Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know of my love/hate relationship with pencils. They’re a necessary evil in the art room — so perfect for drawing, and yet, so full of issues. I am attempting to solve all my pencil problems, one-by-one, from the eraser controversy to pencil “shopping” procrastinators.
Today, I’m writing about another pencil-related problem — electric pencil sharpeners. Electric pencil sharpeners drive me crazy because they’re an attractive nuisance. Kids love to use them — so much that they sharpen pencils to tiny little nubs. And, once one student visits the sharpener, they all suddenly have a pencil emergency and have to sharpen their pencils. Some like to sharpen other things, as well, like crayons, plastic pens, and the metal eraser-end of the pencil (or so I’ve heard). I’ve owned a few pencil sharpeners, and have decided it’s best to keep them all by my desk, off limits to all students except my end-of-the-day Pencil Sharpener/Refiller Czar.
I do love my pencil sharpener, though. It’s an X-Acto School Pro that a retiring teacher gave to me when I was freaking out over the third sharpener burn-out in a year:
This thing is awesome sauce. My favorite thing about it is that it STOPS when the pencil is sharp! It also sharpens several different sizes and shapes of pencils, including those weird, triangular ones. It has a substantial weight and suction cups on the bottom so you don’t have to chase it around while sharpening a lot of pencils, and it works fast! These aren’t too expensive, so they’re within reach.
When working with colored pencils, I like hand-held sharpeners like the Dahle Chubby Sharpener:
These can become a toy, as well, so I don’t leave them out all the time, but they’re great for colored pencil projects, and the reservoir holds shavings so they don’t create a mess. These hold up to heavy use!