Front page > Power Tools > Weekend Edition > October 14 & 15, 2000

Recycle Everything: Even Broken Crayons  Take it a step beyond having extras around in case someone forgets or loses theirs or you somehow pick up an extra student. If a kid runs out of blue, you just give them another. But when the tub of brokens gets too large to be practical, it's time to get creative...

Using a muffin pan and liners or waxed paper and fishing line, you can use those broken crayons to create some big, fat, multicolored monster art sticks and some great "stained glass" looks for your room. Don't forget the candles that also make great gifts for a number of occassions. Once you read these ideas, you'll be asking kids to bring in broken crayons from home and asking your neighbors down the hall to send theirs your way too.

Brain Strain
For a morning puzzler to kick off the day, write a message or instruction on the board in CODE. A simple code can be as a basic as 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, and so on. For more of a challenge, use math problems first to determine the numbers, then have them decode with a basic code like the one above. With little or no instruction it makes students work harder to figure out what to do, and then encourages creative problem solving in determining the code. Use it to tell a class that they need to write in their journal or read the intro paragraph on page 52 of the text.

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THE BRIDGE BUILDER
by Will Allen Dromgoole
An old man going a lone highway
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and wide and steep,
With waters rolling cold and deep.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting your strength with building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way.
You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you this bridge at eventide?"
The builder lifted his old gray head,
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
The chasm that was as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim--
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him."

CONTRIBUTOR: Theresa Lovelace, literacy staff developer in the Chancellor's district in New York City (made up of 49 of the lowest performing schools in NYC.) "I came across the poem a few weeks ago and thought it was important for educators to read it to really see what it is we do and why we do it,‹especially in light of the fact that there is so much pressure placed upon teachers and administrators that there is much frustration and even consideration as to why even bother. I think this poem brings it all home. I think you'll agree. I've used it to begin my professional development‹sessions and struck a nerve with all who were in attendance."