Monday, February 15, 2010

Meet my friend, hani-tizer.

Germs, more commonly known as "practically invisible little monsters that can make you very sick." They seem to be a teacher's worst nightmare. (Okay, I could think of worse, but it's definitely up there!) They can spread so quickly that pretty soon half the class is missing within a day. And if you're not careful, you just may be too. I made the decision from day one to not let germs get the better of my class this year.

The first day of school day came, and I made sure to cover all the basics. You know the simple practices that keep those germs away like: wash your hands often, how long to wash them for, how to wash your hands properly, sneeze or cough into your sleeve, use facial tissue, clean shared surfaces, what not to share, etc. If it had to do with germs we talked about it, I modeled it, the Kindergartners practiced it, and then some more, repeatedly.

I still remember the first time a princess used the bathroom in my class. I heard her in the bathroom washing her hands while faithfully singing her ABC's. Yes, this was something I modeled to teach an appropriate length of time for hand washing and was quite proud that I had made such an impact that she remembered herself from the start.

Hand sanitizer was formally introduced as "my friend." Now, I know that washing hands often is the most efficient way of keeping germs away, but there are a lot of little hands to wash, and to be honest, we just don't have that much time in a day. That said, I made a big deal out of how wonderful my friend was. I was happy to share my friend with them, and they we re more than eager to let "our friend" help out. Hand sanitizer became so much our friend that I would catch my little ones giving hugs to that bottle, and with shining faces saying, "Hani-tizer, my friend!"

I believe that if you build something up from the beginning, making it fun and memorable, they are far more likely to stick with it and remember it themselves. But I will also tell you, that this technique would never be as successful if it was not followed up by routine. In my case, routine has been so much built up that friends are more than happy to hold each other accountable if one ever were to forget.

Half-way through the school year now, I had a student eagerly shoot up his hand out of nowhere while teaching a lesson. Thinking that this random outburst had to be important, I called on him, "Yes?" In abrubt panic, he precisely informed me, "Yesterday, at school, Kyle forgot to use hand sanitizer!"

I could barely contain myself from bursting up with laughter. He was so serious about this issue, I could certainly not laugh in return. After all, I happened to be the one who made this topic such a delicate matter. Holding every smile within, I said "Oh no! That's terrible..." and continued the lesson.

"Hani-tizer" (the shortened name one of my munchkins gave when the length of the name was found difficult) has saved my class on numerous occasions, and kept those nasty happenings of large numbers of students missing down to the number zero. Thank you, I owe you one.


  1. Hani Tizer. That's one I'll always remember. Thanks Miss Molly! I would love to be a fly on the wall of your kindergarten classroom!

  2. Thanks! I have found myself saying "hani-tizer" too. Is it wrong to embrace incorrect cuteness?