My phone alarms go off all day.
It’s an intricate system of reminders that the students and I know by heart after this first month of school…almost.
When the alarm rings at 10:15, we pick up the room and head to gym, music, or art. When it rings at 1:10 we know math rotations are over and it is time for recess. At 2:30 a sigh of happiness goes up because after a long day of work, it is FINALLY time for writing, which is our favorite. Each time we respond promptly so that our routine has become second nature.
Except at 2:20. When the alarm goes off on my phone at 2:20, I usually absentmindedly send a student to press STOP and go on with my small group lesson. It doesn’t even really occur to anyone that something needs to happen at 2:20. We are engrossed in different group activities and aren’t really paying attention. We just turn it off automatically and soldier on. Maybe we are too accustomed at the sound of the familiar signal. Maybe we subconsiously know that it isn’t “for us”. But whatever the reason, that alarm has not been registering in our collective awareness.
And then the teacher comes to the door. “Where’s Marley?”
I forget EVERY DAY to send Marley. Even with the alarm going off at just the right time. It’s so embarrassing.
So today we made a small adjustment. For this special alarm and only this one, I chose a new ringtone tune that was different and catchy. And it worked.
Today when my phone alarm went off at 2:20, the whole class looked up, startled, and then started chair-dancing silently at their seats, raising the roof with their hands to the new jingle. And someone said, “That’s Marley’s jam!”
And Marley bounced right out the door, exactly on time.
Now we’ve got this schedule thing back under control. And every day we are going to take just a moment to dance Marley out the door.