Lifeskill #2: How to keep dry erase markers juicy

Another riveting post in my wildly popular “lifeskills” series:  how to keep dry erase markers juicy.  Sit down at my feet and be regaled by my dry erase wisdom.

It’s a gross feeling when you go to write something important on your whiteboard and you get nothing but streaks.  So years ago I learned how to keep my markers juicy indefintely… by storing them TIP SIDE DOWN.  Gravity drains the ink toward the tip.

I started buying flowerpots for my classrooms to store my markers in… tip side down, of course.  No, you don’t necessarily see what color you’re grabbing, but what use is getting the color you want when your markers are dead?

Tangent:  who are the knucklehead teachers that don’t throw out dead markers?  What exactly is the point of NOT throwing them out?  I have very little tolerance for dead markers.

I digress.  I moved to China in 2007, and put up with inferior Chinese dry erase markers for a year.  On a trip home to Seattle, I brought back two sets of juicy American markers, yes I’m sure they were probably made in China.   One of the sets was for the SpanishPod team (which I kept tip-side-down in a flower pot), and the other set was for the bosses.  Not that I cared to give anything to the bosses; I just didn’t what their dumb asses borrowing our juicy SpanishPod markers.  Occasionally they did borrow them, and I always hunted down the missing marker and snatched it smugly off their table.  Idiots.

Anyway, the bosses lacked the tip-side-down-in-a-flower-pot technology, so their set of pens dried out with little use after a couple of months.

The SpanishPod markers, however, lasted longer than I did in that office…. Those pens were still juicy on my last day of work there, over a year and a half after I had deployed them.

Now that I’m back in the classroom, my pens don’t last quite as long as that, but they do last much longer than the markers stored horizontally.  In fact, I rarely have to chuck a marker into the garbage; more often than not, they just wander off inside someone’s pocket… either that, or someone pushes the tip too hard, and jams it into the cylinder.

I made a smug remark earlier this year that MY pens stayed juicy, and a student said “yah, because you keep them upside down.”   So I know that others must know of this technology, if only from observing my own brilliant behavior.  I’m not sure why so many people don’t do it… those markers are not cheap to keep replacing all the time… but there but for the grace of God go I.  It’s satisfaction enough that I always have juicy markers, and one more thing to be smug about.

12 thoughts on “Lifeskill #2: How to keep dry erase markers juicy

  1. Ha! Love this! I had to retrace the same word a few times today because my last marker was on its last leg and a student whispered… “I think you need a new marker.”
    Can’t wait to this out next year!


    • ¡Colega! I just discovered your teaching blog minutes ago. I’m not obsessed with putting a giant proficiency rubric on my classroom wall… and I wonder if I’ll get away with hot glue!


      • Megan, I used to use flowerpots but now i use some pen wells that stick to the white board magnetically. Got them at Daiso, the Japanese $1.50 store. Do they have Daiso where you are?


  2. Hi, I thought I’be be clever and store my new boxes of markers cap side down, it didn’t work!!!

    Unless they were old markers and I just didn’t test them before?

    I wasted 2-3 whole boxes of markers. I tried to use them and they were ALL dry. So I don’t know if they were already dry before I put them upside down or what. I was so disappointed.


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