[Classroom Management] Campfire

I’ve mentioned before that I use the television show NCIS for inspiration–especially my name and my classroom rules (current list here). One time I mentioned “calling a campfire,” but I didn’t really explain it. 

I will ‘splain.  There is too much, I will sum up…

There is a character on NCIS named Dinozzo. At one point in the season he was in charge of the team because “Boss” was in trouble for being a kamikazee rogue agent.  When Dinozzo needs to talk to the team, he says “campfire” and they gather up.  This is how I get my Poodle-heads’ attention when I need to talk to them about something serious.

Example?  Why sure!
One time, someone from another class came in to tell me that my homeroom was taking part in bullying another student.  I called a campfire, they sat right down, and we talked.  I don’t know for sure why it works like it does, but when I say campfire, they just gather right up.  They seem to understand that it is time to be serious even though I haven’t exactly said that.

Another example?  Of course!
During one campfire someone tried to make a joke after I had clearly “called campfire,” and the other students shushed him and said “don’t you know that means she’s serious????”

The very best example?  Here it comes!
Something even better happened yesterday.  J. came up to me and said “Boss, we think we need a campfire.” He was a quiet, and a little shy about it.  At first I didn’t understand.  “You need a campfire?” I asked him. “Ummmm. Yeah. We think we do.”

I walked over to the rest of the group and they were already sitting in a campfire (sort of a circle-ish shape formed by sitting in their desks in the right places) and waiting for me.

J: We were wondering why you seemed kind-of-maybe-unhappy-or-angry-or-something today…”
Me: [pause]
Class: [pause–wondering how I will react]
Me: I guess I’m still frustrated from the stuff that happened here on Friday.  It wasn’t a very good day and I’m trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again, so I guess I’m kind of serious.
Class: Hm.
Me: And, I’m tired.  It was a good weekend.  Did you all have a good weekend?
Class: [showing relief–tells stories about weekend]

What do I think happened here?  I think they showed me a few things.  First, they reminded me that they need me to be on and present and with-it.  Their world needs that. They also showed me that they understand the procedure of “campfire” more clearly than I knew.  I started using it on a whim (like many things I do). I didn’t explain the procedure of how it would be used because I didn’t know myself.  I didn’t over use it, and viola!  It took on a life of it’s own.  It became a way to say “we need to talk,” and they used it as a way to talk to me yesterday.

It was a good moment.

Goal Progress: 6/20

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