Wednesday is Mapping Day. 

All my 7th and 8th grade classes fill out blank maps together on one Wednesday, then take a quiz on that mapping topic the following Wednesday.

My 8th graders are awesome, but they can be complete knuckleheads. Having a student pass out maps to the rest of the class can lead to a ten-minute group discussion. If I hand out the maps myself, I have to wait until every student is ready and in his or her place, ready to go, and that can take almost as long.

So, this week, I put a desk in the middle of the doorway, with a note, directing each student to pick up his or her own maps.

My reasoning was: a student would have to actively work to AVOID picking up his or her maps. The instructions were clear. Students can have their maps ready to go when class starts and we'd gain an extra five to ten minutes of class.

Did it work?


There were a few boys (sigh... always the boys...) who managed to get to their seats without seeing the desk or the maps. There was the one boy who stood on a pile of maps that had fallen to the floor. When I pointed that out, he nodded, then walked away. When I pointed out that he had just walked away from the pile of maps on the floor, upon which he'd been standing, without picking them up or taking any maps, he nodded again.

Me: "Come. Back. And pick. Up. The. MAPS!"

Boy: "Oh."

Generally speaking though, early signs are hopeful and this may work.