I can’t think of a better way to pass the day
Hanging around, taking our ease
watching that hound a scratching at his fleas.
from The Andy Griffith Show theme song. Originally, it had lyrics.
After presenting my Genius Hour Project, one of my students asked: “Do you use anything you’ve learned training dogs in the classroom?”
I told him I could bring in carrots and praise him effusively when he did good work. The kids laughed but my active teaching and active training are two different things. For some reason, Percy doesn’t respond when I ask guiding questions. He just drools. Excessively.
Active training sometimes feels like a lot of work and I don’t always see results like I want. I have to either praise or correct the boys in 1 second or less and I am getting slow. We repeat things over and over and over and over and always try to end on a good note. Hmmm. Maybe I should try those things in teaching.
I do seem to have some ability to passively train both my students and my boys. They know to sit automatically when someone has food. This applies to both humans and dogs.
My students are funny about some of the things they were somehow trained to do. For some, that might come from home, too. For instance, if I take a deep breath and run my finger under my nose or a thumb across my forehead, I get an in-class weather report.
“Yes, it is hot in here.”
“Nope, it’s just you.”
I don’t have to say or ask anything. I have noticed that those kids who say “My mom gets like that” are then much more careful around me until I am no longer imitating a sweaty tomato. Those are the kids who don’t argue when I say I am old.
The boys have their own habits I haven’t tried to train into them but somehow stuck much better than sitting until I tell them they are free. If I start cleaning, they flop down at the gate to the kitchen because they know it is a going to be a bit and begging won’t get them treats.
The action I saw recently was brand new to me since this is my first summer with the boys and I can’t take credit for this one. As Dad went to bed shortly before 8 am, he turned the tv to an infomercial and said, “Andy Griffith is coming on.”
Good for Andy and Opie? I started to look for something with more color and I was stopped. Apparently, the boys watch, or at least listen, to Andy Griffith every day. Dad headed his way and since I couldn’t’ find another infomercial for something promising, I continued to play indoor ball with the boys.
At 8 am, whistling began. Percy’s ears perked up, he glanced at the tv and all three boys disappeared and left the ball. Weird. I got up in time to see Hass flop down in his
room kennel, Percy nose open his door, and Drake sitting patiently outside his. I guess we were done playing and it was nap time.
Maybe I need theme music for my classroom… It worked for Dad so it should work for me, too, right?