In our Pre-Algebra class, Mrs. Wilson and I could all tell that our students were getting a little restless nearing the end of the year and the noise level of our very active class was getting a little too loud for our liking. We encourage our students to work together, and because they are all at different places since it is self-paced, it can get a bit noisy.
So we looked at each other and decided we were just going to whisper for the rest of the day. I’m not really sure who started it, but once we made up our minds, we just kept feeding off of each other. Just to keep things straight, italicized and gray is whispered…
“Can I get a little help with number 3 on this sheet?” Johnny said.
“Why are you yelling at me?!?!” Mrs. Wilson whispers, ears covered in pain.
“What do you mean? I’m not yelling…” Johnny retorts in confusion.
“Yes you are,” I chime in, in my quietest voice I can muster without laughing. “Steve, do you know why Johnny is yelling? He’s SO LOUD!”
Amazingly, Steve caught on right away. “I don’t know. He’s kind of hurting my ears. Do you think he could talk quieter?”
“So… why are we whispering?” Johnny finally gives in.
“Because it is Whisper May. None of your other teachers are celebrating Whisper May month?” Mrs. Wilson questions.
“No, because it isn’t a thing. If it were Whisper May, why didn’t we start on May 1st? Today is May 5th…” Johnny isn’t buying it. But he is whispering…
“Well, Whisper May isn’t really a full month, but it would be awkward to call it Whisper-twenty-three-days-in-May… It starts on Cinco De Mayo and ends on the 28th.” I love coming up with random untrue facts on the fly.
“Oh. But why from the 5th to the 28th?”
“I don’t know. That’s just how it is,” I respond.
Slowly but surely, the entire class is whispering instead of talking. Since we start our class out with a moment of silence to get them quiet and focused, it isn’t hard to move from silence to whispering. Now let’s see if we can actually make it all the way to May 28th. It really surprised us that we didn’t really have to tell all the students that they needed to start whispering. We just convinced a few students and then everyone ended up whispering. We have to get it started again each day, but other than that, it’s been relatively easy to maintain.
I’m pretty next year is Year of the Whisper in the Chinese Zodiac…