Tag Archives: school

What We Do for Extra Credit

WIN_20151115_175554

I gotta say, dressing up and lip-syncing to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is the weirdest thing I’ve ever done for extra credit.

I posted this picture on Facebook and multiple people asked me for the full story. Goodness. How do I even begin to explain that class?

I guess I should have known what I was getting into. After all, I did go online and register for a class called “Small Group Communication.” But see, by the time I got around to registering, classes had mostly filled up, and I was blindly clicking on anything that fulfilled my graduation requirements.

It didn’t really occur to me until the first day of class that I had just signed up for lots and lots of group work. (Which, if you have ever been to college, you know can be ab-so-lute-lee brutal.)

This class though. About 1/3 of it is lecture, and the other 2/3 is group activity. One day your team is stacking oddly-shaped blocks. One day you’re trying to come up with a solution to the feral cat problem, while trying to ignore the team behind you telling each other wild stories about their aunt’s friend’s cat who mated with a bobcat and had a half-bobcat kitten. One day you’re crawling on the floor trying to get through a desk-and-string maze.

Let’s just say, I’ve gotten to know these classmates better than I usually get to know my classmates.

On Friday, my teacher pulled out the ULTIMATE class activity. Unlike other class activities, this was actually worth something. If your team got 1800 points, you would get 10 points of extra credit.

There were five rounds. Three were played Friday, and the last two were played today.

Now, I should probably add that for nearly all of the games, tests, assignments, etc, our class is divided into three teams. There is my team, “The Emilys,” which consists of me, two other girls named “Emily,” a guy named Marcus (who interestingly enough is married to a girl named Emily), and a girl named Grace. The remaining 7 girls in the class have a team, and the remaining 4 boys in the class have a team.

Round 1, each team randomly drew a card. The cards were worth an arbitrary number of points. My team got negative points. Lucky us. The boys got the most points, so they got to choose a team to humiliate. They choose us. We had to hum “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Rounds 2 and 3 were also mostly based on chance, and involved drawing cards. My team wasn’t particularly lucky. The girls got “humiliated” and had to do the bunny hop. The boys got “humiliated” and had to crow like a rooster for a minute and a half.

Just another day in a small group communication class.

Anyway, just before class was out, my teacher pulled up a song on youtube:

“On Monday,” she said, “your team will lip-sync to this song. Teams that do well in this exercise often bring props and costumes. Goodbye, have a good weekend.”

“How badly do you want to win this thing?” Marcus asked us.

“Really bad! I can make a lion mane! Can I be the lead singer? I have an African shirt!” I said.

I love this kind of thing. Not gonna lie. And furthermore, it seemed like we were finally going to get a chance to gain points based on effort, not luck.

So, I made a lion mane that weekend. I listened to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” over and over until I had all the lyrics memorized. I dug in the attic this morning until I found an African shirt. I tried it on, and it fit, but I couldn’t get it off so I wore it all day.

Unfortunately, the girls all showed up with jungle-animal costumes and choreographed dance moves. They were awarded 750 points, while my team got 500. The boys completely winged it, using the chalkboard eraser as their “microphone” and slapping it periodically to release a dramatic cloud of white fog. They got 25o points.

We went into the last round with the girls sitting pretty, and the boys and us duking it out for the remaining points. This also involved a complicated system of drawing playing cards, in which we were, once again, quite unlucky.

The story ends sadly: Everyone got their 1800 points, with the 10 points of extra credit, except my team.

Yep. That spectacular lion mane was all for nothing.

Now, throughout all of this none of us could figure out what the point was. All our games and activities are supposed to teach valuable truths about small groups, but what do playing cards and lip-syncing have to do with anything we’ve been studying?

“Now,” said my teacher, as my team slumped dejectedly in our chairs at the end of the game, a discarded lion mane on the desk. “That exercise was about power.”

Class was over.

“We’ll talk about it more on Wednesday,” she said.

So. I memorized a song, made a lion mane, and wore an African shirt all day until my Mom helped me wiggle out of it when I got home. And I got no extra credit. However, not to worry! I learned all about power! At least, I will on Wednesday.

ETA: My mom read this and said it comes across like a very juvenile exercise, and will make people question why on EARTH I am paying good money to take classes like this.

Fair enough. It was a juvenile exercise. However, I have to say, as strange as this class is it is oddly effective. I’m guessing, as far as retention goes, I’ll remember what I learned in this class much longer than in my lecture classes, because I’ll have these unique activities to tie the concepts to. (And also, this is by far the silliest thing we’ve done so far. So there’s that.)

Advertisements

Five Stories of a Boring Life

The Stick in the Road

I must get healthy. Therefore, I must exercise. But the hot hot summer weather keeps me from brisk midday walks.

The solution, of course, is to walk in the evenings. That is what I did today. Only I didn’t get started until it was nearly dark. Oh well, what’s a little walk in the dark?

“Hmm, that’s a funny stick,” I said as I passed a long squiggly object lying in the middle of the road.

Then I realized it was a snake. Suddenly I was weak in the ankles and I power walked all the way home, jumping at every shadow and freaking out every time a shoelace touched my ankle.

I am never walking at night again.

The Diaries

I collect other people’s diaries. I find them at garage sales every so often. The people who write in these diaries have the most boring lives you could imagine. But I still like to read them.

Jenny told me that she can’t imagine reading someone else’s diary. It would feel so invasive. But I said that I hate the idea of a record of someone’s life getting thrown out, unappreciated, forgotten.

Then Mom told me that her dad, my grandpa, used to dumpster dive behind a bakery. Grandpa has always been an avid dumpster diver. This bakery would give him spoiled food for his pigs, but he would still go through their dumpster looking for more.

Sometimes the family that owned the bakery would throw their family garbage into the store dumpster. Grandpa would find diaries written by the bakery owner’s wife, and take them home for Grandma to read.

Grandma never would let Mom read them, or tell her what was written in them. She would only say, “ooh, I can’t believe she would write some of the stuff she does! It’s not even appropriate to tell your husband!”

I told mom that this has to go in her Mennonite novel.

Jumpy Cats

Have you ever sneaked up behind someone, and then grabbed them, causing them to “jump?”

This is not an appropriate thing to do to cats. Jenny tried it. She got very scratched up.

(This is a random internet cat, not the actual cat that Jenny scared.)

The Unexpectedly Popular Article

In case you don’t already know, I occasionally write articles for the website Ypulse. Ypulse explores what’s going on in generation Y. They have what they call a “Youth Advisory Board,” which I am a member of.

I had an idea for a while to do a blog post on the trends of today that are going to be mocked in 20 years. At the last minute I decided to turn it into a Ypulse article instead.

The article was titled “That’s So 2012: 10 Trends of Today That will be Mocked in 20 Years,” and it went up a week and a half ago.

Since then, the article has gotten 1,188 shares. Not views, but shares. 803 of them were on facebook, 47 of them on twitter, and the rest through other websites, thought I don’t know which ones specifically.

Of course in the grand scheme of viral things on the internet, 1000 shares isn’t that big of a deal. But it’s probably the most far-reaching internet article I’ve ever written. I mean, I once had a glitch where an inane post I did about snowflakes reached over 8,000 views because the image in the post popped up when people did google image searches for “snowflake,” but I’m not sure that counts, since they were just stealing the image and not actually reading the post. Besides that I only have two posts that ever exceeded 1000 views.

So yes, 1000+ shares makes this little writer quite giddy.

Dreaming of School

Unfortunately, as much as I love the warmth and sunshine of summer, my summers have always been quite boring. I guess there are trips to take and afternoons to swim, and people come visiting from hither and yon, but too much laziness fills the gaps between these events.

I am dreaming of school starting again. Of classes and homework and libraries and cafes and people everywhere. Of seeing free plays because I volunteer to usher, and making new friends, and drinking tea constantly, and walking past the Jehovah’s Witness table with their large sign declaring “HELL: not a place of suffering,” and looking to see who is arguing with them today.

Ah, September, I am waiting for you.