Does This Make Me A School Supplies Pimp??

I know that I have previously pimped myself out to advertise the sheer wonder that is the Stainless Steel Sharpie …I mean, words cannot describe this innovation in organizational/office supplies. (Insert large sigh and a shiver of delight here.) I also know that it is not quite Back-To-School season (although the commercials promoting this particular time of year begin earlier and earlier each summer, causing huge knots in the stomachs of teachers everywhere), however I saw an ad this morning for something that might just change my life.

As I casually sipped my coffee and flipped back and forth between the opening banter on Regis and Kelly and the Golden Girls (Yea, I said it…I’m not afraid to admit my obsession with this show), I caught a commercial for something called the Expo Click Retractable Dry Erase Marker.

Wait, let me repeat that for you. A retractable dry erase marker. THAT MEANS NO CAP, PEOPLE!! NO CAP!

Expo Click Retractable Low Odor Fine Tip Dry Erase Markers, 6 Fashion Color Markers (1751667)Expo Click Retractable Low Odor Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers, 12 Black MarkersExpo Click Retractable Low Odor Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers, 3 Assorted Markers (1741919)

If you are a teacher, at this moment you might be clutching your chest while simultaneously opening a new browser window to check out Staples (or you can just click in my little Organizational Supplies side bar thingy). If you are not a teacher, you most likely do not understand the importance of this revolution in dry erase marker. You see, many classrooms have begun using small dry erase slates, or white boards. Each child has one and we use them often throughout the day to practice math problems on the rug together, try out a new word family or jot down some thoughts. They are wonderful and I heart them. HOWEVER, I do NOT heart the Lost Cap Conundrum. Being the organizational goddess that I am, I have long since devised a system in which not only are my students numbered, but all of their school supplies are numbered as well. White boards have numbers emblazened on the back, tool boxes sport numbers and, yes friends, dry erase markers are also branded with student numbers. This minimizes arguments when shit inevitably gets left behind in various areas of the classroom. Yet, the cap, my friends, the cap is a dilemma. I am not crazy enough to number every cap (although I have thought about it…they’re usually colored though and therefore the numbers don’t show up well) and so I have fallen victim to a condition I call Persistent Dry Tip.

Persistent Dry Tip effects mainly children between the ages of 5 and 10. Although in my experience, I have found that children ages 7 and 8 are especially suseptible to such an ailment. Symptoms of this illness inlcude: cries of “my marker doesn’t work!”, blank stares when asked to get out their white board and marker, sneaky attempts to bogart a friend’s marker and usually failed attempts to steal a marker with another number.

It is an often undiscussed, yet serious problem facing many teachers of young children.

Now, I have not sampled the Expo Click Retractable Dry Erase Marker for myself, but just the name alone makes my pulse quicken. Yes, they are a bit more expensive then the regular dry erase marker of days past, but maybe, just maybe, they could be the cure. Classroom set of dry erase boards…$60. Set of 3 Expo Click Retractable Dry Erase Marker…$4.49. Eradicating Persistent Dry Tip from your classroom experience…priceless.

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  • Abstract:
    Research shows that Persistent Dry Tip affects older students as well. Despite their increased cognitive abilities, including the potential to plan for the future, middle school students often lack the forethought to fasten the cap all the way (or, in the colloquial, "click the cap").

    This new innovation could effectively end the Persistent Dry Tip.

    Future research should examine the possibilities of inventing a device that will alleviate the so-called "Pictionary Syndrome," in which dry erase marker users will gesture with the pen, pointing to a written object with such gusto that the pen tip is forced back into the barrel, making the marker practically unusable.

    July 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm
  • I must make a confession…I opened the Staples website.
    I must confess something else…I have now planned a trip to Staples.
    My charming K-2 students are frequently inflicted with both Persistent Dry Tip and Pictionary Syndrome, leaving many useless markers throughout the classroom. This has caused great drama, as the nearest sizable office supply store is 2.5 hours away (and this teacher does NOT like spending $8 for the markers when $4 is an option).

    School supply pimp? There are worse things!

    July 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm
  • Patience.

    I suggest you try a small sample of the markers before making a bulk purchase.

    I had some of the clickables a few years ago. Never again! The ink does not erase cleanly. The boards are nearly as difficult to clean as when you use the "low odor" markers.

    My solution to the lost cap problem is masking tape and string (tedious to set up but effective). As for Persistent Dry Tip, I give my high schoolers a healthy dose of sarcasm and derision at their inability to use the simplest of tools correctly. It seems to clear up most cases of Dry Tip.

    July 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm
  • I have nothing to do with teaching.

    While I do not loathe teachers or their profession, I detest the system you work within – and I feel for all of the great teachers.

    Your blog is nice. I have a faint idea as to how I arrived, but I am now "Jonesing" for a Stainless Steel Sharpie. I must find out how the "refillable" function works, as I wish to avoid Dry Tip at all cost.

    Enjoy the summer.

    July 14, 2009 at 5:40 pm
  • OOOooo!! I now have a plan for day…go to Staples!
    It does concern me, however, that you are thinking of school supplies. It is not yet August. August is the month when I start to get all "teacher-y". July is for sipping coolers on the deck!

    July 14, 2009 at 5:57 pm
  • This sounds FABULOUS! Another thing that is awesome…eraser tips for the skinny dry erase markers! I buy them for my class each year as inevitably the kids loose their sock that they bring from home to erase with (or never brought it in the first place!)and then we have loads of "Eh, I'll use my sleeve, my arms, my hand…or weirdest yet "my tongue"—don't ask, 4th graders are wonderful but odd).

    One more organizational product is called the SMARTPAL. It's simply a plastic sleeve that you put worksheets in and have the students use their dry erase markers on the plastic, so the sheets never actually get dirty..would be wonderful for younger students because they don't have to worry about losing the papers as much because they can all be stored in the sleeve. Something my team tried this year was having the kids put their slates (small whiteboards) in them to prevent that dreaded "red Expo marker stain." it was great, I barely had to clean any boards before the end of the year!

    July 14, 2009 at 6:03 pm
  • I am drooling with all the tips and ideas!! Maybe Mrs. Mimi needs to branch out to a bigger website so I can pimp out all of your genius too!!

    Manda – you are hilarious!!

    July 14, 2009 at 6:38 pm
  • But what happens when students "forget" to re-click the marker and retract the pen nib? Are there not always some technical difficulty with school supplies?

    I still think the most effective way to prevent lost caps is to teach students the habit of sticking the cap firmly on the other end of the marker while writing.

    July 14, 2009 at 8:00 pm
  • you can also buy a large piece of shower board at home depot or lowes and have them cut it into 30 squares right there. i think it's about $10, if you can't swing the 60 for individual dry erase boards.

    i teach high school and have found that lost cap disease lasts well into adolescence.

    btw, if anyone needs cheap classroom dictionaries/thesarus, they are selling them a dollar a piece at the dollar store.

    (btw, i've been a lurker for a few months and i heart your blog.)

    July 14, 2009 at 8:28 pm
  • As I posted on Mimi's Facebook page — Staples, 8 pencils for a penny. If you bring you teacher ID you can get 25 packs. 200 pencils for a quarter. They are even the decent Dixon brand!

    July 14, 2009 at 9:10 pm
  • I was gonna mention that a) the ink is impossible to completely erase without the Expo dry erase board spray cleaner, which I'm certain was intentional on Expo's part and b) they dry out quickly.

    I'm pretty sure someone else already mention both of those things, but I thought I'd reiterate. Save your moola and just get the regular dry erase markers and deal with your Persistent Dry Tip conundrum.

    Although? Staples with the penny sale? So totally going!

    July 14, 2009 at 9:11 pm
  • You might start a collection of caps from dried out markers to have on hand in case someone loses theirs.

    I have a big collection and have found this to be handy.

    July 14, 2009 at 9:21 pm
  • would the tip last on these markers??
    would they dry out fastly?

    sorry, but they dont sound awesome to me.

    I like good old normal expos.

    July 14, 2009 at 9:29 pm
  • I have an Expo Retracable dry-erase and I love, love, love it!!!
    It's a little difficult to click to retract so I don't know if my Kg. kids could click it. But I am determined to find out!

    July 14, 2009 at 11:08 pm
  • Holy Crap!

    The Expo Retractable Dry Erase Marker is the best. invention. EVER!

    I must get my hands on lots of these. Immediately.

    Also, this post? Was totally awesome.

    July 15, 2009 at 12:31 am
  • Don't spend $60 for individual dry erase boards. Go to your local big box hardwarre store and by a large piece of whiteboard material and have them cut it to the sizes you want. This will save you a great deal of money.

    July 15, 2009 at 1:47 pm
  • Okay

    2.the only thing I would worry about is the constant clicking. It would be enough to drive me over the edge.

    3.Love your blog but wish you would allow to post instead of a google account

    4. You rock as a teacher and probably could figure out that clicky pen thing in an instant.

    July 15, 2009 at 8:52 pm
  • digging your new avatar!

    July 16, 2009 at 12:15 am
  • someone mention that the marker doesn't come off clean. Tip: I keep a bottle of acetone (finger nail polish remover will do-w/a little more elbow grease) It takes ink and paint off ANYTHING. A little on a papertowel goes a LONG way. I hide it b/c it is a chemical and we're not supposed to have them in school. But OMG, it has rocked (and changed) my world.

    P.S. My solution to dry tip. Tell students I need more and they donate them to the "classroom community." Haven't bought a dry erase marker in 2 years.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:09 am
  • What did it for me was the commercial that I saw last night for a new Sharpie marker, fine point, that does not bleed through papers!!! Gotta get my hands on that one, ASAP!

    July 16, 2009 at 2:04 pm
  • Miss M –
    You have got to be freaking kidding me!! How did I miss that one?! Off to check it out stat! Thanks for the heads up…

    July 16, 2009 at 3:22 pm
  • Ooooh good ideas. My kids practiced their spelling words using dry erase markers & white boards. They dried up quick! I actually had to put someone in charge of making sure all of the markers had their caps on tight.

    I don't know I'm thinking the clicking from the retractable would drive me over the edge :).

    Unfortunately, I have already succumbed to the back to school season. I have already gone school supply shopping.

    July 16, 2009 at 9:15 pm
  • I'm not sure what's funnier: the post or the comments! Or…wait…imagining my students after I gave them each a new white board marker for Christmas, and an hour later three kids had lost theirs!!

    July 23, 2009 at 1:32 am
  • And don't forget the student who, in their race to get their cap back on FIRST, ends up slicing the tip of their marker in two creating a much maligned "shadow" whenever they write on their boards.

    July 30, 2009 at 12:54 am
  • I keep a pair of needle-nosed pliers on hand specifically to deal with "Pictionary Syndrome." You just pull the marker felt back out, and the marker is (usually) good as new. PDT is another story; I train the K kiddies from the start to always put the cap on the back of the pen. I get sick of hearing myself saying it over and over and over, but I think I'd hate the clicking more!

    August 5, 2009 at 11:05 pm
  • I am a teacher and bought these markers a few months ago. They are 100% worth the investment. While they may be a little pricey for school supplies, they last a lot longer, so really, you are getting a deal in the end.

    November 12, 2009 at 10:28 pm

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