Image via WikipediaA friend of mine who teaches middle school intensive special needs told me this story today and I thought it was a perfect example of "not just thinking outside the box, nailing it shut and standing on it to see better".
Last Wednesday her class was scheduled for an end-of-the-year field trip to a local pond to go swimming and have a picnic. At 9:30 in the morning her students were all changed into their bathing suits and having an early snack. Then the minutes ticked by and turned into an hour, finally she contacted the bus company. The bus company told her that they would not be picking her class up until 11:30, which was way too late to leave for a field trip, go swimming, have lunch, return to school and toilet students in time for buses home. The trip was canceled.
Forced to think fast, and very outside of the "box", the teacher dumped left over sand from a craft project on the ground outside and knocked on the door of the home of a neighbor whose house bordered the school. She told him about her canceled field trip and offered him five dollars to borrow his garden hose to create a "water park" in the play ground abutting his back yard. He turned down the five dollars and fed the hose through his fence and turned it on.
My friend's students had a delightful time cavorting in their "water park" in their bathing suits. They played with the hose, threw water balloons and played on their sand "beach island".
Some teachers would have whipped out the worksheets, others would have put on a video, still others would have let the students "do nothing" and thus descend into self stimulation and aggressive behaviors for the afternoon. This teacher took a bad situation and found a way to make it great. In spite of having no bus to take them on their field trip she still found a way to have a "beach day".
Here's to thinking outside the box and then some!