For years I only used hand held sharpeners for my kids. When I came to
this school, the 2 other art teachers told me that they love Panasonic
brand electric. They both have these in their room, and students
(Middle school and High school)are allowed to use them. I haven't yet
been brave enough to let the kids use my Panasonic. I still use hand
held for the students, altho if there's time, I'll try to sharpen our
classroom sets in advance.
I use Crayola brand for my students (2nd -5th). Also, each year I do
try to treat the classroom to one box of Prismacolor Art Stix (p.250
Sax). They are wonderful but pricey.
My kids get lectured long and often about how using the pencils as
drumsticks or even just dropping them can shatter the lead inside of the
wood casing. It seems to help.