Friday, February 22, 2013

The Quietest Classroom Sharpener: Opinions and Mishaps

You might have seen or heard about the Quietest Classroom Sharpener on other teaching blogs, and wondered about it. I know I have. So, when I was given the opportunity to review it for myself I was thrilled. 

First, the sharpener was created by a teacher who is still a full-time classroom teacher. Teachers always know what works best in the classroom, so this sharpener starts out with that in its favor. It was sent to me pretty quickly, which is always a plus. I received a red sharpener, but there are several other colors to choose from. I would have preferred blue, but I shouldn't complain.

I watched the video about how to operate the sharpener. I felt this was necessary since it seemed different from other pencil sharpeners. I was glad I did, because once I watched it, the sharpener was very easy to use.

The sharpener can be attached to a shelf using the pieces shown above. It was easy to mount once I saw the picture.

There are two black knobs at the top. You simply squeeze them together, pull the metal plate out, and insert the pencil. Once you let go of the black knobs, the pencil is nicely held in place. This was a great feature. You don't even have to hold on to the pencil.

Next, you turn the handle. I know, I was a bit skeptical after seeing this was a crank-type sharpener.  However, it's extremely easy to turn, and it sharpens quickly. You can tell the pencil is sharpened by the way the crank feels when you turn it. You don't have to keep pulling the pencil out to check if it's sharp.

I was very impressed with the way it sharpened every pencil on all sides every time. No more wasting your time sharpening  pencils that end up lopsided and you have to peel the wood down to get it sharp on all sides. My class was very impressed with how sharp the pencils came out!

Emptying the sharpener is very easy too. You simply slide out the clear plastic cup, empty, and slide it back in.

After using it myself, I allowed my 2nd Graders to try it. This was a very big deal! Students are NOT to touch the pencil sharpeners in my room. It is a very strict rule. I even put it in my sub packet in case they try to get away with it while I'm out. :) I showed them how to use it, and they started to get the hang of it.

Since I knew I was going to write this review, I thought I'd make it a learning experience for them. As part of their morning work that day, they had to answer the following questions:

1.  What did you like about the sharpener?

2.  What didn't you like about the sharpener?

3.  What would you tell a friend if he/she asked about it?

You can see a few answers below.

Everyone in the class seemed to like it. That's when the trouble started...

All that day, and the next few days, they were breaking their pencils just so they could sharpen them. It was driving me crazy wasting valuable learning time. I tried to make it the responsibility of the Student Teacher (the daily child helper in my class), but then that child wasn't able to get any work done. 

As I tried to think of a solution, someone went to sharpen his pencil and said the sharpener was broken. I was livid extremely angry! This is a brand new sharpener! It's supposed to be fantastic! It's not supposed to break so quickly! How will I ever write my review?! 

When I tried to calmly inspect the sharpener, one of my little darlings told me that _______ put a crayon in there to sharpen it. WHAT??!!! I was not expecting that at all!! I thought these were smart kids!! How could I be so wrong?!

After obtaining that interesting piece of information, I figured out how to remove the handle (which was quite easy) and inspect the blades. Sure enough, there were pieces of pink crayon stuck in the blades. While this was going on, the darling girl with the now sharpened pink crayon ran to the restroom crying. I hadn't yelled or said much of anything to her, but she could feel my anger while I tried to remain calm.

 I let her go, and sat down to try to salvage the sharpener. I took a paper clip, straightened it, and ran it along the blades to remove the crayon. Luckily, I was able to get all of the pink crayon out of the blades, and managed to shake out the tip of a green crayon that I didn't know was in there. No wonder the sharpener didn't work!

Next was the real test, and I knew it would definitely make or break my review. I attempted to sharpen a pencil...

Most of the class was gathered around to see if I had fixed it. ______ was still pouting or crying in the restroom. I let her stay there for a little while before talking to her about her actions.

Okay, the pencil came out just as sharp as the ones that had been sharpened before the infamous crayon incident. I decided that I would be the only one (once again) to touch the sharpener. I sharpen their pencils once at the beginning of class, and again only if it breaks and they don't have a back up pencil. ______ has been forgiven for her lapse in good judgement, and I believe she has forgiven the tattle-tale who said she did it.

My final opinion of the Quietest Classroom Sharpener:

I actually like it better than my electric sharpeners. It sharpens nicely, it's quiet, and I don't have to keep pulling the pencil out to check if it's sharp. I would definitely recommend it to other teachers who want to try it. Click on the image below to check it out for yourself.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Currently and a Sale Reminder

It's a new month, and a new month always means a new Currently, sponsored by Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

Remember, tomorrow is the Super Sale at TPT! You'll get up to 28% off of items from me and your other favorite TPT sellers! You'll get 20% off of everything in my store, and if you enter promo code: SUPER at the checkout, you'll get another 8% off of your purchase.

Enjoy your weekend!