Thursday, August 28, 2014

How Getting Kicked Out of Starbucks Helped My Students Put their NAMES on their Papers {Laugh it Off Linky}

Introducing the LAUGH IT OFF LINKY, teacher-bloggers feel free to link up funny stories from the grid iron of education. You could link up a meme blog post (no story necessary), a diatribe, a rant, a story, something to make a teacher take the edge off of the tough job of educating our youth today. Teacher-non-bloggers, share your stories, memes, whatever in the comments! :)

{Bloggers---How to Link Up: Grab the image, link back to this post in your post. Link up at the bottom :) }

Soooo you're here to find out how getting kicked out of Starbucks®
helped my students to put their @#!$? names on their papers?

When I moved from second grade to first grade gifted a couple years back I noticed a few major changes:
  1. They didn't know how to tie their shoes. (Unfortunately for parents, shoe-tying was not in the state standards- went over this at open house)
  2. They lose way more teeth than second graders and are moderately obsessed with the tooth fairy. 
  3. They were super cute and eager to learn.
  4. They don't put their name on their papers. Like, ever.
  5.  I was going to go insane if it didn't change.    

When I have a huge stack of papers to grade I like to schlep it over to Starbucks®
and get it done there. I like working there because I can focus and am not distracted by the TV, chores, going to the pool, something shiny, etc. It's just me and my work and I like to knock it out with my veins caffeine filled while singing along to Rufus Wainwright pandora. 

It was about one month into school and I was grading a rather large pile of papers from my first graders that week. It was center work, tests, writing, spelling tests, reading assessments you know the pile (you probably have one going in your teacher bag).  

Well as I was going it was 'no name' after 'no name' after 'no name' until I had a pile about 1/3 of the size of my overall pile of 'no names.' 

One writing piece in particular set me off. It was a beautiful narrative piece, the little writer did everything wonderfully. Great juicy adjectives, lovely small moments, captions, drawings, correct punctuation. It was very impressive for a first grader. But yep, you guessed. 

"PUT YOUR NAME ON YOUR PAPER!" I shouted abruptly in Starbucks®. I startled the staff and patrons.

People looked, smiled and went back to their Starbucks habits. Now is probably the time, I suppose, that I should admit, I didn't really get kicked out. 

But I had an idea to fix the problem. 

 Writer's Workshop began our day that year. We were working on narratives. The next day, I shared with my students a narrative I wrote. It was called "The Time I got Kicked Out of Starbucks."

I told them how I shouted out (just like I did) and then I fabricated the rest.  I told how I continued to rant and rage and throw the papers. I told him that I was pulling my hair and shouting "Too many 'no name' papers! Why won't they put their name on their papers?" Then the manager helped me pick up the papers and told me I was disturbing the customers and asked me to leave Starbucks® and walked me to the door. 

After I read it, I asked the students what the lesson was. 

"We should put our names on our papers!"
 I asked the students if we could work together so I can keep grading papers at Starbucks®- of course a different one ;) I couldn't show my face at the other one again. 

What was funny was that this really worked! I would overhear my students all the time saying "Put your name on your work. Do you want Ms. Hilinski to get kicked out of Starbucks® again!?!"  Of course many of them caught on that I probably didn't really get kicked out of Starbucks®, since it didn't match my character. (Oh, gifted kids, you can't get anything past them).
'No names' still happened sometimes, but their frequency went way down. Whenever I encountered one, I would say to myself loud enough for them to hear "Oh, no I hope I don't get kicked out of Starbucks again!" Or I'd say, "Hmmm... somebody in here wants me to get kicked out of Starbucks." The kids would laugh and it was a running inside joke between us that kept me from saying the dreaded phrase "Put your name on the paper!"

 One of my students even made the connection that grading papers at Starbucks made me happier than grading papers at home, so if they put their names on the paper I will be happier while grading them and maybe give better grades! Haha, I loved it.. 

There was another plus! The kids had told their parents about it and many of the parents figured that I didn't really get kicked out of Starbucks®. (Some still thought that maybe I had-haha). The plus of this was: when it came to teacher appreciation week and Christmas time, my cards often included a gift card to Starbucks®

This is how I ended up with $150 on my Starbucks® account. Then I started a new habit: random act of Starbucks kindness. I know other people do this, but since I had plenty of Starbucks® bucks to go around, anytime that I went through the drive-thru I would pay for the car behind me. I guess I'm not the only Florida gal to do this because I just saw this story last week: 400 Customers Pay if Forward at Florida Starbucks.

So anyhow, sometimes you have to think outside the box to solve a problem.

 Do you have a funny teacher story? I'd love to hear it! Link your blog post up below or leave a comment with it! 

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  1. This is PERFECT! Thank you so much for sharing this. I will definitely be doing this in my classroom. You are can't get anything past gifted kids! Lol!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. Ha thank you! Let me know how it goes! :)

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  3. This is hilarious! Only teachers understand the aggravation of no names on papers. Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Agreed! You're welcome. Glad I could provide some entertainment. :)


  4. Well I came over from FB because I really thought you had been kicked out of Starbucks. :) I'm quite literal... Glad that you still can enjoy the treat and that it helped your kids to remember. I'll try that this next week!


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