can happen with any sharpener and was probably just a dud pencil or something. He has been pretty successful with this sharpener now that he has had more practice.

All in all, I give this sharpener a 7 out of 10. I had to show small groups of kids (2 or 3 at a time) how to use the sharpener and there are a few students who just never got the knack of it. But most students did well and use it on a regular basis.

I used the clamp to attach the sharpener to my guided reading table since that seemed to be a prime time for pencils to loose their points. I also have to hide the sharpener in my desk when I have a substitute teacher because on more than one occasion, a sub has lost their cool over not being able to figure it out :P.


  1. It's hard to find that perfect pencil sharpener isn't it? :)

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. This is the best sharpener I've ever had. The boy is missing a step in sharpening. You need to pull the silver part out first and then put the pencil in. After the pencil is in it will hold the pencil for you and put your hand on the top to stabilize the sharpener. The silver part moves in as it sharpens it. Try it again and let me know if it's better. I teach first and they can all work it perfectly!

    Lori from

    1. Oh my goodness! Thanks Lori! The sharpener didnt come with any directions other than how to use the table clamp and I hadn't seen anyone write about HOW to use it--only if it worked or not. I guess the subs aren't the only ones who don't know how the thing operates!

  3. Why can't someone invent a better instrument for writing? How much of our time is spent sharpening and dealing with pencil issues? haha! Sigh...

    A teacher on my 2nd grade team has that sharpener and loves it. She has it on a table with a try underneath it, I guess to catch the shavings.

    I just sharpen a bunch every day and put them in a can labeled, "sharp pencils". I also have one for dull pencils.

    I might try that sharpener next year though.

  4. a "tray"... not a try. ha! :)