Time to Shake Out Your Brain ... Literally
I co-taught an English class with a teacher who always said, "Shake out your brains," when the class began to zone out. Our high school students knew it meant time for a mental break. Not so with Justin, a five-year-old boy I teach three times a week. Justin is high-functioning autistic, and children with autism tend to be extremely literal. Justin struggles with his literalism in adorable ways.
When I saw Justin starting to zone out, without even realizing what I was saying, "Time to shake out your brain," slipped out. Justin looked perplexed as he began to shake his head. When he stopped shaking, he said, in a regretful tone, "It's still in there."
IT being his brain. Which was still in his head. He had not succeeded in doing what I had asked of him, which was to shake out his brain.
Justin also has a tendency to put his feet all over me, and I am constantly asking him to stop. The other day, after asking him gently several times to move his feet, I finally said, "Justin. Please. How many times have I asked you to move your feet?"
His answer? "Six." I'm sure he was right.