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Big Guy keeps talking his way into trouble

Submitted by on Monday, 9 February 2009 No Comment

big_guy_talksBig Guy simply cannot keep his mouth shut. It’s part of his charm, but also part of his downfall.

It keeps landing him in trouble at school, too, and Chatty  Charlie that he is, he always rats himself out. Most confessions come close to bedtime, when  he’ll say anything to keep conversation going and avoid sleep.

“Mommy, I get my name on the board at school a lot. More than anybody,” he admitted one night this weekend.

Though I’m sure there are a number of infractions that can lead to a kid’s name being memorialized in Dry-Erase, in Big Guy’s class two things are the common triggers: Talking in class and not paying attention. With Big Guy, it’s usually the former.

It’s a two-step process. The name going up on the board is a warning. One check beside the name means half of recess is lost. Two checks and the whole 20 minutes are gone.

A few weeks ago, Big Guy got the recess death penalty on Monday, followed by a five-minute timeout Tuesday. He was proud to tell me Wednesday that he actually got to play the whole time. “I didn’t get my name on the board at all today!”

So the lack of motoring time for cases of extreme motor mouth appears to be effective, at least for Big Guy. At least for now, while he’s in school for only half a day.

Down the road, that could be different. Not to mention counterproductive for his future teachers.

A study in this month’s issue of Pediatrics showed that 8- and 9-year-olds who have 15 minutes or more of recess behave better in class – and that’s according to their teachers’ evaluations.

The study attributed lack of recess time to No Child Left Behind.

“They started to find out that kids in the U.S. were not doing well compared to other countries and started penalizing schools when kids weren’t passing the state test,” study author Dr. Romina Barros told USA Today. “That’s when schools (started to cut recess) not only because of space, but also because they wanted to put more in academics.”

But what good is more academic time if the teacher doesn’t have the students’ full attention?

Having battled with him to try to complete a call since Big Guy was old enough to grab the phone, I knew keeping quiet was going to be a problem for him. It’s a good problem to have in a way. His curiosity simply gets the best of him, and words tumble out of his mouth before his 5-year-old brain can stop them.

I can see, though, why it’s a problem for his teacher. If one Big Guy can be annoying, 20 or them would be downright impossible.

“M never gets her name on the board. She’s always quiet,” Big Guy continued.

“Well, some people are just more quiet than others. I bet V never gets his name on the board either,” I said, mentioning a painfully shy classmate.


“It’s easier for some folks to keep quiet. But you have to try, because it’s important not to interrupt teacher when she’s …”

“But I didn’t have to sit during recess last week,” Big Guy interrupted. “And T has to sit during recess more than I do.”

So it seems that while the warning system isn’t exactly like duct tape to Big Guy’s mouth, it is making him conscious of avoiding extra infractions that will sentence him to watching his friends play as he sits to the side.

I hope we can get him the rest of the way before he heads to first grade. Heaven help me if I have to withstand the after-school wrath of a 6-year-old who’s been cooped up all day without recess.

Copyright 2009  Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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