Teaching and parenting have a lot in common. When you set the bar high, expect students to meet your expectations (because they're able), and threaten a reasonable consequence if they falter, you have to have integrity and follow through. You have to follow through even when you don't want to.
We have been assembling for #classroombookaday in the same way since August. We started slow. I modeled how the students would transition to the meeting space. They can choose to come with a chair or they can opt to sit on the floor. When students decide to bring a chair they must carry it safely, silently, and come quickly. Students have been taught to carry their chairs in front of them, versus pushing them or dragging them. They know to fill in the far side of the circle first. We've practiced this. They've perfected it. They've come quickly. They've come safely. They've come quietly. But not today. Today was a disaster. If I'm being honest, we've been working up to today's disaster for a few days. They've been slipping and I've allowed it. But today, I stopped them. I said, "boys and girls, you know how to transition to #classroombookaday. You know my expectations. Carry your chairs, keep your voices at a zero, and move quickly but safely. If you cannot do this, there will be no #classroombookaday today.
They began moving again. You could hear the dragging of chairs, chatting, laughter, etc. I broke when one student started loudly voiced, "HONK! HONK! Move it!" "That's it. Stop. We're done. There is no #classroombookaday today", I declared as the students looked at me in disbelief. "You heard me. Go back to your seats. Take out your reading notebooks," I directed. No one moved. They didn't believe me. This was kind of weird as I never make empty threats. One final, "off you go" and they were on their way. One student started to cry!
I'm not sure who was more upset about missing our much-loved routine today, me or the kids, but it had to be done. I had made a threat. They had fallen short of the reasonable expectations set for them. I had to follow through, regardless of how little I wanted to.
Tomorrow we will gather again. I will give the same directions. I'm expecting very different results. If it goes well, there will be two books tomorrow. I really do want to meet our goal of 180 picture books shared this year.