After a few years of dabbling in Foldables®, I decided I wanted more. So, I attended the Dinah Zike Academy to get some in depth training. Several days of intense instruction really helped me to rethink how I was helping children retain and organize information. I decided that I was going to use this strategy in all aspects of my instruction. So, what happens when a 5th grade teacher decides to go Foldables® immersed? I'm going to find out.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Day 6: They'd better have been telling the truth about the vaseline!
Maybe it's because the kid next to me in first grade was forever eating the paste. Or maybe it was having to watch the kid in front of me in second grade continually squirt and smear glue on his hands so that when it dried he could peel it off and pretend it was skin. Or maybe it was because I might have had a slight glue obsession myself in third grade. There was a quarter sized indentation inside my desk and after an accident I realized that if I filled it with glue it hardened into plastic! To my third grade self this was nothing short of a miracle and since I was often bored in class, creating plastic glue discs became quite the hobby for a time - well until the fourth or fifth time I forgot about the wet glue puddle and got it all over myself.
Got glue? (BTW the large plastic cups serves as "on table" recycling bins)
Regardless, I know that liquid glue can create all kinds of classroom issues. So, as soon as I was a classroom teacher (who had a say in the supply list) I promptly banned it from my class. Only glue sticks in my room - because other than drying out annoyingly fast - how much damage can they really do? And I've been fairly happy with my glue sticks. But now that I'm in full-on Foldables® mode --- glue sticks aren't going to cut it. So, I'm facing my sticky demons and letting them use liquid glue. But, I'm going to do as much preliminary damage control as I can. And here's where the vaseline comes in.
One of the most entertaining and helpful Foldables® presenters, whose session I had the pleasure of attending at a state science conference, told us that there was a trick to keeping the glue mess and stress under wraps. Aside from kids making a mess, the biggest problem with liquid glue use is how after time it gets clogged up or dried out and you have to pry apart the cap from the bottle and use a dismembered paper clip to poke through what's causing the stoppage. He told us that if, before you give the glue out to the kids, you take off the orange cap from the glue and then smear vaseline around the bottom part where the glue doesn't touch - that all of those problems basically get solved. Nothing stops up and the vaseline helps to keep the dry air out by creating a better seal, He swore by this method - and I've had great luck with his other suggestions so I decided I'd try it.
A parent generously donated 15 bottles of glue, so I began what I later realized was a fairly arduous task of removing the tops from all of these and then smearing vaseline along the inside with a q-tip. Fifteen doesn't seem that many until you have to pry reluctant orange plastic caps off of bottles. Those caps have ridges. And when you're trying to pull something off repeatedly that was not truly intended to come off - well it begins to leave a mark. The mark in this case was my thumb who at about bottle #9 was starting to get fairly sore. Oh and did I mention you need to do this carefully? If someone were to say, get annoyed with the process and try to yank the top off, you might break the inside piece making the whole bottle useless. Not that I would know anything about that....
All in all I got 22 finished today (my thumbs are really sore). I certainly hope they were telling the truth about how much of a difference this vaseline seal makes. I guess that's just another one I'm going to have to wait around and see what happens.