With my first grade special class I decided to play a version of Jeopardy. I had five categories, which I called “Question Types”. Each Type had 5 questions, which I called “Questions”. Questions ranged from 1 to 5 points. There were two “Daily Doubles” which I called “Special Questions” and a “Final Jeopardy” round which I called “The Last Question”. My naming scheme was particularly clever this time around!
A conservative team got the first daily double and bet 3 points on a 3 point question. That seemed to be the common logic among all the teams. Then there was Yusuke’s team.
Yusuke is one of my favorite students because he genuinely “gets” that English is a diverse and flexible language that can be used to express ideas. Consequently he constantly tries to say things in ways that the book does not. Many of my students assume the book is the “only form of English” and deviation from it yields nonsense. Yusuke realizes the book is just one way to state whatever it is it is trying to say. He is not always successful in his attempts, but I love that he tries! He also has a very good sense of humor. When we were learning “Is this your [book, desk, pen, etc]?” He secretly switched books with someone else, when I came to him, held up the book on his desk, and asked, “Is this your book?” He yelled, “NO! IT’S HIS BOOK!” and pointed to the boy that he swapped books with. This practical joke went over very well!
Anyway Yusuke’s team got the last daily double on the board very late in the game. On Yusuke’s insistence they bet all their points. They got the question right and had a huge lead going into Final Jeopardy. Even if the second place team bet all its points in Final Jeopardy, Yusuke’s team would only loose by 7 points. So all they had to do was bet 8 of their points to beat any other team. But instead, again on Yusuke’s insistence, they bet all their points. This caused all five teams to bet all their points. Yusuke’s team ended up getting the final question correct, but I had to laugh at the lack of strategy just so they could win by a massive amount (which they did). It was really funny.
Yesterday, I had class with the second graders. The second graders are remarkable because they are absolute monsters. Though somehow that only endures them to me more. I don’t know why, it just is that way.
While in class I was reading the new vocabulary words. When I was done, my teacher made a pretty big deal that he had mispronounced “Cambodia” when he said it. The kids didn’t seem too interested one way or another. But about ten seconds later a boy in the very back of the room held up a notebook in which he had written in very big letters, “Good Job”. He kept pointing to me and then the notebook. Apparently he was impressed with my English skills. I found this remarkably funny, and had difficulty getting through reading the practice sentences. About the time the “Good Job” sign’s effects were wearing off me the kid held up another sign! This one, mysteriously, just read, “Justice”. I gave him a strange look and he took the sign down, and then it came up again, now reading, “Are you Justice?” I assumed he meant, “Are you just?” – I am --, so I shook my head yes. He quickly flips the page and the next reads, “Me too.” He hands the notebook off to a friend who holds it up reading, “Again?” For some reason this whole exchange struck me as preposterously funny. I had a hard time getting through class without laughing. My teacher also thought it was funny. The class was already super giddy because I had read a story in which I read one girl’s name “Yoshiko” when in fact it is pronounced “Yoshko”. The extra “i” proved to be uncontrollably hilarious to most of the students. They would break down if one kid yelled “Yoshiiiiiiko!”
Near the very end of class he held up yet another sign reading, “Are you like women?” This was tough, it could mean: “Do you like women?” (yes) or “Are you like a woman” (no). I assumed he meant “Are you like a woman?” I shook my head no. He looked shocked and quickly wrote on the next page he held up, “Gay?” Oops, I picked the wrong interpretation. Then the bell rang and everyone left, oops again.