6 weeks, 587 paperclips

The paperclip.

Such a simple office tool.

A bent wire paperclip was first patented in 1867. This clip was originally intended primarily for attaching tickets to fabric.

During World War II patriots clipped them to their lapels as a symbol of resistance against Hitler and the Nazi occupation. This inspired students from Whitwell Middle School to collect paperclips when they needed a way to visualize the millions of Jews killed during the Holocaust. [The Paper Clips Project] They have now collected over 30 million paperclips and use the paperclip as a reminder of the importance of perseverance, empathy, tolerance, and understanding.

Blogger Kyle MacDonald traded his way from a single red paperclip to a house over the course of a year. [One Red Paperclip]

Paperclips can help fasten a bracelet, or function as a stand for you phone….

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…or you can create life-sized sculptures just as artist Pietro D’Angelo did.

Who knew there could be so many ways to use a simple paperclip?

What do paperclips have to do with piano?

In January I felt like everyone, myself included, needed some added incentive to sit down at the piano to practice. Christmas was over and something was needed to brighten those short days. I was searching for a way to spark my students. I also wanted a visual for them to see what their practice efforts looked like. So I borrowed an idea I saw a colleague use with her students a few years ago.

Every week students kept track of the number of days they practiced. For each day they earned a paperclip. Simple. And the best part? It worked! I had some students put in two practices in one day just so that they could get eight paperclips instead of seven. Other students, the ones who struggle to find time to sit down at the piano, increased their practice days too.

In the end, after 6 weeks of hard work my bulletin board was covered with a grand total of 587 paperclips!

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