Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I introduced charades last year to Years 7 and 8.  Year 8 got pretty good at it.  Today, I didn’t expect to have Year 8 so didn’t have a lesson planned.  I gave them some options.  They chose charades.

The way we play isn’t traditional.  I write sentences and they have to make the other kids guess, using a correct, complete sentence.  For example, “I went fishing yesterday with my father.”

They struggled at first.  Partly because they were hesitant to actually try to act something out.  These are kids who are 12-14.  Hormones rule.  They are figuring out who they are and where they stand in the social pecking order and acting the fool is not cool.

Also, this kind of game playing is unusual for Samoan kids.  Fantasy games, using the imagination are not encouraged here.  We played the game for almost an hour and they enjoyed it.  Yes, there was cheating, it is the way of Samoan schools.  I tried to give them tips on how to be more effective when acting out the sentence and also in guessing.  They are getting it.

Something else happened today at school.  As I walked by the Year 7 room on my way to Year 8, the kids called me in to point out that one of the girls was crying.  That happens a lot.  I asked why and was told that a boy in the other Year 7 class had slapped her in the face as he walked by.  The windows are broken, so he just reached in and slapped her.

I went to his classroom and called him out.  I told him to go to the office and wait for me.  I took my time following him to give him some time to think.  He is a good kid but has a tendency to not think ahead to consequences.

When I got to the office he was waiting, clearly concerned.  We went through the standard “Do you know why you’re here?”  He acknowledged that he’d slapped the girl but explained she’d provoked it by saying something about his family.

I gave him the “use words not hitting” speech.  Then I went to get the girl so they could face each other.  By then, two other teachers were there and both kids were scared.  One teacher handed me the stick he carries (about 3 feet long and 2 inches in diameter) and told me to use it.  I declined.

Bottom line, the kids acknowledged that they were both wrong.  That they like each other and respect each other and it shouldn’t have come to hitting and tears.  They apologized to each other and I told them they had to write a letter of apology to each other and I wanted to see the letters.

After the kids went back to their classes, the other teachers told me I was wrong not to hit them both.  I asked how hitting them would teach them that hitting someone else is wrong. 

“It just would.”

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