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Solutions on the Fly

Kristi Rector

Uh, oh! Those words, spoken by a child, can send a chill of dread down the spine of every teacher -- what catastrophe awaits? Kids seem to naturally attract small disasters...it's a wonder the custodian and church board don't grill you weekly about the state of your classroom carpet!

Never fear -- our disaster guide is here! We've got simple ways to solve some of your worst problems. Use these solutions to get out of a jam the next time classroom disasters strike -- and your reply to "Uh-oh!" will be a calm, "No probem!"

Gobs of Glue

Glue: a classroom necessity, a potential cleanup nightmare. Here's what to do when you've got glue everywhere.

• Fresh Glue-Scrape off as much of the glue as possible, blotting fresh glue with paper towels while it's wet. Scrub the area with a cloth dipped in white vinegar. Then soak the area with warm water and blot it, repeating with vinegar if needed.

• Dried Glue-For dried glue, scrub the area with a cloth dipped in Goof Off solvent (available at hardware stores or www.valspar.com). Do a color-safe test before applying this solvent.

Marker Mishaps

Marker lesson number one: Never allow permanent markers to infiltrate your classroom. Marker lesson number two: Follow this guide the next time markers leave a colorful impression on your classroom.

• Fabric Stains-For marker stains on fabric, dot the stain with a baby wipe. The glycerine content in the wipes will keep it from setting in. Then apply a spot remover (pet stain spot remover works well), and wash.

• Dry-Erase Boards-For regular or permanent marker on a dry-erase board, simply color over the entire area of the marker stain with a dry-erase marker, let it sit for about 10 seconds, then wipe it away. For older stains, you may need to do this a few times. This technique can be used on other nonporous surfaces as well.

• Wood Stains-For marker on wood, gently erase the marks with a pencil eraser.

• Fresh Marker-For fresh marker stains, put white toothpaste on a toothbrush and gently scrub the surface for 45 seconds. Let it stand for one minute, then wipe away the stain wih a damp cloth.

Crayon Catastrophes

Kids love crayons. After all, they color on just about anything! Here's what to do when kids color a little too far outside the lines.

• Carpet and Clothing-Sur­pris­ingly, Murphy Oil Soap will pull crayon out of carpet and clothing. Apply it full-strength to the stain and use a wet white cloth to wipe away the stain.

• Hard Surfaces-On walls, rub the area with a dryer sheet to remove crayon marks. This also works for removing crayon from TV screens.

• Wall Marks-Use WD-40 to remove crayon from walls. Just spray and rub away the marking with a cloth. After removing the crayon, wipe the area with a gentle cleanser.

• Other Surfaces-To remove crayon from various surfaces, mix a little baking soda and water together to make a paste. Scrub the area with the mixture on a sponge. Spray the area with a cleaner to remove the mixture, and you're done.

• Almost All Other Marks-For a chemical-free solution to remove crayon marks, just raid the pantry for a piece of bread and rub the spots with it.

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