After my student brought up his concern that our reminder notes might be illegal, he and his peers decided that the best way to find out would be to ask a police officer. So, this week I bought some Skype credit and on Tuesday, we called our local RCMP office. I had contemplated calling ahead and ensuring things went smoothly, but given the student-directed nature of our learning so far, I decided not to.
Tuesday morning, as students came in from recess, I brought up my Skype account on our classroom SMARTboard and had a student help me find the RCMP office phone number in a phone book. (Good lesson on alphabetical order!). My classroom helper dialed the number and placed the call. We were all excited when they answered the phone! However, there was no officer available to answer our questions, so we were given the phone number for another location.
We had some difficulty getting in touch with the second office… it was busy the first six times we called (yes, six, the Grade 1s counted). I was starting to worry that things were not going so well… I had a lot of learners looking to me for what to do next. So, we decided to start our math activities and hope that the line would be free later.
After some productive math activities, we regrouped at the SMARTboard to try again. We again found the line was busy, so we had to persist. Finally, we were able to reach them! We were transferred to a very helpful Constable and the young student who had brought up the concern asked his question. The officer explained that hanging things from a rearview mirror was not allowed because it could obstruct the driver’s view and cause an accident. I could see my students were a bit deflated that their idea would not work as planned. Then, one of my students raised her hand and came up to the microphone to ask if we could tie a reminder to the steering wheel. The officer explained that tying things to the steering wheel could also cause problems for drivers. Eventually, through asking questions, the class decided that a sticker-type reminder on the steering wheel would be the best option. The Constable was very helpful and encouraged us to call with any future questions.
Our call DID answer our question, but it generated a whole lot more questions too! Next up: rethinking the design of our reminder notes for vehicles!