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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Susan’s Really Rather Read Rally

Susan Norwood guest blogs about the Pep Rally Thursday. I was out of the building and couldn’t provide a refuge for those of us who hate screaming gyms fulled of chaos.

Today was Pep Rally day at our school. We were going to celebrate the last home football game. Do you remember Pep Rallies? Did you like them? I must confess that I didn’t.  I agreed with one of my students who said, “It’s all about other kids having fun. The rest of us just watch.”

I let it be known quietly among my students that I don’t like Pep Rallies at all. It’s not that I don’t have school spirit, I just find them to be hot and NOISY. I have smuggled a book in with me, but it’s impossible to read with all of the noise. I have found kindred spirits in my students.

One of my boys asked me if I was going to be “staying behind” today, and if so, could he come to my room to read. I said “Yes, absolutely. Go to your ‘holding room’ and I will come get you.” When I went to the “holding room” to get him, about 15 other kids wanted to come to my room. They know that I am such a pushover. If they read and write in my class, then I am happy.

Anyway, I had a group of 8 students who were thoroughly delighted to come to my room. What a diverse group they were! I had 3 girls and 5 boys. The girls were White and Hispanic. The boys were White, Hispanic, and African American. We were all wonderfully happy together. We agreed that it was better than a Pep Rally.

I tidied and put up my newest purple Wimpy Kid poster. The boys discussed the merits of various manga titles as well as Shonen Jump. They talked about video games in the 2010 Scholastic Guide to video games. After 30 minutes or so, someone spotted the games in one of my cabinets. They asked if they could play them. “Of course,” I said. The girls played Would You Rather?—a simple card game with questions. Two of the boys opted for Uno, because they already knew how to play it. Was this educational?

I believe it was.

By playing games, they met many state standards, such as working cooperatively and demonstrating active listening. One of the girls read a question and mispronounced the word masseuse. Another girl corrected her, and the game went on. Then they debated another question –“Would you rather have your head temporarily shaved and then tattooed, or have your eyebrows permanently removed?”  Spirited conversation ensued. Tattoos might cause brain damage, but in the end, they agreed that they wanted to keep their eyebrows.

As a final note, my next door, teacher-neighbor told me that some of her quieter kids hated the Pep Rally. She even observed them with their fingers in their ears to block the noise. I told her to send them to me next time for my alternative rally. I bet I will have many more students.