Thursday, April 28, 2016

Don't Sharpen that Pencil!!

Oh my goodness... If I have to say that one more time this year I think my head might explode. I have students that are OBSESSED with sharpening pencils. They need to have the sharpest point with every letter they write. If they don't have it, then they feel like they have to go over to the other side of the classroom and sharpen their pencils. Talk about a time wasting instructional nightmare!

I have come up with a few strategies that have worked well in my classroom to solve this problem and perhaps you have students in your class that can benefit from them too.


The first strategy is to provide the students opportunities for sensory input prior to your lesson. A lot of my students need these breaks to be able to focus on their work. I've noticed a few of my students will feel less of a need to sharpen their pencils constantly because they had that sensory need fulfilled prior to the lesson. My lovely sensory room has been a lifesaver for that!

 I have used a system where students get a certain number of tickets a lesson that they would physically hand over to me before being allowed to get up and sharpen their pencil.  I usually kept that number very small (no more then 3) and as time went on we would work on fading it to less and less tickets until we didn't do any at all unless the point completely broke.


I had this idea to just have an enormous cup of pencils already sharpened so when one of my friends said they needed to sharpen their pencil (oh yes, I had those kiddos that would purposefully break their points just to get up) I could hand them a newly sharpened one from the cup.


I got this amazing opportunity to try out the BEST PENCIL SHARPENER from Classroom Friendly Supplies.  It has changed things up a bit for my students and I. So, now when a student says they need to sharpen their pencil I hand them this. (Now, I had to teach them all how to use it appropriately so it did not become another problem during the the lesson, there are videos on their website that can help show them!) They take the sharpener and use it and we are done. Now my students can do what they want which is sharpen the pencil and get the sensory input if they need it and I don't get disrupted as much. I keep the sharpener in a place they can get to that is close or I have one of my paras bring it over to them.

So my pencils that were sad like this....

Now look like this...

And my students are happy and so am I!!

Here is a video that kinda sounds like what I was just talking about!! Check it out!! HERE



  1. A sharp pencil is a happy pencil! :)

    1. This is sooo true! Thanks for checking things out Brie! Hope you are doing well!!

  2. I just found your blog. I'm a resource room teacher in a small rural district. I can relate to your students who want their pencils at a sharp point. Mine have to be sharp; it just makes for neater writing. So, I encourage my students to sharpen them, especially when they need to write within smaller lines. I don't usually have the same issue that you do. They are pretty good about waiting until I finish talking to sharpen. I have an electric sharpener, and it does make a lot of noise, and they are usually respectful. I LOVE that new style pencil sharpener, though; so much so, that when my electric goes out, I think I will look into this new one! I'm glad I happened upon your blog, today!

    1. Yes, they are really nice. I am so happy with the one I have I am thinking about purchasing two more for my paraprofessionals stations as well! So glad that you found my blog, I hope that you will find things useful here!


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