Friday, November 15, 2013

Year 4: Week 11- Boys Away From Home

For the fourth year, I went to the Lorado Taft Field Campus with my fifth graders. Along with the homeroom teachers, science teachers, the teacher assistants and an art teacher we traveled to Oregon, Illinois for four days and three nights of outdoor education. Every year I've written about different memories from the trip. The first year it was a the campfire, the second year it was singing "Edge of Glory" after the rain and last year it was the the experience of being "on" for the entirety of the trip.

So what was the takeaway this year?  Managing the craziness boys.

We stay in a dorm rooms that have eight beds each. One or two adult shares a the room with about seven kids. Of course we separate them by genders so I have a room with seven boys.

Now keep in mind these are fifth graders that we are talking about. Even the most mature fifth graders need reminders on how to dress and how to share a room and a bathroom with a group of boys.

As someone who never went to sleep away camp, I was shocked at the insanity and the "Lord of the Flies," vibe. The general silliness goes beyond logic as the most quiet kids during the school became giggling messes when they catch the glimpse of another boy's butt when they are changing after taking a shower.

Now managing a group of boys sharing at room, making sure they get ready in huge morning and get to bed at night is the part of this trip I dislike the most. But this year, it actually went pretty well. There was still a level of frustration and it was exhausting but we got it done and it went a lot smoother than in previous years.

Here's a couple things I've figured out:

Set some ground rules: I only had two rule for them. Keep the floor clear so that people can walk and not trip and take care the of the reason that we are here. I don't care how silly they are being just along as they are getting dressed when it's time to get dressed.

Story time: Nothing quiets down the boys more than a bedtime story. At first I was really concerned about finding the the right story. However I've found that even when I read a story that isn't that great, the kids still really got into it. This year I used a collection of short stories. I started reading it with the lights on then turned off the lights off and read by flashlight. Not every kid actually listened to the story, but they were quiet while I read and it really helped them wind down.

Manage bathroom time: Seven boys sharing a bathroom with two stalls, one shower stall and two sinks is utter chaos without some direction. You have to help them create a shower schedules and make sure the kids are going into bathroom for a reason. All I know is that there was far less monkey sounds coming out of that bathroom than in the past.

Now I still don't understand the general insanity pf what happens when fifth grade boys get together at night. They were really into singing "Wrecking Ball" with different lyrics and thought they were hilarious. Part of learning to deal with this is just accepting this silliness and focus on helping them get done what they need to so they are ready and prepared for their experience.

Managing groups of boys and trying to get them going is still not my favorite part of this trip, but I'm getting better at it.  Maybe this will all make a little bit more sense when Ollie is older or maybe I just need to stop trying to figure out the craziness that is fifth grade boys.  Maybe I just need to stop trying to figure these boys out and try to find some joy in their fascination with deodorant, the inability to organize their clothing and the joy they get from the adventure of being away from home.

No comments:

Post a Comment