Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Assembly Line

Last week, a 3rd grade teacher asked me to take down students’ work that was displayed in the room and give it back to them. It was a daunting task, but I had been through about a gallon of coffee that morning and felt like running laps around the school, so I knew I could get the job done (and possibly climb the walls while I was at it). Also, I could get the kids to help!

Here is where I totally forgot that I was talking about 3rd graders.

I asked for volunteers, and I got 20 of the most excited 8 year olds swarming me like I was made of free candy and stickers and I realized right away what a dumb request that was. I had to be organized. So I regrouped and made up jobs for them. I went to the white board and wrote down the titles and who was doing what. Here is where my special talent for BS comes in handy.

The children who I could depend on to pull things off the walls and not damage/tear/eat the paper were Taker-Downers. That was their only job. Gently take things down. Also I like made up/jumbled words.

They then handed the work to the Sorters, who had to remove staples/tape and sort the work into piles. Staple-pullers.

Then the Passer-Backers took the work and placed it on the desks of the students it belonged to.

I described these jobs like we were responsible for safely launching a spaceship. I'm surprised I didn't get a Ground Control crew to chart us.

Now, I had to create a special category for 4 boys who I did not trust to do anything without being monumental pains in my ass or bothering other students. They were given the Very Special task of being Supervisors. I told the Supervisors have to walk around and make sure everyone is doing their job correctly, and if they are not, to quietly write their name down, and then secretly hand me the list so I could speak to the students who were not doing their jobs. (in reality, I did nothing, but kids love to rat each other out). This was mainly so the Supervisors stayed out of my hair while I took down the work from the highest parts of the walls and could be assured that they were not holding classmates in a headlock or breaking pencils.

What I got at the end looked something like this:

Slowly but surely, we did it.

And so it was this way that we took down an entire school year’s worth of work, together. Teachers need to be creative and flexible, and also kind of good at BSing.The Supervisors still think they got half their class in trouble for not pulling staples correctly. LOL on them, right?


  1. You're so creative at controlling chaos!

  2. You are brilliant! When I grow up, I want to be just like you. ;)

    What will we do all summer without you? Are you teaching summer school?

  3. Thank you!! I am not teaching summer school right now, but I do have a backlog of sub stories that I saved up, to hopefully last the break!

    If not I can also talk about my giant tortoise! :P

  4. aaahh i love these little anecdotes!!! awesome job for controlling the elementary kids! :D

    Animated Confessions

  5. My mom used to be a substitute at an elementary school. One day, she was subbing for a class of (I think) 3rd or 4th graders. It was one of the days where, instead of normal scheduling, the kids got to go to a special setup in another classroom and view this portable planetarium. Because of this, the kids weren't able to finish all their morning work and had to work on it later, during time when they normally did some other fun activity. One little boy complained, and my mother said, "I'm sorry, but all complaints must be submitting in writing at the end of the day."

    At the end of the say, sure enough, he brought her a sheet of paper and said, "Here are my complaints." She told him, "I'll leave them right here for your teacher. I'm sure she'll want to see them."

    He apparently got in a bit of trouble for giving the sub grief. Just a few years later, he and my brother met each other and became BFFs and now he's practically a member of the family. Not really sure what lesson that last bit teaches us, but there you go.

    Also, I wish I could comment w/ name/URL so I could link my blog when I comment. Hint hint.

  6. Morgan, that's an awesome story!!! LOL

    And how do I fix that?? I'd like to have blogs linked---but I am dumb when it comes to this stuff!