What school supplies do you love (or hate)?
Now that we are all up to our ears in school stuff and still making last-minute runs to fill up on supplies (No pronged notebooks available in a 50-mile radius? Really?) it got me nostalgic for my old Trapper Keeper and wondering what school supplies have landed on your must list, or your must-destroy list.
So let's break it down to Stuff We Love and Stuff We Hate. Let me get the debate started:
Stuff I Love
Crayola sent me a box of their new school innovations to test out and the one my son's third-grade teacher loves is their Dry Erase Crayons. This is a great innovation because it seems like every teacher these days is begging for extra dry erase markers. They lose their caps, the ink dries out and the teacher sometimes digs into her own pocket to replenish the supply thanks to school budget cuts. These babies work on dry erase boards, they don't smell and they don't run out of ink! It's $3.99 for a pack of 8.
The Zebra pen company sent me their line of new school pens and I have to say I'm impressed. Their erasable pens really erase. Not like the ones I had back in the day that either had such faint ink you could hardly read it or didn't really erase that well, so it made the paper look messy when you had a mistake. It's $2.81 for a pack of two. I also liked the feel of the Sarasa Gel Retractable pens and the Z-Grip Animals (in a funky zebra design on the barrel). They have a rubber grip on the lower barrel of the pen which makes them really comfortable to write with. You can get a pack of five for $3.
Trapper Keeper rules! I think this might be more nostalgia than reality, since they usually fell apart before the Christmas break, but gosh I loved my Trapper Keeper. Maybe because we couldn't afford it, so I had to save up and finally get my Trapper Keeper with the cool mod design on it. Click here for an old-school commercial for it.
Stuff I Hate
Backpacks There was a day, kids, when we simply carried a few books and a notebook home in our arms instead of packing luggage for school. Our stuff stayed in lockers or our desks and we just pulled out what we needed. Around the mid to late '80s, backpacks started becoming a fashion accessory, with a sleek L.L. Bean bag embroidered with your initials announcing your arrival. Fashion found function when kids realized they could keep all their stuff with them all the time. Schools started removing lockers for space or security purposes. Chiropractors did a happy dance for the future windfall of customers.
Electric or Battery-Operated Pencil Sharpeners I have been through far too many very expensive electric and battery-operated pencil sharpeners to have any love for these. Add those useless hand-held sharpeners to the scrap heap, too. Give me an old-fashioned hand-cranked pencil sharpener like they had (and still have) mounted on the wall of the classroom, left. It was in the mid 1800s that a cylindrical series of blades finely sharpened a pencil tip when cranked by hand. It makes a beautiful point and never breaks. Even if it was dropped from an airplane, this thing would still work. This is one instance where the mousetrap can't be improved much. Just try to avoid being stuck with the dirty job of emptying the shavings from the casing.
So what's on your must-have and must-hate list, readers?
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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