My students sit. In a chair, sometimes. Not too often. Often they are on the floor. So, when reading the following story you have to keep in mind that these students don't have much experience with, uh, chairs.
Math was going "swimmingly" (My fave Dr. G word). I was allowing the students to pick their own math game after an excruciatingly long rounding quiz. When I called one student, (we will call him Glasses) to come select, he did not arrive. I kept calling other students, assuming that Glasses would arrive in his own time. A few students later, I realize he is still at his desk - but looks rather uncomfortable. I go over to investigate, and he says:
"My hand is stuck in my chair."
"What?" I say.
"My hand is stuck and it hurts." pause "Ouch."
"How on earth..." I'm thinking out loud.
I push and pull, gently trying to ease his hand out of the slat in the back of the chair. Nothing.
I cut off his supply bag (a bag of books and belongings on the back of the chair), in hopes that if he can lower his hand into the slat, it would come free. Nothing.
I suppose it was at this moment that I suggest we move our project into the hallway.
"Can you stand up?" I suggest.
"I can't. My hand is stuck."
I slowly lift the chair, with his hand still in it. He slowly stands with me. We walk across the room together, exiting the door without bumping into anything (whew).
I'd like to say that I was not at all laughing at this point.. but it was a funny situation. Right? Whatever, you'd be laughing too.
I put the chair down in the hallway.
"Sit down and wait here." I say.
"I can ONLY sit down and wait, my hand is stuck." Yep, he's right. Point Glasses.
Then, as if the move into the hallway has some magical power that will free the chair's grasp on his bony hand, I attempt to free his hand one more time. Nothing. Then he says:
"Mrs. _______, do you have any butter?"
Chuckle Chuckle Snort.
I leave him to ponder his "sticking my hand through the slat to get something out of my bag" decision. I enter the bathroom, fill my cupped hands with liquid soap, and return to the hallway. This is when the videographer should have shown up.
I proceed to grease this kid's arm up like a pig at the county fair. There is soap dripping everywhere, and I'm lathering it up and down his arm and hand. Seriously, videographer's dream.
He proclaims "SOAP? This is not going to work at all!"
For those of you thinking that this may have been a Teachable Moment, let me assure you, the last thing you are thinking as you're greasing up a kid's arm is "Let's think about how we can make a hypothesis about the likelihood that soap will help in getting your arm out of this d*&@ chair."
Well, it worked. Hand free - he exclaims "IT WORKED!" "How did that work?" And as he walked away to wash the soap from his arm he leaves us with his final thought:
"THAT chair is DANGEROUS!"
In which I reply: "We'll try a new one when you get back to the room."
The UP side:
He had clean clean hands for lunchtime.
I only had to excuse myself once from class to get all the giggles out.