Day Two of the Water Bottle Protest

IMG_4299Day Two of the PET Water Bottle Protest. Here’s how it unfolds.

8:45 a.m.: Recap of yesterday’s protest. Students immediately all speaking at once. Once calm, I ask who wants to do it today. More hands shoot up. 8 of them want to go out today at recess.

9:45: Prepare more signs for water bottle protest. We talk again about how to do a silent protest. Respecting others. We’re all students here. We’re all community. Keeping it positive. Everyone agrees.

10:30: Kids rush back from recess to prepare. They peek around the corner to see if the PET water bottle team is outside. Not yet. The students are antsy. They lay out their math graphs to finish up, but they are distracted.

10:35: “They’re here!” one of the “spies” calls out. Students grab their signs and enter the lobby. This time, the water bottle team has a large camera and their laptop where they’ve typed in big letters 50 yen! Students position themselves around the table and across from the table. The hallway is fairly quiet, at first.

Student Protest from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

10:40-10:50: The students hold up their signs and try to remain silent. 6th graders come by and heckle a bit. There’s a lot of conversation. Teachers come by to watch. A few students come by and take photos with the protesters (like a tourist attraction). There are some water bottle sales–more than yesterday. The attention may be having an immediate negative effect of increasing sales. Grade 5 students remain firm.

10:50: The water bottle sales team packs up, but not before my students find out when they’ll next be selling water bottles. Lunchtime. “We’re coming back at lunch,” my students scream.

10:55: More teachers stop by and give the kids applause for their actions. Meanwhile in the blogosphere and Twittosphere, things are happening. The word is out. A teacher at UWC in Singapore picks up the story and blogs about it:  More readers on the blogs where the story appears.

12:25: Lunch recess. I’m on duty, and one of my students runs up. “Can we protest?” Never have heard that before. I also had put “protest” into my timetable today. That’s a first as well. We’re all excited.

12:25-12:50: 3 students skip recess to picket the water bottle sales again. They say they blocked sales (or maybe there weren’t many). The same girls are raising money for a dog shelter in town and are happy to announce to all that they’ve made more money in the last 3 days at the dog charity than the team has selling water bottles.

2:00: Students talk about other possible tactics for diverting water bottle sales.

4:00: The PET bottle sales team approaches me after school to tell me they’re suspending water bottle sales. Yeah! They’ve sold out. Hmm, I think. “Your students mentioned selling ice cream,” they say. “Do you think we could incorporate with them–sell ice cream with them?” I smile and ask them to propose it to the students on Monday (no school Friday). Now that’s an interesting twist, and a good one. Going with the grade 5 idea to finish off their business studies project.

That’s a first for us too.

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