I will not talk in class
I will not talk in class…
Okay, I admit it. I had to write that sentence (or some version of it) 50 times X 50 times. And at some point in the third grade, my least favorite teacher devised a plan to curtail my social nature. She moved my seat in between two of the boys. That plan was a failure because, as it turned out, I had no problem relating to my testosterone-fueled classmates just as easily as my female bff’s. Back to writing sentences…
Perhaps that lay teacher placed a secondary “Mother’s Curse” on me. You know the one; when you wish for your little darlings to grow up and have little darlings of their own who mirror all their best traits (like forgetting their chores daily or debating every topic from global warming to the color of purple).
Setting out on this journey of home schooling twelve years ago, I figured that I’d escaped the trials and tribulations of traditional teaching. Visions of silent, studious students danced through my head. They would sit attentively while fully engaged in their bookwork in between our thoughtful discussions. Then reality set in.
To my knowledge there aren’t any notes passing back and forth with goofy pictures of the teacher (with horns and buck teeth), but eight opinionated pupils sure can find an endless stream of topics to chatter, debate, and muse about. Sometimes the volume reaches rock concert decibels.
“I will not” sentences penned and essays (detailing the merits of cooperation) sprawled on lined paper, I was still searching for the answer to eliminate the constant distractions at our school table. That’s when the light shone down on my laptop and I stumbled across a DYI genius who’d built collapsible partitions. So I raced to the basement (the home to all manner and size of cardboard boxes) and got my crafty on.
Emerging from the depths of our foundation with two brown cardboard tri-folds in hand, I established our new jurisdiction assignments. Setting my homemade cubicles around the most needy students, they were encouraged to decorate their spaces.
While I would be lying if I claimed that all the chit chat was arrested (I fear not even duct tape could squelch all their vocalizations- don’t worry I won’t try to find out), it is fair to say that those cubies aided in diminishing a portion of the unnecessary inter-table communications. My seven year old son, like most seven year old sons, can lose focus quicker than you can say “squirrel.” But behind his DYI wall his eyes are able to lock in on the next math equation rather than the antics of his 5 year old cohort who is attempting to balance a crayon on the tip of his nose.
This idea didn’t knock one out of the ballpark, but it certainly has become one of my constant classroom tools. In fact, my twelve year old daughter decided she wanted a niche of her own, so she recently hauled up her own brown board.
And, hey, as an added bonus they’ll be well trained as future office staff.