Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Long Does it Take?

So yesterday was the last day of the state tests for the year; Day 2 of the Math testing. I’ve learned from experience that the kids can’t handle much more math after being subjected to the state tests for two hours in the morning. So the two days of the state math tests are game days in my classroom – very rare occurrences for my students.

My last hour class started out pretty good until after I had them rate how the state math tests went. They answered with a finger rating (one finger for going really well; five fingers for going very poorly; two, three, and four fingers for somewhere within that spectrum).

Their hands went down and I began to let them know what they would be doing in class that day – having a free day. I got two words out of my mouth before the whole class erupted in chatter. I walked over to the light switches near the door to turn the lights off, signaling the class to be quiet. As I approached the switches, I realized that the past few times I have tried that, it has not done anything to quiet that class. So I just walked out the door, letting it close behind me.

I stood with my ear at the small opening of the door, waiting to hear the kids quiet down. There were shouts of “Guys, we need to be quiet or Ms. Grivna won’t come back in!” and whispers of “I think she’s not coming back.” I just tried hard to stifle my growing laughter at their statements.

Our 7th grade counselor walked by and gave me a questioning look. I told her that I was waiting to see how long it would take for the whole class to be quiet. She peeked in the room to see who was in the class. We talked for a minute or so and laughed at the whole situation. She was still chuckling and shaking her head as she left.

A couple minutes later, my door opened and a piece of paper was thrown into the hallway, with the door slamming shut moments after. On the piece of paper was a note stating (in muli-colored highlighter):
“Declaration of Algebra
We the
People of
7/8 B Algebra
are really
sorry and
will be quiet.

I laughed quite loudly and had to read it aloud to the two students sitting across the hall from another class, as they had been witnessing the whole course of events.

I cracked open the door just slightly to hear if the class was going to stop talking finally. They had! I opened the door and got half of one foot into the classroom when three of my girls, on bended knee in front of the door, started to break into song.

I turned my back on them and walked out of the room, completely closing the door behind me. Once the door was closed, I started laughing again. I could hear the volume level increasing again, so I cracked open the door.

The kids began arguing about what they should do to get me back in the room. I thought I would help them a little, so I folded the note they had thrown into the hallway so that just the last two lines were showing (“will be quiet – class”). I held that part up to the door window and stood there, waiting to see if anyone noticed my little hint.

Two students did notice. They yelled to their classmates and pointed out the note in the window. Not more than a minute later, they were silent and I made attempt number two at walking back into my classroom. This time the kids stayed quiet. I looked at the clock. TEN MINUTES had passed since I had left the room.

But, oh, what an amusing ten minutes that had been. :)