Oct 18 2014

Watch DOGS – Part 2

Hi. Did you not read Part 1? You should read Part 1. It is right here, for convenience.

Before I get into the banality and brutality of 2 hours of recess, I want to first talk about the patrols.

Now, as part of being a Watch DOG, I didn’t just go from class to class, they had me walk around for fifteen minutes. Roaming the halls, going outside, having a convenient time to get a bathroom break on, and so on. No, don’t worry, I didn’t have to use an elementary school bathroom room. They gave me a unisex adult bathroom instead (because they have no need for a purely adult male bathroom in their school).

Now I definitely never went outside, because only one door is unlocked and I didn’t want to wander the whole building. However, I did troll the library on more than one occasion, each time seeing something exciting. The first time a saw a teacher with about six students working on assignments on tablets. I thought it was sweet technology for an elementary school, but I found out she was a math department head person, and they were testing algebraic thinking in elementary school students. They didn’t pull out the smart kids, but just a random assortment, and they were testing all day. I know I totally could have learned basic pre algebra stuff in 4th or 5th grade, so that was exciting to see. That with the fact that the science class from earlier in the morning had some algebra like problems made me sooo happy.

And the other cool thing I saw was a snake. I gots to touch it!

Ahem. Recess.

Panorama of Recess

Oh hey, the other Watch DOG was there!

Recess is directly after lunch for every grade, regardless of naughtiness. I remember in 3rd-5th grade Recess being only an occasional thing, and definitely something that could be taken away. But this is daily and ensures they get some sort of exercise on, giving some of the teachers a break mid day and letting them get rid of some of that steam. What do they do on rainy days? No idea, they probably just assume it won’t happen. (Editor/Shelby’s Note: I believe they play in the gymnasium, but I could be mistaken.)

The order of recess grades goes from Kindergartners to 5th graders, but it isn’t in grade order. Go figure. It went, I believe, K, 3, 1, 4, 2, 5. Which is good in that it gave me variety in my play time as well. There isn’t a lot to say about the Kindergartners, they mostly just ran around and climbed on things and chased people. Yawn.

But when the third graders came out, they also had a bag of balls. This let them use the soccer field and the basketball hoops and of course, four square.


Pictured: Large quartered circle.

Ah foursquare, probably something I literally haven’t played since second grade. However, these kids are hardcore. They were ignoring perfectly nice four square set ups and instead playing in a large quartered circle. This gave them a lot more space to hit and run and also made it a lot harder. The first and second graders were given a few balls, but only 3rd-5th played foursquare. I of course joined in with each grade for a bit to test their rule variations and skill levels.

Third graders were relatively simple. They didn’t have a lot of rules or restrictions, but they did have the “reset” option. Every kid, once per day, had 1 reset. It made the last volley no longer count and was used like a Megalixir. I didn’t use mine, because I dominated the third grades for a while, ruling supreme as the four square king champion, before letting myself get kicked out to wander around. Didn’t need kids arbitrarily hating me.

Fourth graders were extremely nitpicky. They had a rule about everything it seemed, and if you broke it, sorry, but your ass is back at the end of line. You can’t do soft passes, or exceptionally hard ones. Bunch of rules lawyers really, so I was never able to advance far because I kept doing things that weren’t allowed apparently. My stint at king was short lived and I happily left to wander after playing only a little bit.

Fifth grades? Well they are ruthless little c*nts. I don’t really remember rules, but they will pick on a player they don’t like until that player is out, ruling as a oligarchy and not a monarchy. I only tried once because the line was long and didn’t want to deal with it, but I only reached the Queen position before some shenanigans got me out. Fifth graders. Pah.

Speaking of fifth graders, that is where my next class was! Ms. Fifth Grade Math/Science. However, the schedule was stupid, and I waited outside their trailer for 15 minutes, because recess was apparently half of the time I was supposed to help. Fail, administrators. This class felt a bit more hectic, maybe as they all just came back from playing outside, but it never really felt relaxing. There was decimal math being worked on in groups, so I did my best to help them figure out what was going on. In the science section, they were talking about ecosystems and how natural disasters or phenomena could affect life and how. That was interesting, as it was super discussion based, getting kids to talk in front of others all on the ground. I got to throw in my own two cents about the dangerous beaver dams in Ames, IA, affecting the city’s water supply.

I ended up staying in the class for two reasons longer, instead of doing another patrol. 1) I missed half of it already and I didn’t want to be there for just 15 minutes. and 2) There was a severe weather drill that day, first of the year! Right when I would be joining the next class. Awkward.


My assumption of what they may have been prepping for.

Overall, the drill seemed to go relatively quickly. It was your standard butt against the main hallway wall, on ground, hands over head to protect debris. Some halls had kids 2-3 rows deep, probably an oversight. I was surprised to find the Kindergartners calm and quiet. They must have been practicing. Once it was over, I strolled into Ms. 1st Grades classroom to find out what I would get to do again.

And it was math! Yay math! Always math!

They were split into four groups. One on computers, one with the teacher, and the other two were doing their own things and I was suggested to help them out. Group one involved dominoes, as they each had a set. They had to pull it out, write down the numbers on each side and add them to make the total number, and then write it “the other way” to show that you can add numbers in any way to get the same one. Easy, obviously, but they had fun with it and got them doing math.

The other group were playing with small stackable blocks to make problems. They had cards that they could write on with markers, to make a tower of X size then another tower to add to it, to figure out the total. These were harder, because the value could go up to 20, so more math fun was had.

I also noticed something peculiar about this class. Everyone looked Hispanic, including the teacher. Coincidence? Nope. I asked a little girl if she could speak Spanish. Yep! Could everyone in the class speak Spanish? Yes of course! And she was quite appalled and shocked to find out that I could not speak Spanish when I told her. Like, what the hell was I doing with my life? Why would I not know, am I stoopid?!

The rest of the day didn’t have that much going on. They made me take a survey, which I noted my main two complaints (lunch confusion, scheduling confusion). Or at least I tried too, but the complaint box wasn’t big enough on the internet survey (why was there a limit in space at all?). So I ended up with 3 complaints, I guess. After that, it was awkwardly standing by the buses until they let me go home. I had to high five kids. That was easy. I high five good.

And for those wondering about the cookies I had won for that morning? Well, the teacher wasn’t on lunch patrol this week, so I felt a bit stood up. I wasn’t going to complain about not getting cookies that was a complete bonus or anything. The kids complained though, as every time I was near one of the 4th graders, they asked me I had the cookies yet. No. Well, I did end up getting a bag of cookies during recess. The cafeteria ran out of them (Friday? Extra birthdays?), so she had a different stash somewhere. I enjoyed them while waiting in between recesses.

Nick and Cookies

And they tasted like winning.

Nick “Everything I eat tastes like winning” Hamden

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