A couple weeks ago (3, perhaps 4), I noticed my students playing a game of tag. In the classroom. Before the bell rang. And after the bell rang. And when they were doing individual work.
I watched them at it for a day or two. Just to see if I was okay with it. My intern coach always tells me to look at different things happening in my classroom and ask if I am okay with it. If I'm not okay with it, something has to change.
And so, I watched them.
It was an ongoing game of tag. When the day ended and they all left the school, the game paused. When the next day began and they began arriving, the game began again.
Alberto, I think, is the one that started it, but it could have been one of the cousins, or any of my gentlemen.
I asked them the rules.
"You can't get tagged when you're sitting down!" they were all quick to reply. Ah, that explained why some began the morning in the wrong seats.
"And not if you're standing in line!" a couple other students added. Aaaand that explained why the last two people to line up took so long.
"Okay," I said. And I continued to watch.
I have mentioned, in an earlier post, that we are not allowed to run in my class. The reason for this is that one day, near the beginning of the school year, I was going to be that cool excited teacher who ran across her room to point out a word on the word wall. After my first running step, my right calf said, "NO!" and immediately stopped working. Which was a problem, because I was running and couldn't stop, even though my leg had.
Luckily, I only hit two desks and even made it back to my word wall.
Unluckily I limped for 2 weeks and had to take the (notoriously slow) elevator.
Running in the classroom, from that point forward, was banned.
As I watched my students over the next week, I began to notice that some of them would run to get to a chair. Run to get in line. Run back to their seat. Not do what I'd asked because the person that was it was the only other person not sitting.
Okay, I thought. I'm not okay with this. Something needs to change.
I thought about it a lot. Then I realized exactly what I needed to do.
The next morning I stood in front of my class to give them some announcements. Announcements about tag.
"I'm giving you new rules today," I told them. "Rule number 1: if you run in class, you are automatically it. Rule number 2: if I ask you to do something, you cannot get tagged." I looked around the room to see if they were listening and if they'd do it.
"Knowledge!" said Alberto. He held out his hand for emphasis. (They've been obsessed with the word for a while.) The other students agreed.
And I knew they weren't going to run anymore.