Cliff Gardner

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Watching Sports Night makes you a good teacher

Remember all of those debate cases that my friends and I stole from West Wing episodes? You know, like abolish the penny, stop live fire bombing in Viques (ROB!), stop mandatory minimum sentences and laws that ban needle exchange programs, among others? Well, it turns out that Aaron Sorkin-written television programs are good for more than a competitive edge at debate tournaments, because I've started stealing lesson plans from episodes of "Sports Night," or at least one idea so far. There's this game called "celebrities" where everyone writes that names of, you guessed it, celebrities on pieces of paper and puts them in a hat. Then they try to get their team to guess as many of the names in the hat as they can in one minute without saying the person's name, or, as it was played in my English club last week, speaking anything but English. Most of my students have never had to speak English in a high pressure, timed environment of a game like this before so it works really well and just happens to be really fun for them and hilarious for me. Watching my seventh graders trying to explain who Bono is might just be the cutest thing I've ever seen. So yea, things are great on my end!


  • We did a celebrity game in my Spanish class in high school: each person had a celebrity‚Äôs name assigned to them and taped to their back. Then they went around the room asking yes/no questions to figure out who they were. The first person to figure out who he/she was was the winner.

    Games are the best for teaching English (in my extremely meager experience.) Glad to hear you (and your class) are having fun!

    By Anonymous Liz, at 11:08 AM  

  • I think I know what a parallelagram is, T$.

    By Blogger dave, at 12:08 PM  

  • Suggestion for the next game: In the spirit of The Office's Diversity Day, you can tape a culture to each student's forehead...

    Pam: Okay, if I have to do this, based on stereotypes that are totally untrue, that I do not agree with, you would maybe..not be a very good driver.
    Dwight: Aw, man! I'm a woman?

    By Blogger magic, and with love from Sam,, at 12:24 PM  

  • Hearing all your fun teaching stuff makes me so excited to go back to it!

    By Blogger KBT, at 6:16 PM  

  • I've been off the planet a while.

    Congrats on your success with your students!

    By Blogger Speechie, at 12:29 PM  

  • rockin' the bitch, I see. Well done.

    By Blogger Paved In Gold, at 11:23 PM  

  • thanks for reminding me of those great west wing moments. I love the abolishing the penny episode. In fact, it mirrors, somewhat ironically, the very first bill my boss (a new state rep) got passed this year- a bill that gets rid of an out of date law. Good times. Hope you've survived the rabies fun. I'm looking at buying a new car- so I'm in for my own shot... in the bank account. Ha. Think I'd like yours better. :-)

    By Blogger Hannah Kali, at 10:26 PM  

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