This wasn't an issue back when I taught kindergarten, but it's bugged me for the last two years. So, this year I want to deal with it head on. I dislike pencil sharpening. Generally I give kids time during their seatwork to sharpen at least two pencils, and if they need more than that over the course of the class they have to get a sort of skanky one from the share tub. They whine about this because generally these pencils lost their erasers long ago. I saw on some of the teacher forums - maybe this one - the suggestion of giving all of the kids mechanical pencils so that there's no sharpening at all. The problem is, as much as I dislike sharpening, I loathe mechanical pencils. They're just so distracting. I remember being a 6th grader and spending more time to deal with jammed lead or no lead or playing with the stupid spring mechanism than to my teacher. And in the last two years I had to deal with so many kids dissecting their mech. pencils during the lesson, or claiming another student stole theirs, or asking me for lead, or claiming another student stole their lead, or dropping lead on the floor and having to dive down after it... I got to the point last year where I told students they bought mechanical pencils into class at their own risk and I didn't. want. to. hear. about. it. So what do I do? Give out mechanical pencils and embrace the insanity? Make an outright ban complete with smackdown? I've even toyed with the idea of giving some kind of reward ('gift') to kids at the end of the year who respected my mechanical pencil-free zone.