Are you tired of saying any of the following when you come in from recess:
Please put that down.
You can't bring that inside.
Get that out of your pocket.
I know you have something behind your back.
Then I have what may be a solution!
My darlings LOVE to bring in leaves (which will all be dead and blown away soon, so that won't last too much longer). Helicopters (Maple seeds....those will also be eaten by the mowers). So that leaves- rocks.....lots and lots of rocks!
Our playground has the railroad timbers and those lovely Red River Rocks! They are mostly smooth and I will admit, sometimes I am intrigued by the shape of one or two.....but if my crew had it their way, we would drive a back hoe out there at 10:00am everyday and bring a load back!!!!
And while we are all about exploration and questioning, our custodian Mr. Richard wishes we would do our exploring outside and questions why we bring so much crap back into the room!
So I made a deal- I gave all 20 of them little magnifying glasses and I told them they could take them to recess, but once they lost it, that was it. So the first day, they took them outside and I don't think anyone got on the slide or the swings or the monkey bars. Instead, they all looked like the Inspector from the Pink Panther with their heads down looking through those glasses!!!
And I told them they were more than welcome to bring in rocks, helicopters, and leaves. They were so excited....I bet there are still moms pulling rocks out of the dryer because they didn't get them all out of their pockets!!! I told them to have a seat and investigate while I called for groups to go to the water fountain.
There were tons of "Look how smooth this one is!" "This one looks like a bean!" and my favorite... "I think I found a dinosaur fossil!!" Everyone had quite a few "somethings" with them to look at and share with the others. It was really neat to see them so excited about their discoveries....little did they know I was about to pull the ole' switch-a-roo on 'em!!!!
I told them they could keep these in their pencil boxes and take them out again tomorrow. And that, again, they could bring back as much as they wanted....on one condition. Write about what you find and bring in... Tell me about it. If it is rock, tell me the color, the texture, the size....if it is a leaf- describe it....if it is an animal-LEAVE IT OUTSIDE! For someone who carries the name of a woodland creature- I am not a froggy, lizard, caterpillar, etc kind of girl.
There were moans and groans. So I said, "I understand. If you would like to still take the magnifying glass outside, feel free....but if you are planning on bringing anything in with you then- be prepared to use your describing words!"
(day ends, night falls, everybody sleeps, and we are back at school- ACTION!)
Recess time- Everyone took their glasses out. They were investigating everything! As they heard the Sqwhistle they came running up to the concrete where we line up. "Angelina" so thoughtfully reminds them "If you have something in your hand- you better drop it! Or she's gonna make you work!" I love "Angelina".
At that moment, it sounded like someone had dropped a truckload of rocks right there on the concrete!!!!! I thought I would fall over laughing! (on the inside)
There were a few who couldn't resist and would not let go of their finds, and they brought them inside. But they looked them over, and I got several good sentences about a dime, some rocks, and a bag of helicopters!
Soon it will be too cold or too wet or both and we won't be able to go out there at all. Maybe I will have them go explore in my neighbors classroom and they can write about that (I hope she reads this!) har har
A note: Mr. Richard complains a lot about other teacher's rooms. But not so much about mine anymore...It may have something to do with the fact that I have an incriminating photo of him playing Jacks with my son Jonathan when he was supposed to be working!!!