The hand-to-hand pass is easily detected unless the teachers back is turned. Even then it’s risky because you never know when he’ll turn around and catch you mid-pass.
Modern times might have changed the delivery method but even a substitute teacher can read the telltale body language of cell phone text message thumbing.
It might be that head down posture and two handed “fidgeting” below table level (at least that’s what I hope it is) that might be the giveaway. The proof is the surprised look on the kids face when the message recipient’s phone goes off in her backpack across the room.
This class seems to have perfected a version of the “dead drop” method used by the CIA and international spy rings to pass secret messages in a safe and undetectable manner.
The method perfected by these 5th graders is to agree on a book title in the classroom library. The sender inserts the note in the book as it’s being returned during “silent reading” time and returns to her seat. The recipient then asks for permission to get a new book for reading time and retrieves the book and note.
Since this is the first time, I’ve seen this method, I guess it works pretty well and it would have gone unnoticed if it hadn’t been for the eagle-eyed classroom librarians (their job is to put the books back in the shelves) that brought the following notes to my attention: