Friday, June 5, 2009

The Shoe Pencil

(Gasp - A picture on Teaching Sean. Don't we have another blog for that!)

In 4th grade I had a problem. (And before Katie beats me to it...this is what I look like when I have a problem in 4th grade) I had resource right before recess. The resource room was on one side of campus and Mr. D's classroom was on the other side. (In fact, when I was first told I was going to be in Mr. D's class I told my parents it was surely too far to walk and I needed an electric truck to get me from the house to class and then home again. They thought I could just leave home earlier.)

When I went to resource I took a pencil with me and when I returned to class I carried the same pencil back. However, like I said, I did that reverse trek during recess. In my school we had a game called 9 square - It was like the two and four square games I've seen at the schools I've taught at, but instead - we had nine. Who got into those first nine squares was determined by who got there first. Being in Mr. D's class created a huge disadvantage to all of us compared the rest of the 4th grade because we were so far away. But being in recourse, all I had to do was step out the door. Only one problem - what did I do with my pencil.

Sometimes I would put my pencil in my pocket, only to have the lead poke me as I played (where in I was bleeding and had to leave my square) or the eraser would rub up against me and slow my play (where in I'd lose and had to leave my square). Sometimes I would put my pencil on the ground near where the line started, but this resulted in the pencil getting stolen or stepped on (which in my mind meant I now had two pencils but my resource teacher told me I needed the one long and not the two shorts). I struggled with this for some time.

About half way through the year, Mr. Y (who was one of the coolest science teachers I know) announced we were having an invention fair and that each person needed to think hard about their invention. After some time I decided that having a place to put your pencil was a darn hard thing that needed an invention for it. With my dad we talked about it. We discussed where you could put a pencil and be safe. If it was on your belt you may brush up against it during 9 square. Taping it to your shirt kind of required you having tape readily available.

One day I came home and told my dad we should attach the pencil to your shoe. If it was on the outside of the shoe it wouldn't brush up against anything, it wouldn't poke you, it wouldn't make you bleed (and thus not require any medivac time). It would be on your shoe. So him and I worked together to attach the pencil to the shoe. Having helped my dad around the house, I knew he had tubing we could use. He melted the ends and stuffed some material down either end (He thought it would prevent the pencil from breaking in the tube - it turns out he was right). We used a rubber band to keep the cap in place and to force the pencil into the tube.

Once it was all done, we made our tri-fold display and took it to the fair. I got an A in science because of this project, but more importantly - I got Honorable Mention (4th place), my shoe in the paper, and my name in the paper. I was over joyed. Sadly we did not get any contract deals out of it (as far as I know) and it did not become a world wide sensation, but I am still proud of my little Shoe Pencil.

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