I was sitting here reflecting on my week so far, and there have been many instances that my students have made me double over in laughter. I must say, as frustrating as my job can be, I genuinely enjoy my students. They challenge my skills as a teacher in a good way. They are pretty awesome human beings. And some of them really want to learn, not just get the grade they want.
In my 8th grade class, I've started a drama unit, and I've rocked their literary worlds. They legitimately did not realize that drama was a genre, not just something bitter teenage girls cause in your life when they're pms-ing. So it's been a fun week of introducing them to a new part of my language.
Anyway, for a review game today, I took a cue from "Whose Line is It Anyway?" and had the kids in teams of 4-5. The teams were given a review question and they had to answer it as a team, but they couldn't talk to each other, and only one person could say one word at a time. So they had to band together and work individually at the same time. It is a review game, but it's also just a game to get the class laughing. Research has shown that people retain information when they've associated it with a happy memory, so the more you laugh at school the more you learn.
ANYWAY. I knew this was going to be a challenging game for my girls to begin with because English is their second language, but I knew they'd have fun just the same. I gave the first team their question:
Me: Team one: What are stage directions?
Student 1: [blank stare]
Teammates: Yallah! (hurry up! come on!)
Student 1: [blank stare]
Teammate: Just say a word!
Student 1: Red?
The entire class burst into laughter. Stage directions are not, in fact, red. But that sure did make for an entertaining answer.
It was the next team's turn, so after they had lined themselves up according to height (their idea, not mine), they were ready for their first question.
Me: Team two, what is a line? ...and I mean a line in drama, not a line at the bathroom.
By now everyone had a rough idea of how the game worked, so they dove right in to their answer. It was hilarious because each of them had an answer in their heads, but all of their answers were slightly different. So when person one said, "A," her teammate said, "No! The first word is 'Lines!'"
One: It is?
Two: Yes! "Lines are..."
One: Oh. Lines are... [looks at two with a confused expression]
Two: No! you're just supposed to say one word! You say "Lines," and I say, "Are!"
Me: It really doesn't matter how she starts the sentence. The point is you're supposed to think on your feet, but let's just go with it. One, you said "Lines." So Two says "Are...."
And they picked it up from there. They muddled through a sentence and when they had answered the question the class nodded in agreement and we thought they were finished.
Teammates: [confused looks]
I was wondering what more she could add to the answer "Lines are the words the actors say in a play." But they started rambling on and on. I think rainbows were mentioned, and ice cream...Eventually, One stopped the run away train...
We were all in stitches because the expression on One's face was one of desperation. English is definitely not her forte and she wanted off this crazy ride. She laughed at herself along with the rest of the class. With an exasperated, "Khalass!" (quit it! or I'm over this!) she declared that her team's turn was over and sat back down.
I think it goes without saying that I'll definitely be planning more improv games in our dramatic future.