Monday, October 26, 2015

The Quietest Sharpener on the Hall

Let me begin by saying I loathe pencil sharpeners. They are a necessary evil for a successful classroom but such a hassle. Sometimes they don't do a good job, other times kids stand in line to sharpen their pencil just to chat with their friends. Still other times they are unreliable. The motors die even though they have a "lifetime guarantee." And the noise! Yes, it's safe to say I loathe them.

Classroom Friendly Supplies asked me to review their new Popular Purple sharpener and I have to say I love this thing. I've been a fan of this company for several years because their sharpeners are such a game changer for pencil sharpening.
First, I love how cute they are. They come in fun colors to match your classroom decor. This is big for me because I like everything to match. What makes these sharpeners so amazing though is that they take it back to the basics. They have no motor to die like an electric sharpener but they are still very effective. In fact, every single pencil comes out perfect. And the sharpener stops sharpening when the pencil is ready to use, which eliminates my pet peeve of "social sharpening." Did I mention they are super quiet?
I have actually been using a Classroom Friendly sharpener for several years since I first tried one in my classroom in New Jersey. All of my coworkers end up being so jealous of how well they work that they purchase their own as well. At my previous school, we lobbied our PTO to purchase some for the entire upper school and the response was great. The kids love them, too, and they are easy to use.

Your sharpener will come will a hook to attach it to a shelf if you desire but I have found the picture hanging command hooks work better. You just pinch the clamps, pull the silver lever out, insert your pencil, and crank. You will tell when the pencil is ready because it will stop sharpening. In my classroom, I hire pencil technicians to be in charge of sharpening pencils and it is the most coveted job around. When I added the Popular Purple to my collection of sharpeners, they were just thrilled that someone else would get the new position of purple pencil technician. The purple is great, but really one is never enough. Luckily, they are also available in three packs. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Fever

via Google Images

With Spring Break just around the corner, there is a major case of spring fever in our room. We have just this week left before our break and it is going to be crazy. That should really be Crazy with a capital C. Our grades are due tomorrow and we have spent the last several days giving a practice ACT Aspire test to our students. South Carolina's previous state assessment was not timed. This assessment is and it is a hard transition for us all. My littles are tested out and tired of sitting in rows and my own patience with this is hanging on by a thread. Isn't this time of year exhausting?

Do your students have a bad case of Spring Fever this year? How do you handle it? We are going to do our best to get through this coming week and then when we return from spring break, we will go back to the basics. We will re-emphasize our expectations for everything from work ethic in centers to homework to behavior. We all need a refresher every now and then, right?

Our big event of the coming week is our writing workshop publishing celebration. We have invited our administrators and the district superintendent to share our opinion writing pieces with us on Thursday and it is going to be awesome. Our school's reading coach has been team teaching this unit with me, which has been amazing, and we are using it to try to pitch Lucy Calkins' writing workshop to our school. What a great way to end our time together before Spring Break with an author's share!