What to do with all those pens we (well .... me) collect at those conferences? Give them to school children in Thailand!
While at the ASDC Conference this year, my supervisor Nellie almost died when she saw me collecting what seemed like hundreds of pens from the various trade booths. However... as I collected all those pens... all the while embarrassing Nellie....I knew what I planned to do! So the last day of my teaching at the primary school, I put all the pens in a bag and allowed the students to reach in and pull out a pen. What fun they had pulling out a pen and then checking with their school mates to see what they'd gotten!
My final day of teaching at the school just happened to coincide with the national "Respect Teachers' Day." During the ceremony on this day, school children make beautiful flower arrangements that they then present to their teachers. Sitting in rows before their teachers in an outdoor assembly hall, the students walk on their knees, holding their precious flower bouquets, to the front of the hall. Once in front of their teacher, the students lay their body down on the floor to receive a blessing. Upon arising, they present the flowers to the teacher, then return to their sitting area... again... walking on their knees. A very moving ceremony.
Once the formal ceremony was over... some of the students I'd taught, presented me with their own special flower gifts. In addition to lots of flowers, many of the students presented me with notes hand written notes... in Thai!