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CPS’s How To Guide for workers at strike contingency schools

Updated: October 9, 2012 3:02PM

A guide to manning Chicago strike-contingency schools released Friday advises non-teachers to bring their own food, carry a watch because their classroom may not have a clock, and load up on 30 sharpened pencils and a pencil sharpener.

In one tip, non-teachers are told that when they “correct’’ a student, they should do so in a “15 second one-way communication,’’ delivered within 3 to 4 feet of the student, but to “move away from the student 1-2 seconds before finishing.

“If you don’t you may invite a negative response,’’ according to the “Children First Site — Student Supervisor Toolkit.”

Chicago Teachers Union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin Friday tore into Chicago Public School proposal to man 144 schools in the event of a strike with non-teachers, saying the “Children First” plan amounted to “a train wreck.”

The Chicago Public Schools have asked teachers not to picket at the 144 schools for the sake of the children, a request flatly rejected by CTU President Karen Lewis.

She told the school officials if they don’t want picket lines at those schools, then don’t open them.

Gadlin Friday released the “tool-kit” that she said was being given to non-teachers CPS hoped to use to watch children at what Gadlin called “holding centers.’’ She likened the tool-kit to a “how-to-be-a-teacher strike guide.’’

Among its suggestions on “how to prepare:”

• “Wear a watch — your room may not have a functioning clock.’’

• Dress comfortably as “many schools are NOT air-conditioned.’’

• “You will need to bring your own breakfast and lunch. Please note that you cannot rely on access to refrigerators or microwaves.’’

• “Keep personal items to a minimum.’’

• Sessions for kids run from 8:30 to 12:30 but “you should arrive as early as possible” and be prepared to stay late.

• Bring 30 sharpened pencils, 30 pens and a personal pencil sharpener.

• Bring “stickers or other small inexpensive incentive items.’’

• Bring old magazines and newspapers, puzzles and games.

Non-teachers are given a long list of things to do ahead of time to prepare. They should: study and “internalize’’ recommended classroom management techniques; determine their classroom procedures and “practice explaining them,’’ create a Day One sample schedule, write a supply list and collect it, and “attend trainings.’’

To “create a climate of respect,’’ the tool-kit recommends that non-teachers “communicate with words” and “do not yell, threaten or insult, even if joking.’’

And to make students feel comfortable, they should appear “confident and calm by being firm but friendly. You can accomplish this by writing a general schedule on the board.’’

For third- through eighth-graders, non-teachers are urged to walk students in two single files in the classroom, and “greet each student with a smile and a handshake as they enter.’’

As a “get-to-know-you” game, non-teachers are advised to model a “two truths and a lie’’ game, in which participants share three facts about themselves and students have to guess which one is a lie.

Games to be played during physical education include Simon Says, Farmer in the Dell, Mother May I and Four Corners.

Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard has said that Children First sites will be manned by principals, assistant principals, Central Office Staff and non-CTU employees, as well as yet-to-be-approved vendors.

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