What are two of the worst words in education? Indoor recess. Walking back from lunch after an indoor recess, my body always seemed to tense up as I anticipated the class “lookout” popping his/her head around the corner and shouting, “Here he comes!!!” A scene closely resembling that of a WWE cagefight usually popped into my head. Desks tipped over. Bodies strewn across the floor. You get the picture. Unless a teacher is running a high fever, just the thought of an indoor recess is enough to bring on a case of the heeby-jeebies. It seemed that most of the time when I crossed the threshold into my classroom I had about six to ten kids telling me what happened. Two or three of them always took it upon themselves to report every misdeed from the most minor infractions to the violent felonies committed by their classmates. The remaining kids jostling for my attention were usually defending themselves before the prosecution team finished their closing argument.
So in order to keep myself from going totally insane, this is what I would oftentimes do: Hand every student a small piece of paper or a sticky note. Tell them NOT to write their names on the paper. Number the paper from one to five. Each student writes down the five craziest, wildest, loudest, most obnoxious students in no particular order from the previous indoor recess. Give your students something to work on quietly while you collect the papers and tally the results. I always secretly enjoyed this part, even though I may have looked serious on the outside.
Usually the next indoor recess was pretty mild. (Especially with the five craziest, wildest, loudest, and most obnoxious kids in the hallway reading a book.)
Hope this helps,
*One more thing…any kid who has a red face, is out of breath, or has perspiration dripping down their temples when you return from an indoor recess was more than likely not making good choices.
*Okay, just one more. Here are some other two-word phrases that cause teachers to cringe: no coffee, in-service, plugged toilet, internet’s down, no sub (as in substitute), full moon (the lunar kind), somebody puked, and tornado drill.