05
Jan
08

An Aside…

At times, being a teacher has been extremely rough for me (the day one class went into revolt and progressed from eraser- throwing to penny-throwing being one….) And while I’ve always believed in the power of education, teaching can be draining (spent my Friday night after class cleaning vomit– one unlucky student had food that did not agree with her. While the cleaning lady got the floor, there were still the table, the wall, and the chairs and figuring out what to do with one slightly unlucky book.)

However, sometimes you get to introduce ideas or books or present things in such a way that they bring joy to your students. It’s an incredible high to excite kids about learning, to watch them make connections and think in new ways.

On Friday, I usually have my students play games after some work and quizzes. They tend to make a beeline for the computers. After I discovered the games mostly involved shooting little bouncing blobs, I banned them. One persistent student, who avoids board games for some reason, asked for permission. I agreed on the condition that I pick the game. She quailed. After a few minutes of boredom though, she gave it a shot, and I introduced her to free rice which combines donating rice to the hungry with figuring out vocabulary words. It happens to be one of my procrastination vehicles of choice (collecting intriguing words being one of my quirks). Surreptitiously watching her and her friend, I noted that they did indeed remember some of the words I’d taught them, and were getting into the game. They asked me to e-mail them the link, and were really excited that they were donating rice in the process of playing. It’s warm and fuzzy-inducing. Hopefully figuring out words will last longer than their knitting attempts.

I’m putting the banner on my sidebar. It may eventually migrate South… I do quibble with some of the definitions sometimes, not that they’re technically wrong, but at times they’re the definition that I don’t think is as commonly used. The game is challenging partially because the words can come from anywhere– science, music, archaic uses, etc. I find my French and Latin helpful in random guessing. It would be helpful if there were sample sentences, not just definitions upon getting the correct answer–context and connotations being very helpful in learning words. Anyway, the words go from very basic to rarefied and multi-syllabic.

Go play.

Now if there were only a version for learning Chinese…

(Edited to add:  My student told me that she donated 3,000 grains of rice this weekend.  Whoo hoo!)

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Free Rice

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