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The Case of the Crumbling Eraser…and other Eraser Chat

Nothing makes my blood boil like peering into the supply basket after a long day and seeing erasers that have been crumbed to disintegration or stabbed repeatedly with pencil marks. Even more fun? Seeing an entire hole through an eraser with a pencil still stuck in it. Is this really what students are doing during my fabulous demonstrations? When are these acts of vandalism happening? And more importantly why are erasers these days so crappy? Erasers-Gone-BadIf your erasers in the art room look anything like these, you know what I am talking about. When choosing Erasers to order for your art room, it seems the options these days are plentiful, but the quality is a little sketchy.

For example, you could get these ‘gummy’ square erasers from Blick (and other brands, too). These erasers do not leave tread marks and do a pretty good job of erasing, but the texture of the erasers is an addictive sensory thing for jittery kids. They are crumbly, soft and downright fun to mess with.

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Our old friend, Pink Pearl is still one of my go-to’s, mostly because it’s what gets donated to me, and they are cheap. However, these can leave pink lines on the paper, quality can be unpredictable (watch out for off brands and impostors) and gosh darn it, they just don’t erase pencil lines as well. This will drive your perfectionist art students absolutely batty. The thinner shape also makes it much easier for kids to break them in half, cut them with a scissors, or stab a pencil through. Lovely.

There are some other beautiful higher end erasers that have many of the good qualities I am looking for, but can cost triple the price and you run the same vandalism risks and will then be out even more of your precious budgetary dollars.

There are many organizational solutions to this issue, such as not handing out erasers except when necessary. Some teachers may even take erasers away from the whole class when they find damage. However, time is precious and there are a lot of other fish to fry. These solutions aren’t always options.

So, Let’s talk erasers. What brand and type works best for your art room?

Any tips on keeping your erasers in tip top shape or creative ideas for the case of the mutilated eraser?

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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