Sometimes when you’re milking a joke for more laughs, it’s easy to, well, go a bit further than you intended… I think this one might haunt me for awhile.

The CPS clickers have a feature where if a question has, for example, only two choices (as in a T/F question), and the kid clicks a choice beyond A or B, the screen shows a red X for that kid, indicating that (s)he has clicked something that is not one of the choices.

Now remember, seventh graders are the epitome of the expression, “monkey see, monkey do.” Once one of them starts “red x’ing,”  more than half the class is at it. (Attention EInstruction: make it a feature that every time, after the first couple, a kid gets the red X, it makes the answer incorrect. Maybe even have some sort of thing where it takes a point away for every red X?) For some of them it’s their “thing,” so once they’re done, the screen is a sea of flashing red X’s. (There are also kids, who when they’re finished early, have races to see who can click from one to the end more quickly.)

Over the course of time, some of them, through just the sheer volume of clicking they do, discover ways to make the CPS screen display a yellow X. Not just the yellow box border you get when you’re changing your answer, but a yellow X. Or even a green X. I don’t pay much attention to how they manage to do this, but when a yellow or (especially) a green X shows up on the screen, there is always a host of people blurting, “How’d you do that?”

Today, Joe (he’s been getting a little too much ink lately) managed to get the green X to display during the usual Friday test. Of course this was followed by a whole herd of them asking Joe to reveal his secret. Of course, half of those hadn’t even finished the test yet, but…

Anyway, my patience this week has been a bit thin, and so I tried nip this in the bud.

“Once all of you are finished with THE TEST, if you’re still soooo interested in how to get the green X with your clicker,  I’m sure Joe would be happy to give a workshop AFTER SCHOOL on how to get the green X.”

Lots of haha’s and a few grumblings and the usual remarks. Then someone says,

“What about the yellow X?”

“I think Joe’s workshop could cover that too, right Joe?”

“Oh yes.”

Haha’s all around. It’s Friday, and I’m feeling as sporty as the kids, so I say…

“I’m guessing Joe has figured out how to get all three X’s. Maybe you could all attend Joe’s After-School Triple-X Workshop.”

It was already out, even as I realized the effect it would have. Especially in this class, with SunnyIntriguing Question, OCDScreamer, and a vast majority of girls. I was just milking the gag, as any competent comedian would do.

The mayhem this line unleashed took a full 5 minutes to abate (one of this week’s vocabulary words). And then, per usual in seventh grade, there were the aftershocks, about 2-3 minutes later.

“I GET it!”

Most were fakies. A couple were the real thing.

So the rest of the day, I have kids coming in asking,

“Is Joe giving a workshop after school? That’s what I heard. What’s that all about?”

(Once we get to Tom Sawyer, and read chapter 33, maybe Joe could do a combo workshop.)