Kate's Anatomy

And now for some highly-sought-after practical classroom advice.


Too-small-pencil-in-the-sharpener surgery.

Maybe not quite as exciting as the series finale of St. Elsewhere, but definitely as exciting as the last episode of Grey's Anatomy. (Except no one's phantom limb is acting up.)

This is really important information. Especially if you're like me.

You're like me and you let students use the electric pencil sharpener. 

Usually it's not a problem.


But sometimes every other week, some students two students decide that using a pencil that is short less than an inch long is a great idea.

And when they attempt to sharpen said pencil, this is what happens.

At this point, the child has completely torn off the eraser trying to get it out himself.  And as you can plainly see, even my teensy-tiny, delicate fingers couldn't possibly pinch the edges.

But all is not lost.  Oh, no!  All is not lost.

Here's what you do (AFTER you unplug your sharpener):

Step 1: Unplug the sharpener. Don't forget. We don't want any real ER visits.

Step 2: Select a quality paperclip.  Well, any metal clip from any store will do.  Large paperclips work best. (Not gigantic, but not those small ones either.)

Step 3: Uncoil the paper clip. Not the whole thing.  Just make a little sword of sorts.

Step 4: Stick the paper clip sword into the completely obliterated eraser remnant. You have to press the clip far enough into the eraser so that you get some friction!

Step 5: Carefully extract the... ahem... pencil. (If you even call it that!)

Many teachers may say, "That's why I don't let kids use the electric sharpener!"

You're not wrong.

But now that you've taken this extremely technical correspondence course... perhaps you'll reconsider? ;)


  1. Now that we took the course do we get a degree to hang on our wall?!

    What is with kids' obsession with itty bitty pencils? Our firsties simply cannot handle it so we have had to instill the rule-if it's shorter than a crayon= toss it or take it home to enjoy :)

    Thank you for most technical of tips.
    ~Christy & Tammy
    Fluttering Through First Grade

  2. This is too funny. Great advice on the sharpener and mini pencil issue.
    I am now your newest follower :)
    -Lovely Nina

  3. That was a fun read witha great idea! Thanks! I'm your newest follower.;)
    Kelly @ I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  4. This are our pencil procedures. If the pencil is shorter than my finger, it goes in the trash. If you buy a Smencil (a Friday fundraiser at our school), it must go in your backpack to go home that day. (These are some of the world's crummiest pencils.)
    If you need a pencil sharpened, you put in the Needs Sharpening basket. Then get a sharpened one out of the Sharp Pencils container.



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