MIND THE GAP: Walking in the Hall
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Big classes can mean lots of wiggly bodies and that can mean chaos walking in the hall – okay, hopefully not chaos but really, it can be hard to walk in the straight, quiet, pulled together lines Miss. Clavel created in the Madeline stories. Think back to the picture of the girls in their yellow coats and matching broad-brimmed hats, each with a black ribbon. And they walked in lines, tight, straight lines with an absolute sense of order which they seemed to embrace – with the exception of Madeline. She was the one, walking off to the side, with Miss Clavel holding her hand.
Not so much our classrooms. Don’t get me wrong – we do some things right. Like mostly following the zero in the hall rule. Like mostly keeping our hands to ourselves. But we cannot seem to keep the spaces between ourselves close so that we stay altogether. And not take up too much hallway space! The annoyance we feel became an oh-no moment the other day and made us think of the “mind the gap” signs and announcements that Londoners are used to. They caution passengers of the Tube to be aware of the gap between the station platform and the train. Yup, maybe those warnings would have prompted the class to stay close together and we wouldn’t have had a big moment of panic.
We had the crazy luck to be in the middle of our walk to P.E. when an intruder drill was announced. In the middle of the longest stretch of hallway. Of course. And with gaps in our line. Hmmm… of course. Long story, short, we made it to the gym, hid in the office and took deep breaths. Later, we had a discussion about minding the gaps in our lines. And, for awhile anyhow, the experience will stay fresh because, we think for our kiddos, it was a moment that showed why school rules make sense.
Maybe it was hallway karma. Don’t know, but we do know that, keeping quiet hallways are part of belonging to a school community and those quiet halls help everyone learn. The rules are there for a reason, pretty much like traffic rules. Since in reality, it helps to have a bag of tricks. We’ve got two walking in the hall tricks to add to your’s:
dun dun dun dun. The mystery walker gets rewarded at the end of the day for showing spot-on hallway manners every time they’re walking in the hall. Catch is … no one (except you, who picked the person before the day started) knows who the mystery walker of the day is so they are all wonderful! Dream come true!
Find two or three hallway checkpoints for those regular trips that mean your class is walking most of the way through school. Teach all your kiddos that we stop at the checkpoints but give the job of leading and stopping to the line leader of the day. A few checkpoints added to the trip, slow everyone down, gives us all a regroup so we can stick together better.