Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Great Debate

This is a serious matter.  This could mean the end of a friendship.
Which do you prefer...liquid glue or glue sticks? 

 I mean really should there be any question?
Kindergarten cannot function without glue sticks

Glue sticks are less messy, and they stick paper together smoothly.  Yes, the caps get lost (I keep a stash of the extra ones just in case), and Kinders do need to be taught to put the lid on until it clicks.  But when turning in papers or setting a project up to dry, it generally doesn't squish out everywhere, and stick to the neighbor's paper, and rip off pieces of their projects.  You can still write and color on papers glued with glue sticks, but with liquid glue everything gets wet and rips when you try to color before it dries completely.

My wonderful teaching partner doesn't think so.  She thinks liquid glue is the only thing to use.    We have had numerous discussions about the merits of glue.  I have agreed to concede that sometimes you need liquid glue.  Sometimes it is the only thing that will work and in that case you need two things:

1.  Glue that doesn't clog the lid
2.  Students that know how to open and close the lid and put the right amount of glue on the project.

First:  glue that doesn't clog.  Is that possible you ask?  Yes...but it is best to be proactive and prepare your glue bottles before school starts.  Heidi Butkus declared war on glue bottles last year.  You can read about it here.  I followed her advice and it worked, but it was a long, tedious, and somewhat messy process.  Then I found that Rachelle at What a Teacher Wants tried something slightly different.   I tried it with some new glue bottles over spring break and it also seemed to work.  So here is what I am going to do.

First--gather all my glue bottles and take the orange caps off.  Put them into a container with a bit of oil and let them soak.

Second--take off the inside white seal-tops.  Check to make sure all the little plastic parts are gone and the hole is open.  It is amazing how many have thin pieces of plastic still attached.  I use an Exacto knife to trim away the extra plastic.  Put them in the container with the oil and the orange caps.

Third--rinse them (don't worry if all the oil doesn't come off the lids).  Put them back together!  If you need a little extra lubrication, use a Q-tip to put a little Vaseline on the tracks so they turn open and close easier.  Voila!!  You have glue that will be better about not clogging and easier to clean when it does.

If you do this before school starts, you won't have spend all your time unclogging first.  I plan on doing the glue bottles I have on hand, and then, when the students have brought in their school supplies I will do it again.  I always buy enough at the back-to-school sales to get me started.  If I can find it for .25 cents a bottle I get enough for two bottles per student.  I'm nice that way.

Second:  I need students that know how to use the glue.  Last year was my first year back in Kindergarten and I didn't realize how many parents don't let their kids use glue at home.  It's a travesty shame how many students come to school NEVER having scissors or glue in their hands.  Coming from Third Grade I just assumed that all students knew something about how to glue stuff together...WRONG!!  This year I am smarter.  I knew I would have to teach twist on, twist close (I thought I was Mr. Miyagi...wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off), because 3rd graders can't do that either.  I now know how much reinforcement they need for: dot, dot, not a lot, cause and effect of too much glue, and when and how to make a frame with glue, put glue in the corners, and other gluing skills.  I found some bloggers on the internet  who are smarter than I am.  They have great ideas for teaching about glue and gluing.

First is Kathryn at KindergartenKindergarten.  She sacrifices glue sticks and markers to teach object lessons about how to take care of glue and then to reinforce the lesson she teaches her students a little song:

 I can just imagine making something up as I go along.  Like me, she also saves a stash of lids for the ones that will get lost.

Next is  Becca Ruth at That Little Art Teacher.  She teaches her students that the glue is sticking out its tongue and you must make it disappear.  She teaches students to listen for the glue to breathe, and if it doesn't, then you open, close, open, close, and take out the glue boogers.  She uses the phrase "baby dot" to describe the size you need.  I LOVE that!!  My Kinders last year loved the song "Baby Shark" and I can just imagine a little song:  Baby Dot do-do-do-do-do-do Baby Dot do-do-do-do-do-do, No Ma-ma Dots do-do-do-do-do-do No Ma-ma Dots do-do-do-do-do-do.  Music makes reminding your students what is expected more like fun and less like nagging.

Finally is Krissy Miner at Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business.  She gives her students a license to glue.  How cool is that!!!  She even has it as a freebie, we can grab it here.

Here's to hoping I can convince my teaching partner to give glue sticks another try.

What do you think?  Are you a glue stick teacher or is liquid glue your glue of choice?
What do you do to teach students how to use glue?
What kinds of rules and procedures do you have?



  1. Love your blog! You are an amazing writer. Thanks again for the link.

  2. Hey there!
    Thanks for the shout out!!! Oh, how I hate glue!!!! I still hate it, no matter how much better it gets with all of the "interventions," it's still just a giant pain in the you-know-what!
    Heidi Butkus

    PS. There's a glue song on my new classroom management CD, too!!!

  3. Looks like you are a specialist on this because you just made it so easy to be with you, motivated me to learn more on the subject!
    Kids Play School - Little Millennium

  4. I use glue sticks..BUT only "Big Lots" permanent brand. (Do you have "Big Lots" where you live?)
    I Hate the purple glue sticks...sooo messy.
    I use liquid glue only on certain projects.
    I use a glue gun on things I glue for the kids..I would rather do that than keep "fixing" the fall apart project!!

    1. No Big Lots Barbara....too far out in the middle of nowhere. We feel lucky to have Office Max, Wal-Mart, and a small JoAnns. Anything is 3 hours away at the closest.

  5. Most all of my elementary art classes use Q-Tips & mini cup w/lids. It's neat, easy and a dot of glue goes a long way. I teach my kids -when speaking of glue...less is best!

    1. I like the idea of using Q-Tips. I may just have to try that.