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Plank Ownership


On the first day in a new facility, I wondered how to give the kids unique memories. As we dismantled the old building, I marveled at treasures found in back corners. I wanted my students to leave some treasure for when this building is no longer needed. I explained to students about plank ownership when a crew on a new Navy vessel is considered to be plank owners and leaves their autographs. Even ancient architecture reveals notes left by workers. I scanned the science lab. Under the counters are many long tall cupboards. Each cupboard has a ceiling that can only be seen lying on the floor. These ceilings became the place for autographs. I supplied students with markers and these requests: be tasteful in what you write and be certain it cannot be seen from a standing position. All 140 of my biology students found ways of contorting their bodies to tag the ceilings! I grinned as I watched it, thinking of future class reunions, visits to this school with their own children and even their grandchildren. I imagine the memories that will be brought back to those who are limber enough then to get down on the floor and gaze at the ceiling on which they wrote so many years earlier. I also grinned to think of all the teachers and students who will occupy this room over the next 40 years, never knowing what is there! It is a secret shared! Before I leave the profession this June, I will tag the teacher station with a note on that cupboard ceiling. I will explain to the reader that there are many treasures to be found here, if only they will look. Look into the eyes and hearts of your students, and look into the lab station cupboards!

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