Teacher tip…Pencil Battle

The Pencil Battle

It is a sound that drives every teacher mad.  The sound of grinding pencils in the sharpener.  Once one student starts they all need to sharpen their pencils.  It has been a thorn in my side since I began teaching over 16 years ago.

It may sound silly but a classroom is noisy enough (I teach first grade) and that the last thing you need is the noise.  Also, it seems whenever I am about to start a lesson someone always is popping up to sharpen a pencil.  It is not like you can say no.  This is a tool that they need!  It has taken me years to finally battle the daily run on the pencil sharpener.

I came across an item on Amazon that changed my life.  What is this magic item you ask?  A straw dispenser.  Instead of straws, I use pencils.

It takes training!

I modeled to my students how this system would work.  When they need a new pencil (for whatever reason) they put the old pencil in the collector behind the dispenser and take the next pencil that they twist out.  At the end of the day, I pick up whatever pencils I find on the floor and put them in the collector bin.

Then on my time or when I have a volunteer the broken pencils are able to be sharpened.  I am able to pull out pencils that have been chewed on or don’t have any eraser left.  At the end of the day, I make sure the dispenser is fully stocked and ready to go!

It is a simple solution to classroom procedure.  Feel free to share with any teacher friends you may know!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. This is a great solution to the pencil battle.

  2. Marko

    Ugh know that sound to well

  3. Rosie

    That is a good idea! It may be well known, but it is the first time I’ve heard about the pencil sharpener noise being disruptive, but it makes sense.

  4. Pero

    Cool idea

  5. ha! great! #KCACOLS

  6. Love this!! I am staying at home with my boys right now, but when I make it back into a classroom, I am going to utilize this!! Thanks for sharing!! #KCACOLS

  7. What a simple solution to an annoying problem! I hate to admit it, I was always the one that couldn’t sit still in class and would break my pencils on purpose just so I had a reason to get up! Sorry! LOL

    Thank you for participating in #KCACOLS!

  8. Tracy, I love this idea! So clever. Gets me to thinking about what other things a straw dispenser can hold.

  9. Brilliant idea! Looks like a really great solution! #KCACOLS

  10. Great idea! I may do this at home! #kcacols xoxo

  11. […] chose Teacher tip…Pencil Battle by our very own Tracy at View from the Beach Chair. “This is one of those brilliant ideas you […]

  12. Jovan

    What a cool and nice idea

  13. Zvonimir

    Neat idea , great that it works

  14. Petar

    Anything helps as long as it works , but your idea is really excellent

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