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Studyhall Activities

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Studyhall1 in the American public school system is a class period in which students are given the time to study, as the name implies. Presumably, students may complete assignments, prepare for examinations, or read course work. While some do follow this recommendation, most often students take part in alternative activities familiar in any school, in any district in the country.


In the context of school, most people assume that a 'note' is a record of academic material kept by the student. Students nowadays will tell you, however, that a note is a clandestine message written to a classmate. The study hall monitor, most often a teacher trying desperately to correct exams or homework assignments before the lunch bell, is saddled with the responsibility of encouraging serious work during the study hall. Therefore, notes must be passed to friends without attracting the attention of said monitor.

The most popular means of note transference is the pencil drop, in which the writer drops a pencil in the vicinity of the intended note recipient. The receiver then kindly picks up the pencil and hands it to the writer, at which time the note is passed. Some students are less subtle, and enjoy quickly hurling a crumpled note at a classmate when the teacher's back is turned, perhaps to erase the blackboard, or to retrieve a book. Another popular technique is the pencil sharpener drop. A student walks to the pencil sharpener, usually located in the rear of the room, and while using the appliance leaves a note in its vicinity for the receiver to find when he or she follows.


Most students will humbly deny having any artistic ability. Yet, in study hall, nine out of ten students will pass the time by drawing idly on textbooks, notebook paper, or even on the desks. It is only the desk doodling to which study hall monitors generally object... with good reason. The exception, of course, is if the otherwise harmless doodle is a caricature of the monitor. This is quite often the case.


Eating is usually prohibited in classrooms. This rule merely serves to turn the consumption of a candy bar or a biscuit into an exciting dare. Common methods for clandestine eating include the yawn-and-chew, in which a morsel is inserted into the mouth under the guise of politeness, and the Look! There! in which a teacher's attention is misdirected so that a candy can be quickly stuffed into one's pinhole.

The Secret Truth

Most students believe that they are quite clever to complete any of the above activities successfully - that is, without getting caught. However, most teachers have discovered the secret truth:

Most study hall monitors notice the notes, see the doodling, and hear the eating. As long as no one is getting hurt, however, they pretend to believe that their charges are working diligently. Why? So that all those examinations will be corrected before the lunch bell rings.

1Known as 'free periods' in the UK.

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