I survived the last “real” day of classes by relaxing. Had I not, I would have lost my patience, my temper, and probably my mind by lunch time. As predicted, the kids were off the walls. They did not want to review for finals (which are next week), as planned. They wanted free time, or to make sentimental speeches about how much they’ll miss each other over the summer (or forever, as some of them are moving), or to take pictures, or to spend time signing pieces of notebook paper (as the yearbooks won’t be delivered until tomorrow).
So I took a deep breath, took heart in the fact that there was no one in the school taking a test, so my students’ noise wasn’t disturbing anyone in another class TOO much, and I let them sing, and talk to their friends, and get up out of their seats, only reminding them once every two or three minutes to get to work and review.
The truly amazing thing, though, happened the same way at the end of each class. Each period, we spent the 2nd half of the class playing Jeopardy. Once I had them in teams and had refreshed their memories of the rules…they were quiet. Silent, even. They were into the game. They knew that if one team got a question wrong, other teams would have a chance to steal the points. They knew that if their team talked out of turn, they would lose points. They DIDN’T know for sure whether there would be any reward for winning; they played the game for the sake of the game--before being told the winners would receive candy (really, everyone received candy—I had to get rid of it; it’s the end of the year).
It made me smile. At least they’ve learned one thing this year: how to play Jeopardy my way.
And I’ve learned something too. Even on their craziest day, I can keep kids quiet with a good game of trivia.