Unexpected Joy

You know those weeks where there’s something different going on each day or there’s something big looming at the end of the week? This week felt like two weeks. By the time Friday rolled around I was simply happy to see it.

Well, the last twenty minutes of my reading class brought me unexpected joy.

I had plans for that last twenty minutes, but they were so into this group spelling game I used to play on high school road trips. Actually, they were struggling as individuals with the game, so I pivoted and had them pair/trio up. This was a game changer. They excitedly whispered suggestions to their partners. They happily cheered each other on. They listened intently to the other groups, so they could strategize. They thought about suffixes, long/short vowels, and plural ending changes, even though they knew the objective of the game was simply to not spell a word.  

I ended up pairing up with a boy, who just half an hour prior gave me smart retort after smart retort and I sent him to take a break in a colleague’s room for a few minutes. In the game, he and I listened intently. We strategized. We even created contingency plans if the players before us said something we didn’t expect. He smiled wide when we avoided being the team who took a point (you didn’t want points in this game).

The teamwork, the learning, the connection I made with this boy, and the way they floated out of my classroom felt uplifting after a long week.


4 thoughts on “Unexpected Joy

  1. Those moments filled with unexpected joy are so special. We’ve been testing so my week felt long too. I found a few times with this joy as we discussed using site other than google to find answers and why that’s important. The students were engaged and eager to share their new knowledge with parents who have tole them to just google it. I’d love to learn about the spelling game you used. It sounds engaging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a fairly simple game. The objective is to not spell a word yourself and to get others to spell a word. One person begins by saying a letter, e.g. “h”. The next person says the next letter, “a”. So “ha”. The third person may think of “hassle,” but “has” is a word (3- letter words count, 2- letter ones don’t). So 3rd person says “p” thinking of happy. 4th person thinks similarly and says “p”.
      Now 5th (and anyone on their turn) has some options- 1. Challenge the prior person to see if they have a real word. 2. Concede because she thinks there’s no way out. Thinking “happy” is the only option. 3. Say a letter like the others and either have a word in mind (e.g. “i” or “e” or say something confidently to bluff (e.g. “o”).
      In our case it went:
      6th- Happie
      7th thought he was stuck with happier, but said “s” for “Happies”
      And the whole class cheered (well maybe not the 8th player) because 7th figured a way out “happiest”.

      We next did
      And 9th player said “i” hoping “xylonphonic” was a word.
      10th player challenged. 9th said xylophonic, I looked it up, and sure enough it was! The class cheered again.

      Long winded explanation for a fairly simple game. Sorry.
      Oh, no proper nouns.


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