Annually I go around at the beginning of each school year to talk to each classroom. The administrative team fondly refers to this talk as the 'dumb shit' talk. Basically: Don't bring something to school that is going to screw up your life like a knife, a pellet gun, fireworks, or worse. While I have their attention I use the time to hit on other topics like cell phones, iPods, dress expectations, and answer questions.
"If it's Halloween can I bring a toy gun?" - No.
"If I'm doing a project on the Civil War can I bring a bayonet to school?"- No
"Can I draw pictures of people killing each other if I'm on the bus?"- No
"I have a shirt with a lion roaring on it. Can I wear that?"- Yes that's fine.
"I saw a show with lions once."- Yes, that would be interesting.
"What happens if someone brings a knife but no one ever knows it's here?"- Uh, I guess nothing.
"My grandma lives in Florida, and I saw a turtle their once when we went to visit."- Thank you.
'Ooo! Ooo!..... I forgot."
During these talks I bring the hard ass routine about the rules of the school, and quote all sorts of extreme possible outcomes (aka- empty threats for the most part) if they don't follow the rules. "You won't be at this school long if you do__________." I've basically turned into Dick Vernon, the principal from The Breakfast Club.
Following one such speech to our 6th graders who have been around long enough to know it's half routine, the teaching assistant follows me out of the room as I leave. "Um, Sir- your fly is down." Hard ass indeed.
Every time students have started giggling for seemingly no reason in my entire career, I've checked my fly. These kids sat and never made a peep, likely wondering why a grown man is wearing Spider Man boxer shorts (because they're awesome of course). To my defense, the zipper wasn't down- it had broke. It might be time to start declining a few of those birthday cupcakes...