Does it Work: Crayola Total Tools

Does it Work: Crayola Total Tools
By: Lauren Keith

The Crayola staple-free stapler is one of four items featured in this Does it Work test. We have the stapler, eraseable hi-liters, an audio ruler and the ultimate cutter. So, do any of these items belong in your child's backpack? Teacher Susan Bartlett, first grader Kristen Tarno and third grader Elizabeth Orr do the homework for us.
Just like that, the staple-free stapler really does hold this construction paper together without a stapler!
"One piece of the paper is bent back it looks like," Mrs. Bartlett said.  The bent paper serves as the pseudo-stapler.  That's probably also why Crayola says this paper staple can't hold more than four pages together.  It definitely holds ours, even marking it with a cute stamp, which Kristen really loves.
"The staple is really fun," Kristen said.
Fun for kids but does it have some drawbacks in the classroom? We'll think on that, as we preview the next item, the eraseable hi-liters.
"Erase it!" Kristen said. Let's try!  Well, it sort of works.  The highlight is erased, but it smears.  We definitely don't think you can turn in a paper like this to your teacher.  We'll let it dry further and hand out a final grade in just a bit.
The audio ruler automatically tells us how long that line is.  We check it for accuracy with a regular ruler and find it measures precisely.  However, am I missing something?  Isn't the whole idea to teach kids how to measure?
"What if you say to the student, draw me a line that's two inches?  They'd have to guess!" I said.
"Yeah, they'd have to guess," Mrs. Bartlett said.
And besides that, Mrs. Bartlett doesn't want every child in her classroom using these rulers.  That'd be a lot of extra talking.
One last thing on this ruler.  It also claims this pen ink disappears over time.  So, we'll let our measurements sit here while we check out the last tool, the ultimate cutter.
The cutting mat does not lie flat very easily, but it is nice this Crayola total tool comes with a mat, so you don't harm your desktop while cutting.  I've featured similar cutting tools like this before on Does it Work Wednesday, but this one has that mat and a safety device and promises to make intricate and curvy cuts.  Let's see.
"It didnt' cut though," Mrs. Bartlett said.  She has trouble keeping the swivel head from spinning.
"I'm not a fan of this," Mrs Bartlett said.
Neither am I and now it's time to total up grades for each of these crayola total tools.
"The one that worked best was the stapler," Mrs. Bartlett said.
It did, but Mrs. Bartlett points out you'll definitely want a regular stapler for big assignments and teachers won't be able to use this on bulletin boards, because of the way this design holds paper together.  However, she will let her students use it on small assignments.
So, the staple-free stapler makes the cut with a "B Plus." 
But, it's bad news for the eraseable highliters.  While they do erase those marks that sometimes go out of the lines, they don't fare too well on printed copy and end up making a smeary mess.  I'm sticking with the teacher's grade here, "D." 
So, does the audio ruler measure up?  Yes and no.  Ten minutes later that disappearing ink never disappeared!  However, Mrs. Bartlett and the girls are willing to look past that.  She says it can still be used as a way to get kids excited about learning measurements, especially estimates.
"Lots of fun for children at home as far as just being exposed to measurements and numbers.  I'll say a C," Susan said.
Now the worst tool of all...the ultimate cutter.
"It does not flow easily, even the safety device inhibits how well it works," Mrs. Bartlett said.
"I give it an F," Elizabeth said.
The ultimate cutter does not make the cut, flunking this Does it Work test.