Thursday, January 29, 2009

Put Your Stuff Away

Usually, teachers use little tricks to help kids listen and follow directions. Asking kids to put things away if 'they are wearing green' or 'line up if you have a sister" works wonders. It is amazing how kids respond to this. I think you could really say anything (get your jacket on for recess if you still wet the bed) and kids would respond to it. Anyway, using these sorts of methods to get kids to follow directions, and at the same time maintain some control of the classroom, work well to prevent mass chaos. You don't need twenty kids simultaneously putting their mealworms back in their 'bug home' or twenty kids racing down the hall for recess. The bottom line is that teachers need these divides in the group to help them to not go crazy.

Like I said before, almost every student responds to these cues-no matter what category I have called out. After Reading one morning I needed the kids to put the class set of textbooks away. We were gathered on the carpet (yes, the carpet had primary colors and all of the letters of the alphabet arranged on it) and I needed to dismiss them a few at a time. If I didn't, a situation similar to 'Black Friday' would ensue. But instead of adults fighting and pushing each other over a sale priced plasma screen, students would be shoving to put a used $50 textbook away like it had lice all over its pages. They would actually be losing something in process, unlike the adults trying to purchase something. 

So, I first called the boys to put their books away. It went smoothly. The boys put their things away and sat at their desks. I asked the girls to put their books away. A little more quietly than the boys, the girls put their things away and returned to their seats. When I thought my job was finished and that we could move onto something else, I noticed one student still on the carpet examining the ever exciting alphabet on it. 

I questioned her on to why she was still on the carpet. Her response shouldn't have surprised me. This same student was Darth Vader for Halloween, the first person to touch the mealworms and the student that most frequently came back from recess with cuts,wounds and tales of pretending she was a dragon the night before instead of studying for her spelling test.

 I told her I had called the boys and then had called the girls. No one should be left on the carpet.

She told me, "Well, you never called the tomboys, so I am just waiting here until you do."

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