Rock, Paper, Scissors

Rock, Paper, Scissors is one of the best things that's come to our classroom this year. We were researching about how to have a more peaceful playground for a law that we were creating, and in the process discovered that some schools use the game as an official policy of argument-settling. Wouldn't it be great if it were actually listed in those schools' handbooks?

Can't agree on if someone was tagged or not? Rock, Paper, Scissors it up, and you're good to go. The best part teacher needed! Arguing over who takes the first turn in the math game? A peaceful resolution is just a rock, some paper, and a pair of scissors away.

Sure, there's still some room for the old sneaky switcharoo. "Roc-issors. No--I did scissors. You probably thought I did rock but I really meant scissors which conveniently beats your paper." Overall, though, it's a marvelous innovation. Who would have thought that such a fairly arbitrary collection of items could hold such power?

The other day, a heated argument was brewing and getting near the pushing stage over who had or had not filled in a certain math problem first on the morning message. I had put one foot towards the impending argument, when the kids broke out into Rock, Paper, Scissors. They determined a winner and that person got to fill in the math problem. No teacher needed. Wow.

Today, I overheard the game being used again to settle a question of turns. When I listened carefully, I noticed that Matthew had added a fourth item to the arbitrary list of items: shoes. As in, "Rock, paper, scissors--SHOES." I mean really, why not shoes? They're just as random as the other items. But no, I felt the need to preserve the accurate wording of this ages-old tradition.
Rock. Then paper. Then scissors. Then SHOOT.

"Shoot, children" I explained to them. "It's shoot. You know, like you shoot something. I mean, I know that guns are bad and are not allowed even in pretend form or in our writing stories, but you need to know that it's not shoes."

I tried explaining this case of funny, mistaken wording to my husband, but apparently this staple of childhood game-settling never made it as far west as Minnesota. Or at least not fully in-tact. According to Nate, you say, "One, two, three" instead of rock, paper scissors. "So then do you say shoot?" I asked. Apparently in the Midwest you just say nothing after the one, two, three. Geez.
Back me up here--the "shoot" is key, right? And none of this one, two, three business. Or Paper, Rock, Scissors, for that matter.

By the way, our showcase performance was tonight and went well! All of our rehearsals paid off and the loud pills worked their magic once again!

Hmmm...just realized that somehow scissors are factoring prominently this week. I'll try to come up with something very profound and entertaining about scissors next time....
Amazingly, Wikipedia has this full-on diagram of the rock/paper/scissors options.
Shoes courtesy of


The Goldfish Herder said...

My favourite is "rock, paper, scissors... GOD! Haha! Nothing can beat God, I win." And of course God is made by waving your hands above the other person's hands.'Cause that just makes sense.

We use the RPS method of solving almost anything, it really is pure genius. :D

The Goldfish Herder said...

Oh and, I'm also a teacher and just started following you. I teach grade 2 and 3 in Northern Canada. Your stories tend to hit very close to home, that's for sure! :)

Sarah Garb said...

Oh--that's great! Yes, I want Rock, Paper, Scissors to work well in my classroom, but now I'm secretly hoping that someone comes up with a clever way like that to cheat.

Herder--I'm sure you have loads of stories, too. You'll have to share some of them!

Rocio Gonzalez said...

I also found out during the Capitol Field trip that Rock-Paper-Scissors is a great way for 24 7-year-old kids to stay in line patiently until they get their turn to see the Rotunda...In the future, I'll remember to use it in key situations like dentists appointments, supermarket lines, ...moments of tension? piedra,papel y tijera! (no "shoot" equivalent in Spanish, though)

Sarah Garb said...

Anything to make the waiting in line more bearable, Rocio! The dentist would be the perfect place. Car repair has multi-lingual appeal!

Sarah said...

I've never heard of the "shoot" part either!! (I grew up in California)

I think Rock-paper-scissors should be used to settle stupid court cases like ones that end up on Judge Judy :)

So glad to hear the kids' performance went well!!

TeachEnEspanol said...

That is fantastic!!!! I want to make my students use it for conflict resolution starting...yesterday! Also, I have heard "shoot" used, but on the playground growing up we just said, "Rock, Paper, Scissors" and then the shoot was implied. ;)

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