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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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'Tis the season to find that special nerdtastic teacher a special gift that will make the rest of the school year move by at an accelerated pace. Below are some great geeky gifts that would make any teacher smile.

Polar Pen

The Polar Pen is a recent Kickstarter grad that has created something fun. The last innovation of the seemingly eternal ballpoint might have been the multi-colored pen. Having blue, black, red, and green all in one pen blew my mind, and the Polar Pen is right up there in mind-blowing power. The entire pen is held together by magnets. Yes, magnets. Once you've collected the pieces of your mind strewn around the room, this video will explain the fancy aspects that make this pen awesome. Basically, you can put it together and take it apart as often as you want and play with the magnets when you don't need to be writing anything. Another cool part of the Polar Pen is that it doubles as a stylus for your smart device. Need to switch from pen and paper to tablet? No problem! The Polar Pen has you covered. This is a very cool idea that should be lots of fun for the fidgety teacher who needs a pen and a stylus.

Grammatical Art

For the nerdy science teachers, here's some great art found on Etsy. Grammatical Art has created this really cool poster for those who need to understand how salt is put together. This would look lovely in any living room and serve as a nice way to test friends on how well they did in chemistry class. Grammatical Art has other nerdy gifts available on Etsy that are worth checking out. There's a great nerdy robot poster and a nice version of the Periodic Table that would be wonderful gifts for the science nerd that has a warm place in your heart. Check out the rest of the art and find the perfect gift for your favorite geek.

Cassette Bluetooth Adapter

This amazing gift proves that magic really does exist. Now, a Cassette Bluetooth Adapter is a tad user specific -- the lucky recipient must still own a car with a tape deck or a really old-school boom box. Just slide the adapter into the tape deck and your car becomes a Bluetooth-connected device. You can send it music from your phone and rock out to the oldies without hauling around that tub of old cassettes. The device also comes with a microphone so that -- amazingly -- you can make Bluetooth phone calls. I bet there are plenty of teachers out there whose in-class cassette players still get regular use. With this nifty adapter, teachers could stream audio from their device to enhance lessons -- or rock out in the car at the end of a long day. This is such a cool solution to a very unique problem.

Bites and Pieces Sandwich Crust Cutter: Tetris Style

Yes, please! For the gamer geek who loves to eat, here is a wonderfully fun present. I have always said that sandwiches are way too boring. I've been waiting for someone to solve this age-old problem, and here's the answer. This wonderful, inexpensive crust cutter will allow the user to cut a sandwich into delightful little Tetris pieces to make lunchtime far more fun than it's ever been. Why let your love pack a lame sandwich when this neat tool could make him or her the talk of the lunchroom? It's sure to bring hours of nourishing fun to anyone who's always wanted to eat Tetris pieces. Snap up this sandwich enhancer as soon as possible.

Flux Capacitor USB Car Charger

This gift is a no-brainer for the time travel nerd in your life. The Flux Capacitor is one of the most important icons of time travel, right up there with the Tardis. And this Flux Capacitor USB car charger sports two USB ports for the driver to charge multiple devices before jumping through time. Its lights will shine bright as devices are charged. Running in stealth mode? Turn the lights off with a flip of the switch. The Flux Capacitor is adjustable so that all of the devices can be snugged in for easy charging. It's another perfect gift for the person who charges those devices on the go.

USB Pet Rock

What do you get for the person you don’t want to give a gift? If you have to do Bad Santa or Pink Elephant gift exchanges, the USB Pet Rock is for you. This updated version of the classic Pet Rock still brings the same thing to the table that it did 40 years ago -- nothing. It doesn't do a single thing. You can plug it into a device and it will not draw power. It will sit there on the desk next to the computer taking up a USB port. Like all other types of rocks, the USB Pet Rock takes up space. If you're looking for the perfect gift for someone you don't like, this has to be the winner. Geek or not, this gag gift will garner a few smiles and stink eyes.

These are just a few of the very nerdy gifts out there. There are tons more worth exploring if you seek the perfect gift for that special nerd or nerdette. Happy holidays and feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments portion below.

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Holiday Gift Guide
Whether it is a gift of kind words or a Bluetooth-enabled robot, this series offers new ideas on showing gratitude to students and educators alike.

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TODD SENTELL's picture
TODD SENTELL
Author of the hilarious schoolhouse memoir, "Can't Wait to Get There. Can't Wait to Leave"

HOLIDAY COFFEE JOLT ... WITH CREAM AND MONEY

Biff's mom tracked me down and gave me a little gift bag that had a comical picture on it of Santa Clause screaming Ho! Ho! Ho!

After she walked away I dug through the red tissue paper to find a Starbucks cardboard envelope. I figured that a Starbucks gift card was in the envelope. When I saw she had written $110 on the amount line I really got to thinking about how much she thinks I've helped Biff in civics class this semester because he started off by running out of the classroom on tests days to find furniture objects to kick in the commons room while he whined and cussed and now he's all prepared for tests and seems to like them a lot. Heck, he ended up with a final fall semester grade of 101.

On my way home today I ran into by my local Starbucks with all that delicious money. Even a small cup of regular coffee costs a lot. Don't get me started on the fancy mugs and the bug-eyed folks staring into something electronic.

Anyway, I decided to overindulge in my recent teaching success so I grabbed a bag of Kenya (juicy acidity; currant), Organic Yukon Blend (hearty; well-rounded), and Christmas Blend (spicy, sweet & perfect when we're together). I thought about getting some of those expensive, pre-made sandwiches with cheese wedges, but I remembered I had some curled-up sliced ham in a package, yellow mustard, and loaf bread at home already.

They grind all that coffee up for you, too ... for free.

When the girl at the cash register, Malicia, told me the price for all that coffee I didn't even blink. It's fun and easy and effortless to spend other people's money. I handed her the card.

Malicia did some zippy-looking things with the card, then she said ... Forty-two ninety-eight.

I said I don't understand. You know, just take it off the card.

She said you owe some more.

I said I still don't understand.

She said the card had only ten dollars on it.

With a mild, pleading tone in my voice I said ... I just got that card from Biff's mom not thirty minutes ago. I'm his civics teacher. She wrote one hundred and ten on the gift card part. She wrote Merry Christmas, too. I swear to God. It's out in my truck. Do you want me to go get it?

Malicia, with a mildly uneasy look on her face, glanced around the store, like she was all of a sudden dealing with a merry lunatic. I glanced at the people in the line behind me.

Them, too.

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