Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Snow Gear Scramble

If you teach primary school, you've seen kids looking like this stomping down the hall as they arrive at school.  If you're lucky.  Usually, the poor kiddo is dragging snow pants and dropping mittens like Hansel and Gretel heading into the woods with bread crumbs.  Usually, this kid is followed by fifteen other kids doing the same routine.  Followed by me.  Crying.  I know that I'm about to lose twenty minutes of instructional time to winter gear, then twenty more before and after recess.

It starts easy enough, a few mittens here or there in the fall.  Then hats.  And boots.  Then the black snow pants.  With no name. I beg and plead with parents, "Please, for the love of all things holy, LABEL your child's snow gear."  The next day I get a note.  "Please help Johnny find his black snow pants. We didn't label them, sorry."

Yesterday I declared war on the snow gear scramble.  As my students staggered in, I met them with a chart titled "Snow Gear Procedures." I taught the first four students how to go through the procedure.
1.  Put your mittens in your hat.
2.  Put your your hat in your coat sleeve.
3.  Put your coat on your hook.
4.  Put your snow pants on the other hook.
5.  Put your boots in the bottom cubby.

After the first four demonstrated competence with the chart I left them to introduce the chart and teach the remaining students how to take care of snow gear.

That solved the morning problem, and made getting ready for recess easier. However, when mittens are wet from recess, nobody wants them in a coat sleeve.  So I've asked all the parents to send in a big reusable shopping bag to store all the wet snow gear after recess.  When the students come in from recess to lunch, they can plop their wet stuff in the bag and then easily carry it back to the classroom.  Now I don't have to follow the trail of mittens back to the room.  When dismissal time rolls around, the kids can simply grab their gear bags and go.  Instructional time is saved, and I'm not holding thirty different mittens in the air asking for an owner.  We should be all set now....until mud season.

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