Erasers can be the source of both serious debate and intense frustration among art teachers. They are so tricky to manage and use that some teachers elect to eliminate them from their classrooms completely! Erasers get destroyed and lost quicker than you can say, “That was a mistake!” So what is an eraser-loving teacher to do?
Follow these simple suggestions to let go of the eraser-based stress!
1. Don’t provide erasers!
I know this seems like a counter-management method, but if you really hate the hassle of erasers, don’t give them out. Ask students to provide their own. Sell pencil-top erasers for 10 cents and pink erasers for a quarter each. This works best for upper elementary and secondary students.
2. Cut them up.
Bigger erasers are much easier to draw on or stab mercilessly. I cut my erasers up into quarters so that each kid gets a little chunk. If they get lost it’s less of an issue. They aren’t easily mutilated when they are this small, yet they retain the qualities needed in an eraser. You can even keep a tray for each class so that a conscientious class isn’t punished by another’s misdeeds. A super bonus: this is a budget-stretching plan!
3. Put them on ice.
Well, at least put them in ice cube trays. Store numbered erasers in numbered ice cube trays. Use the alphabetical class list to assign each student a number (help them remember by putting that number on all their artwork, or even on the back of their chairs). This helps with accountability. You’ll know who the eraser abuser is and can limit his or her access to the tool. See a visual here!
4. Communicate your expectations.
Use a memorable and funny video or strategy to teach good materials management. Don’t just expect them to take care of your stuff. Teach them to take care of your stuff. Best of all you don’t have to make them yourself! The brilliant Tricia Fuglestad made this hilarious gem, and Eddie Eraser can take your through the consequences of eraser abuse here.
What are your secrets to managing erasers in your classroom?
What other tricky materials have you found solutions for?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.