Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cell Phones in the Preschool Classroom

As cell phones have now become a necessary item for most families, it becomes the teacher's responsibility to teach her students proper cell phone protocol, and establish firm rules about student cell phone use in the classroom.

In preschool?

That above paragraph is a standard blurb that comes home from my daughters' junior high and high schools. I read it every year, warn my daughters that if they use their cell phones inappropriately at school I will toss them in the pool, and mentally thank goodness I teach three-year-olds and don't have to worry about such things.

Until this year.

I always have broken and cast off cell phones in my classroom. They make terrific additions to the dramatic play center; the kids love to call each other and text. It is always fun to see them talk on the cell phone, cook dinner and hold a baby all at the same time. They are practicing multitasking!

But this year I have found them to be a distraction...

Me: "Come on everyone, time for our story!"

Jill, age 3, with a broken cell phone pressed to her ear, gives me the international signal for "Hold on, I am on the phone" - index finger raised in my direction. She then turns her back to me and says into the phone, "Sorry, I gotta go, my teacher is calling us for a story". Obviously, the pretend friend on the other end gave her a hard time, because it took her a bit to get to the carpet. And then she was mad that I started without her.


Another day, Sasha is in the library, laying on the couch, talking animatedly on a broken cell phone. A friend asks her to move over so he can sit on the couch and read a book. "NO!" she tells him emphatically, "I am ON THE PHONE!"

This escalated, and by the time I made my way over to the library to diffuse the situation, we had full blown tears. From Sasha, who thought that everyone needed to give her privacy in the library when she was on the phone.


The final straw happened this week when while I am trying to read a story. Two friends had the cell phones and they were "texting" each other. One would pull the cell phone out of her pocket, tap on the keyboard, and then put the cell phone back in her pocket. A few seconds later her friend would squeal, pull the cell phone from HER pocket, laugh uproariously, tap on the keyboard, and then put the phone back in her pocket. And then friend A would squeal, take out her get the pattern.

I didn't let this go on for very long - I firmly established the rule: No cell phones during Story Time. I was asked the question, "Can we have them if they are on Silent?"


This week, my students will discover that the classroom is blissfully cell phone free. They will have to their communication with the rotary dial phone in the dramatic play center.



gewitkow said...

I just came across your blog today and have been busy "browsing" your entries. I had to tell you, this particular post had me giggling so hard it brought tears to my eyes! I read it out loud to my husband and he just shook his head. I told him, "This happens to me EVERY DAY!" Hilarious!

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