Last week the management didn’t exactly think out the assembly times, and so on the day of the show we ended up with one period that was significantly longer than the others. Like about 25 or 30 minutes longer.

We have to do all our assemblies twice because we can’t fit all of the kids into our multi-purpose room at once. So we do a 7th grade assembly and then do it again for the 8th graders. That means that whatever period we have the assembly during has to be the same length as the assembly. So that class is always longer than all the other classes they carve the minutes out of to make enough for the assembly. That means if management miscalculates the time needed for the assembly, and sends us back to class early, we might be stuck with a class that’s close to an hour and fifteen minutes, compared to 45 minutes for each of the others.

So much for lesson planning. Now you either have to kill that extra time with filler like circle time or videos or whatever, or you end up with a class that’s almost a day ahead of all your other classes.

Thanks a lot. I guess that’s why they get the big money in administration.

Anyway, I sort of did both; I let that class get out ahead on reading Outsiders (I am a pushover for kids begging to read), and then I stopped early and we had circle time. Somehow during that time, my Catholic school roots came out.

By the end of this epic circle time, I had explained and demo’ed many of the various “consequences” the nuns dealt out to us when I was a lad in seventh grade:

“Hit the Deck” – Kneeling on a pencil or pencils until the Sr. has decide you have served sufficient penance. I posted about this awhile back.

The “Balancing Act” – Standing in front of the board with arms outstretched, holding a very heavy literature anthology in each hand, with a stick poised to strike if either hand dipped below a line drawn on the board. Today that would be a training technique for athletes and people on World’s Biggest Loser.

The “Thwack” – The usual quick strike from the pointer stick or ruler for lack of proper attention or respect. Usually administered to the knuckles, forearm, shoulder, or butt if you were standing.

The “Poke” – A jab (or jabs) to the chest with the (thankfully) rubber-tipped ferule. This was usually administered as a remedy for ADD or as a memory aid.

And then there was “Nose in the Circle.” The good Sr. would draw a circle on the board, and “invite” the offending student to place his/her nose inside of said circle, to remain there for an unspecified length of time. It was a lot worse back in the day, what with all the chalkboard dust and all. And anybody that laughed joined you at the board. Sometimes we had three or four before the rest of the crew realized that Sr. Enda would be willing to draw 38 circles on the board (yes, my class in 1st-8th grade had that many kids or more), and finish the math lesson with the whole lot of us with our noses stuck to the board breathing chalk dust and knowing there would be a quiz tomorrow on whatever she was talking about now.

After I demo’ed that one using a circle on the board, I didn’t erase it. Finally after a couple of days, someone in another class asked about the circle on the board. I didn’t answer, I just went to the board and wrote a caption for it.

They keep asking me what it means. Even some kids in the class that heard the story. (sigh)

I haven’t answered yet. The theories are too much fun to listen to.