Last Christmas time, the class made chocolate rice crispie cakes for our Christmas party. A select few children, who had behaved sensibly all term, were allowed to melt the chocolate with my TA. Then a few other sensible children poured the rice crispies into the bowls, mixing them up until all of the crispies had turned a delicious, chocolatey brown. I announced that only children who were sitting on their bottoms could make their crispie cakes, so all children had to be sitting nicely in order to come up and put a spoonful of the crispies into their cake cakes.
We had discussed that one spoonful of crispies was enough to fill a cake case. There should be enough for everybody to make 3 cakes each, if we only put one spoonful of crispies into each cake case. However, some children’s ideas of what one spoonful of crispies looked like, differed greatly to my own. Slowly, the children came up three by three to fill their own 3 cake cases. The amount of crispies in the bowl dwindled and it looked like all 3 bowls were running out…
Panic began to set in as he realised that there might not be any crispies left for him to make his crispie cakes. He kept shuffling and sitting on his knees, running up to the bowl and smelling the chocolatey goodness. He screamed and shouted but I calmly reminded him to sit on his bottom or he would not be asked to make his crispie cakes. He kept returning to his carpet place, far from the crispie bowls, and carried on whinging that there would be none left for him. I began to see that there really wouldn’t be and mentally prepared myself for what could happen. What would happen, eventually.
By the time the three large bowls were empty, he and another child, who couldn’t sit on his bottom sensibly either, were left without any crispies to make their own cakes. He. Flipped. Out. All of the children went out to lunch except the fidgeting duo. The other boy accepted that because he hadn’t been sitting sensibly, he was one of the last children to make cakes and we accidentally ran out. I suggested that if the other two teachers had some chocolate and crispies left over, I’d allow him to make his crispie cakes with their class later on in the afternoon. He went out to play happily.
It took a little while longer to convince his lordship that he was not facing the end of the world, and that he would, in fact, still be making his crispie cakes in the afternoon. After he had calmed down, I walked him to the lunch hall so he could get his fish fingers and chips. He went out to play and came back after lunch, eagerly excited to make his crispie cakes so he could eat them. The other classes, however, had already made their crispie cakes… Uh oh!
I tried so hard to explain that he could still make his crispie cakes but he’d have to wait a little bit longer. Again, the other boy accepted this and was quite happy to wait. “I’ll enjoy them even more!” He exclaimed. (I wish every child reacted to news like this in the same way.) His lordship on the other hand, ran around the room and tried to hide under my desk, near the carpet. I tried to persuade him to come out from under the desk so he wouldn’t bump his head. He shuffled out and tried to hide in the corner. Then, whilst he ran past the stand alone whiteboard, he tossed it into the air with the might of an Olympic weightlifter. It landed on top of some children so I raced to pick it up and check that they were OK. Expecting blood and tears. They had already brushed themselves off and worked together to put the board back in place for me. I sent my fastest runner to fetch the headteacher, whilst I asked all children on the carpet to sit at their tables. The headteacher came in and took him out of the class. He had to spend the afternoon with a learning mentor in school as a consequence for his behaviour choices.
The best part of this story is yet to come… The learning mentor played games with him all afternoon and then, because he had played fairly with her, she went to the staff room to get him a slice of cake from the staff Christmas buffet. By the end of the school day, his dangerous behaviour had been rewarded with cake.
So that was the chocolate rice crispie cake fiasco. I made a mental note that day (and wrote it in my notebook at home) to make sure he helped to prepare the foods and went first, regardless of expectations in behaviour. It has saved me many more heart attacks with flying furniture that could have happened between last Christmas and now.
Last week, we tried some French food in our first official French lesson. He helped the TA to carry the food sensibly so she let him choose his pieces of food first. He helped to carry the foods back to the classroom and had saved his own pieces of food on a smaller plate. That food experience was less dramatic and stressful. For me. I could safely say that no children were harmed in the making of or the waiting to eat the food. I consider that to be a huge success.