This year saw its share of poorly sharpened pencils!
Like leads that leapt from the tip, or the pencil that needed to donate half its body to the sharpener before it could create its first sharp point:
Or the pencil that Just. Would. Not. Sharpen. Ever.
Our school isn't resource-rich. We can't continue to afford buying sharpeners that break easily, or never worked properly in the first place. So when I read a positive online review of a manual pencil sharpener by Classroom Friendly Supplies, I was understandably and absolutely skeptical. The folks at Classroom Friendly Supplies have a deal, however -- they'll send a free pencil sharpener to teachers who blog, so long as we review the sharpener online. Honest reviews are essential, so an honest review I will give, of 3 Pros and 3 Cons/Concerns:
1. Pencils are nice and sharp. Our pencils are now so sharp that I annoying pull my teacher friends into the classroom just to show off. "See?? Can you see?? Look how SHARP they are!!!" Said teacher friends are intrigued, possibly planning a purchase.
2. Replaceable parts. Need a replacement blade? New shavings tray? Another clamp? It feels groundbreaking --rebellious, even, in our throwaway culture-- to have the ability to replace a broken part, rather than buy an entire new sharpener.
3. An innovative method of sharpening pencils: clamp the pencil in place, then rotate the handle to sharpen without gripping the pencil. The handle releases once the pencil is sharp. Easy.
3 CONs or Concerns
1. It's too soon to tell.
Classroom Friendly Supplies requests that teachers review their sharpeners within 30 days of receipt. This is that review. Yet how well will the sharpener function next October, or May?
2. Wall-mounted design would have been nice.
The hardware lets you clamp the sharpener to a table or bookshelf. It has already popped off a half dozen times. Are we using it incorrectly and causing this problem? Not sure. The clamp is easily reattached, so not a big deal. There is a permanent mount available for $14.99, yet only mounts horizontally, not vertically on the wall.
3. The innovative sharpening method requires a learning curve for the kids and teacher.
To sharpen a pencil, one must pop out the clamp, open the clamp and insert the pencil, rotate the handle to sharpen, then release the clamp to remove the pencil. It's not rocket science but it has taken time to learn this new method. If this method helps ensure a super-sharp point, increases the longevity of the blade, or uses less wood to sharpen the pencil (and I suspect it does all three), then learning this method works for us.
The kids love their finely sharpened pencils, and I am relieved to have a reliable sharpener, yet also cautious. In this era of planned obsolescence, can manufactured objects endure for years, or even decades, as they once did? I will post an update in 6 months, and again in one year, to let you know how it's going.