Thursday, November 15, 2012

Not So Super

My classes have been competing in "Super Sentence" tournaments the last couple days. The premise of the activity involves finding sentences we love, breaking down their components, and then composing our own sentences that somehow rise above the norm.

The competition itself is head to head brackets where the winner goes through to the next round. The judges are the other students in the class, with a reminder every round to vote for the sentence not the person, along with random debriefs where kids have to justify their votes based on our agreed upon menu of criteria. I never vote, unless it's a tie.

It's a fun and engaging activity for most. I do my best to keep the stakes low and to pad the disappointment of defeat by praising each sentence myself. Still, there are always bruised feelings, which I also try to turn into teachable moments about writing and audience.

Even so, today, I totally screwed up. In the last round of my last class, I mentioned that should the male student win, he would be the only boy champion of the tournament; all the other class winners were girls.

Was it any surprise then, when all the boys voted for him and all the girls voted for his rival? Of course it was a tie.

And since it was up to me? It remained so.

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