It seems that my classroom pencils are just one headache after another. The kids know they aren't allowed to sharpen their pencil when I'm speaking, but sometimes that causes a backup at the sharpener, then I can't hear groups because of the noise... [insert additional problems here].
Anyway, I'm doing away with my old pencil system, which involved keeping a "Sharp and Ready To Work" bucket and an "I'm Broken and Need to be Sharpened" bucket. Why? Because I make the kids put the pencils in point down for safety, and that breaks the tip. I don't know if the kids slam them in there or not, but it's annoying.
So, I got a 3 drawer organizer from Wal-Mart and got smart and shelled out an extra few bucks at Staples for the pre-sharpened box of pencils (the extra $1.50 wasn't worth the hour I had to stand at the sharpener, or the ensuing blisters).
One drawer is for sharp pencils, one draw is for unsharpened pencils, and the bottom drawer is for bandages so the kids don't have to ask me. Yay for independence!