Monday, September 15, 2008

The Missing Crayon Mystery

I've been very organized so far this year. (It was one of my "new school year" goals.) As a result, my lessons are planned and I feel fairly well prepared each day. And then I walk into the classroom and it all goes to hell.

Today's reality kick-in-the-pants came during a math lesson. We were learning that when we reverse the order of addends, the sum remains the same. The math workbook page had an activity which required the kids to color boxes to illustrate the concept. For example, 3 red boxes plus 2 blue boxes equals five boxes altogether... and 2 blue boxes plus 3 red boxes equals 5 boxes altogether. Not too difficult. I introduced the lesson by demonstrating with animal cut-outs on a felt board. All was well. Then I asked the kids to take out the things they'd need for the lesson: math workbook, pencil, red crayon, blue crayon. This request was met with mass chaos:

"I can't find my red!"

"Neither can I!"

"I have my red, but no blue..."

"My blue is broken!"

"Hey, I have 2 yellows!"

"He stole my crayon!"

"I don't have a red OR a blue!"

"I think I left my crayons at home..."

After a quick pouch inspection, I discovered that only half of the kids still have a full set of crayons. Each child was given a brand new 8-pack of Crayola crayons on the first day of school (which was only 9 days ago), along with a brand new zippered pencil pouch to keep supplies in. I don't allow them to take their pouches home, for fear they won't come back. I sweep my room every day... I've only found maybe one or two stray crayons. So where did all the crayons go?

Sheesh. I'll add it to the list of things to address at Back to School Night.

(By the way... the math guide book doesn't offer an alternative activity for kids who lose their crayons. I could have substituted different colors, but I probably would have run into the same problem. I wound up doing it as a group lesson on the white board, which wasn't nearly as interactive, but... it was the best I could do.)


Kristyn said...

Were you a fly on the wall in my classroom? I have the same problem. Day 12 and half of the kids have no pencils or crayons...I'm beginning to think that they eat them!

Dree said...

Oh, don't even get me started on pencils... I sharpen about 10 after school every day, and they disappear as soon as the kids walk in the door. It's crazy.