Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday, Hand Clappers & Paint Balls

Like the other gajillion people across the country, I ventured out on Black Friday to do my part to stimulate the economy. I must have had a post-it note stuck to me that read, “Run Into Me.” Despite walking on the right side and walking in a reasonable facsimile of a straight line, people continually veered into me. I almost defensively backhanded one guy when he ran into me while looking the other way. Jeez Louise. (At least I didn’t get trampled like that poor guy at Wal-Mart.)

And if all that wasn’t bad enough, people randomly stopped.

Right in the middle of the walkway traffic flow.

So no one could get around them.

Creating a bottleneck.

Just like in the hallways at school.

Jeez Louise, I felt like I was back at work. But if I had been back at work, I would have had my hand clappers with me and all would have been all right.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why in the Sam Hill I needed my hand clappers. Betcha didn’t realize these nifty little gadgets double not only as an applause maker, but work great as a disciplinary tool. (And, no, I’m not talking about smacking people upside the head with them. Although I must admit, the thought has crossed my mind a time or two.)

Because we all know how dicey the time between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break can be, I’m going to give you two nifty ideas to help you make it to Christmas. (And, no, you won’t ever get this nifty bit of advice from any teacher professional development day either.) Just a word of caution, though, and a disclaimer of sorts: The Hand Clapper Clearing Method is tried and true and field tested by me. The second idea, although pretty darn tootin’ nifty, probably would require at least a gaggle of attorneys, a Get Out of Jail Free card and an early retirement plan. (I have yet to try the second idea.)

The Hand Clapper Clearing Method

The week before Thanksgiving break, Rhonda, my hallway monitoring compadre, and I finally tired of the logjam in our hallway during each passing period. The area we supervise is a huge common hallway with a vaulted ceiling (at least two-stories of openness). Although the design provides some rather nice architectural aesthetics, you’ve got to wonder what kind of crack these guys were smoking when they decided what a nifty neat-o idea it would be to elevate the ceiling so that the sounds of hundreds of teenagers would echo and reverberate through the hallway like the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Of course, those sounds become more magnified when clusters of these darlings randomly stop, you know, right in the middle of the traffic flow.

So no one can get around them.

Creating a bottleneck.

We tried everything. Asking politely for them to move on. Yelling at them to move on. Going up to them and personally requesting them to move on. Handing out detentions if they didn’t move on.

But nothing in our disciplinary arsenal seemed to work. Nothing. Nadda. Zip.

Enter the Hand Clappers.

The week before Thanksgiving break, Rhonda and I entered the hallway armed with hand clappers. We clapped incessantly. We walked up to the hallstoppers and said nary a word. We just clapped and clapped and clapped some more.


The clapping noise echoed and reverberated. We stood next to the hallstoppers and clapped and clapped and clapped. The Little Darlings couldn’t hear themselves chat above the clapping. Our hallway emptied quickly.

With just a clap, clap, clap, we had became more annoying than the hallstoppers. Between every passing period, we stood and clapped. I even added my maracas for a little variety–a clapper in one hand, a maraca in the other.

Paint Ball Tagging Method

I wish I could claim this idea as my own, but sadly, this moment of brilliance goes to another of my hallway monitoring compadres. We all know kids who act up all day, but manage to stay just under the administrative radar because they always act up just enough to annoy the bejeebers out of their teachers and classmates, but not enough for an office referral.

Well, my peeps, those days are gone with our Paint Ball Tagging Method.

Here’s how it works…Every teacher gets issued a paint ball gun with yellow, green and red bullets. Little Johnny acts up in first period. Teacher splats him with a yellow pellet. Johnny has been warned. Class over. In second period, Little Johnny acts up. Teacher sees the yellow warning. Splat! Teacher nails him with a green pellet. That’s his second infraction. Bell rings. Johnny moves on to third period where he acts up again. Splat! Teacher nails him with a red pellet. If he acts up again at any point the rest of the day--in class, in the hallway, at lunch--Johnny automatically goes to the office because everyone sees the red splat and knows he’s used up all his warnings.

Of course, we’d probably have to devote some professional development time to practice our aim and accuracy of our splats, and we’d probably also have to update our disciplinary management code to outline splat-worthy infractions.

Pretty darn tootin’ nifty, don’t ya think?

But like I said before, you probably want to have at least a gaggle of attorneys on your speed dial.

And probably a Get Out of Jail Free card.

And oh yeah, an early retirement plan, too.

OK, OK, OK. Perhaps we should just stick with the Hand Clapper plan.


Melissa B. said...

I've got some Redskins clappers here somewhere...think I'll inflate them and take them to school with me manana! And I agree with you...think I train for Black Friday all year round just by being a hall monitor in a high school! BTW, don't forget to tune in to Sx3 today...we've got the Holiday Spirit!

Kelley said...

I wish I had thought of that, but as I can see you and Rhonda doing that in your hall, I am laughing already.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the same thing when I went shopping. A couple pushed a grocery cart right in front of me to load their trunk. I was walking along, and they could have easily let me pass. Oh, how I wish I had some hand clappers handy! Where can I buy some? I think they would be a great addition to my purse.

askthehomediva said...

Most party stores carry the hand clappers. I got mine from Party City, but you can also buy them on line as well at Oriental Trading Company or places like that. I keep a class set and hand them out to my students to use for applause after someone gives a presentation. They love it :-)

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I'm definitely buying some. I've been looking for something a little different since I started substituting.