I was surprised that the Dixon Ticonderoga Company not only sent me their products, but a variety of competitor products to try out as well.
Here is what I found... Pencils - I will confess that I did not test the competitor pencils because I'm a Ticonderoga snob. I already know which pencils are the best. I even tell customers (strangers) at the store in the school supply aisle that they should put their "other" pencils back because Ticonderoga pencils are the BEST.
Watercolor Paints - I tried out the Prang (made by Dixon Ticonderoga Co.) watercolers and the Crayola Washable Watercolors. The Prang watercolors produced more vivid colors on paper and the case is more durable. The Crayola watercolors were "washable". Perhaps the Prang watercolors are as well, but the case does not say "washable" and I didn't want to try it.
Colored Pencils - I tried out Prang Large Triangular Colored Pencils and the Cra-Z-Art Colored Pencils. Both come presharpened, but I loved that the Prang colored pencils are large and triangular shaped. I think they remind me of the big crayons we used to use in Kindergarten. The fact that they don't roll away on the desk is just an added bonus. The Prang colored pencils definitely write more smoothly (is that word). The box also includes a sharpener. There is about a $3.00 price difference per box - the Prang pencils are more expensive (not so teacher budget friendly).
THE SHOCKING TRUTH
On August 13th, I started an experiment with one of the Prang markers and a Crayola marker. Dixon Ticonderoga sent me a brand new box of both. I decided to leave the caps off the markers to see how long it took each to dry out. You know how that happens in your classroom in just a few hours - even though you've modeling, reviewed and warned the kids to PUT THE CAPS BACK ON - annoying.
So, I left the caps off and started my little experiment.
I was quite surprised that by August 15 (2 days later) both markers were still going strong. On day 5 of my experiment, I left the country on an 8 day cruise with my family. I was shocked when I returned on August 25th to find that both markers still worked and worked well! I'm even more shocked to report to you that I tested both markers one last time this morning and they both still work. The Prang marker works just like it did on the first day. The Crayola is starting to fade a little bit. Folks - it has been exactly one month that those two markers have been uncapped in an uncovered bin on my kitchen counter and THEY STILL WORK!!!! Simply amazing...and shocking.
I have a list of about 28 things I want to blog about, but I'm finishing my 2nd week of school today and I'm still in survival mode. My husband bought me a new computer for our anniversary (yep, he's 12 kinds of awesome)...so I'm busy transferring data too. I'll be back in action soon.