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The Fence

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.

Sunny Days
Keeping Cool
You've Got Mail
Certificates & Memories
Reviewing the Year
Balloon Plants
Literature for Grades 4-8
Remembering Units

I Made it Myself! (t-shirts)

Plastic Bag Ice Cream

Wednesday, June 9, 1999

Summer is finally here! Like animals heading for hibernation, this is the time of year that you should be stockpiling all the goodies you can get your paws on for next year. From art projects to classroom organization, the whosits and whatsits you collect now will seem worth their weight in gold as you head into next semester.

Method to the Madness
Before you just start filling your closet with things to recycle in your classroom, take the time create an organization system. Start by finding a place where you can keep all of your goodies together. At home consider a closet, under a bed, or in the garage. Avoid cardboard for storage because it can attract bugs. If budget permits, one of the best storage containers is a large plastic box with a lid (Rubbermaid® makes these.) You can also buy under-bed storage boxes made of plastic. At school, extra storage space will be a little more difficult to come by. Check with your local copy shop or professional printer and ask them to donate "case boxes" for storage. These boxes are similar to shoe boxes in that they have a lid that nests on top of the box, rather than four flaps - they are slightly larger than 11 x 17 inches on the base and are around 12" tall. Use them as is or cut the top of the box down to make the box shorter, depending on what you need to store, then label with a wide tip marker.

  • baby food jars
  • butter tubs and plastic ice cream buckets - good for airtight storage, bins for markers and crayons
  • buttons - sorting activities, decorations for art projects
  • boxes, all kinds - cereal boxes work great for various writing activites and art projects, shoe boxes for dioramas & storage
  • cardboard - use for signs, bulletin boards, making your own board games
  • collect game pieces from old board games to use for homemade games
  • broken crayons - use for melting in art projects from stained glass to candle making
  • socks - use for chalkboard erasers, puppets, beanbags, storage for marbles, dominos & other game pieces
  • small milk cartons - good for planting projects from seed, candle molds, creating miniature houses/models
  • cotton from pill containers for general art use
  • old clothes to dress up in for skits & plays, as well as cover ups for art
  • sunglasses & old eyeglass frames also for skits & plays
  • furniture - check garage sales for sofas or chairs that can be used in a reading corner, re-upholster them yourself if needed
  • styrofoam packing peanuts - fill pillowcases with peanuts for padded cushions, fill larger pieces of fabric to create beanbag chairs for reading areas
  • popsicle sticks - good for everything: spreading glue, building models, stiring paint
  • fabric scraps
  • yarn
  • toilet paper & paper towel tubes - art projects, gerbil & hamster toy
  • books for a reading corner - keep an eye out for books at garage and estate sales as well as bargain tables at booksellers
  • board games for indoor recess
  • mechanical/electronic devices - radios, watches, etc. for students to take apart and learn "how it works"


Film cannisters are good for storage of small things and for making crafts.