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in the hoosegow

Thursday, March 10, 2005

chaos, your name is 7th grader

I had a really fun hour's worth of activities planned for 60 middle schoolers today. Since the group was so big I broke them up into four groups and each went to four stations. I had four of my colleagues on board, enough to man each station and an extra to help out the systems guy (who is not an instructor and wasn't sure that out of 60 children one wouldn't pull a few plugs and bring our servers down). At each station the kids would get an answer to a question, either by searching themselves, asking at the reference desk or figuring out a puzzle. They would put all four answers together at the end to answer one last question and get a prize. Sounds like fun, right?

Then reality struck. 60 middle schoolers arrived with only two adults. Huh? Who thought that was a good idea? I had to scramble to grab two of my colleagues to fill in because I needed each group to be shuttled from station to station and not get hopelessly lost in our huge library. Then as groups were switching, one was slower than the others and we got out of synch. The teachers were bitchy and one (we discovered later after comparing notes) was talking on her cell phone almost the entire hour.

The children, on the other hand, were cute, well-behaved, ready to participate and have fun. Despite the chaos we created around them, they seemed to have a good time, and the chorus of pens clicking (their prizes) I heard at the very end was music to my ears.


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