I have a family of school teachers. DW has the great good fortune to work one-on-one with a terrific autistic child. DD#2 teaches second grade, and her husband is a reading resource teacher who works with ESE kids.
Every once in a while they come home with a story to tell. Here is one.
DW heard this from a fourth grade teacher. She was preparing her class for "Florida Writes", a program to encourage creative writing. A lot of kids have a story within but don't have the confidence to express themselves. So she came up with an idea to help them along.
The teacher bought a box of pencils. Shiny, glimmering pencils.
"Class," she said, "I have an important announcement to make. I was at the Learning Station, looking for some books, when these pencils caught my eye. They were so sparkly and pretty, I couldn't resist picking one up. Much to my surprise, I realized they weren't ordinary pencils. No, they are special magic pencils."
The wide-eyed children listened intently as she continued, "The magic in them will help you get ready for the Florida Writes test. But there's one thing you have to remember. When you sharpen them, be sure not to use an electric sharpener. There's something in the electricity that takes out the magic. Oh, and one more thing. We can't use them on the test itself, that just wouldn't be fair to the children who don't have magic pencils. Are there any questions?"
A hand shot up in the back of the room. "Yes, Jimmy?"
"Can we use them for math, too?"