Today at school we were just minding our own business when - lo and behold - the lights went out! It was a defining moment for our 5th grade classroom. Busy using their study hall time to complete their work, everyone stopped in their tracks.
It wasn't so much about the lights going out as it was the screaming coming from next door. With a sub in charge and a rambunctious group of kids, their response was quite different than ours. What I found interesting was the thinking I could almost see, percolating in my students' heads. Imitate or ignore. That was the question of the minute.
Capitalizing on their less than instantaneous response, I quickly laid on the praise.
"Wow, I am so impressed by how mature and responsible you are all behaving right now! You are setting such a good example! You will be great leaders in our school when you get to 6th grade."
With chaos diverted for the moment, we adjusted the already open blinds for maximum light. The internet seemed to be responding just fine, so I suggested everyone continue on with their work. With minimum fuss, we returned to what we were doing.
So focused were we that when someone popped her head in a couple of minutes later to remind me to turn on the walkie-talkie, I was difficult to locate. She put her hand to her head, searching for an adult. "Where's your teacher?" she inquired as she peered around the room.
I raised my hand. "Here I am!"
We all had a good laugh. I was sitting next to a student helping him with his slice, blending right in!
After a couple more minutes, someone said, "Mrs. Kires, it's so quiet. Can it be like this all the time?"
Another student remarked, "Mrs. Kires, why are we all whispering?"
Along with the lights, the blowers for our heating system were also not working. At that exact moment we all realized how much background noise we dealt with during the normal school day. The constant drone of the heating system is something we have all learned to live with. (I have grown harder of hearing over the years, but now I know what to blame it on!)
We worked together in peace and harmony until the lights (and heater) came on again. At which point we all agreed to turn OFF the lights!
I think I will suggest we do the same tomorrow, unless one of my students beats me to it.
To which I will reply, "O.K., lights out!"