No act of violence and/or aggression is allowed. The violator will need to do public apology, attend 100 hours of Anger Management Course, and do 1,000 hours of public service.
No drinking wine after 10:00 p.m. (Consequence: pay $400.)
All adult ghosts receive $500 every month without working. (Consequence for adult ghosts not getting $500 every month: $500.)
No war. (Consequence for having war: 30 years in jail.)
Every doctor needs to have a PhD and will have professional learning every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. (Consequence if they don’t: $1,000.)
There can only be 5 movies out in the theater each day. (Consequence for having more than 5: $7,000)
No cutting down trees. If you cut down 1 tree, you’ll have to plant 10 trees.
No pouring oil in the ocean. (Consequence: 5-10 years in prison.)
All people shall have guns or will be executed.
No betraying your own species unless you are a qualified spy. The bigger the betrayal, the longer you have to stay in prison.
Everyone must learn how to use a gun when they are 5 years old. (Consequence for those who don’t: go to the army and serve for 5 years.)
Show kindness and respect to people that sell stuff to you or anyone else. The consequence is working with that person that you were mean to for three weeks and they don’t have to pay you any money for your work.
No one can have slaves unless there is a proper explanation for one. The consequence is cleaning up three houses each day for one week for someone.
Obey your commanding officers, or else you will go to prison or have to do a chore for the officer you opposed.
You can’t kill or even catch a glimpse of the king.
Citizens shall not steal. If caught, the citizen can face scraping gum off the floor for an hour.
Citizens shall not poach endangered animals. If caught, the citizen could face fines of up to $100,000 or having to go to high school again.
Citizens shall not smoke. If caught, the citizen can face fines of up to $550,000 or having to dance in front of a crowd of one thousand people.
Citizens shall not commit adultery. If caught, they can face drinking five glasses of mud and eating one serving of fire ants.
Citizens shall not abuse a child. If caught, the parents can be taped to the wall and laughed at for one day.
No smoking anywhere except the smoking rooms, or else you will have to smoke ten smokes at a time in a small room.
No barging into other people’s conversations. Punishment: you will have to live with no talking for a week.
No eating candy. Punishment: 50 years of jail and a $50,000 fine. (In this world, the citizens are teeth!)
No playing pranks. (Consequence: 8 years in jail.)
All names of people and places have to start with the letter “P” or you’ll be imprisoned until you die.
Everyone has to get educated for at least 21 years until you become 30 years old, or you’ll be banished.
Don’t kill the king. You will be in the jail forever.
Everyone has to prank six times a day or they will be banished.
Do not play with fire near the only Doughnut Tree. You will be warned and fined $100.
Treat others kindly. Punishment is being put in the stalks.
No littering. Punishment is having your house turned into a dump.
No wasting water. Punishment is having no water for a month.
Don’t tell lies. Punishment is being the court note taker for one month.
Restaurants who use bad chemicals in their food shall be put in jail for fifteen years.
No cheating others. You will spend your time with a poisonous snake in a small room. The snake might decide to bite you. Then you will die.
No destroying nature unless told to, or you’ll go to jail for one month.
No wearing clothes that aren’t decorated with a star, or you’ll be sent to jail for two years.
The population shall not be higher than one million people. If it exceeds the limit, the youngest child dies first.
One household shall not have more than four people. If it exceeds the limit, the youngest dies first.
Let the elderly eat first, then you. The punishment for not doing so is 20 years in prison with two meals per day.
Everyone must pick a job after they are 12 years old, unless they get stuck with their parents or going to school. The punishment is working until they’re 66 years old when everyone else gets to stop at 65.
Thou shalt not eat meat except on holidays. If caught thou shalt be eaten by the pack of hungry wolves near the Dark Forest.
No one should lend money to someone else. The punishment is paying $100 to the government.
Every year after my fifth grade class reads the novel Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, I have them do a project in which they create their own imaginary worlds. They design a map and a flag, a national animal and plant, write up the history of their world, etc. It’s always fun to see the unique ideas they each come up with, but one of my favorite sections to grade is the one where they must create a list of laws to be followed (and consequences for breaking them). It gives some interesting insights into their priorities and how their minds work! Here are some of my favorite laws from this year’s projects. In a few cases I’ve edited them for grammar and clarity. In some cases, the odd phrasing was part of what made them amusing, so I’ve left it in!
All citizens need to own a soccer ball (if they cannot afford one, it will be provided). Consequence for breaking this law: must watch soccer on TV for 24 hours straight.
No tearing other people down. Consequence: write “no tearing other people down” 5,003 times.
No cars, airplanes, buses, subways, motorcycles, scooters, trucks, or any transportation, except for boats.
No speeding. (This was from a world inhabited by turtles.)
Do not steal other turtles’ shells or you will be branded with a “T” on your shell and sent to Turtle Prison.
You are not allowed to try to take over the world.
You are not allowed to try to kill someone or everyone on this planet.
You can’t eat machine. Consequence: you will be burned.
Exercise 30 minutes a day. Consequence: have to exercise 2 hours a day.
Eat 30% of meat, 30% of vegetable, 30% of water, and 20% of rice each day, stay healthy. Consequence: will eat and drink 2 times more each day. (In my defense as this student’s teacher, we don’t actually learn percentages in fifth grade!)
Adults must go to work 4 hours a day. Consequence: must go to work 60 hours a day (with breaks for only 5 minutes).
Freedom of speech. Consequence: will be stoned to death.
All people must obey (student’s name); if not they will be sent to execution with no trial.
Never eat vegetable. Consequence: jail for 14 hours.
Read a book every day. Consequence: jail for 12 hours.
Eat 3 pounds of sugar every day. Consequence: pay $800.
Do not do inappropriate stuff. Consequence: will be put behind bars.
No loud music.
Don’t pee on statues.
Do not murder extincted animal because they are rare and special.
Summer vacation should be a vacation. No summer schools! Parents will get punished.
No getting married until you’re at least 26. Consequence: will be divorced by government.
If you kill a person without a reason, you will be thrown down a mountain that is 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles long.
If you steal anything, you will be thrown into the boiling volcano.
I realized I never got around to blogging about this project last year, so I’ll go ahead and include some laws from my previous class as well:
No one should have more than 8 weapons.
You can’t park your pebirimal (flying creature) anywhere.
No citizen is allowed to be a doctor without permission. If you do, you’d have to go back to college to study for the doctor degree.
No one is allowed to use electricity for bad things; if you do, you might die of electricity shock.
No adultery or else you’ll get thrown into prison for life and get executed.
No usury allowed. If you build one you will have to go to jail for 5 months to 1 year and have to pay $8,000 to $12,000.
No collecting taxes.
Don’t spit gum on the ground, or you will have to go through all the trash cans at the park and take out people’s chewed gum.
Every man at the age of 16 must be in the army or else they will get sentenced to death.
Everyone has to go to school by the age of 5 or they will have to work as an apprentice till they are 15 years old.
No swearing, or you will be put in an Anger Management Center for two months not leaving that place.
No being unkind. If you be unkind for no reason at all, you will not be able to do anything fun inside and outside your house.
Kids are not allowed to go outside when they are 0-7 years old because they are too young to go out and play.
You are not allowed to marry until you are 23. If you marry younger than 23 you will have to give your husband or your wife away from you and marry another person when you get to 23.
You cannot kidnap anyone unless it is the government doing so with a warrant.
You can’t call a pickle a pickle if it does not bounce, or you will have 1 hour of community service.
Bears cannot be con artists.
Do not build over 2 factories in one family or per person, because the air would get polluted.
Never spy on your own country. Whoever breaks this law will be execute it.
Do not pick flowers; they are dangerously poisonous unless self-bred.
Trust no one; no one is trustworthy.
Do not make loud noises, or else the animals will come and eat you.
Every boy must go out of the village and live in the wilderness for twenty moons after the boy’s fourteenth birthday, so that he can be called a grown man. If broken, that boy will not have another chance till he is eighteen.
Do not cause trouble among the people. Punishment: 5 year imprisonment or death.
Do not steal, do not lie, do not murder. Penalty: no breakfast for the next day.
Do not harm lions. Consequence: you’ll be hurt by lions.
You must marry before 26 years old. Consequence: you will go to jail until you get somebody to marry you.
Students must go to the school after 13 years old; they can have free time till 13. Consequence: parents will have to go to school if they let their children go to school before 13 years old.
Everyone must eat candy 2 times a week. If you don’t, you will be whipped.
You are not allowed to harm the national animals and plants. If you do, you will work with animals for 1 year.
Want to read more unusual laws? Click on the links below to read my posts about students’ imaginary world projects from other years:
After reading The Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth George Speare, I assigned my fifth graders a project with several sections. In one, they had to imagine they were going to go and live alone in the wilderness like the main character. They could only choose ten items they would bring with them, and they had to explain why. Most of the items were what you would expect: tools, weapons, food; but some of them were amusingly impractical or unexpected. Here are a few of my favorites:
bracelet-making kit with instructions
the Bible (actually, quite a few students wrote that)
hatchet (someone’s been reading Gary Paulsen!)
towel (um… maybe he’d been reading Douglas Adams?)
picture of family
A couple more pieces of humor from other parts of the project:
Here’s how one student (a non-native English speaker armed with a thesaurus) described how to make a fishing device: “First, I will have to go and take my saw to amputate the tree’s bottom.”
Another student’s journal entry about a trip through the forest: “Today I came one 6th way to my destination. Three more quarters to complete!” Yikes, I think it’s time for another fractions lesson!
Interested in hearing about other fun teaching projects? Click here to check out a post listing funny laws my students came up with for the imaginary worlds they created. Notice the links at the bottom of that one that will take you to others.
Monday was one of those days.
I knew it might be a little hectic because it was the start of the second semester and I was getting two new students (and it’s the week before Chinese New Year break, so the kids would be antsy anyway). I was also told I’d have a high school student aide, which I was really looking forward to; I knew she would make my life a lot easier. I wasn’t sure what I’d have her do that first day, though, since a parent helper had made my whole week’s copies the Wednesday before and there would be no homework to grade (I don’t usually assign any over the weekend). But in any case, it would be great to have her.
I got to my classroom early that morning to make sure everything was ready. I was planning on teaching a lesson from a section of our new language arts curriculum that I’d never used before, and it involved a vocabulary chart that the teacher instructions assured me could be found on the CD-ROM that came with the new material. So before school started I put in the disk to make sure I’d have the chart ready to project onto the Smartboard later. Lo and behold, it didn’t work. I tried again and again, but got nothing but confusing menus and error messages. Finally I ran out of time, but I decided not to let it frustrate me. The chart was a simple one; I could easily draw it on the board, and the students would have the same thing in front of them in worksheet form anyway. Just a minor setback.
Well, 7:50 rolled around and I let my 5th graders into the classroom. The new ones both seemed happy to be there, and the class was welcoming (I had let them know about them beforehand.). But because everyone was so excited at the change, they were noisier than usual. Add to that the fact that I had to explain every step of every classroom procedure to the new ones while those who already knew how to do things got bored and restless, and you’ll see why my normally sweet class was a little unruly.
In retrospect, Monday was probably not the best day to try out a lesson from an unfamiliar part of the curriculum. But I’d looked over it long in advance and planned it all out, and I was sure I was ready, malfunctioning CD-ROM and all. I looked in the “Monday” folder by my desk where I keep all worksheets and supplies I’ll need for the day, and was surprised to see that the student copies of the article we’d be studying (to practice infering the meaning of unfamiliar words) were not there. Neither were the charts. And when I hastily searched my shelf, I couldn’t find the teacher’s edition that had the blackline masters and lesson plans, either.
Yikes! I knew I had had all those materials last week. Where could I have left them? Normally I’m pretty organized. I don’t usually leave piles of books or papers sitting around haphazardly in my classroom, and when I use something, I put it away in the exact spot where it goes. But the papers weren’t in the folder, and the book wasn’t on the shelf where I keep my teacher editions. And of course the students were getting restless once again while I looked.
I realized that the last time I had seen the book was when my parent helper took it to make copies from last Wednesday. Aha! She must have left it (along with the copies) down in the workroom. I would have to go get it at recess.
So, I hastily decided on a change of plans and announced that we would be doing math next. The math lesson went well, but as recess approached, I could tell we weren’t going to finish. I normally don’t like carrying over a lesson until after recess, but sometimes there’s no help for it. The situation was further complicated by the fact that one of my students is in ELL and gets pulled out for one-on-one help in between recess and lunch. Normally she just misses language arts (which she can make up with her ELL teacher), but today she would have to miss part of math. Oops. (Not that she minded!)
About that time my new aide appeared in the doorway, and I realized that amid the chaos, I had not come up with anything for her to do. So I introduced her to the students and then had to ask her to please just have a seat on the sofa at the back and wait.
It was rainy and cold, so I gave the students the option of playing inside instead of going out to the covered play area for recess. Little did I know that every single one of them would choose to stay in (that was a first)! Ever tried to figure out what to have an aide do in a room full of noisy kids excitedly playing Twister and Jenga and Uno? Well, I ended up giving her something to photocopy for me for a few weeks later, and I asked her to bring up the papers and books my parent helper had left down in the copy room. Sure enough, she found them there and brought them all back up to me a few minutes after recess was over. (Yay!)
So I taught the language lesson after we finished math, and it went fine, in spite of not having a chart for the Smartboard. But it’s always tiring teaching something brand new, especially something that involving. And it didn’t help that part way through (when I was taking a quick breather at my desk while the students searched their Titanic article for unfamiliar vocabulary) I suddenly realized we were supposed to do a science activity about physical properties and changes that afternoon. There it was in my lesson plan book, necessary materials listed and highlighted in blue the way I always do it so I won’t forget to look ahead and make sure I have what I need. But somehow I had completely forgotten the Friday before, and now I didn’t have anything ready. The measuring cup, spoon, balance scale, zipper seal bag, beaker, plug-in burner and thermometer wouldn’t have been a problem; I knew I had all those in my classroom cupboards. It would just have taken some time during my lunch time to dig them all out, and it didn’t help that I had lunch recess duty that day. But the ice cubes and cold water would have been a little trickier. I would have had to run home at lunch time when I otherwise could have been eating, and I wasn’t even positive we had any ice in the freezer at the moment anyway. I debated it mentally for the rest of the language lesson and finally decided to postpone the experiment until the next day and do Tuesday’s science lesson (much simpler with no unusual materials needed) that afternoon.
The day was made a little more chaotic by the fact that one of the new students kept asking questions about things in the classroom (like the behavior and homework boards and the “Star Helpers” job chart). I’m pretty strict about requiring students to raise their hands before speaking out, and I could soon see that this one is going to need a lot of practice in that area, and also to learn not to blurt out answers to questions I’ve asked other students, or to “help” classmates by telling them what the hard words say when they’re reading aloud.
What with all that had happened, we had been a little behind in pretty much everything all day. The students were still busily writing in their science notebooks when I realized that although we hadn’t covered everything we were supposed to, it was time for them to go to music. After that they would go straight to P.E. and Chinese, and there wasn’t even enough time for them to write down their homework assignments or pack up their backpacks before they left. So I had to tell them to come back to do those things right after school. The poor new kids were a little confused about where to go, especially for Chinese, since the class isn’t all in the same group. The two of them hadn’t taken their placement tests yet, but this week they’re all having special activities in honor of Chinese New Year, so I figured the exact group didn’t matter all that much. I just told them which other students to follow, and bundled them all out the door.
By the time I finally had the room to myself, my brain felt as fried and my voice as worn out as they usually do on the first day of school after summer. Then I had to grade the assignments my students had done that day… then someone came in with a stack of report cards for me to proofread before they get sent home in a few days… then I had to work on my Professional Learning assignment due this week… then school was over and the students came swarming back in to write their homework and pack up, and I realized I’d never explained the procedure for those tasks to the new ones… then both of their parents came in wanting to talk to me about how their first day had gone.
I had to stay longer than usual in my classroom getting caught up on lots of little miscellaneous things. By the time I finally headed home to make dinner, I really didn’t feel like staying up late to have my Chinese lesson that evening. It had been a long day! But I decided that the good thing about Mondays is that there’s a whole week still ahead of them. (Okay, so I know that’s the bad thing about them too!) But I reminded myself that there were still four more days for the week to get better. Four more days to recover from Monday. And just four more days until vacation. I can make it!
From what we hear from the States, it seems that swine flu is a big thing in the news there right now. It’s certainly a big thing here in Taiwan, and although it’s widespread, the Taiwanese are taking great precautions to try to keep it under control.
For a couple of months now, Morrison has been requiring everyone (students, parents, teachers, janitors – everyone!) to get their temperature taken before entering campus in the morning (see picture below). Anyone with a fever is immediately sent home, and everyone without one is given a little colored sticker to wear on their shirt all day (a different color each day). If we see anyone at school without a sticker, we’re supposed to remind them to go to the nurse and get their temperature checked right away. Many public places (churches, the zoo, etc.) have been doing temperature checks as well, and requiring everyone to take a squirt of hand sanitizer before coming in.
You’d think that with those precautions H1N1 would have been kept at bay, but a couple weeks ago we got word that three high schoolers on our campus had come down with it. They (and their families or roommates) were quarantined their homes or dorm rooms for five days, while the rest of the school prayed and hoped no one else would come down with it. All the elementary teachers breathed a sigh of relief that it hadn’t been elementary students who got sick, because the government regulations are stricter for elementary. If two or more students in the same class get swine flu, the whole class has to be closed and every student in it (and the teacher) must go through the five-day quarantine. Morrison has a system in place (and we’ve all been trained in it) whereby we would teach our lessons over the internet if that ever happened.
Everyone keeps saying that it’s not a matter of if, it’s when, and yet somehow we’ve all managed to assume such a thing would only happen to other teachers’ classes. But – not any more.
When I came to school this last Friday, I received the bad news that one of my students had been diagnosed with H1N1. Not a serious case, thankfully, but the first in the elementary school, and of course it was worrying. I had a total of three students absent that day, and I couldn’t help wondering what the chances were that either of the others had it and just didn’t know it yet.
Well, the principal came by my classroom in the middle of the day, and sure enough, he had more bad news. The office had just received a call from the parent of one of my other absentees, and it was confirmed that she had H1N1 too. Now the office was about to call all my students’ parents to come and pick them up, and I had about forty minutes to prepare the kids to continue school from their homes for the next several days. Yikes!
To make a long story short, I told my students the news, gave them a quick refresher course in how online education is supposed to work, explained the afternoon’s work which they’d have to complete at home, handed out several worksheets for the next few days and a hastily-written letter from the office explaining the situation, got them to pack up most of their textbooks, workbooks, and notebooks; made sure each student had an adequate supply of lined paper (not easily available in Taiwan except through the school), and answered about fifty frantic questions (everything from “Am I still allowed to fly to China next week with my family if I’m quarantined?” to “Will my hamster get H1N1 too?”) and finally let in the parents who were congregating outside the classroom door waiting to take their kids home.
For most of the students, the worst part (once they heard that their sick classmates were doing all right) was that they would have to miss that evening’s concert. The Elementary Thanksgiving Concert had been in the works for months, and though it featured mainly the kindergarteners through second graders singing, all of my students are in either the band, orchestra, or choir, which were scheduled to perform afterwards. Several students went home in tears that their hard work and all those hours of practice would be for nothing; they were not even allowed to come back to watch. I couldn’t watch, either, being quarantined myself; but I heard that the concert was only half as long as usual. The band director was quarantined too, since his daughter (in my class) was one of the swine flu cases; and apparently the orchestra and choir directors decided they couldn’t perform with so many students missing. What a disappointment for the whole elementary school.
So now my students and I are all stuck in our respective homes, though I’m supposed to go back to work tomorrow (shut in my classroom, staying away from everyone else) to teach from my computer there. I will be communicating with my kids and their parents through email and “Moodle” (Morrison’s online education system), which I’m sure will be an interesting challenge. I’ll have to post lessons and assignments, answer their questions, grade completed work, give students feedback, and even take attendance, all online.
The good thing is, we’ll only really have to do that for two days. Monday and Tuesday are regular school days, but Wednesday is a half day with a special program in the morning, so I wouldn’t really have had to teach in any case. And we have Thursday and Friday off for American Thanksgiving, though the quarantine would have ended after Wednesday anyway. So, all things considered, if this had to happen, it’s about the best possible timing (except for the concert).
Of course, I have to remind myself that just because this is happening to my class now doesn’t mean it will never happen again. An individual may be immune to swine flu after having had it once, but my class isn’t immune to being closed again just because we’ve done it once! I can only hope and pray that it won’t happen again (or to any other classes), but that if it does, we’ll all be prepared.
Do not stay out after 2 a.m. All stores are closed.
Plant a tree when a person dies or is born.
Always go outside to get fresh air.
Only use up to ten tissues a day. Don’t waste.
If you have a harmful sickness tell the government and they will put you into custody until you get better.
Do not use powers or transform into a monster inside a house.
You cannot exit at the entrance or go in the city at the exit place.
Never take down other people’s houses.
Never have more than one house in each family.
Do not argue.
NEVER eat plants or other unhealthy things. Only eat ice cream and fish.
Make sure to throw anyone who litters or breaks a law in the garbage can.
Kid’s can’t go out of the castle themselves.
You have to take good care of your garden.
Do not go without clothes to other places.
At war times, every male 18 and 40 must report to the army.
Don’t drink wine while you drive.
No killing animals except for dairy products.
Kids can’t do work (like at a restaurant) until they’re 12 years old.
Look both ways before crossing the street.
Say hello to people you know.
If you are a dragon, no breathing fire for no reason.
Do not free the people in jail.
No going to the king’s palace for no good reason.
You can’t make too much noise.
Take discipline responsibly. e.g. If you get sent to jail that’s what discipline you get so don’t be whiney about it.
Want to read more unusual laws? Click on the links below to read my posts about students’ imaginary world projects from other years:
Thou shalt eat pizza once a day.
Thou shalt not give any entertainment alongside the road that will cause traffic.
Do not kill flies. You may kill fleas, ants, mosquitoes, and other insects in the hunting season instead, or go in the market to get food.
You must not fight in battles. You must only defend yourselves, but you can fight in war.
Thou shalt not throw or leave vile garbage on the street, sidewalk, or anywhere else for whatsoever thy reason.
Thou shalt not give birth to babies before the age of 25.
Everyone in (the land) is equal; only important people are higher.
Thou shalt not throw dirt in people’s ears.
If you injure or kill an earthworm, you shall be put in jail forever.
Thou shalt not smoke, become drunk, or chew betel nut.
Thou shalt not eat vegetables that are poisoned. Such vegetables I speak of are okra and broccoli.
Thou shalt not play dodge ball.
Thou shalt salute thy flag at 3:14:43 a.m. each day.
Every family has to take a health test every year, or they will be reminded to do so.
Factories shall not produce air pollution.
Thou shalt never wear jeans, for it is a sign of bad luck to wear such uncomfortable things.
Thou shalt not aggravate thy older brother.
Want to read more unusual laws? Click on the links below to read my posts about students’ imaginary world projects from other years: